With over 100 national parks, 40 tiger reserves and 450 sanctuaries, India is the perfect country to visit if you want to play in nature’s cradle and admire nature’s offerings. From the dense jungles of Uttarakhand to the sparse vegetation of the Thar, every region has something worthwhile to offer and is waiting to be explored. Apart from the more popular sanctuaries visited, a few lesser-known ones have also been covered which definitely need to be featured in your list.
Here are a few wildlife destinations in India which will bowl you over with the wilderness of flora and the beauty of fauna in their natural habitat:
Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
This Park located in Rajasthan is probably the most popular and frequently visited one for their tiger trails and bird watching hours. Merely a three hour drive from Jaipur, this place is brimming with beauty of nature. The Padam Talao is a lake which you cannot afford to miss while the view from the top of the strategically placed Ranthambore fort will stay imprinted in your memory forever. While taking a tour in a gypsy around the park, you will be greeted by a variety of tigers, leopards, hyenas, jackals, Indian foxes whilst Pelicans, flamingos and parakeets will adorn the skies satiating all your nature cravings.
Gorumara National Park, West Bengal
Located in the Northern regions of Bengal famous for the lush greenery and captivating landscapes, this National Park is a lesser known abode of nature’s beauty. It is not a very huge piece of land but is embellished by grasslands and forests. The flora of this region is bustling with sal trees, teak trees, rain trees (colloquially known as Shirish), Bombax (silk-cotton trees), bamboo groves and terai grassland vegetation. The rich greenery of the forests is enhanced further with the presence of numerous colourful, wild orchids. There’s no place with more contrasting fauna as it’s only in Bengal you can find Indian rhinoceros, gaur, Asian elephant, sloth bear, chital, sambar deer, barking deer, hog deer, wild boar, hispid hare (a rare species), peafowl, woodpeckers, king cobras, pheasants, pythons and giant squirrels, all in the same place. Once you are here, make sure to visit the four watchtowers- Jatraprasad Watch Tower, Rhino Observation Point, Chandrachur Watch Tower and Chukchuki Bird-watching Point (for bird watching).
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book was inspired by the beautiful wilderness of Kanha. All characters like Kaa (python), Baloo (bear), Bagheera (black panther), Sher Khan (Tiger) and Haathi (elephant) from the book were once inhabitants of the majestic and mesmerising primeval forests. Taking a safari through the back of beyond terrains of Kanha will only hold you spellbound with the vivid and varied beauty thriving there. The Kanha is also home to many rare species such as four-horned antelope, black buck, red junglefowl, steppe eagle, tickell’s flycatcher, white-eyed buzzard, white-breasted kingfisher, rhesus macaque, white-browed fantail, wood shrikes and honey badger.
Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
This National Park classifies as a UNESCO World Heritage site for the conservation of a wide variety of species in the lap of the world’s oldest mountain ranges. It is home to more than 400 identified faunal species including various types of insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, annelids and molluscs. The most popular animals sighted here include the blue sheep, Himalayan brown bear, the snow leopard, musk deer and the Tahr. The flora here is diverse too owing to the high altitudes and range from alpine and chestnut trees in the northern regions to subalpine zones of dense forests which is home to most of the animals.
Bannerghatta Biological Park, Karnataka
Located on the outskirts of the hustle bustle of the capital city, Bengaluru, this park should definitely feature on your list due to the sheer assortment of flora and animalia they have to offer. This biological parks hosts a zoo, elephant sanctuary, butterfly park and a tiger reserve within it. The Grand Safari costs less than 300 bucks per person but is sure to be etched in your mind forever because of the wonderful outback you can enjoy so close to civilisation. Tiger, leopards, snakes, barking deer and elephants are most spotted animals in this Park.
Adventure tip: To soak in the beauty even more, must go boating.
Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
Just as the name suggests, this reserve was a project for Tiger conservation and is located in the Amravati district of Maharashtra. Surrounded by the majestic Tapti river and soaking up the goodness of the Satpura ranges, this piece of oasis in the concrete desert is a must-visit. The forests of this region mainly comprise of teak trees whilst the interiors are greeted by five of River Tapti’s tributaries- Khandu, Khapra, Sipna, Gadga and Dolar. On a safari and animal watching tour here, you will find Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, sloth bear, Ussuri dhole, Indian jackal, sambar, barking deer, nilgai, ratel, flying squirrel, wild boar, langur, rhesus monkey, porcupine, pangolin and mouse deer.
Written byNiharika Nandi
Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.