Difficult question to answer. There are many wild life or national parks in India. Some are more popular than the others. In this post, I will share my experience visiting 5 major national parks in India.
National parks could be classified based on the area of the park, number of lions or tiger or other difficult to spot animals, number of water bodies, how dense the forest is and so on. So for example, if the park is 1000 sq km and number of lions in the park is 400 versus if the park is 2000 sq km for the same number of lions, it easy to guess which one you should opt for. Parks also have different gates and some gates have more chances of spotting the animal compared to the others. But there is no guarantee.
I have visited Gir national park, Kanha wild life reserve, Pench national park, Ranthambore national park, Jim Corbett national park. Gir is famous for the Asiatic lions. Park area is small compared to the number of Asiatic lions which was at 400 some 6 years back. I had a wonderful time here. It was easy to spot lions. I must have seen some 8 lions on one safari. Mind you not everyone was that lucky. One scene from my trip which I cannot forget is the male lion sitting peacefully as it they dint care for the world. Behind the male lion was the female lion hunting down a deer and calling the other family members to have a meal.
Next I visited Pench national park because it was closest to Nagpur airport (about 2 hours drive). Here the park was big but not very dense. Hence it was easy to spot animals moving. Still I could not spot the tiger but I did spot how a deer outplayed 6 jackals from hunting it down.
Then I visited Ranthambore national park. Ranthambore is known for the big cat. Park was big and the jungle had a different feel. Here our guide tried every possible tactic to spot a tiger but in vain. The closest we came to spotting the tiger was when the jungle was filled with sound of the monkeys communicating in their own language and broadcasting that a tiger is close by. After our safari, we went to visit he Ganesh temple. And guess who we saw on the way. A big cat in the bush. Sometimes you get things when you least expect it.
Then I went to Kanha. I was planning this for a while, but it did not happen as the driving distance to Kanha was 5 hours. We were always in 2 minds to travel that much distance with kids for a 3 night holiday. But we some got the trip together and 2 more friends joined. Kanha is a big jungle with dense forest. So its not easy to spot the tiger. To be honest, i really enjoyed the tour of the jungle. We were almost in the last 30 mins of our safari and guess what we saw coming in front of us! Yes a big cat walking towards us. Our driver was slowly taking the vehicle behind so that the tiger does not come too close. The tiger was with us for almost 8 minutes. Wow, what an experience.
Next time I planned a trip for my friend to Kanha and he took the night safari. Yes, he must be crazy. He told me about his experience of spotting tiger in the night. He said this was the best trip of his life. For someone who has travelled quite a lot across the world, the jungle must have given him a different experience for sure.
My last national park was Jim Corbett. Park is very big and best known for elephant spotting. Forget he park, we found wild animals on the road blocking our way. But the park experience was again different.
Every park has its own feel and I loved every experience. If asked to choose one, I would go with Kanha. However, its really difficult to say why this one and not the other park. Its a matter of choice on what you want to see, proximity to airport among other things.
So experience the different parks and then maybe I can ask you which national park is the best!!!