By Tanmay Sharma:
With more than 450 wildlife sanctuaries, 100 national parks, and 40 tiger reserves, India is deemed as an abode of world’s highest number of animals. Whether it’s the luscious Western Ghats or sparse marshes of Sundarban, every nook and corner of India clinches wildlife. So, friends, relatives, and countrymen, have your cameras ready and hit these parks for the best chance to see the elusive wildlife.
Here are some of the places in India where an exhilarating safari experience is waiting for you.
Jim Corbett National Park
Possibly the oldest, safest and diverse national park in India, Jim Corbett lures millions of people from across India just to catch sight of the wild cat. Surroundings of the park make me feel Numinous, it’s terrifying yet fascinating. I have been to this place many times and every time I visit, there is something unique to see. You can explore Corbett by either hopping in a jeep or riding on the back of the elephant. While spotting a tiger is one of the biggest draw of this national park, there is so much to explore here. So make sure you take your time.
Ranthambore National Park
Your trip to India will be incomplete if you don’t see any fort and wildlife reserve. One such place in India that serves both the purposes is the Ranthambore National Park. Once the hunting ground of the Indian emperors, Ranthambore is considered as a famous heritage sites. Many years ago, I went there to see the famed tigress, Machli. 3 hours later, I spotted Suraj (T 65). The majestic beast not only posed wisely for my camera but also walked right behind my jeep.
Kaziranga National Park
Long yet, luscious grasslands and wet plains of the Kaziranga National Park lure hundreds of unknown migratory birds from all across the globe. Personally, I have never been to Kaziranga but I am planning to go there in near future. The more I read and learn about it, the more excited I get.
Sundarban National Park
When I was in my 20s, I went to Sunderbans for the first time. It was this place where I saw the jaw-dropping sight of a crocodile while he was waiting for his prey. Sunderbans, the largest delta in the world is home to hundreds of Royal Bengal tigers. Apart from them, tourists can spot animals like Hermit Crabs, Red Fiddlers, Ridley Sea Turtle, King Cobra, Water Monitor, and Rock Python. Getting inside the nature park is its self an adventure, since you will not be traveling in jeeps but on boats.
Tadoba National Park
All thanks to its unique landscapes and variety of wildlife species, the national park is nothing less than a shutterbug’s paradise. Whenever, I go to Maharashtra for some official work, Tadoba is something I just can’t afford to miss. The size of the park is relatively small as compared to othersin India; so the chances of spotting a tiger here are good. The national park offers the best wildlife viewing throughout the year.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
When I landed in Kerala for the first time, I didn’t know that there is also a wildlife sanctuary to explore here. For me, Kerala was all about backwaters and beaches. Perhaps the largest wildlife reserve in Kerala, Periyar National Park is a mixture of wildlife and serene beauty. An elephant safari and the cruise ride are probably the charming way to indulge in the wilderness. The national park houses an unbelievable number of unique flora and fauna- Gaurs, Lion-Tailed Macaques, Nilgiri Langurs and Sambar.
Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
When I talk about lions, a diminishing image of Simba from Lion King comes to my mind. But the reality is quite modulated and arousing. In the year 2014, when Gujarat tourism was in full swing with ‘kuch din to guzaro Gujarat me,‘ I immediately left to explore the golden hues of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.The forest is sprawled over the hilly region of Gujarat, halfway between Veraval and Junagarh. The moment I entered the park, I had goosebumps all over my hand. I not only saw well groomed and ferocious lions, but many migratory birds as well. Just make sure you don’t make last minute plans, especially during the peak season – December to April.
Kanha National Park
This territory is one of those places where every traveller should visit, not because it’s an abode for wildlife, it’s scenic, beautiful and enchanting. The sanctuary is home to more than 1000 species of plants including the Indian ghost tree inside the dense forest. Bamni Dadar, a sunset point is the main attraction of the national park. Set amidst the lush green landscapes, here you can spot deer, sambhar, gaurs and herds of elephants strolling here and there. While Gypsy safari is the best mode to explore the different hues of this vivacious national park, there is an option of a hot air balloon ride as well.
Bandhavgarh National Park
The sanctuary is home to the largest number of photogenic wild cats who have even appeared on the cover page of National Geographic. Sita, one of the most photogenic tigresses in the world was a part of this sanctuary. My trip to Bandhavgarh National Park was peaceful and enchanting. No doubt, the sanctuary is the photographers’ paradise. For the first time in my life, I saw animals posing for the camera. Yes, this is right, animals in Bandhavgarh are used to human interference.
Pench National Park
One of the best-kept secrets of the Madhya Pradesh is Pench National Park. It is assumed that Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ is based on the natural surroundings of this national park. Pench is an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiast who is looking for an easy-going jungle tour.