What Are The Best Bengal Tiger Reserves?

by Michael
Photo by jatin81 (Flickr)

Photo by jatin81 (Flickr)

I recommend the best tiger reserves. I have made a selection based on sensible criteria. The first requirement is to go to a reserve where you have the greatest possibility of seeing a tiger and which is well managed. The third requirement should be travelling convenience. How difficult is it to get to the tiger reserve? Minimising travel time must be a major attraction in selecting a suitable tiger reserve.

High tiger density?

My research indicates that the reserves of the state of Karnataka in the south west of India have the highest tiger density meaning number of tigers per 100 square kilometers. That must be important. The problem is that counting tigers has been imprecise. Data is not that reliable. Having said that I will proceed on the basis that there is a better chance of seeing a tiger in the reserves of Karnataka than elsewhere. The tiger reserves in that state are: Dandeli-Anashi Tiger Reserve, Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Bandipur National Park, Karnataka, Mudumalai National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka. Of these Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka stand out as good tiger density (reported – remember unreliable figures but it is all we have to make an assessment). Of these two Bengal tiger reserves, the former, Bandipur National Park, has better management, declared as very good.

Travelling to the Bandipur National Park

Fortunately, the Bengaluru International Airport in Bangalore is the fourth busiest airport in India. Bangalore is about 224 km (140 miles) by road from Bandipur NP. The route is: State Highway 17 and NH 212 taking an estimated: 4 hours 13 mins by private car (see detailed Google route map). There is car rental at the airport: Bangalore Airport Cat Rental. What about accommodation near the Bandipur reserve? My research indicates a decent choice. I would not foresee problems there. It would seem possible and fairly convenient to make personal arrangements to visit Bandipur National Park (i.e. not utilise a package tour company). You could be seeing a tiger in the wild in a couple days! However….

Note: In researching this I bumped into the Karnataka government website for the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The website does not work! If it did work it would not tell you much. That does not surprise me. Don’t expect German efficiency in India. But expect charm and interesting experiences. I have been to India and I like the country a lot.

Alternative tiger reserve

A suitable alternative would probably come from one of these: Bandhavgarh National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kanha National Park, Ranthambore National Park. These are recommended by another author. He or she appears to have done a thorough job. Of these five Periyar seems attractive to me as it gets a very good management assessment report and tiger density is not reported as low. It is south of Bandipur NP so further away from Bangalore. Corbett and Ranthambore are in the north and relatively close to New Delhi. It is a toss-up between these two well known tiger reserves. Ranthambore is 380 kms and almost 6 hours away from New Delhi by road (SH 25). The Corbett reserve is nearer to New Delhi: 236 kms and 4 hours by car away on route NH 24. I’d pick the Corbett Tiger Reserve. It has good management but not reported as “very good”. I understand the Times newspaper recommended it too.

The Corbett Tiger Reserve is famous and I am sure there are many package tours to the park. One last point: it is said to have the highest tiger density of all the reserves at 20 per 100 square kilometers. But read this article that I have just written: Corbett Tiger Reserve Becoming a Zoo.


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What Are The Best Bengal Tiger Reserves?

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Feb 26, 2012 What are the best Bengal tiger reserves?
by: Rudolph.A.FurtadoMichael thanks a lot for the invitation of writing professionally for “P.O.C”,an indication that my comments and writind are appreciated.I intend remaining a “Freelance Blogger” as that would give me independence over my writings.I was previously once offered a paying bloggers job by a shipping social website in India and declined the same, reasons as mentioned, freelance independence of expressing your own thoughts, liked or unliked. Since “P.O.C” donates a large sum of its “Adverising income” for animal welfare i am happy that my blogs are generating income for a worthy cause in animal welfare and awareness.In Mumbai i am a member of the “Bombay Natural History Society”, the oldest N.G.O in India and Asia.Thanks to “Bombay Natural History Society(B.N.H.S)” nature tours conducted by their professional wild-life scientists some of them reputed nature authors authors , i have managed to actually learn some of the basics of wild-life appreciation during our group tours to vatious wild-life camps around the State of Maharashtra. We all learn from various sources and as for me, thanks to my former profession as a marine engineer and my present modest tourism personal budget, have managed to tour, photograph and blog about various exotic locations.As for an income from my blogs, i have put my “YOUTUBE” videos and “BLOGGER BLOGS” for monetary revenue.Till date i haven’t received any revenue from “YOUTUBE” although they have accepted my blogs and videos.As a cat afficionado i will always be willing to write for “P.O.C” whenever i find the topic to my personal interest or experience.Again, thanks a lot for appreciating my contribution to “P.O.C”.

Feb 26, 2012 Hi Rudolph
by: Michael I always very much appreciate your input. It is very welcome. It is nice to hear about first hand experience. I am aware that it is nearly impossible to see tigers at the reserves but good to have your confirmation.Rudolph, would you like to write some articles about Indian wildlife or touring in India for PoC? PoC would pay for the articles (around 500 RS per article). Email me if you would like to write for PoC or leave a comment.

Feb 23, 2012 What are the best bengal tiger reserves?
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado Michael again embarrassed to be the so called know all, seen that and doing that from India writing on your blog.Travelling is my passion and hobby, both in India and other Country’s.I had a cottage house in Bangalore from 1990 to 2009,and during my occasional holiday stays in Bangalore visited the National parks of “Bandipur” and “Mudumulai” a few times on my journey to the hillstation of Ooty in Tamil Nadu.Have also visited “Nagarhole” national park once during my tour of the Coorg, a beautiful forested coffee plantation area in Karnataka also called the “Scotland of the east”.Not once did I spot a tiger in these forest reserves, travelling with tourists on the typical “Tourist game routes” inside the park lasting about an hour.I am embarrassed to say that having lived in India and having visited numerous tourist national parks, the elusive tiger spotting has to date eluded me.

According to my experience, I feel that in order to spot a tiger in a park a person has to spend a few days in the park and try to arrange private tiger spotting guided tours within the park, expensive but seems the only answer.

“Bandhavgarh National Park” in North India is more famous for casual tourists spotting tigers as here the tigers are habituated to humans and have a tendency of prowling in the open grasslands or road tracks if lucky on occasions.

Take it from me, its next to impossible to spot a tiger in Bandipur or Nagarhole or mudumulai if a person tours the park along with common tourists although the density of tigers might be higher in these parks.I hope to visit Corbett or Bandhavgarh parks some day to finally spot the elusive tiger in its natural wild surroundings .

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