India has a very rich and diverse wildlife. From the mammoth mountain ranges in the north, the marshy lands in the east, to the tip of Kanyakumari in the south, India is home to a number of Wildlife conservation parks and sanctuaries.
Here’s a list of the places you should travel to this year for their exquisite wildlife in India.
1. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
This National Park is located in Rajasthan and was previously a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas. Now a wildlife conservation park, this park is most famous for its Tiger trails and Bird watching tours.
How to get there: The Park is three hours’ drive from Jaipur.
Things to do: Bakula has a lot of waterholes and hence is crowded with wildlife. The Raj Bagh ruins are ancient ruined structures, domes and arches. The Padam Talao is another lake worth visiting. The Ranthambore fort is ideally located. The view from the top is mesmerizing.
Species to see: Tigers, leopards, Hyenas, Jackals, Jungle cats, Indian Foxes and a wide range of birds like Pelicans, Ibis, Flamingos, Egrets, Parakeets
Opening/Closing times: The Park is open from October to June. It is closed for the remaining months of the year. The morning trip is from 6.30 am to 10 am. And the evening trip is from 2.30 pm to 6 pm. The Charges are around Rs. 75 for an Indian national in a canter and Rs. 131 for an Indian national in a gypsy. For foreign nationals it is Rs. 475 in a canter and Rs. 530 in a gypsy.
Where to stay: Taj Sawai, Tree House Anuraga, Tiger Den resort, the tiger villa, Tiger moon resort, Sanctuary resort, Ankur resort
Adventure Tip: You could soar high in the sky in a hot air balloon for some spectacular views of the National Park.
2. Sunderbans National Park, West Bengal
It is said that whether you spot a Tiger at Sunderbans or no, it is sure to have spotted you. Sunderbans with its marshy land, dense mangroves and Tigers, is a naturalist’s paradise. Spread over 54 islands, it extends into neighboring Bangladesh.
How to get there: The Park is around 95 kms from Kolkata
Things to do: Go on a Tiger trail, See the various watch towers and the crocodile park
Species to see: The Royal Bengal Tiger, Crocodiles, bull sharks, primates and snakes, dolphins
Opening/Closing times: It is best to visit the park between September and May. Entry fee is Rs. 15 for an Indian and Rs. 150 for a foreigner. An extra charge of Rs. 300 is levied for a camera.
Where to stay: Sunderbans Tiger camp, United 21 Resort
Adventure Tip: This national park offers a unique experience of cruising in the waters & spotting the wildlife alongside.
Must Read: Your Long Weekend Travel Calendar for 2015
3. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Situated in the mountainous district of Nainital, Jim Corbett National Park which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger reserve is home to a large number of tigers. If you are lucky, you may spot a white tiger as well.
How to get there: Nainital is around five hours drive from Delhi.
Things to do: Drive around the park to catch a glimpse of the wildlife, try angling at Kosi River, visit the Corbett falls
Species to see: Tigers, Spotted deer, Elephants, Golden jackal, sambar deers
Opening/Closing times: Best to visit the park is from 15th November to 15th June. The Park is open from 6 am to 10 am and then from 2 pm to 6 pm. The Park charges are Rs. 200 for an Indian national and Rs. 1000 for a foreigner.
Where to stay: Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, The river view retreat, The Den Corbett, Le roi Corbett
Adventure Tip: Enter the park with a permit and celebrate a peaceful bonfire night amidst the wilderness.
4. Gir National Park, Gujarat
The Gir National forest in Gujarat is best known for its Asiatic lions. Gujarat tourism is synonymous with the Gir Lions. If you want to enjoy an exciting safari and catch a good look of the king of the jungle, then head straight to Gir.
How to get there: Junagadh is the closest city to Gir national Park. Junagadh has a railway station that connects it to bigger cities like Ahmedabad
Things to do: Go for the lion safari and get up and close with the king of the jungle, also try boating amongst the many lakes in Gir
Species to see: Asiatic Lions, Indian leopards, sloth bears, jungle cats, striped hyenas, snakes, blackbucks, crocodiles, monitor lizards
Opening/Closing times: The Park is open from 16th October to 15th June every year. The morning timings are from 6 am to 12 pm. and then evening timings are from 3 pm to 6 pm. The Charges are Rs. 4000 for upto 6 Indian Nationals travelling in a jeep. And Rs, 10, 000 for upto 6 foreign nationals travelling by jeep.
Where to stay: Gir Jungle resort, the gateway hotel, Anil farm house, Gir Lion’s paw resort, Hotel Umang
5. Bannerghatta Biological Park, Karnataka
Just at the outskirts, south of Bangalore, is the Bannerghatta Biological Park. This park includes a zoo, an elephant sanctuary, a tiger park and a butterfly park. Who would have thought that such a wonderful nature’s treat lies in the middle of a bustling city?
How to get there: The Park is 22 kms from Bengaluru city.
Things to do: Check out the Butterfly Park and go on a tiger safari, also go boating
Species to see: Tigers, leopards, Elephants, spotted deer, barking deers, butterflies, snakes
Opening/Closing times: The Park is closed on Tuesdays. The park opens at 9.30 am and closes at 5 pm. Entry fee for the butterfly park is Rs. 30 for adults and Rs. 20 for children. The grand safari costs Rs. 260 for adults and Rs. 130 for children.
Where to stay: Svenska design hotels, Ibis Bengaluru Hosur road, Confido Inn & Suites, Lords Plaza Bengaluru
6. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
This park has the largest population of one horned Rhino in the World. This national park has achieved great success with its conservation projects.
How to get there: The Park is a five hours drive from Guwahati. Guwahati is connected to most major cities by rail and road
Things to do: Check out the tea plantations around the park Go on a safari to spot rhinos and tigers, Take in a view of the entire park from the watchtowers
Species to see: Tigers, Rhinos, Elephants, Swamp deer, Wild Buffalo
Opening/Closing times: The park is open daily from 1st November to 30th April i.e., for 6 (six) months. Jeep safari timings are from 7.30 am to 9.30 am and 2pm to 3.30 pm. The entry fee is Rs. 50 for an Indian national and Rs. 500 for a foreign national.
Where to stay: IORA- The retreat, Infinity, Aranya Lodge, Jupuri Ghar
Adventure Tip: Explore wildlife while you sail on the glinting waters of the river Brahmaputra.
7. Periyar National Park, Kerala
This park is in the hilly areas of the Cardamom Hills in Kerala. Perched among the hills, this park is a nature lover’s paradise. With is lush green slopes and landscapes, it is a visual treat.
How to get there: Periyar National Park is a three hours’ drive from Kochi. Kochi is a well-connected city and has an airport as well
Things to do: The wildlife trail is highly recommended; take a boat ride on the periyar lake, Check out the wildlife sanctuary
Species to see: Elephants, Tigers, Leopards, Deers, snakes and reptiles
Opening/Closing times: The Park is open all days of the week from 6 am to 6 pm. The entry fees is Rs. 25 for an Indian adult and Rs. 5 for an Indian child. And Rs. 300 for an adult foreigner and Rs. 105 for a foreign child.
Where to stay: Springdale heritage, Aranya Nivas KTDC, Spice village, the elephant thekkady
Adventure Tip: For an unbeatable wildlife experience in one of the most verdant states of India, go bamboo rafting along the river to spectate the richness of flora & fauna.
8. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
This Park has a large population of tigers and langurs. The park is at the center of India and is home to the famous white tiger.
How to get there: It is not easy to reach Bandhavgarh as it has no airport facility. The nearest town is Jabalpur. There are taxis services which ply from Jabalpur to Umaria
Things to do: Go for a birding tour or a jeep safari to catch a glimpse of the best wildlife. Also once there, do not miss out on seeing the Khajuraho temples. Also have a look at the Bandhavgarh fort.
Species to see: Bengal tigers, Elephants, deers, primates, reptiles and a large number of birds
Opening/Closing times: The Park is open from 15th of October to 30th of June. The entry fees is Rs. 4000 for foreigners and Rs. 2000 for Indian nationals for a jeep carrying up to 6 people.
Where to stay: Bundela Jungle Lodge, Kings Lodge Bandhavgarh, Nature heritage resort, Tiger Lagoon resort
9. Hemis National Park, Jammu Kashmir
This is a high altitude national park in eastern Ladakh in Jammu Kashmir. The park is home to many endangered animals like the snow leopard, the Asiatic Ibex, the red fox, Tibetan wolf. This park has pine forests, meadows and is nothing short of a safari in heaven.
How to get there: The nearest railway station is Kalka in Haryana. The park is 5 kms from the Leh district; the leh-manali highway can also be used to access the park
Things to do: Take an adventure trek at Hemis
Species to see: snow leopard, the Asiatic Ibex, the red fox, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan marmot, Blue sheep
Opening/Closing times: The Park is open on all days. The entry fees is Rs 20 for an Indian national and Rs. 100 for a foreigner.
Where to stay: There are no hotels near Hemis national park. There are villages around the park where homestay facilities are available. The Hemis monastery also provides rooms for visitors to stay
10. The Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
This park is in the snowcapped mountain regions of Kullu. With coniferous forests, sloping hills and green landscapes, this park is the crowning glory of the Himalayan slopes.
How to get there: The starting point of the park is at Kullu Valley. Kullu is connected to most major cities by road.
Things to do: Take a walk among the clouds, breathe in fresh pollution free air, go on a trek among the forest lands and take a boat ride on the river Tirthan. Also camp under the stars
Species to see: The snow leopard, musk deer, primates, Himalayan pit viper
Opening/Closing times: The Park is open throughout the year. The entry fees is Rs. 50 for an Indian national and Rs. 200 for a foreign national.
Where to stay: Forest House Saipora which has a dormitory, library and also arranges biodiversity trails
11. Tadoba, Maharashtra
Tadoba is one of the largest national parks in Maharashtra. Very close to the city, Nagpur, Tadoba is most famous for its Tigers and Tadoba crocodiles.
How to get there: The park is very close to the city Nagpur. By rail, the closest railway station is Chandrapur.
Things to do: Go on the tiger safari and bird watching trails
Species to see: The Chimur Hills and Andhari sanctuary
Opening/Closing times: The park is open from 15th October to 30th June. The park is closed on Tuesdays and the timings are 6 am to 11 am and 3 pm to 6 pm. The entry fee is Rs. 10 for an adult and Rs. 5 for children
Where to stay: Svasara Jungle lodge and resorts, Tuli Tiger resort, The wildflower resort
12. Nanda Devi, Uttarakhand
Nanda Devi National Park is home to the Asiatic black bear. Adjoining the valley of flowers, Nanda Devi Park is a sight to behold.
How to get there: The nearest railway station is at Rishikesh. By road, the park can be accessed via Joshimath
Things to do: Try and scale the nanda devi peak, Enjoy the views from various hilltops and peaks, Take a walk in the alpine valley
Species to see: Asiatic black bear, blue sheep, Himalayan musk deer
Opening/Closing times: Best time to visit the park is between April and October.
Where to stay: There are very few accommodation options at Nanda Devi. Visitors can tay at hotels in Joshimath and Badrinath.
13. Khangchendzonga, Sikkim
Famous for the red panda, Tibetan antelopes and snow leopards, this national park gets its name from the Kanchenjunga mountain in Sikkim.
How to get there: The park can be accessed from the city Gangtok.
Things to do: See the many lakes and mountain peaks besides getting a glimpse of the Red Panda
Species to see: Musk deer, snow leopard, red panda
Opening/Closing times: The best time to visit is between April and May. Entry fee is Rs. 200 per head for an Indian national for the first seven days and Rs. 400 per head for a foreign national for the first seven days.
Where to stay: It is advisable to stay at hotels at Gangtok, given that very few accommodation options are available at the Park. Mayfair Spa and Resort, Suhim Portico, Orange Villa Resort
Further Explore: 15 Places to visit in India while you are still young
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