The cacophony of car horns and noisy streets, the hostile, indifferent and polluted neighborhood, the deadlines and the rat-race — in other words the humdrum and mindless repetition, routine and rut of everyday existence. It can be deadening, mind-blighting, soul-killing. Aren’t you tired of this monotonous life? If yes, pack your bags and come with us on an exhilarating journey to the lands of hauntingly peaceful Indian wildlife. With an array of National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries located all across the country, you are spoilt for choice. Be it the Jim Corbett National Park in the North, or Bandipur in the South, or Kaziranga in the East, or Ranthambore in the West, you will have an experience to cherish all your life. Of course, you will be recharged in body, mind, and soul, ready for whatever the world can put in your way.
We are flush with choices, and here is a list of some of the most adventurous wildlife sojourns that you must take to rejuvenate yourself.
1. Hemis National Park, Ladakh
If, all this while, you were under the impression that Ladakh is only a place to savour the pristine beauty of Mother Nature, then brace yourself for a most adventurous experience at the Hemis National Park in Ladakh. Spread out before you is the vastness of Nature where reaching out to the cloud-spangled sky are snow- and tree-covered mountains. It is a perfect combination of a thrilling altitude and a varied wildlife. Spread across 4400 sq. kms, the National Park is home to 73 species of birds and 16 species of mammals, with the snow leopard looking down this chain of delights.
Best known for: Snow leopard, Tibetan argali sheep, Ibex, Blue sheep, chukhar, snow cocks, and golden eagles.
Best time to Visit: May to September. The sub-zero temperatures and the snowfall that begin in November means that the park and the safari close down.
How to Reach: The nearest point of entry is the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh, which is 25 km away from the Hemis National. You have to trek to this destination because no vehicle is allowed after some distance.
2. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Beginning its history in the year 1936 as the Hailey National Park, the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is India is the first of India’s National Parks. Covering an impressive area of over 520 sq. kms, it packs an interesting mix of landscapes and water bodies. As you travel deep inside, you will find hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and a large lake. The Jim Corbett National Park is famous for that most lethal member of the cat family—the tiger, and is the place where India’s first and famously successful Project Tiger started in 1973. Wildlife enthusiasts from different countries visit the Park to savour the success and to get a close view of the big cat.
Best known for: Tigers, Fishing Cats, Serow, Gorals, Himalayan Tahrs among other fascinating wild species.
Best Time to Visit: Mid-November to June. The tiger is mostly seen from March to May. And you can also get the best domestic hotel booking offers for you stay out here any time of the year.
How to Reach: The nearest airports are New Delhi, and Dehradun. Ramnagar is the closest town to the National Park, and is well connected via road and rail to the major North Indian cities.
3. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
If you want to experience some exquisite species of animals, then visit the Kaziranga National Park in Assam to be amazed by the one horned rhinoceros. With a unique combination of high grasslands and marshlands, this Park offers an experience that is, quite simply, without par. The early morning elephant safari with the enchanting beauty of the dawn is an unforgettable experience that will find a permanent place in your reminiscences, an antidote to the ugliness of the urban sprawl. Let us also not forget that the Kaziranga is also one of the famous World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.
Best known for: Giant one-horned rhinos, elephants, bears, panthers, and some rare bird species.
Best Time to Visit: November to April. The Park is partially open from May to October.
How to Reach: The nearest airports and railway stations are at Jorhat and Guwahati. You can hire a cab and take a bus to the Kaziranga National Park from the airports. Book the Jungle Safari in advance to avail the best options that are on offer.
4. Sunderban National Park
It is not every day that you will get to wade, in all safety, through pristine waters and be mesmerised by the beauty and majesty of a Royal Bengal Tiger—its intense dark stripes alternating with brilliant golden yellow. So, visit the Sunderban National Park and gain a unique wildlife experience. The Sunderban is covered with mangroves that are a unique niche of Nature, unavailable in other National Parks. A dazzlingly varied species of birds fluttering and circling in the skies, and other animals roaming and hunting can be found along with the Big Cats. The Sunderban offers cruises that take you deep into the forest along the backwaters creating for you an unmatched experience of beauty and variety. No wonder the world prizes this as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. The Sunderban is truly a sundar ban.
Best Time to Visit: Remains open throughout the year. Best time to get a glimpse of the tigers is October to April.
How to Reach: The Sundarbans are located 140 km from the Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Airport, Kolkata. The nearest railway station is at Canning from where cruises are available. It is also well connected via roads from the neighbouring places.
5. The Gir National Park, Gujarat
Spread across 1412 sq. km, the Gir National Park in Gujarat is a wildlife sanctuary that will amaze you with an unmatched beauty that is at once serene and thrilling, a veritably unique experience. The only home to the Asiatic lion, the Park attracts thousands of wildlife lovers from across the globe. Apart from this, the Gir is also home to about 32 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, and 26 species of reptiles. The sight of perfectly camouflaged tawny lions blending amongst the dry leaves at Gir is an experience that you will not forget in a lifetime.
Best Known For: Asiatic Lions, Asiatic Wild Ass or the Onager, Hyenas, Gir foxes, Pygmy Woodpecker, Brown fish Owl and Black buck.
Best time to Visit: October to May.
How to Reach: The nearest airport is at Ahmedabad. You can take a bus or hire a cab to reach the Gir National Forest from neighbouring places.
6. The Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh
The Pench National Park is relatively new compared to its more famous sisters. Established in the year 1987, the Pench is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara. The park comprises of 758 sq. km., and is famous for tigers that can be seen prancing majestically and leisurely among the foliage. Over the years this National Park has risen in importance hosting a few rare species of animals. The Pench is relatively less crowded and is, therefore, more pristine and undisturbed, increasing the chances of spotting the Big Cats. Due to its easy access, the Pench is ideal for a family sojourn.
Best Known For: Leopard, Wild Boar, Nilgai, Crimson-breasted Barbet, Sloth Bear, Chousingha, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Jackal, Fox, Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Porcupine etc.
Best Time to Visit: October to June.
How to Reach: The nearest airports are at Nagpur and Jabalpur. The nearest railway station is at the Nagpur city (105 km), and Jabalpur railway station (200 km).
You can check online for Makemytrip flight offers and hotel bookings too to make your vacation sweeter.