Welcome to the Wild Maharashtra, the land of rich flora and fauna. From evergreen forests to Western Ghats, each region is blessed with unique natural beauty. Jewels in the crown are the national parks like Chandoli, Sanjay Gandhi, Tadoba and many more.
National Park is an area which is strictly reserved for the improvement of the biodiversity and wildlife. Activities like hunting, forestry, grazing, poaching are not allowed here. The boundaries are well marked and restricted with no private ownership rights. In national parks, main stress is given on the conservation of a single floral or fauna specie. The state of Maharashtra is a home to number of wildlife conservation parks and sanctuaries. Here’s a list of popular national parks you should visit to experience the exquisite wildlife in the state.
Chandoli National Park
One of the most popular national parks of Maharashtra, Chandoli National Park lies in the western part of Maharashtra. Located in the Sangli district, the park covers an area of 317.67 square kilometers. Originally the park was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 and later in the year 2004, it was given the status of National Park. Declared as a protected tiger reserve, the Chandoli National Park is an abode to the wide varieties of mammals, birds and reptiles. Some of the animals found here include Gaurs, Deer, Mouse Deer, Tigers, Leopard cats etc. Various species of prey that are found here are Blackbuck, Sambar, Mouse Deer and Barking Deer. The census of 2002 done by the Department of the forest shows the growth in the number of Leopards, Blackbuck, Tigers, Mouse Deer and Gaur. The park is an appropriate location for bird watchers because of the presence of around 123 species of birds. October to February is the best time to visit Chandoli National Park.
Gugamal National Park
The Gugamal National Park lies in the Amravathi District of Maharashtra. A part of the Melghat Tiger Reserve, the park was established in 1974 covering an area of 1673.93 sq. kms. Forming the core area of the tiger reserve, the park lies in two tehsils viz Dharni and Chikaldhara. The main motive of this park was to ensure protection of tigers. The forest is hilly and rough thus making it suitable for the park’s inhabitant. The Gugamal National Park is a home to many endangered species like Cheetal, Wild Boar, Macaque, Sloth Bear, Panther, Sambar, Nilgai, Langur and many more. Around 25 types of fishes and variety of butterflies are also found here. The park area typically covered with dry deciduous trees like Aola, Kusum, teak etc is also rich in medicinal plants. In totality, there are 90 species of trees, 66 types of shrubs, 99 grass species, 56 types of climbers, 316 varieties of herbs and 23 sedge species. Thus, forest is quite dense giving protection to variety of animals. The months of October to June is the best time to visit Gugamal National Park.
Featured Photo by Koshyk
Tadoba National Park or Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve is the largest and the oldest national park in Maharashtra. Situated in Chandrapur District, the park includes Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary and Tadoba National Park. One of the best attraction of wildlife tourism in the state of Maharashtra, Tadoba National Park is a heaven for wildlife lovers. With the population of more than 40 tigers, this reserve is counted among the best destination for tiger spotting. Jungle safari trips is the main attraction of this park. Open top gypsy, six- seater vehicles with properly trained local guides are also available for this purpose. Tadoba National Park has around 50 tigers, with some rare Indian wildlife like Leopards, Hyenas, Jungle cats, Sloth bears, Wild dogs, Civet, and many species of Indian deer such as Barking deer, Nilgai, Shy Sloth bear, Cheetal, Sambar and the fleet footed Chousingha. Tadoba Lake, the natural habitat of many water birds is the main attraction of the park. There are around 200 species of birds including Indian Pitta, Oriental Honey, Indian Roller, Crested Serpent Eagle, Monarch Flycatcher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black-hooded Oriole, Oriental White eye, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Paradise Flycatcher and many more. October to June is the best time to visit Tadoba National Park.
Featured Photo by lk photography&design
Navegaon National Park
An ideal destination for tiger safari in Maharashtra, the Navegaon National Park is located in the Vidarbha Mountain Range of Bhandara District. Stretching over an area of 135 sq. km, the park consists of an aviary, a deer park, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and three beautifully landscaped gardens. In addition to this, it also has a small museum and a library. A picturesque lake with clear water set amidst hill ranges can be approached via series of winding trails. The lake attracts large number of migratory birds from January to April. People with great fascination for birds can see around 166 bird species here. Animals like Mouse Deer, Sloth Bear, Indian Gaur, Leopards, and Four Horned Antelope are frequently seen here. Jeep safaris available inside the park lets you go closer to the wildlife.
Featured Photo by travelwayoflife
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Also known as Borivali National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located in Borivali, Mumbai. Encompassing an area of 104 sq. km, the rich flora and fauna of the park attracts more than 2 million visitors every year. The panoramic views of hills, lakes, valleys and open areas can actually have a calming effect on mind, body and soul. Well- known for its vast bird life, dense forests, and small population of tigers, Sanjay Gandhi National Park has famous Kanheri Caves, Vihar and Tulsi Lake in its premises. SGNP boasts more than 40 mammal species, 38 species of reptiles, 1000 varieties of plants, 251 types of birds, 9 kinds of amphibians and huge variety of insects, fish and other life forms. Major bird species here include Hornbills, Robins, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Trogon, Kingfisher, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Sunbirds, Jungle Owlets, Magpies, Great Hornbill, Woodpeckers and much more. The park is known to shelter wildlife as well. One can encounter several species including Hanuman Langur, Mouse deer, Porcupine, Black Naped Hare, Rhesus Macaque, Leopards, Indian flying fox etc. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park, known for its diverse variety of birds is actually a paradise for bird watchers.
Thus, the above listed national parks should be visited once in a life time to experience the wild first hand.
Featured Photo by lk photography&design