The wilderness of India defines nature in its purest form and brings you closer to a wealth of life—flora and fauna alike. The big game and boundless regions of this country, which is home to numerous species of birds, animals, insects and aquatic species, have long attracted wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers from across the globe.
It’s true, no other country in Asia boasts of such an incredible diversity of forested landscapes, species and endless eco-systems. From premier safari destinations to migratory herds, profusion of birdlife, tropical rainforests and jungles galore—India has it all.
Read on to explore the charm of wildlife sanctuaries that has successfully conserved the wildlife in India. They beckon with their natural habitats, beasts and jungle beings, quaint accommodation facilities and scores of other delightful experiences.
Periyar National Park
Set in the scenic precincts of Kerala — God’s Own Country, the Periyar National Park is also the address of a Tiger Reserve and harbors a picturesque lake within the confines of the Western Ghats. Established in 1895, the reservoir is fringed by wooded hills and provides a permanent
water source for local wildlife. Best known for the sightings of Indian elephants indulging in acts of playfulness and ablution by the Lake, the sanctuary also treats foreign nationals as well as domestic enthusiasts to thousands of sambhar deer, gaur, wild pigs, mouse deer, barking deer, Dole (Indian wild dogs) and yes, very rarely, tigers.
The best time for visiting Periyar wildlife sanctuary ranges between the months of October to April. The cities of Kottayam, Kochi, Ernakulam and Madurai are well connected to the sprawling wilderness of Periyar.
Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park—this is the land that inspired Sir Rudyard Kipling to pen ‘Jungle Book’. Kanha and its thick forested expanse of bamboo and sal forests, dramatic ravines, and rolling meadows are better known as the core areas of Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Created in 1955, this National Park is an important part of the Project Tiger and boasts of many endangered wildlife species, some on the borders of extinction. The avifauna, flora and fauna of this Park provide some rare sights of tigers in their natural habitats.
The main draws of Kanha are swamp deer, bison, gaur, sambhar, black buck, chousingha, hyena, jungle cat, nilgai, mouse deer, jackal fox, porcupine, sloth bear, python, black deer, peafowl, barasingha, barking deer, spur fowl, partridges, spotted parakeets, finches, orioles, owls, quails, ring doves, and a lot more.
With pleasant climatic conditions during the months of October to April, this wildlife rich park is well connected from Nagpur, Jabalpur and Raipur.
Gir National Park
Dubbed as Sasan Gir, the Gir National Park holds claim to the last remaining habitat of Asiatic lions. They have been confined to the forest since 1884 (in 1985, there were only 239 lions) and are slightly smaller than their African cousins.
Wild life mongers in Gir are totally awed by the majestic appeal of these big cats which are certainly a sight to behold. Dawn and dusk are the best time for observing and taking pictures while driving around in a safari jeep.
Here, you can look forward to spotting plenty of hard-to-find birds as well as elusive wild animals like hyenas, uncommon, pygmy woodpecker, black buck, brown fish owl, Gir foxes, Asiatic wild ass and many more.
The Forest Department arranges educative lion shows each Sunday, wherein spectators can see prides of lions on the prowl. Guided trips are the best form of wildlife viewing in Gir. Along with Asiatic lions, the other animals, reptiles and birds to watch out for include Indian cobras, sloth bears, leopards, jungle cats, golden jackals, hyenas, Indian mongoose, chital, nilgai, wild boar, four-horned antelope, sambar, chinkara, monitor lizard, pythons, marsh crocodiles, endangered Bonelli’s eagle, rock pygmy woodpecker….The list goes on and on.
Best frequented between the November to April for good sightings, Sasan Gir is easily accessible from Junagarh, Ahmadabad, Rajkot and other major cities in Gujarat.
And this is not all. India has many other rich and bi-diverse wildlife sanctuaries on it cards –the ones in Orang, Nameri, Pench, Ranthambore , Kazirangha, Sundarbams, Nagarhole, Chambal, Dibru Saikhowa, Kanha, Gorumara, Jaldapara, Manas to name a few.