Snow Leopard Trek
Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir can be bitterly cold in winter but it’s also the when the snow leopards move down to the lower altitudes. Try and catch a glimpse of this elusive and magnificent creature on a snow leopard trek.
View this post on Instagram
The treks, offered by Himalayan Homestays, are along three trekking routes — Hemis, Sham and Zanskar. You will stay at village homestays. The organisers spend a part of the money earned on community-led conservation initiatives. Contact: 01982-250953, www.himalayan-homestays.com
This winter, why not head to some birding areas that are both spectacular and less frequented (by humans, that is). The Dooars in West Bengal is one area where a large number of migratory birds winter. The Gorumara National Park and the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, with their vast riverine grasslands, are ideal birding spots, where you’re likely to see the black stork, lesser adjutant stork and common merganser. Contact Help Tourism (033-24550917, www.helptourism.com). Or head to the Little Rann of Kutch, the largest wetland in the country. On a good day you can spot nearly 250 species, including perhaps the Houbara bustard. Stay at Devjibhai Dhamecha’s camp (09825548090, www.littlerann.com).
The Great Elephant Safari
The first of its kind in India, the elephant safari begins at Chongkham (130km from Dibrugarh). You lumber through the forest canopy to the small town of Wakro, and then to Miao, beyond which lies the majestic Namdapha Tiger Reserve. The areas are densely forested, crisscrossed by streams. Stay in small villages and abandoned logging camps, go boating on the Lohit, visit monasteries and go birding. Contact 033-24550917, www.helptourism.com
Trekking in Belgaum
The tropical forests of the Western Ghats, one of the world’s 18 designated biodiversity hotspots, are one of India's richest wildlife areas. The Hermitage (09242623020, ecoindia.com) is an eco-lodge and working farm set in the middle of the dense forests, which have over 1,000 plant species, many species of reptiles and animals like the Malabar giant squirrel and the bison.A lot of the wildlife wanders through the guest house but you can also go looking — on day treks in the adjoining areas. It is located in Karnataka, near the state's border with Goa.