A thrilling journey to the depths of jungles, the nerve-racking wait for magnificent animals and quaint jungle lodges that make you want to change your address, all this and more is what the wildlife travels in India offer. Imagine being lulled to sleep by the sound of crickets and waking up to the chirping of exotic birds. Journey made to the various popular wildlife parks in India are surely unforgettable.
The vast lands of the country offer a variety of options for wildlife tourism. From the Kaziranga National Park in Assam to the Parabikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, the country has a lot to offer those looking for unique travel experiences close to nature. Not just meant for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, a journey into the jungle is something everyone should undertake once in their lives. Stepping outside your comfort zone and honing your observation skills might provide you with the experience of seeing wild elephants, Blackbucks and even the elusive Bengal Tiger, a sight that is worth all the mosquito bites and dusty rides!
Here are the top 11 wildlife experiences in India.
The once royal game reserve is now among the largest wildlife sanctuaries in North India. Situated at a distance of 160 km from Jaipur in Rajasthan, Rathambore is famous among travellers as the place to sight the magnificent Bengal Tiger. Having a good population of tigers, the park sees interesting stories behind the prominent tigers' birth and death. Even movies and documentaries have been shot on some of them! Rathambore has many options for wildlife stays and jungle safaris . Beside tigers the park also has many other animals and a large variety of birds. Keep your camera ready!
Photo Courtesy: amanderson2
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Among the oldest national parks in India, Jim Corbett in Uttarakhand offer exciting wildlife travel opportunities. Stays are possible at the Dhikala Forest Reserve, however booking has to be made well ahead of the journey to ensure good rooms. Dhikala is popular as a tiger spotting area as well. The park also has a large variety of birds that will accompany you across your journey here. Enjoy the Jeep safaris and if you are lucky the driver might double up as a great guide as well!
Photo Courtesy: Prashant Ram
Periyar National Park, Kerala
A noted elephant sanctuary and tiger reserve, the Periyar National Park in Kerala is as scenic as a wildlife travel experience can get in India. The rolling hills, dense forests, lake and dam makes the place a must-visit destination. Be amazed by the pristine waters of the lake as you go on an hour long boat journey that will also surprise you with scenes of elephant herds at the watering holes. The park is known for various other animals such as Sambhar, Gaur and the Lion-Tailed Macaque. Many varieties of birds, insects and reptiles also are found here. It is also popular for the eco-tourism efforts made in the region.
Photo Courtesy: Jean Pierre Dalbera
Sunderbans, West Bengal
A World Heritage Site, the Sundarbans in West Bengal is among the largest deltas in the world formed by the intersection of three rivers; the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra. It is renowned across the world for the mangrove forests that house the elusive Bengal Tiger. It is popular as an angling paradise and travellers can also spot crocodiles in the water. The place offers some good options for stay, where you are also entertained with the local art and culture shows such as the 'Bonbibi Yatra'. Travel on a boat in the Gormor River and prepare yourself for breathtaking sights.
Photo Courtesy: Kingshuk Mondal
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
The Kaziranga National Park in Assam is home to the endangered one-horned rhinoceros and has been awarded the status of a World Heritage Site for its bio-diversity. The tall elephant grass and surrounding vegetation paints a picture of awe as travellers sit spell-bound on safari rides, awaiting the moment when they will get up close with wildlife. The national highway also passes through the park offering instances of wildlife sighting. The resorts and lodges here offer both comfort and luxury stays.
Photo Courtesy: Satish Krishnamurthy
Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
Among the most popular wildlife travel options in Karnataka, Bandipur provides many luxury resorts and lodges for travellers wanting to stay in the forest region. A highway passes through the park and remains closed after 6:00 pm due to the crossing of wild animals. But even during the day, travellers are awarded with thrilling sights of wild elephants, deer, peacocks and in the rare case even a leopard. The jungle lodges offer interesting accommodation such as tree houses and activities such as safaris, jungle walks and photography workshops.
Photo Courtesy: Navaneeth KN
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Famously recreated in Rudyard Kipiling's Jungle Book, the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh is the largest in central India and offers to provide an unforgettable experience. Vast grassy meadows, bamboo and Sal trees along with a variety of fauna make this park a top wildlife experience in the country. Animals such as tigers, Gaurs, Dholes and Barasingha can be sighted at the park. Activities include elephant-back safaris into the jungles, tribal performances, and Jeep safaris. Stay options include both luxury and comfort.
Photo Courtesy: Ankur P
Bhadra Wildlife Santuary, Karnataka
Situated in Karnataka, at a short distance from Chikmagalur, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is also a protected Tiger Reserve. A unique mixture of Shola and mountain grasslands, the forest is home to variety of animals, birds and vegetation. There are both one-day and overnight stay opportunities available here. Wildlife can be spotted right outside the room as curious deer and Sambar come looking for answers!
Photo Courtesy: Balu
Referred to as 'Nature's Own Abode', Parabikulam in Kerala is among the most beautiful hot-spots in the Western Ghats. An important ecological portion of the region, the park is also a protected tiger reserve. Travellers can sight animals such as Gaur, Bengal Tiger, Nilgiri Tahr, Lion-Tailed Macaque, etc. Activities include treks and jungle walks, but you will need to obtain prior permission and of course take an experienced guide along. The place is also home to one of the largest teak trees in the world, the Kannimara Teak.
Photo Courtesy: Prashanth dotcompals
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa
Among the wildlife sanctuaries that are great for travel with family is the Bondla Sanctuary in Goa. Located at a short distance from Margao, the small sanctuary is especially suited if you are travelling with kids. The jungle lodges here present safe stay amidst the lush greenery. Animals commonly spotted are deer and Sambar.
Photo Courtesy: ptwo
Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh
Among the most popular wildlife parks in the country, the Bandhavgarh is known to have the largest population of tigers. Even though small in area, the national park offers many thrilling sightings and activities. A Tie-up between the Taj Group and Conservation Corporation Africa offer best in luxurious stays and guides safaris. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Bandhavgarh.
Photo Courtesy: Ishan Manjrekar
Best Time To Travel
It is good news that the monsoon season is seeing a wrap, as wildlife tourism in India is set for a refreshed start this year. During monsoon season most parks are closed. However, starting October and until the month of April is great for going on wildlife travel in the country. So what are you waiting for!?
Photo Courtesy: Arup Malakar