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Top 10 National Parks
Kaziranga National ParkTop 10 National Parks

A UNESCO World Heritage Site in the remote, northeastern state of Assam, Kaziranga National Park has many significant claims to fame. For one, the park is home to two-thirds of the planet’s Great One-horned Rhinoceros population. Another feather in the park’s proverbial cap is that it contains the highest density of tigers of any conservation area in the world. Just two supreme reasons to visit the scenic and culturally vibrant state of Assam. This national park is in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International for conservation of avifaunal species. Compared to other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility. Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water. Kaziranga has been the theme of several books, songs, and documentaries. The park celebrated its centennial in 2005 after its establishment in 1905 as a reserve forest.

Gir Forest National ParkTop 10 National Parks

Also known as Sasan-Gir this is a forest and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, India. Established in 1965, with a total area of 1412 km² (about 258 km² for the fully protected area (the national park) and 1153 km² for the Sanctuary), the park is located 43 km in the north-east from Somnath, 65 km to the south-east of Junagadh and 60 km to south west of Amreli. It is the sole home of the Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo persica) and is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species. The ecosystem of Gir, with its diverse flora and fauna, is protected as a result of the efforts of the government forest department, wildlife activists and NGOs. The forest area of Gir and its lions were declared as "protected" in the early 1900s by the Nawab of the princely state of Junagadh. This initiative assisted in the conservation of the lions whose population had plummeted to only 15 through slaughter for trophy hunting. The April 2010 census recorded the lion-count in Gir at 411, an increase of 52 compared to 2005. The lion breeding programme covering the park and surrounding area has bred about 180 lions in captivity since its inception.

Nanda Devi National ParkTop 10 National Parks

One of the few national parks in India which are in UNESCO heritage list and one which is known less for its wildlife but more for a precious gift by nature- Valley of Flowers. Nestled high in West Himalaya, India’s Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park. Together they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya, praised by mountaineers and botanists for over a century and in Hindu mythology for much longer. You might be extremely lucky to see a snow leopard here, but you just have to be trekker enough to explore its unparallel beauty. The Nanda Devi National Park is a national park situated around the peak of Nanda Devi, 7,817 m (25,646 ft) in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India that was established in 1982. Along with the adjoining Valley of Flowers National Park to the northwest, it was inscribed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. Nanda Devi National Park covers an area of 630.33 km2 (243.37 sq mi) and together with Valley of Flowers National Park is encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Hence, this Reserve is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004. The park encompasses the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, a glacial basin surrounded by a ring of peaks between 6,000 metres (19,700 ft) and 7,500 m (24,600 ft) high, and drained by the Rishi Ganga through the Rishi Ganga Gorge, a steep, almost impassable defile. The entire park lies at an elevation of more than 3,500 m (11,500 ft) above mean sea level.

Satpura National ParkTop 10 National Parks

Located in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh in India, this park might be having a fair share of wildlife including tigers, but it is well known for its ancient caves, rock carvings, paintings, waterfalls and a hill station none other than Pachmarhi. Its name is derived from the Satpura range. Satpura National Park,along with the adjoining Bori and Panchmarhi wildlife sanctuaries, provides a unique central Indian highland ecosystem. It was set up in 1981. The terrain of the national park is extremely rugged and consists of sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, ravines and dense forests. The altitude ranges from 300 to 1,352 metres (984 to 4,436 ft). It has Dhoopgarh peak as high as 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) and the almost level plains of Churna. The nearest town to the national park is Pachmarhi and the nearest railhead is Piparia (55 kilometres) away. The state capital Bhopal is 210 kilometres away. Satpura National Park is very rich in biodiversity. The animals here are tiger, leopard, sambar, chital, Indian muntjac, nilgai, four-horned antelope, chinkara, Gaur , wild boar, wild dog, bear, black buck, fox, porcupine, flying squirrel, mouse deer, Indian giant squirrel, etc. There are a variety of birds. Hornbills and peafowl are common birds found here.The flora consists of mainly sal, teak, tendu, Phyllanthus emblica, mahua, bel, bamboo, and grasses and medicinal plants. In previous years, there have been sightings of lions, elephants, wild water buffalo and barasingha, although these are rare.

Hemis National ParkTop 10 National Parks

A high altitude national park in the eastern Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is the only national park in India north of the Himalayas, the largest notified protected area in India (and thus the largest national park of India), and is the second largest contiguous protected area after the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and surrounding protected areas. The park is home to a number of species of endangered mammals including the snow leopard. Hemis National Park is India's only protected area inside the Palearctic ecozone, outside the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary northeast of Hemis, and the proposed Tso Lhamo Cold Desert Conservation Area in North Sikkim. The park is bounded on the north by the banks of the Indus River, and includes the cachements of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak, and parts of the Zanskar Range. As such, it offers incredibly exclusive peeks at some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world. From cultural landmarks like the 17th century Hemis Monastery to Tibetan wolves, snow leopards and Asiatic Ibex, the park is extraordinary. The park houses numerous Tibetan gompas and holy chortens within its boundaries. These include the famous 400-year old Hemis Monastery. Hemis was a destination and via point on the silk routes of Tibet. Over 1,600 people live inside the park presently, with a large number of tourists and pilgrims visiting during the Hemis Tsechu festival.

Desert National ParkTop 10 National Parks

Desert National Park
It is situated in the West Indian state of Rajasthan near the town of Jaisalmer. This is one of the largest national parks, covering an area of 3162 km². The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert. Sand dunes form around 20% of the Park. The major landform consists of craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes. Despite a fragile ecosystem there exists an abundance of birdlife. The region is a haven for migratory and resident birds of the desert- many eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel and vultures. Short-toed Eagles, Tawny Eagles, Spotted Eagles, Laggar Falcons and kestrels are the most common among these. Sand grouse are spotted near small ponds or lakes. The endangered Great Indian Bustard is a magnificent bird found in relatively fair numbers. It migrates locally in different seasons. The most suitable time to visit the area is between November and January. The Desert National Park has a collection of fossils of animals and plants of 180 million years old. Some fossils of Dinosaurs of 6 million years old have been found in the area.

Dachigam National ParkTop 10 National Parks

This park is located 22 kilometers from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. It covers an area of 141 square kilometers. The name of the park literally stands for "ten villages" which could be in memory of the ten villages that were relocated for its formation. The park has been a protected area since 1910, first under the care of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and later under the observation of the concerned government authorities. It was initially created to ensure clean drinking water supply for the city of Srinagar. It was finally upgraded and declared a National Park in the year 1981. Dachigam National park is located in the Zabarwan Range of the western Himalayas. The variation in altitude is vast, ranging from 5500 ft to 14000 ft above mean sea level. Dachigam is most famous for is the Hangul, or the Kashmir Stag. The other species found here are Musk deer, Leopard, Himalayan Serow, Himalayan Grey Langur, Leopard Cat, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Jackal, Hill Fox, Himalayan Weasel, Yellow-throated Marten, Jungle Cat and Long-tailed Marmot.

Namdapha National ParkTop 10 National Parks

Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and is located in Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. It is also the third largest national park in India in terms of area. It is located in the Eastern Himalayan sub-region and is recognized as one of the richest areas in biodiversity in India. The park harbours the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude. The area is also known for extensive Dipterocarp forests. The park is located in Changlang district of the Northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, near its border with Myanmar. The park is located between the Dapha bum range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai range. Because of many different vegetation zones, the park is home to a great diversity of mammal species. Four big cat species occurre in the park: snow leopards, clouded leopards, common leopards and tigers. Other large predators are dholes, wolves, and Asiatic black bears. Smaller carnivores include red panda, red fox, yellow-throated marten, Eurasian otter, Oriental small-clawed otter, spotted linsang, binturong, common palm civet, small indian civet, large indian civet, masked palm civet, marbled cat, fishing cat, Asiatic golden cat, and two species of mongoose. There are a few settlements of Lisu tribal people within the park. Most of the Lisus are, however, located beyond the eastern border of the park towards the international border of India with Myanmar. There are also Chakma, Tangsa and Singpho settlements around the park.

Pin Valley National ParkTop 10 National Parks

Declared a National Park in 1987, Pin Valley is located in the cold desert region of the Spiti valley. With its snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, the Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. Spreading south of Dhankar Gompa near the Tibetan border, the park marks the border between the formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The elevation of the park ranges from about 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) at its highest point. Steeped in history, the influence of Tibetan culture is prevalent in the area surrounding the park, visible in the Buddhist lamas, shrines, monasteries and culture of its residents. Because of the park's high altitude and extreme temperatures, the vegetation in the area is scant, consisting mostly of alpine trees and patches of Himalayan cedar. In summer, rare birds like the Himalayan snowcock, chukar, snow partridge and snowfinch flourish in the area.

Kanchenjunga National ParkTop 10 National Parks

A national park home to trekkers and mountaineers. This is a National Park and a Biosphere reserve located in Sikkim, India. The park gets its name from the mountain Kanchenjunga (alternative spelling Khangchendzonga) which is 8,586 metres (28,169 ft) tall, the third-highest peak in the world. The total area of this park is 849.5 km2 (328.0 sq mi). There are many glaciers in the park including the Zemu glacier. Animals like musk deer, snow leopard and Himalayan Tahr all make their home in this park. The park was established on August 26, 1977 and was named as a Biosphere reserve. There are a few Lepcha tribal settlements inside the park. The park contains many mammal species including musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan Tahr, wild dog, sloth bear, civet, Himalayan black bear, red panda, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep, serow, goral and takin, as well as reptiles including rat snake and Russell's viper. Asiatic wild dog has become very rare in the area. May popular trekking routes pass through the Khangchendzonga National Park.

How to reach: Nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport in Darjeeling district of West Bengal (222 km), Capital of Sikkim Gangtok has a Helipad as well connecting Bagdogra. Nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri (221 km) on Delhi-Guwahati main rail line. Nearest highway is NH 31A (Sevok – Gangtok) and nearest town is Chungthan (20 km)

When to go: The best season to visit the Kanchenjunga national park is between April to May. Snowfall is heavy during the winter months and monsoon showers occur from May to mid October. Foreign nationals would require a restricted area permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Delhi to visit the park and the associated region. Indian nationals are required to obtain an Inner-Line Permit from the State Home Department. Permission of the State Chief Wildlife Warden is also mandatory for everybody visiting the park.

Places to stay: You can have camps in the park and hotels at Chungthang. Lodging can also be done at the Range office where there are four rest houses with about 20 beds.

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