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Wild Life Sanctuaries in India

Because India is so rich in natural habitat here are the indian wild life sanctuaries that I present.

The Sariska Tiger Reserve - Rajasthan

The Sariska Tiger Reserve covers an area of 800 square km. The landscape of Sariska is dominated by the sharp cliffs and narrow valleys of the Aravali mountain range. The forest is a dry deciduous forest. Within the jungle can be found exciting ruins of medieval buildings - 10th and 11th century temples, a 17th century castle...

Prominent fauna : Tiger, Sambhar. Chital. Nilgai (blue bull), Four-horned antelope, wild boar, hyena and jungle cat

Best time to visit : December to May

Distances : 200 km from Delhi, 107 km from Jaipur, 37 km from Alwar. Sariska is very conveniently located between Delhi and Jaipur when travelling by road - an ideal stopoff point for 2 nights, far from the city hustle. The Sariska Palace, The RTDC Tiger Den Tourist bungalow and Siliserh Palace Hotel offer comfortable accommodation in the middle of the jungle.

Here's a possible itinerary.

Since Sariska is almost equidistant from both Delhi and Jaipur, this can be done in either direction.

Day 01 : Leave Jaipur after breakfast. Drive 150 km to Sariska arriving in time for lunch. Relax at your hotel after lunch. Late afternoon your jeep and naturalist will report to take you into the Park for a safari. Return after sundown for a relaxed dinner.
Day 02 : Dawn safari into into the jungle again. Return for breakfast. Visit Alwar a sleepy town, 30 km away. The fort is definitely worth a look. Return to the hotel for a short siesta before it's jungle time again - another safari into the Park. Dinner and overnight.
Day 03 : Perhaps another foray into the forest ? Breakfast, and then it's time to head out to Delhi - 165 km away, where your tour ends.
TOUR COSTS : From USD 325.00 per person based on 2 persons sharing a room. Price includes all meals, safaris and transport by private car to/from Delhi/Jaipur plus vsit to Alwar.

Corbett National Park - Nainital

Corbett National Park at the foothills of the Himalyas was established in 1936 as the Hailey National Park, India's first National Park and the first to come under Project Tiger. Later it was renamed the Corbett National Park in honour of the legendary Jim Corbett, a woodsman par excellence who spent many years in this area. His book " The Man Eaters of Kumaon " makes a fascinating, if chilling, companion in the jungle !

Spread over 520 sq km Corbett is characterised by dense forest interspersed with broad open grasslands ( called "chaurs" ) and the ever present river Ramganga, winding its sinous way through the sanctuary - ideal country for the tiger and its natural prey. The best way to see the jungle is on elephant back - the ultimate 4-wheel drive vehicle !! You could also hire a jeep and a naturalist to take you around tracking elephants, tigers, leopards, crocodiles, wild boar, hog deer, spotted deer and a wide variety of birds.

Location : 300 km from Delhi

Best time to visit : December to March. The Park is closed from June to November.

Accommodation : A wide variety from the 5 star Tiger Tops to the basic Forest Rest House in the Park, with many mid-budget choices in between.

Minimum stay recommended : 2 to 3 nights.

Kanha national Park - Mandla

Notified as a protected area in 1955, the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh is one of the finest wild life parks in the country. Spread out over an area of 940 sq. km., situated in a horse shoe shaped valley, the Park is home to over 22 different species of mammals and some 200 bird species. Sal and bamboo forests cover large areas, interspersed with grasslands. Over the years the animals at Kanha have become bolder, making the Park excellent for wildlife viewing and photography.

Prominent fauna : Tiger, Leopard, Barasingha or 12-horned antelope, Gaur or the Indian Bison, Sambar, Nilgai, Black buck, Sloth bear, Dhole ( wild dog), Barking deer, Wild boar, Langur.

The Park, like most National Parks, is closed during the monsoons ( 01 July to 31 October )

Nearest airport : Nagpur ( 226 km.)

Bandhavgarh national park - Madhya pradesh

Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh is a comparatively small National Park - only 448 sq. km. - but abundantly stocked with game. The tiger population at Bandhavgarh is probably the highest in India. Formerly the hunting reserve of the princely state of Rewa, the Park comprises the area where the first white tigers were discovered in the wild.

The terrain comprises great rocky hills rising sharply from the swampy and densely forested valley bottoms. The highest of these 32 hills is crowned by the 2000 year old Bandhavgarh fort, rising almost 2500 feet above mean sea level. The valleys around bottom out into swampy meadows - ideal for wildlife viewing on elephant back or from jeeps. Scattered around the fort are numerous caves containing shrines and ancient Sanskrit inscriptions.

Prominent fauna :

There are more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds. The carnivores include jackals, foxes, hyenas, leopards, tigers, tigers and more tigers !! Their prey include wild pigs, spotted deer, Sambhar, Chausingha or the 4 horned antelope, nilgai and chinkara. Kites, eagles, vultures, teals, egrets, ibis and cranes are some of the more common birds. The reptilian species include cobras, kraits, vipers and pythons.

Nearest airport : Khajuraho ( 235 km.)

Kabini River Lodge - karnataka

Kabini River Lodge run by the Karnataka Tourism is a delightful place set on the banks of the river Kabini, dammed to create a large backwaters teeming with bird life. An old hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Mysore, the ethnic resort with colonial style bungalows, cottages and tented accommodation offers a tranquil getaway.

Home to the Indian bison ( locally known as "Gaur"), wild boar, elephants, leopards, chital, barking deer and the occasional tiger, the resort situated on the edge of the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary is also famous for its teeming birdlife. Early morning jeep safaris into the jungle with one of the excellent resident naturalists or a a ride on the river Kabini in a coracle ( a native boat shaped like a round, flat basket ) provides ample opportunity for wildlife sightings.

A well equipped library stocked with wildlife books and videos provide hours of entertainment and knowledge. Pedal boats are also available to spend lazy afternoons drifting ... the tree stumps protruding from the water provide surrealistic perches for the myriad birds.

Location : 220 km from Bangalore, 80 km from Mysore.

Best time to visit : October to March. The park is open the year round. Minimum stay recommended - 2 nights.

Costs : USD 110.00 per person per night on a twin-share basis. The good thing about this place is that ther are no "extras," except for your bar bills. The tariff includes boarding, lodging, morning and evening safaris by jeep into the jungle with a naturalist, park and camera fees, coracle and elephant ride and all taxes.

We can pick you up from the Bangalore airport and transfer you to Kabini and back by a private car.

Ranthambhor National Park - Sawai Madhopur

The Ranthambhor National Park located near Sawai Madhopur, 165 km from Jaipur forms a vital link in Project Tiger initiated by Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Spread over 392 sq km the park is famous for its plentiful tiger sightings.

The Ranthambhor fort, impregnable in defence against the maruding Alauddin Khilji until a traitor opened the door to him, still provides an awesome spectacle. The inhabitants of the forest include tigers, sloth bears, leopards, jackals, foxes, sambhar, crocodiles, langurs and a wide variety of birds.

Location : 165 km from Jaipur which is the nearest airport. Nearest railhead is Sawai Madhopur (12 km)

Best time to visit : October to March. The Park is closed from June to October. While May and June are hot, the increasing scarcity of water as summer approaches makes wildlife sighting easier as the animals flock to the waterholes.

Minimum stay recommended : 2 to 3 nights.

Here's a possible itinerary from Jaipur :

After breakfast depart by car for Tiger Country - Ranthambhor. Enroute visit the quaint town of Tonk - famous for watermelons and applique felt rugs. Arrive Ranthambhor in time for lunch and transfer to your jungle lodge. At dusk you will take a jeep safari in the heart of the Sanctuary to track the Royal Bengal Tiger! An opportunity to discover other wildlife which abounds here - spotted deer, sambar, nilgai, wild boar... Return to the lodge for supper by a roaring fireside, and retire with the sounds of the jungle in your ears.

Be up early at dawn for another foray into the Sanctuary by jeep. Return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast after an exciting trip in the jungle. Relax in the tranquil atmosphere of the lodge and learn interesting facts from the resident naturalist. A safari at dusk will take you on another exciting trail of discovery. Overnight at the lodge.

After breakfast depart 165 kms by road to Jaipur for convenient connections to Delhi or Mumbai.

TOUR COSTS : From USD 290.00 per person for a minimum of 2 persons travelling together. Cost includes all meals in the sanctuary, jungle safaris as mentioned, a private car for transfers between Jaipur and Ranthambhor

Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary - Bharatapur

The Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary in Bharatapur, 55 km away from Agra on the Agra - Jaipur road is home to thousands of resident and migratory birds - among them the incresingly rare Siberian Cranes - eagerly awaited visitors who stop by during their annual migration. Spread out over 30 sq. km., the sanctuary nurtures over 375 different species of birds - egrets, storks, ibises, herons, kingfishers, spoonbills, saras cranes, geese, teals, mallards and the predatory birds - tawny eagles, spotted eagles, fishing eagles, the Brahminy and the pariah kites - who are attracted to the fresh water marsh by the rich availability of prey.

Location : 176 km from Delhi, 55 km from Agra, 175 km from Jaipur.

Nearest airport : Agra

Best time to visit : October to February.

Accommodation : ITDC Bharatpur Forest Lodge ( in the sanctuary ), Laxmi Vilas Palace, RTDC Saras Tourist Bungalow and a number of hotels/guest houses a short distance away.

Bharatpur is a small town and moving around is easy - you can walk, or take a cycle rickshaw. No vehicles are permitted in the park. You could hire a bicycles or a cycle rickshaw. The rickshaw pullers make excellent guides ! They've picked up a smattering of many languages are are pretty well informed on the birds in the park.

Minimum stay recommended - 2 nights.

Gir National Park - sassangir (Gujarat)

Gir National Park is the probably the last refuge of the Asiatic lion; a terrain composed of steep rocky hills,deep ravines and occasional stretches of grassland irrigated by many rivers. The Park supports a mixed semi-arid deciduous forest.

Over the years the lions have got pretty used to people and sightings are plentiful. As a matter of fact the lion population at Gir has been growing steadily and efforts are on to relocate some of the animals to ease the pressure on Gir. An alternate home may be found for some in Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh.

The closest airport is Rajkot ( 150 km ) and the railhead is Sasangir/Junagadh. The Taj group runs the Gir Forest Lodge - an oasis of luxury in the dry countryside. Cheaper accommodation is also available.

The legendary Somnath temple, renowned for its wealth, was sacked and plundered 7 times by Mehmud of Ghazni. A mere 45 km from Gir, the temple is a major pilgrim centre even today.

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