India boasts so many incredible sites, from the Taj Mahal and Hawa Mahal to the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, it can be easy to overlook the magnificence of the country’s natural beauty and wildlife in an attempt to fit in as many landmarks as possible.
Some of the world’s most majestic creatures call India’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems home — lions, tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses, leopards, numerous species of monkeys, birds and reptiles — the list goes on.
One of the first things most visitors to this fascinating country discover is you don’t necessarily have to travel into the wild to see some these amazing creatures — cows and monkeys roam freely on bustling city streets while elephants and camels can be seen paraded along the avenues by caretakers on a regular basis.
This juxtaposition of wildlife in an urban setting is not, however, indicative of the animal’s natural environments. India proudly boasts numerous wildlife habitats, nature preserves and national parks that give visitors incredible opportunities to view the country’s wildlife in their native splendor.
Ranthambore National Park, located in the southeastern region of the northern state of Rajasthan, is one of the most well-known national parks in the country. Ranthambore is best known for its tigers, but is also home to leopards, hyenas, sloth bears and several primate species like macaques and langurs. This experience is perfect to include in your family itinerary when planning a visit to the nearby city of Jaipur to visit Hawa Mahal and the Amer Fort.
Kanha National Park, located in central India, is well-known for its diverse natural beauty. Kanha’s claim to fame: It was the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and with a trip to this beautiful location, it is easy to see why. The park is home to native specimens of tigers and several species of deer such as the chital, sambhar and barashinga, not to mention an impressive assortment of birds such as herons, egrets, owls and peacocks. The park’s dedicated preservation efforts make it a beautiful place to experience wildlife as well as the incredible natural beauty of the diverse landscape, including grassy meadows, lazy rivers, deep ravines and lush forests.
Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, in the western coastal state of Gujarat, is known as the last home of the Asiatic lion. India is the only place where you can see both lions and tigers in the wild and this national park is dedicated to preserving the country’s fragile lion population. The park also proudly protects a multitude of other species, such as leopards, crocodiles, jackals and civets.
The best time of year for wildlife viewing is October–July, as remaining months are monsoon season and not recommended for tourism. Keep in mind, during the summer months the weather gets quite hot, making early spring ideal.
Tours to wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves and national parks can easily be arranged by your hotel, including travel plans and knowledgeable tour guides.
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