When it comes to experiencing wildlife, India aces it. The country’s vast and varied geography has afforded it a complex web of flora and fauna.
Hemis National Park
The snow-covered mountains and extremely cold weather are enough to lure some, and for others, there is the thrill of sighting the elusive snow leopard. Hemis National Park in Ladakh is a high altitude area with verdant pine forests and beautiful meadows. Keep a lookout for the Tibetan wolf, Asiatic ibex and the red fox. Oh, and bundle up.
National Chambal Sanctuary
The National Chambal Sanctuary offers a unique insight into the river system that spreads across three states in North India. The rugged terrain and the river are teeming with endemic wildlife including crocodiles, freshwater dolphins, otters and gharials. There are many migratory birds to look out for too, such as spot lapwings, vultures, and small pratincole. The most popular way to travel to the place is via a boat ride from Agra.
Kaziranga National Park
This national park has the largest population of the one-horned rhino in the entire world. Located in Assam, and surrounded by lush tea plantations, the Kaziranga National Park offers a must-try safari. The park is known for its conservation efforts and one can spot elephants, wild buffalos, and swamp deer here. We do suggest you go to one of the watchtowers in the park, the vantage point makes for quite a sight.
Sundarbans National Park
If not for the tigers, head to Sundarban National Park for the dense mangroves. This marshy landscape is a perfect safe haven for wildlife, especially for tigers that hide around in the trees and coves around the 54 islands. The park spills over to Bangladesh and is also equally popular for its crocodiles. A cruise down the park would be the perfect way to spot it all.
Gir National Park
If you wish to spot some lions, head to Gir National Park in Gujarat. Known for the population of the Asiatic lions, the jungles make for an adventurous safari where you can spot this animal royalty lazing around. Apart from them, look out for sloth bears, leopards, snakes, blackbucks and crocodile. Do try boating in the lakes inside the park.
Jhalana National Park
A bit new in the wildlife game, the Jhalana Reserve is one of the areas to spot leopards. Recently, the government has declared the 25 square kilometres as a protected reserve with over twenty leopards. One can also enjoy bird watching.
Nanda Devi National Park
With a neighbour like the gorgeous valley of flowers, the Nanda Devi National Park may be one of the prettiest in the country. Great for treks and walks (you could try a hike up the Nanda Devi Peak), the national park is famous for its Asiatic black bear, blue sheep and the Himalayan musk deer.
Ranthambore National Park
This wildlife park in Rajasthan is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. We suggest that you take a bit of an offbeat route, try hot air ballooning over these erstwhile hunting grounds. If you are looking for the more usual (a tiger) then the safari is quite a ride too. The national park has many waterholes, historical ruins, and the lake Padam Talao. The Ranthambore Fort is an adventure in itself. Spot tigers, jackals, jungle cats, hyenas, and Indian foxes here.
Khangchendzonga National Park
In Sikkim, the Khangchendzonga National Park is famous for red pandas, Tibetan antelopes, and of course, the snow leopard (most people head to this park for the adorable red panda). Visit between April and May to fully enjoy the lakes inside the park.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
These oak forests in Uttarakhand are home to some of the most unique and beautiful birds in the country. The sanctuary is located an hour from Almora and is ideally visited from October to February, a good time to come as there are more migratory birds. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary has more birds than it does animals, with over 200 different species. The picturesque surroundings make for a perfect safari, with several off-shoot walks and treks, and gorgeous views.