Best National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra

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National Parks And Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra
sanjay gandhi barking deer Awesome National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra
Credit: Hindustan Times

There are many Awesome National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Maharashtra that are a source of great beauty and Joy. National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are usually areas set aside by the Government solely to protect the environmental Bio-diversity and Natural Eco-system. The National Parks in Maharashtra along with Wildlife Sanctuaries that are described in this list are so intensely beautiful and worth visiting.

6 Beautiful National Parks In Maharashtra

Tadoba National Park

Tiger @ Tadoba
Credit: Conde Nast Traveller India

The first awesome national park in Maharashtra is also its oldest and officially its largest. This National Park spreads out over the Satara, Kohlapur, and Kangli districts of Maharashtra. It is thought of as a very charming national park in Maharashtra for both lovers of Nature and Wildlife. It is one of the best national parks in Maharashtra to see tigers.

The Tadoba National Park is covered with so many varied species of Flora and Fauna. This National Park is also well known for being a Project Tiger reserve. While the National Park is popular for its Tiger population, there are a variety of other rare animal species to be found here.

Some of the animal species that can be found in the Tadoba National Park include Gaur, leopards, wild dogs, jungle cats, hyenas, sloth bears, cheetahs, Sambar, barking deer, and Nilgai. Apart from that, you will also find several endangered species of birds.

  • Nearest City: Chandrapur (45 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Nearest Bus Stand is at Chandrapur and Chimur.
  • How To Reach: By plane, by air, or by road. While the Chandrapur railway station is 45 km away from the park, the nearest airport is Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur. Alternatively, Chandrapur and Chimur are the nearest bus stops.  
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Khosla, Moharli, Erai Dam, and Tadoba Lake.
  • Entry Fee Per Person: Rs 20 per person
  • Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit: October – March

Gugamal National Park

gugamal wild deer Awesome National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra
  Credit: Bharat Stories

Next on the list, we have the Gugamal National Park, which is considered part of the Melghat tiger reserve. The Gugamal National Park has a variety of animals such as bison, crocodiles, tigers, Gawas, wild deer, and nilgai. It is one of the best national parks in Maharashtra offering sights of many animals.

Apart from that this National Park is considered a real treat to the eye since it has a variety of both Flora and Fauna. Some of the fun activities one can take part in at a national park include photo-clicking, trekking, safari rides, and bird-watching.

  • Nearest City: Nagpur (225 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: The nearest bus stand is at Chikhaldhara (1.5 km)
  • How To Reach: By train, by bus, car, or plane. The Amravati/Badnera Railway station is the closest to this national park. This national park is connected to several bus routes by road. Taking a car there is also an easy option.
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Semadih village and Makhla
  • Entry Fee Per Person: Rs 30 per person
  • Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit: October- April.

Chandoli National Park

 Credit: Travel Triangle

This endearing National Park is yet another on the list.  Nature and Wildlife lovers simply love the Chandoli National Park in Maharashtra. Here you will find lush greenery and an endearing atmosphere. One of the reasons why the Chandoli National Park is so well-known is due to its declaration as a “Project Tiger Reserve” by the National Tiger Preservation Authority in 2007.

Since the Chandoli National Park is associated with the Project Tiger initiative, it is home to 9 tigers. This beautiful national park houses varied flora and fauna. As the name suggests, the Chandoli National Park is close to the Chandoli dam. The Chandoli National park includes both the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve.  It is one of the most important national parks in Maharashtra.

This is indeed a big and beautiful national park, that has a variety of plant, bird, and animal species. The place is simply laden with treats such as forts from the Shivaji Era, and some beautiful waterfalls, and it houses a dam as well.

  • Nearest City: Satara (106 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Chandoli Vasahat Bus Stand, since Chandoli is well connected to major towns like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, etc.
  • How To Reach: We can get to Chandoli National Park by air, rail, or road. The nearest airport is 75 km away at Kolhapur. Similarly, the nearest railway junction, about 75 km away is Sangli. Chandoli is connected to Pune, Mumbai, Satara, Nashik, and Kolhapur by road.
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Agashiva Cave and Sadashivgad
  • Entry Fee Per Person: Rs 30 per person 
  • Timings: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit: Oct- Feb other than the rainy months

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

 sanjay gandhi nat park spotted deer Awesome National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra
Credit: Flickr

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park, otherwise also called the Borivali National Park, is different because it is surrounded by a bustling city. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park also contains a variety of species of flora and fauna. It is one of the most beautiful national parks in Maharashtra

This park is said to be one of the most frequented national parks in the entire world. It houses the famous Buddhist Kanheri caves that have apparently been sculpted from rocks and are said to date back 2400 years. Another reason why the park is so special is that it is home to many rare animal species such as the spotted deer and the barking deer. 

Other examples of rare animals that inhabit the Sanjay Gandhi National Park include the Indian hare, leopards, barking deer, and langurs. There is a huge and beautiful lake in this park known as the Tulsi Lake which is home to crocodiles, lizards, vipers, and pythons.

This beautiful national park is also famed for housing up to 250 varieties of migratory bird species. This place is often visited by city dwellers, who like going for walks or jogging as they are large green open spaces that are just perfect for these activities.

  • Nearest City: Borivali (1 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Borivali Bus Station (1 km)
  • How To Reach: one can take an hour-long train ride from Churchgate to Borivali. From there you can hire an auto to drop you right at the park gate. Borivali Railway station is the closest railhead. 
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Lonavla, Alibag, and Matheran.
  • Entry Fee Per Person: Rs. 58 per person
  • Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit: October- February

Navegaon National Park

Panther Navegaon
Credit: Tribune India

Then comes the Navegaon National Park which can easily claim to be the most popular National Park in all of Maharashtra, too! Why? Since it houses the Dr. Salim Ali bird Sanctuary, which is one of the reasons why this particular National Park of Maharashtra is so well known. It is a proven fact that Navegaon is home to 60% of Maharashtra’s bird populace.

Yet another reason why the Navegaon National Park is so well-loved by wildlife lovers is the beloved Deer Park. A few other attractions that draw visitors’ attention are the rare animal species that are often spotted there. It is one of the best national parks in Maharashtra to see rare species.

These rare species include animals such as the Jungle Cat, Panther, Wolf, Bison, Jackal, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Langurs, Chital, Nilgai, Sloth bear, Wild boars, Palm Civet, and Tigers. As for tigers, this great national park has around 20 tigers with their cubs living there. 

  • Nearest City: Arjuni Morgaon (980.5 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand:  Navegaon Bus Station, alternatively, busses are also available from Gondia and Arjuni.
  • How To Reach: By air, by train, or by road
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Navegaon Lake and Itiadoh Dam
  • Entry Fee Per Person: Rs 30 per person
  • Timings: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit: April and May

Pench National Park

pench 1 Awesome National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra
credit: Well-known places

Since this particular national park falls in Madhya Pradesh, it is included as a Bonus Article! This appealing national park is one of the most popular in India and gets its name from the beautiful river Pench (a tributary of river Kanhan) that flows through it. The Pench National Park is the real inspiration behind ‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling. It is famous for housing several rare plant and animal species. It has lush green meadows, abundant streams, rocky trails, and towering hills which only help to add to its beauty.

Apart from that, the Pench National Park is a nature enthusiast’s dream and it is said to have 300 types of Flora and Fauna species in it.  Again, the Pench National Park is very famous for its royal Bengal tigers. At the moment there are around 50 tigers in this Park. It is one of the best national parks in Maharashtra.

  • Nearest City: Gondia (99 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Khawasa (12 km)
  • How To Reach: By train, by bus, or by plane. The nearest railway stations are in Seoni, Jabalpur, Chhindwara & Nagpur. The nearest airport is Nagpur and Jabalpur. The Seoni Railway station is 72 km away
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Pench Dam Reservoir and Totladoh Dam Reservoir
  • Entry Fee Per Person: 15 Rs per person
  • Timings: 7:30 a.m. – 10:30a.m. 
  • Best Time To Visit: October-February
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7 Beautiful Wildlife Sanctuaries in Maharashtra

Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary

Langur melghat
Credit: istockphoto

An example of a beautiful wildlife sanctuary is the Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary which is filled with rich environmental biodiversity and breathtaking natural scenery. The area of Melghat was considered a Tiger Reserve in the year 1974. It is one of the nine tiger reserves that were created by Project Tiger.

Also, the place abounds in Flora, a region of hill forests! Other than the dense undergrowth there are a majority of Teak Trees to be found here. It contains nearly 700 species of trees and plants. Arguably, one might say the most prominent animal species worth seeing here are its vast collection of 82 tigers, but there are a variety of other rare animal sightings to watch out for!

These rare animal sightings include the Sloth bear, Leopard, Sambar, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Cheetal, Porcupine, Pangolin, Mouse Deer, Python, Flying Squirrel, Langur, etc. There are also some lovely bird species such as Golden Oriole, Rufus Treepie, Crested Serpent Eagle, Parakeet, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, etc.

Since the river Tapti flows in the vicinity of this forest, it is considered a forest for water harvesting. People in the nearby and surrounding area use the water of the river for their domestic use. The buffer and core area are formed by the blending of Chikhaldara Wild Life Sanctuary and Gugamal National Park.

  • Nearest City:  Chikhaldhara Hill Resort (25 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Paratwada, Alternatively Chikhaldhara is 1.1 km away
  • How To Reach: By air, by train, and by road. The Nearest airport is in Akola, which is 160 km away. Nagpur is 260 km away. The closest railway station is in Badnera, which is about 110 km away. Chikhaldhara is 25 km away from Melghat. There are lots of local bus services that connect to Amravati, Nagpur, and other cities.
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Bhakti Dham Temple, Gavilgad Fort, Narnala Fort
  • Entry Fee Per Person: Adult –  Rs 40, Child – Rs 15
  • Timings: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit: December – May

Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary

Awesome National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra
 Credit: mtdc.co.in

Believe it or not, the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary was created in the year 1984 with the primary intention of protecting the Giant Indian Squirrel. Other than that, some of the reasons why the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is so famous is due to the presence of the Bhimashankar Temple which is supposedly a Jyotirlinga.

The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is a huge attraction for tourists from Pune as well as the rest of the country. It is also considered to be a bio-diversity hotspot in the world. Some of the animals that are likely to be found in this Wildlife Sanctuary include Sambar, leopards, Golden Jackals, Striped Hyenas, Common Langur, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Indian Pangolin, Mouse Deer, etc.

There are a variety of Bird species as well such as Malabar Grey Hornbill, Quaker Babbler, Malabar Whistling, Green Pigeon, Thrush, Grey Junglefowl, Black Eagle, etc. In fact, there is an area of the forest that is dedicated to endangered bird species and was declared an Important Bird Area in 1972 according to WPA.

  • Nearest City: Pune (75 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Bhimashankar Bus Stand
  • How To Reach: Pune is very close to the Forest. Also, the road on the outside of the forest is used by many local bus services. You may even get a car to get to any town close by.
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Bhimashankar Temple, Hanuman Lake
  • Entry Fee: No entry fee. (Two-wheeler: Rs 10 per person, Four-wheelers: Rs 50 per person, Heavy vehicles: Rs 100 per person)
  • Timings: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit:  October- March.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Awesome National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Maharashtra
Credit: Karnala Bird Sanctuary

This beautiful Sanctuary is dedicated to birds alone! If you are an avid nature lover, then you will truly enjoy this place. This is indeed a wondrous wildlife sanctuary and has astounding flora and fauna. The Karnala Sanctuary was created in the year 1968. 

The Karnala Bird Sanctuary houses nearly 150 resident bird species, along with 37 avian migrants. These birds include exotic bird species such as Small Sunbirds, Malabar Larks, Slaty Legged Crake,  Nilgiri Woodpigeons, etc. More than 30 kinds of migratory birds like Ashy Minivet, Bluethroat, and Red-breasted Flycatcher can be sighted here every year.

There are very curious trails like Mortaka and Hariyal which you can follow on your bird-watching journey here. The Karnala Bird Sanctuary is loved by hikers and just about anyone who would like to get away from the hustle-bustle of routine city life. Another reason why the Karnala Sanctuary is quite well-known is the presence of the Karnala Fort in the Vicinity. That gives the place both a symbolic and a historical verve.

  • Nearest City: Karjat (40 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Karnala Naka Bus Stop
  • How To Reach: by bus, train, car, or plane. The nearest airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji Intl Airport, which is just 33km away. Alternatively, you can hire a cab. Panvel Railway Station is the closest. The Panvel Bus Stand is a mere 12
  • Nearby Places To Visit:
  • Entry Fee:
  • Timings: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit:  July-August, October – February 

Bhamragarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Tiger at Bhamragarh
Credit: Weekend thrill

The Bhamragarh Wildlife Sanctuary is filled with greenery! Among the varied Fauna species, it includes Jamun, mango, Kusum, Bamboo, Mango, Kadam, Haldu, Kusum, Ain, Arjun, Bija, Bel, Behada, Shishamtendu, etc. which can be found in plenty here. One can also find Tarota, Neel, Kudgudi, and Tarwad shrubs here as well. Since Bhamragarh is close to the main cities in Maharashtra, a large number of visitors from these places flock to the Sanctuary just to get a little fresh air and a good dose of the natural environment. The entire area has deciduous mixed forests. This place is a photographer’s delight.

The Parlkota and Pamalgautam rivers flow through this Wildlife Sanctuary while providing water to both the Flora and Fauna! Speaking of which, the Fauna includes rare animals such as the blue bull, tigers, leopards, flying squirrels, wild boar, peacocks, etc. The Gond-Madia tribes can be found here, inhabiting the forests and depending on them for their sustenance. Another interesting feature of this Wildlife Sanctuary is the Hemalkasa Lok Biradari Project which is managed by Dr. Prakash Amte.

  • Nearest City:  Amravati (84 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Aheri (102 km)
  • How To Reach: By plane, by road, or by train, the closest airport is at Nagpur (234 km away), and the closest railway station is at Ballarpur (3.5 hrs away), Nearest bus stands are at Ballarpur, Aheri, and Chandrapur, you can even drive or take a cab from any of these places.
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Dantewada, Manali.
  • Entry Fee: Rs 15
  • Timings: 6:00-7:00
  • Best Time To Visit: February – May

Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

sagareshwar blackbuck
Credit: Wikimedia commons

Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the three tehsils of Sangli district: Kadegaon, Palus, and Walva. This is a man-made Wildlife Sanctuary; as such it was cultivated artificially and it did not have a constant supply of water. It was built under a planned afforestation program and has mostly grassy hill slopes and forest areas. The Sanctuary gets its name from a Sagareshwar Shiva Temple and was initially introduced as a forest park.

In 1980 it was called Sagaroba Game Reserve. The main animals found in the reserve include Blackbucks, Sambar Deer, Muntjac, Chittal, peacocks and wild boars, porcupines, foxes, hyenas, wild cows, wild goats, rabbits, blackbucks, Cheetal, jackals, etc. It also has many species of reptiles and birds.

  • Nearest City: Karad (30 km)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Palus Bus Station (15 km)
  • How To Reach: By air, by road, by train. The nearest airport is Pune Intl Airport, nearest railway stations are Miraj Junction and Sangli.
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Gokak Hill Park, Chandoli National Park
  • Entry Fee Per Person: Rs 15 per person
  • Timings: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit:  August-February

Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary 

asian-paradise-flycatcher phansad
Credit: India Santa

The captivating and beautiful Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Raigad Maharashtra, in its Murud and Roha Talukas. This Wildlife Sanctuary was introduced back in the year 1986. The reason why it was created was to protect and preserve some of the Western Ghats Coastal Woodland Ecosystem.

This large Wildlife Sanctuary houses a vast variety of rare Flora and Fauna. Some of the rare species of animals that can be found here include the Jungle Cat, Leopards, Mouse Deers, Porcupine, Small Indian Civet, Langoor, Macaque, Bonnet, Sambar, and Barking Deer. The rare and exotic birds that can be found here include the yellow-footed green pigeon and many varieties of hornbills. It is for this reason that the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is considered one of the bio-diversity hotspots of the Western Ghats.

According to popular local legends, this Wildlife Sanctuary was once used as the hunting ground of the Murud Rulers. Apart from the Melange of attractive Greenery and Wildlife the atmosphere is peaceful and quiet too. The place is considered a tourist attraction to its visitors who frequent it almost daily.

  • Nearest City: Mumbai (140- 170kms)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Alibag (50 km)
  • How To Reach: by air, by train, or by road. Mumbai Airport is 145 km away, Raigad railway station is 52 km away and it is easily accessible by road, as all busses ply from there.
  •  Nearby Places To Visit: Muhur Janjeera Fort and Kashid Beach   
  • Entry Fee: Rs 30 per person.
  • Timing: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Best Times To Visit:   November-March 
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Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary

tiger at Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary
Credit: Get Away Go

Finally, we have the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, which is situated in the Satara district. This particular wildlife sanctuary is well known as a World Heritage site as declared by UNESCO in 2012. It was originally introduced as a Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1985. The rivers known as Kandati, Solashi, and Koyna are its main sources of water.

This wonderful wildlife sanctuary is known for housing some rare species of animals such as the King Cobra and the Royal Bengal tiger (pictured above), the Indian leopard, mouse deer, sloth bear, the common grey langur, the Indian giant squirrel, and the smooth-coated otter.

Some of the rare birds found here include the Heart spotted woodpecker, Rufus Woodpecker, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Crested Goshawk, Asian fairy bluebird, and Longtailed Nightjar. The reptiles found here include Indian Python, Bufo Koyantasi, King Cobra, and frogs.

  • Nearest City: Pune (190 Km away)
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Satara (96 km)
  • How To Reach: The nearest railway station is 65 km away at Kohlapur, the nearest airport is the nearest bus stop is 96 km away at Satara
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Koyna dam.
  • Entry Fee: Rs 20 per person.
  • Timing : 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Best Time To Visit: June – Aug (most wildlife density)Nov-March: most tourist density owing to pleasant weather. 

If you enjoyed reading this list of beautiful national parks in Maharashtra, let us know in the comments! Also, please feel free to like the article, and share it with as many friends as possible! Do you have any ideas for national parks close by? Do mention it in the comments!

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why do people like to visit these places?

These national parks are famous because they contain a variety of rare species of birds, animals, and plants, and are extremely beautiful sources of flora and fauna.

Which is the oldest national park in India?

The oldest national park in India is the Jim Corbett National Park

What should one carry with them while visiting the park?

Among some of the essentials one ought to carry with them while visiting the park, one should include binoculars, so that you can see the wild animals up close.

What are the activities one can take part in while visiting these national parks and wildlife sanctuaries?

Adventure Sports, Cycling, Nature Trails, Kayaking, Trekking, Day and Night Safari, Hiking, etc. are some of the activities one can take part in when visiting a national park or a wildlife sanctuary.

Is it considered safe to befriend the animals in the park?

No, since most of the animals in the parks are considered wildlife, it is assumed to be appropriate to keep a safe distance and refrain from feeding the animals.

What are a few safety tips, that one can follow while visiting the national parks?

A few practical safety tips that one can follow while visiting the national parks include staying in the jeep, and not getting out until and unless the guide permits. Another useful tip would be to avoid smoking while visiting the park as it can cause a fire. Yet another practical tip would include preventing small children from being alone. Also, if you are going trekking try to stick to the group and not wander off course.

Which are the best times of the year to visit these national parks in Maharashtra?

One would say that the best times to visit these beautiful national parks would be between October – December, which are the dry months, and avoid visiting them during the seasons of heavy rainfall.

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