Home to many and diverse forms of wildlife, the national parks in Maharashtra draw travelers not only from India but from all over the world. Sighting exotic birds and animals in their natural habitat makes unforgettable moments that you can cherish forever. Some of these national parks also offer adventure activities, like trekking, camping and forest walks.
If you are not sure which national parks you must visit in Maharashtra. Here is a rundown of the 6 best national parks in Maharashtra.
A Quick Glance Through
- List of National Parks
- Tips For Visiting
List of National Parks in Maharashtra
Go through this post to know more about these national parks and what they have to offer.
1. Pench National Park
Tucked on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, Pench National Park is administered by two Indian states.
While the forest is contiguous, you can’t access the Maharashtra portion of the forest through the entry gates located in Madhya Pradesh. It is named after the river Pench, which drains a large area of the park.
The Maharashtra side of the national park is spread over a core area of 257.3 sq km. It was established as a sanctuary in 1965 and upgraded to a national park in 1975. The park was brought under Project Tiger in 1992, thus it became Pench Tiger Reserve.
It offers magnificent landscapes teeming with wooded hills, gushing streams and lush meadows. The wealth of flora and fauna in this area, undoubtedly makes it one of the must-visit national parks in Maharashtra.
The majestic big cats are a prime attraction for travelers here. In addition to Bengal tigers, the park is home to carnivores like leopard, wolf, dhole (wild dog) and striped hyena.
You can also sight umpteen birds here, such as peafowl, black drongo, Indian grey hornbill and magpie robin.
The Maharashtra side of the Pench National Park is accessible through 6 gates – Sillari, Khursapar, Saleghat, Kolitmaara, Chorbahuli and Surewani.
Sillari is the most popular gate which is just about 68 km from Nagpur city. The nearest railhead and airport are located in Nagpur.
Where To Stay
Olive Resort is one of the best places to stay near Sillari gate. It is a villa resort and offers one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom villas. The resort is well-kept and is comfortably furnished. It is a low to mid-range property.
2. Tadoba National Park
Tadoba National Park along with Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary form one of India’s renowned tiger reserves, known as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
It lies in Chandrapur district, nearly 145 km away from the city of Nagpur. Once a part of the Gondwana Kingdom, it was established as a national park in 1955 with a reserve forest area of 116.5 sq km.
The park was merged with adjacent Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary in 1995 to create the second tiger reserve of Maharashtra after Melghat Tiger Reserve.
Densely populated by wildlife, the park is a treat for wildlife photographers and explorers. The flagship species of Tadoba Forest, the elegant Bengal tigers are a major draw for the visitors.
Besides the big cats, Nilgai, Gaur, sambar deer, Gray langur and wild dog are commonly sighted mammals in the forest.
Tadoba Lake, located right in the heart of the national park, is home to rare mugger crocodiles. They are often sighted basking in the sun on the shores of the lake.
You can spot a wide range of beautiful birds here, including crested serpent-eagle, Indian Pitta and Common Kingfisher, thus making it a birding paradise. Unarguably Tadoba is one of the best national parks in Maharashtra that must feature in your wanderlust wishlist.
Moharli, Tadoba and Kolsa are the three core zones of the park. Safari vehicles entering from Moharli gate can also visit Tadoba zone as both are interconnected.
Chandrapur is the nearest railhead to Tadoba, approximately 45 km away. The nearest airport is in Nagpur. It is around 3 hours’ drive to Tadoba National Park from Nagpur City.
Check this detailed travel guide to Tadoba National Park if you are contemplating a visit.
Where To Stay
Pugmark Jungle Lodge and Tadoba Trails Resort are excellent mid-priced resorts, located near Mahorali gate.
Pugmark Jungle Lodge lies alongside a picturesque lake and offers a comfortable stay. Tadoba Trails Resort is nestled in the midst of a lush forest and is perfect for those looking to unwind amid nature.
3. Chandoli National Park
Sitting amid the Sahyadri Hills in the Western Ghats, Chandoli National Park constitutes the southern part of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve. The park measures 317.6 sq km, straddling across three districts of Maharashtra – Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli.
In 1985, it was established as a wildlife sanctuary and elevated to the status of a national park in 2004. It is fed mainly by the river Warna and the reservoir of Chandoli dam, built on the river.
Jungle safari and trekking are the major attractions here. Camping facilities are also available at a few places inside the park. It is among one of the less-explored national parks in Maharashtra where you will find nature in its pristine form.
Tiger, gaur, mouse deer, sambar deer and wild boar are some of the animals you can sight in this forest. Aside from these, over 120 species of birds are also found here.
If you like exploring historical places, there are some notable forts inside the park including Prachitgad and Bhairavgad forts of Maratha kings.
Chandoli National Park is well-linked by road from cities like Mumbai (360 km), Pune (210 km) and Kolhapur (78 km).
Karad is the nearest railway station to the park, approximately 61 km away. The other nearest railheads are in Kolhapur (78 km)and Sangli (96 km). Kolhapur Airport serves as the nearest aerodrome to reach here.
Where To Stay
You can stay in Karad and visit the national park as a day trip. Karad lies in Satara district and offers mainly budget accommodation. The Fern Residency Karad and Sapphire Premium Hotel are amongst the best hotels here.
4. Gugamal National Park
Nestled in the Satpura Mountain Ranges, Gugamal National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Maharashtra. It is commonly referred to as Melghat Tiger Reserve because the park forms the core area of this tiger reserve.
The park lies in Amravati district of the Vidarbha region, approximately 225 km away from Nagpur. It was established as a tiger reserve in 1974 under the Project Tiger. The reserve stretches over 1,677 sq km, out of which the core area is around 361.3 sq km.
It offers beautiful landscapes dotted with sublime hills and numerous streams. The river Tapti, one of the prominent Indian rivers, marks the northeastern boundary of the tiger reserve.
A major attraction of the park is, of course, the Bengal tiger. You may also spot animals like barking deer, sambar deer, jackal, wild boar and nilgai. Leopards are also found here but they are not easily sighted.
It is accessible through the hill station of Chikhaldara. Badnera Junction is the nearest railway station, around 100 km from the park. The two nearest airports are in Akola (150 km) and Nagpur (250 km).
Where To Stay
Forest Department-run Semadoh Tourist Complex is the nearest lodging place if you are taking a jungle safari in Melghat Tiger Reserve. There are dormitories and cottages.
It is located in the middle of dense forests and provides only basic amenities. So, don’t expect luxurious facilities. You can book online through the Maharashtra Eco Tourism website (accommodation.mahaonline.gov.in).
5. Navegaon National Park
The Vidarbha region boasts some of the most spectacular national parks in Maharashtra and Navegaon National Park is one of them. Spread over 133.8 sq km, it is located in Gondia district in the northeastern corner of the state.
It was set up as a national park in 1975 and became a part of the Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve in 2013.
In the heart of the national park, lies the picturesque Navegaon lake, encompassed by verdant forests. The lake is actually the reservoir of Navegaon Dam.
The national park is blessed with bountiful wildlife including a range of mammal species, birds and reptiles. Four-horned antelope (chousingha), barking deer, spotted deer and jackals are the most conspicuous animals in the park.
It is home to almost 209 species of birds including native and migratory birds. The lake offers a breeding ground for numerous migratory birds during winters. If you want to sight flocks of migratory birds, the winter season is the best time to visit.
Itiadoh Dam (20 km) and Pratapgad (15 km) are some of the places nearby that are worth a visit. The Park is about 3.5 hours’ drive from Nagpur (150 km), where the nearest airport is also located.
Gondia Junction (82 km) is the nearest railway station and is connected by trains from cities like Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Where To Stay
There is only government-managed accommodation which is located near Navegaon Dam. They have cottages, tent houses and a hostel. For booking, check the Maharashtra Eco Tourism website (accommodation.mahaonline.gov.in).
Some private hotels are available in Sakoli, the nearest town to Navegaon Tiger Reserve.
6. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Amidst the bustle of the maximum city (Mumbai), lies a protected tropical forest in the western suburbs. Popularly known as Borivali National Park, it was renamed Sanjay Gandhi National Park in 1996.
It is one of the few national parks in India that exists within the municipal limits of a city. With a sizable green expanse of about 104 sq km, the park is a source of fresh air to Mumbaikars.
Trekking, cycling, jungle safari, boating and toy train rides are some of the popular activities in the park. Jungle safari takes you through a limited portion of the forest where animals are kept in enclosures. So, you may choose to skip if it doesn’t interest you.
A group of Buddhist caves, located smack in the heart of the park, draws many travelers. If you enjoy exploring historical sites, the ancient Kanheri Caves are a must-visit attraction.
It is conveniently reachable by cab or auto-rickshaw from Borivali local train station that is hardly a km away. Owing to ease of accessibility, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is immensely popular as a quick getaway from Mumbai city.
Where To Stay
Ideally, you can stay anywhere in Mumbai and visit here as a day trip. But traffic snarls add to the travel time significantly. So, choosing the right stay location is important.
Borivali East, Malad East and Kandivali East are the best nearby localities for booking accommodation.
Tips For Visiting National Parks in Maharashtra
- Book forest entry permits in advance using the Maharashtra Ecotourism website.
- Some of the national parks in Maharashtra are closed during monsoons. So, remember to check with the Forest Department if you plan a visit during the rainy season.
- Avoid wearing bright-coloured clothes for jungle safari. Choose something that can camouflage well with the forest surroundings.
- Essentials that you must carry in your backpack – Binoculars, Hat, Mosquito repellent, Sunscreen, Hand Sanitiser and A Bottle of Water.
- Don’t forget to take your favourite camera if you are interested in wildlife photography.
Over To You Now…
Have you been to any of these national parks in Maharashtra? Tell us in the comment section below.
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