Betla (Palamau) National Park

Nature Reserve in Betla (Palamau) National Park

This lovely, rarely visited national park covers around 250 sq km, much of which comprises the Palamau Tiger Reserve. Hiding behind dense stands of teak forest, rich evergreens, sal trees and bamboo thickets are about six tigers (going by unofficial 2018 estimates), 52 leopards and 216 elephants. You'll also see plenty of monkeys, spotted deer and possibly some gaur (Indian bison).

Betla spreads over the hilly landscape of picturesque Palamau district, some 190km west of Ranchi. The park is open year-round except the monsoon months from July through September. The best time to visit is November to April, while May (if you can stand the heat) is prime for tiger spotting as the forest cover is reduced and animals venture out in search of waterholes. The best and only way to explore Betla's forests is by embarking on a jeep safari, which can be arranged at the park gate. Jeep safaris can be arranged either during the park's morning session (between 6am and 10am) or afternoon session (between 2pm and 5pm). An hour-long outing costs ₹900, including park fees, guide charges and camera fees.