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Earn your stripes: 12 top national parks to sight tigers

Summer is the best time for tiger spottings and with the hotter months approaching, what better occasion than now to plan a trip to spot the elusive big cat. The GUIDE brings you a list of 12 national parks that are home to the Royal Bengal Tiger in its natural habitat. Go ahead, and let the striped beauty make your day!

Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,102.7 km (appx.)
It is said that the ravines of Kanha inspired Rudyard Kipling to write The Jungle Book. The Kanha National Park came into being in 1955.

Ranthambore National Park (Rajasthan)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,158.5 km (appx.)
One of the best places to spot the big cat, this park, formerly known as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary, was declared as a Project Tiger reserve in 1973.

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra)
Distance from Mumbai: 922 km (appx.)
This is the largest national park in Maharashtra. Apart from nearly 65 Bengal tigers, it is home to other mammals including leopards, sloth bears, gaur, nilgai, dhole, striped hyena, small Indian Civet, jungle cats, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, chital, and chausingha.

Pench National Park (Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra)
Distance from Mumbai: 721 km (appx.)
It derives its name from the Pench River that flows through the national park from north to south. Tigers are the main cat species of the park and are present in good numbers.

Bandipur National Park (Karnataka)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,119.3 km (appx.)
This was once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore. Apart from tigers, it supports a good population of endangered and vulnerable species like elephants and gaurs.

Nagarhole National Park (Karnataka)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,063.4 km (appx.)
Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, has a healthy tiger-predator ratio, with many tigers, Indian bison and elephants.

Jim Corbett National Park (Uttarakhand)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,676.7 km (appx.)
This national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Royal Bengal tiger. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative in 1973-74.

Bandhavgarh National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,243.8 km (appx.)
The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa captured the first white tiger in this region in 1951.

Sunderbans National Park (West Bengal)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,710 km (appx.)
It is on the Ganges Delta, which is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Royal Bengal tiger. It was declared as the core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in 1973.

Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (Uttar Pradesh)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,277 km (appx.)
Dudhwa National Park, together with Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary have been jointly constituted into Dudhwa Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger.

Pakke Tiger Reserve (Arunachal Pradesh)
Distance from Mumbai: 2,220.89 km (appx.)
On April 23, 2002, this was declared as the 26th Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger. Three large cats — the tiger, leopard and clouded leopard — can be spotted here.

Simlipal National Park (Odisha)
Distance from Mumbai: 1,432.32 km (appx.)
Taking its name from the abundance of semul or red silk cotton trees that bloom vividly here, Simlipal is home to 99 tigers (approximately).

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