Fancy a date with Sher Khan this weekend?

Apr 05, 2012, 09:41 IST | The Features Team

Summer's here. And the big cats are on the prowl. What better time than now to get your safari boots out of retirement, and head to one of India's many tiger reserves for a wild weekend escape. Spot the tiger now, before it wins a round of hide-and-seek, again!

Why go here? Blessed with a stately, regal past, this national park is home to 30 tigers. Spread over 1,300 kms, it is filled with ruins of a fort, old wells, structures and other ramparts where tigers roam, freely. Narrow valleys, gorges and water bodies provide for a large, natural zone for flora and fauna to thrive. Apart from the tiger, one can spot leopard, caracal, jungle cat, sloth bear, chital, chinkara, sambar, neelgai, wild boar, jackal, common fox, hyena and the common langur.
>>Closest railhead/ airport: Jaipur is 140 kms from Ranthambhore 

Why go here? Part of the original Banjer Valley that was declared as a National Park in 1955, Kanha was one of the first nine tiger reserves that was constituted under Project Tiger, set up in 1973. Spread over a total area of 1,925 kms, it forms part of the same corridor that connects it with Bandhavgarh to the north and Pench in the south. An estimated 108 tiger inhabit its forests. Spotted deer, barasingha, sambar, chausingha, gaur, wild boar, sloth bear, wild dog and the leopard can be spotted here.
>>Closest railhead/ airport: Jabalpur is 160 kms from Kanha 

A tiger readies to attack its prey at Bandhavgarh National Park. Pic courtesy/ Anish Andheria

Why go here? While Melghat is home to an estimated 73 tigers, Tadoba has 42 tigers in its reserve. Spread over 1,676.5 kms and 578 kms respectively, these two parks boast of a rich biodiversity with one of the best surviving forests in India, for flora and fauna. Leopard, sambar, antelope, chausingha, sloth bear, flying squirrel, caracal, porcupine, spotted cat, gaur are some of the wildlife you can spot here. 
>>Closest railhead/ airport: For Melghat, Badnera is the closest railway station (100 kms) while Nagpur is the nearest airport (206 kms). Chandrapur (45 kms) is the nearest railway station to reach Tadoba; Nagpur is the nearest airport at 91 kms.

Information courtesy: Wildlife Protection Society of India

Why go here? Home to over 50 tigers, this national park boasts of the highest density of tigers in India. Most souls who’ve ventured into its jungles have been able to spot the Royal Bengal tiger. Named after the fort inside, Bandhavgarh is spread over 1,161.5 kms that line the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges. Elephant back safaris are your best bet to spot animals in the wilderness here. Neelgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar, foxes and jackals can also be spotted in these jungles.
>>Closest railhead/ airport: Jabalpur is 190 kms from Bandhavgarh

Pic/ AFP Photo

Why go here? India’s only tiger reserve that spreads across two states — Madhya Pradesh (757.8 kms) and Maharashtra (664.3 kms), Pench is home to nearly 44 tigers. While the MP chapter became a national park in 1992, the Maharashtra zone joined the Tiger Reserve network in 1999. Together, this region is home to several other species including the hyena, dhole, sloth bear, leopard, neelgai, gaur, Indian giant squirrel, pangolin, common langur, common mongoose, barking deer, sambar, chausingha and porcupine 
>>Closest railhead/ airport: Nagpur is 92 kms from Pench 

1,706 According to the tiger census report released on March 28, 2011 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current tiger population estimated is 1,706 (i.e. ranging between a minimum of 1,571 to a maximum of 1,875).  The results include figures from 17 Indian states with a tiger population. 

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