wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan

Top 11 wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan for nature buffs

For all the adventure seekers looking to explore wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan, gear up for an extraordinary journey into nature exploring wilderness.

Places To Visit

Rajasthan has always been popular for its glorious forts, opulent palaces, and vibrant culture. But beyond the historical grandeur lies another captivating side – a home for diverse wildlife. Dotted across the state’s varied landscapes, from the Aravalli hills to the Thar Desert, lie numerous wildlife sanctuaries. These protected areas offer a unique opportunity to encounter a magnificent array of creatures, from the elusive Tiger to a vivid kaleidoscope of birdlife. Whether you’re a seasoned wildlife enthusiast or simply seeking a unique adventure, the wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan swear a terrific encounter with the wild. You might just uncover a whole new side to this captivating state.

List of wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan 

Rajasthan is a wildlife wonderland with a variety of sanctuaries offering stunning landscapes, from lush forests to dry grasslands. Have a look at some of the famous wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan that are the perfect place to get close to nature.

Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur

Ranthambore

Ranthambore National Park, a famous wildlife reserve in Rajasthan, is one of the biggest destinations in India for seeing tigers. This park, located in Sawai Madhopur district, is known for its diverse wildlife and historical sites. Covering an area of 392 sq km, Ranthambore is unique because tigers here are habituated to humans, making it an ideal place for capturing stunning photographs of these majestic creatures. The park boasts over 300 bird species, attracting birdwatchers and nature lovers from all over the world. You can explore the park through nature walks, birdwatching hikes, or exciting safaris. Adding to its charm, Ranthambore National Park is home to the historic 10th-century Ranthambore Fort, along with ancient temples, mosques, crocodile-filled lakes, and cenotaphs. It is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan which is a perfect blend of history and wildlife.

Wildlife you can spot: 

While tigers are the main attraction, Ranthambore is home to a variety of other wildlife: Leopards, Mugger Crocodiles, Rhesus Macaques, Gray Langurs, Sloth Bears, Striped Hyenas, Sambars, and several species of birds as well.

Highlights of the park: 
  • Feel adventurous amidst the rocky landscape with lakes, rivers, and tropical dry deciduous forests.
  • Attractions include a fort, temple at a high altitude and the Aravali ranges.
  • Online booking of safari is available.
Best time to visit:

November to March

How to reach:

Reaching Ranthambore is convenient:

  • By Air: The nearest airport is in Jaipur, approximately 160 kilometers away.
  • By Road and Rail: Well-connected by road and rail, Ranthambore is easily accessible from major cities.

Sariska Tiger Reserve, Alwar

Sariska National Park Safari

Rajasthan’s Sariska Tiger Reserve, situated in Alwar district, is another gem for wildlife enthusiasts. This reserve boasts not only tigers but also langurs, nilgais, and a vast variety of birds. The diverse landscape itself is a wonder, ranging from grasslands and dry forests to dramatic cliffs and rocky areas. Covering roughly 850 sq km, Sariska’s journey from a wildlife sanctuary in 1958 to a national park in 1979 owes much to Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur’s efforts. Beyond wildlife, history buffs will find the 16th-century Kankwadi Fort standing tall within the park. Religious significance is present too, as Sariska is believed to have sheltered the Pandavas, and the Pandupol Hanuman Temple is a popular pilgrimage site.

Wildlife you can spot: 

Sariska is home to a variety of animals, making it a vibrant ecosystem. Alongside its famous tigers, you can spot: Leopards, Jungle cats, Caracals, Striped hyenas, Golden jackals, Chitals, Sambhars, Nilgais, Chinkaras, Four-horned antelopes, Wild boars, Hares, Rhesus monkeys.

Bird enthusiasts will also be delighted with the presence of species like peafowls, grey partridges, tree pies, and golden-backed woodpeckers. The reserve is a haven for reptile lovers as well.

Highlights of the park: 
  • The first-ever resettled home of the Royal Bengal Tigers
  • Witness the magnificence of the beautiful Aravalli Range
  • Explore several rare and endangered species
  • Visit several historical places such as Sariska Palace, and Kankwari Fort and temples such as Neelkanth Temple and Pandupol Hanumanji Temple inside the park.
Best time to visit:

November to March

How to reach:
  • By Air: The nearest airport is in Jaipur, about 107 kilometers away.
  • By Road: The reserve is 200 kilometers from Delhi and well-connected by road.
  • By Rail: Alwar, the nearest railway station, offers good connectivity to major cities.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur

Keoladeo National Park

While smaller than Ranthambore and Sariska, Keoladeo Ghana National Park also called Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a haven for bird enthusiasts. Named after an ancient temple within its borders, the park boasts an impressive 366 bird species, attracting feathered visitors from India, Tibet, Siberia, Europe, and even China. Originally hunting grounds for Bharatpur royalty, the park underwent a transformation in the mid-1960s with a ban on hunting. Recognizing its ecological significance, Keoladeo Ghana was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971 and later earned a prestigious World Heritage Site designation. Even the founder of the World Wildlife Fund, Peter Scott, acknowledged the park’s importance, considering it a top destination for birdwatchers worldwide.

Wildlife you can spot: 

Keoladeo Ghana is not just about birds, though they are the main attraction. Here, you can spot:
Siberian Cranes, Ducks, Pelicans, Shanks, Hawks, Wagtails, Stints, Wheatears, Warblers, Buntings, Larks, Flycatchers, Night herons, Spoonbills, Bar-headed and Grey-legged geese, Imperial eagles, Laggar falcons, Marsh harriers.

Beyond birds, the park is home to black bucks, sambhars, spotted deer, seven species of turtles and amphibians, 5 species of lizards, 13 species of snakes, and 379 species of flowering plants.

Highlights of the park: 
  • One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
  • Home to more than 360 species of exotic birds and 230 avian species
  • Once a hunting ground of the Maharajas, now an important center for ornithologists
  • Enjoy Camel and jeep safari along with bicycle and rickshaw safari in the park
  • During rainy seasons, one can enjoy a boat safari
  • Paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers
Best time to visit:

October to February

How to reach:

It is a closer destination for tourists visiting Jaipur and Agra.

Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh

Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Nestled amidst the majestic Aravalli Range in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary sprawls across 600 sq km. This sanctuary boasts not only stunning landscapes with hills and valleys but also a diverse range of wildlife. From majestic leopards to elusive wolves, Kumbhalgarh provides a habitat for endangered species. Notably, it’s the only sanctuary in India to successfully achieve wolf breeding, with over 40 wolves calling it home. Birdwatchers won’t be disappointed either, as the sanctuary boasts a rich avian population. Interestingly, Kumbhalgarh is also part of the Asiatic lion reintroduction program. And if that’s not enough, the historic Kumbhalgarh Fort within the sanctuary adds another layer of attraction for visitors.

Wildlife you can spot: 

Mammals: Wolves, lions (part of the Asiatic lion reintroduction program), leopards, hares, chinkaras, four-horned antelopes, jungle cats, hyenas, sloth bears, golden jackals, nilgais, sambhars

Birds: Rare grey jungle fowl (common in this sanctuary), white-breasted kingfishers, red spur owls, parakeets, golden orioles, bulbuls, pigeons, doves, peacocks

Highlights of the park: 
  • Join the intriguing Lion Safari and spot these majestic animals
  • Visit the historic Kumbhalgarh Fort within the sanctuary
  • Catch glimpses of several species of exotic and colorful birds
  • Go for a horse safari and explore the imposing beauty of the sanctuary
  • One can also go for foot tracking and jeep safari
Best time to visit:

October to March

How to reach:

It is situated at a distance of about 100 km from Udaipur and people can reach Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary by road via the NH-76 from Udaipur.

Darrah National Park, Kota

darrah national park kota


Located near Kota, Rajasthan lies Darrah National Park, a relative newcomer to the scene, established in 2004. This park encompasses three wildlife sanctuaries – Darrah, Jaswant Sagar, and Chambal – offering a haven for wildlife. Interestingly, the park’s area of 278 km was once the hunting grounds of the Kota Maharaja, but it’s been a protected zone since 1955. Adding to the park’s charm is the nearby Jhalawar Fort, famous for its stunning Zenana Khas, the women’s chamber. History buffs will also find ancient temples dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries lining the banks of the Chandrabhaga River, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich past.

Wildlife you can spot: 

Nilgai, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Jungle Cat, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal, Striped Hyena, Indian Leopard, Pangolin, Wild Boar, Caracal, Wolves, Lions, Spotted Deer, and Four-Horned Antelope.

Highlights of the park: 
  • Enjoy jungle safari to see several wildlife species and a large variety of birds
  • You also get a facility of trekking
  • Spot a huge variety of flora for nature lovers
  • Visit the Sun Temple in Jharipatan
  • Revisit history with a visit to the Jhalawar Fort and its Jenana Khana
Best time to visit:

October to March

How to reach:

The sanctuary is just 50 km from Kota and can be easily reached by bus and taxi.

Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary

Nestled in Rajasthan’s ancient Aravalli Hills, Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination for nature lovers. Established in 1980, the sanctuary boasts a rich variety of flora and fauna. Spanning 19 km long and 6 km wide, its elevation varies dramatically, reaching a peak of 1722 meters at Guru Shikhar, the highest point in Rajasthan. The sanctuary is a haven for plant life, with 112 plant families, 81 tree species, and a vibrant collection of climbers,shrubs, and medicinal plants.

Notably, Mount Abu is the only place in Rajasthan with a diverse variety of orchids. Animal encounters are also a highlight. The sanctuary shelters 16 species of mammals, including some rare finds, and over 250 bird species, with the gray jungle fowl being a particularly interesting resident. Beyond the flora and fauna, the weathered rock formations, sculpted by wind and rain over time, add a unique geological element to the sanctuary’s beauty.

Wildlife you can spot:

Besides the leopard, you can also spot Hedgehogs, Jungle Cats, Sambhars, Hyenas, Foxes, Leopards, Wolves, Common Langurs, Jackals, Bears, Wild Boars, Common Mongooses, Pangolins, Crested Porcupines, and Indian Hares.

Highlights of the park: 
  • Explore one of the aged sanctuaries in the Aravalli range
  • Spot 3 species of wild roses along with several species of orchids
  • Witness the rock figures due to the impacts of water and wind withering
  • Go for camping and trekking amidst the wilderness of the sanctuary 
Best Time to Visit
  • April to June
  • November to February
How to reach:

You can reach Mount Abu through the nearest railway station which is Morthala railway station, just 18 Kms away.

Sita Mata Sanctuary, Pratapgarh

Sita Mata Sanctuary, Pratapgarh

Rajasthan’s Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary, designated a protected area in 1979, boasts a rich tapestry of ecosystems. Sprawling over 423 sq km in Pratapgarh district, the sanctuary encompasses three distinct terrains: the Vindhyachal Hills, the Malwa Plateau, and the Aravalli mountains. Its elevation varies from 918 feet to around 2,000 feet above sea level. Several rivers, including Budho, Sita Mata, Tankiya, Jakham, and Karmoi, weave through the sanctuary, nurturing a vibrant variety of flora and fauna. Birdwatchers flock to Sita Mata, a paradise for avian species. But the true star of the show is the elusive flying squirrel. For those seeking a different thrill, leopard safaris are also a popular option.

Wildlife you can spot:

Sita Mata Sanctuary is home to an impressive array of wildlife. Among the commonly found birds are: Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Tawny Eagle, Indian Darter, Gray Heron, Little Grebe, Little Cormorant, White-Eyed Buzzard, Black-Winged Stilt.

Other notable wildlife includes:
Jungle Cats, Wild Bears, Nilgais, Porcupines, Jackals, Foxes, Spotted Deer, Leopards, Hyenas, Wild Boars, Pangolins, Four-Horned Antelopes, Caracals.

Highlights of the park: 
  • Comprises of Valmiki Ashram, temples of Hanuman, and sole statue of Sita Mata
  • Sighting of prehistoric engravings at Lakhiya Bhata
  • Delve into the land of flying squirrels
  • Spend time amidst several species of herbivore and carnivore animals
  • Witness the fascinating sites of Leopards
Best time to visit:

October to March

How to reach:

Located a little over 40-odd km from Pratapgarh and some 108 km from Udaipur, the nearest airport is the Dabok Airport located in Udaipur, about 145 Kms away

Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary, Karauli

Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary Karauli

Tucked within Rajasthan’s Karauli district, Kaila Devi Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses 676 sq km and serves as an extension to the famous Ranthambore National Park. In fact, it was during Ranthambore’s expansion that Kaila Devi became part of the protected area. The sanctuary boasts scenic beauty and diverse wildlife, with two rivers, Banas and Chambal, flowing through it. The name itself holds significance, referencing the Kaila Devi Temple located within the sanctuary’s borders. Officially protected since 1983, Kaila Devi Wildlife Sanctuary has become a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists.

Wildlife you can spot:

Along with a large number of birds, you can also spot the Sambar, Indian Wolf, Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Panther, Bengal Tiger, Wild Boar, Chinkara, Jackal, and more.

Highlights of the park:
  • Catch the breathtaking view of both the Chambal and Banas rivers
  • Spot diverse flora and fauna
  • Go for an adventurous safari on a Jeep or Canter
  • Gives you a glimpse of Ranthambore’s wildlife
  • Enjoy bird-watching trips spotting some of the exotic and rarest birds
  • Witness some of the charming views of wildlife species
Best time to visit:

September to March

How to reach:

Since the sanctuary is situated at a distance of 25 km from Karauli, close to Jaipur, a bus or taxi from any part of the city is highly recommended.

National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Kota

National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Kota

Spanning the borders of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, the National Chambal Sanctuary sits majestically along the Chambal River. While the sanctuary offers encounters with a variety of mammals and birds typical of the region, its true stars are the critically endangered species. Spot gharials, crocodiles, Ganges river dolphins, and even rare red-crowned roof turtles, making it one of the most unique wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan.

Established as a protected area under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the National Chambal Sanctuary offers exciting activities for visitors. Embark on a guided boat tour to photograph the fascinating muggers, gharials, and crocodiles basking along the riverbanks. Nature enthusiasts can explore the ravines and riverside trails on foot for a closer look at the diverse wildlife. History buffs can venture to the Ater Fort, a beautiful but weathered heritage site built by Bhadauria kings. This fort, accessible by jeep or boat, adds another layer of intrigue to your exploration of the sanctuary.

Wildlife you can spot: 

Indian Wolf, Striped Hyena, Smooth-Coated Otter, Mugger Crocodiles, Hedgehog, Flying Fox, Hares, Porcupines, Northern Palm Squirrels, Indian Gazelle, Blackbucks, Nilgai, Sambar, Wild Boar, Jungle Cats, Indian Gray Mongoose, Indian Small Mongoose, and Common Palm Civet.

The sanctuary also houses eight of the 26 rare turtle species, including the Crowned River Turtle, Three-Striped Roof Turtles, and the Indian Narrow-Headed Softshell Turtle.

 Highlights of the park:
  • One of the ideal place to spot Gangetic Dolphins and Indian Gharials 
  • Home to the largest number of turtle species
  • Take a boat ride available from various entry points.
  • Enjoy bird watching amidst 320 exotic species of birds
  • Explore the historical Ater Fort built in the 17th century.
Best time to visit:

September to June

How to reach:

The sanctuary is located in Dholpur, Rajasthan; The nearest airport and railway station is at Agra. The most convenient alternative to reach the sanctuary is by taking a bus from Agra.

Jaisamand Sanctuary, Udaipur

Cradled beside Asia’s second-largest artificial lake, Jaisamand Sanctuary offers a unique wildlife experience in Rajasthan. Established in 1957, this 162 sq km sanctuary was once the hunting ground of Mewar kings. The sprawling Jaisamand Lake itself adds charm to the scenery, with its three islands ranging from 10 to 40 acres each. The sanctuary is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering sightings of a variety of animals like mongoose, four-horned antelope, deer, wild boar, and even panthers.

The lake itself teems with migratory birds, making it a birder’s paradise. Interestingly, seven islands dot the lake, with one inhabited by a local tribe. The largest island, Babaka Bhagra, and the second-largest, Piari, add to the mystique of the place. For a truly memorable experience, take a boat ride on the majestic Jaisamand Lake, enjoying the scenic beauty and perhaps even catching a glimpse of wildlife. History buffs can also admire the architectural marvel of Rubi Rani Ka Mahal, a pleasure palace built by Rana Jai Singh for his queens, standing regally near the lake.

Wildlife you can spot: 

Besides being home to several species of panthers, birds, deer, wild boars, mongoose, four-horned antelope, crocodiles and leopards,

Jaisamand Sanctuary is also a haven to migratory birds such as open-bill storks, herons and darters

Highlights of the park: 
  • Chance to see the second-largest artificial lake in India
  • Enjoy boating and wildlife safari both
  • Enjoy a stay at Jaisamand island resort
  • Comprises of a large variety of flora and fauna.
Best time to visit:
  • November to April
  • July and August
How to reach:

Just a little over 51 km from Udaipur, the sanctuary is very easily accessible by road from Udaipur to hire a taxi or take the local bus.

Desert National Park, Jaisalmer

Desert National Park, Jaisalmer

Nestled near Jaisalmer, Desert National Park holds the title of India’s largest wildlife sanctuary. Spanning a vast 3162 sq km, this park showcases a unique desert ecosystem amidst the Thar Desert landscape, roughly 40 km from Jaisalmer. Despite its arid conditions, the park is surprisingly teeming with life. Designated a national park in 1980, it boasts over 120 resident and migratory birds, a surprising haven for avian life. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the park’s diverse birdlife.

The park is also home to more than 40 reptile species. Dotted with several lakes, including Gadsisar, Padam Talao, Rajbaugh, and Milak, the park provides vital water sources for the wildlife. Fossil hunters will be intrigued by the presence of animal and plant fossils dating back an impressive 180 million years. However, the true star of the show is the Great Indian Bustard, a majestic bird that makes Desert National Park its home. Keep your eyes peeled for this magnificent creature during your visit.

Wildlife you can spot: 

The most common birds found here include the Sand Grouse, Laggard Falcons, Tawny Eagles, Spotted Eagles, Vultures, Falcons, Harrier, Short-Toed Eagles, Buzzards, Eagles, Larks, Kestrels, and Shrikes as well as some rare species of the Great Indian Bustard.

Apart from birds, it is also home to Desert Foxes, the Bengal Fox, Desert Cats, Blackbucks, Chinkara, and Hedgehogs as well as a large variety of reptiles such as Saw-Scaled Vipers, Monitor Lizards, Kraits, and Russell Vipers.

Highlights of the park: 
  • Spot the Great Indian Bustard, one of the rare birds found only in India
  • Witness Chinkaras and other vibrant species of Deer
  • Visit the captivating Sam Sand Dunes
  • Go for bird-watching near the Gadsisar Sagar Tank
  • Take a jeep safari and explore the park
Best time to visit:

October to mid-March

How to reach:

Jaisalmer railhead is the nearest railhead to Desert National Park

In conclusion, Rajasthan’s wildlife sanctuaries are more than just protected areas; they portray a delicate balance of nature giving you a glimpse of vibrant wilderness teeming with life. From the thrill of spotting a majestic tiger to the serenity of birdwatching, these wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan offer an incredible experience for every visitor. So, pack your sense of adventure, grab your binoculars, and embark on a journey into the wild heart of Rajasthan. You might just find yourself leaving a piece of your heart amidst the breathtaking landscapes and the captivating creatures that call these sanctuaries home.

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