India is home to some of the most amazing animals on the planet. The Indian National Parks need to be put on your bucket list as soon as possible!
Pulicat Lake – Bird Sanctuary
The Pulicat is a saline backwater lying on the border of Andhra and Tamil Nadu. It is the second brackish water lagoon in India, the first being the Chilka lake in Orissa. It is separated from the sea by the barrier island of Sriharikota. The climate of the lagoon coastline is characterized by tropical monsoons.
Three rivers feed the lagoon. They are the Arani River from the southern tip, the Kalangi river from the northwest and the Swarnamukhi river from the northern end. Some smaller streams also feed the lagoon.
How to reach Pulicat
The town of Pulicat is connected with the National Highway, NH5. It is near the Sriharikota Atomic Missile Range (S.H.A.R), situated in the state of Andhra Pradesh. You can also reach here from Chennai.
What is the ideal time to visit Pulicat?
It is a huge lake spreading across an area of 500 acres. The ideal time to visit Pulicat is between the months of October and March. The peak months being the months of January and February. This is the time when a lot of migratory birds from around the globe can be seen in this area. The town of Pulicat is known for its scenic beauty and Dutch cemetery. You can visit the lake either before 9 AM or after 3 PM. There is a 10 km muddy road from the nearby Vepamedu village (island). Taking a boat ride from the village is a very adventurous experience.
Useful travel tips
- If you go in the peak season when a lot of migratory birds visit, you better take an 8x binocular with you to watch the birds. This is sufficient enough. During odd seasons though you may need a more powerful binocular.
- It is better you make your own arrangements for breakfast, lunch as well as dinner, as there are no good eateries in and around the area.
- The official boat riding services are offered from Tada, a nearby town. However better private boat services are offered by local fishermen. You can go near the island mounds through this boat service. The private operators charge somewhere around 100- 150 Rs per hour. It is worth it.
- The Andhra Pradesh Tourism and environment education offices offer very good guidance as to where to go for bird watching. The connecting road of Pulicat and SHAR also has a lot of birds.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – Indian National Parks
One of the best bird parks in the world, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Keoladeo Ghana National Park) is a reserve that offers shelter to animals as well. Along with nesting native water- birds, migratory waterbirds, and waterside birds, this sanctuary is also populated by Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, and the Boar. Over 300 species of birds are found in this little wildlife park of 29-sq-km out of which 11-sq-km are marshes and the rest is grassland. Keoladeo, the name is derived from an ancient Hindu temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, which stands at the center of the park. ‘Ghana’ means dense, which refers to the thick forest, which used to cover the area.
Whilst many of India’s parks have been developed from the hunting preserves of princely India, Keoladeo, widely known as Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary, is possibly the only case where the habitation has been created by a maharaja. In earlier days, Bharatpur town used to be inundated repeatedly every monsoon. In 1760, an earthen dam (Ajan Dam) was built to save the town from this annual rage of nature. The depression created by the extraction of soil for the dam was cleared and this became the Bharatpur Lake.
At the start of this century, this lake was developed and was separated into several portions. A system of small dams, sluice gates, etc., was created to manage water levels in different sections. This became the hunting ground of the Bharatpur royalty, and one of the top duck shooting wetlands in the world. Hunting was forbidden by the mid-60s. The area was declared a national park on 10 March 1982 and acknowledged as a World Heritage Site in December 1985.
Places of Interest
Bharatpur Government Museum
One of the prominent places after the Bharatpur sanctuary is the Government Museum of Bharatpur, which gives a preview into the past royal grandeur of Bharatpur.
Not very far from the museum is the Bharatpur Palace, a wonderful architectural blend of the Mughal and the Rajput era.
The insurmountable Lohagarh Fort, which remained unconquered in spite of several attacks by the British regime, is an interesting place to see.
Deeg Palace: Situated just 32-km away from Bharatpur is the Deeg Palace. A strong and enormous fortress, Deeg Palace was the summer way out for the rulers of Bharatpur and is house to numerous beautiful palaces and gardens.
Best Time to Visit
Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary is open all through the year; however, the ideal visiting months are from August-November for inhabitant breeding birds and October- February for migrant birds.
Air: The nearest airport is situated at Agra, 56-km from Bharatpur.
Rail: Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with all the major cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Agra.
Road: The first-rate network of roadway services connects Bharatpur to all the major cities of Rajasthan and its neighboring states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana.
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is a birding delight; the grasslands are a raptor country which can be observed on safari makes it a truly remarkable experience. These include the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-Shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Grey-Headed Fishing Eagle, Himalayan Griffon, etc.
Large numbers of migratory birds come down on the parks lakes and marshy areas during winters, including Greylag Geese, Bar-Headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Falcated Duck, Red-Crested Pochard and Northern Shoveller. Besides the great one-horned Indian Rhino, the additional most important wild attractions include a large inhabitants of Indian Elephants, Indian Bison, Swamp Deer or Barasingha, Hog Deer, Sloth Bears, Tigers, Leopard Cats, Jungle Cats, Otters, Hog Badgers, Capped Langurs, Gibbons, Wild Boar, Jackal, Wild Buffalo, Pythons, Monitor, etc.
The Park is situated on the banks of the mighty and powerful Brahmaputra River in the far North East of India, Assam, it covers an area of about 430-sq-km with its swamps and tall groves of elephant grass making it the idyllic locale for the Indian One-Horned Rhino. Due to immeasurable poaching of this exquisite animal, the Kaziranga National Park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1940.
Places of Interest
The enormous open country makes Kaziranga National Park accessible and wildlife viewing quite pleasurable. One can leave at the crack of dawn for an elephant ride. Certified and trained Mahouts who direct the visitors through the park instruct the Elephants. One may well see wild Elephant herds wandering around or Indian Rhinos going past visitors casually. Since Kaziranga wildlife Sanctuary is without difficulty accessible, it provides a possibility of seeing animals in the wild at close quarters, making a trip to this National Park a truly extraordinary experience.
Sightseeing in Kaziranga
Visitors can leisurely walk through the lush coffee and rubber plantations of the close by Karbi Anglong. Or visit the Karbi villages, meet up the Karbi people and see their way of living.
Best Time to Visit
Mid-November to early April is the best time to visit the park. The Brahmaputra River breaks open during the monsoons flooding the low-lying grasslands which cause the animals to migrate from one area to another within the Kaziranga National Park.
Air: The nearest airport is located at Guwahati, which is 217-km away from the park. The other airport is located at Jorhat, 97-km from Kaziranga.
Rail: The closest railhead is Furkating, situated 75-km away from Kaziranga National Park.
Road: Public and private buses stop on their way to and from Guwahati, Tezpur, and Upper Assam. Some private buses also save seats reserved for Kaziranga passengers. (100-km), Raidighi (76-km), Canning (64-km), and Najat (92-km), which are all close to Sunderbans and have access to the riverside waterways leading to it.
Corbett National Park – Indian National Parks
Placed in the foothills of the Himalayas is the grandiose and extravagant Corbett National Park. Home to a variety of flora and fauna, famous for its wildlife populace of Tigers, Leopards, and Elephants. Corbett national park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park.
It is India’s first national park and the first sanctuary to come under Project Tiger.110 tree species, 50 mammals’ species, 580 bird species, and 25 reptile species are found here. Corbett is a haven for Tigers as well as its prey that includes four kinds of Deer, Wild Boar, and some smaller animals. Leopards are typically found in the mountainous areas of the park. Some nocturnal wild cats found here are the Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, and Fishing Cat. Elephants are amongst one of the major attractions of Jim Corbett Park.
Once a well-liked and popular hunting ground of the British, this 201 square mile park was named in honor of the late Jim Corbett, the renowned hunter-naturalist turned author and photographer who spent most of his years in this region and contributed in setting up the park. With the assistance of the World Wildlife Fund, Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973 and it takes pride in being one of the first tiger reserves in the country.
Places of Interest
The Chital, Sambal, and various other Deer species find retreat in the Savannah grasslands known as the Maidan, the rear of the campground to the south and Tigers are occasionally seen looking for prey. In the two-hour elephant rides, make an effort to encourage your Mahout or Elephant driver to venture in, as they can be quite thrilling. Coming in at dusk or dawn is ideal; you possibly won’t come across much more than deer among the tall grass in the day with temperatures running high. Tiger-sightings are hardly any but you may be pleased to find fresh pug marks.
Located in the rich farm belt of Terai, on the southeastern borders of the great forests, the full of life and activity market town of Ramnagar is the focal administrative center for Corbett National Park and Project Tiger. Ramnagar also makes an interesting fishing base camp. At Lohachaur, 15-km north alongside the River Kosi, good anglers are in with a possibility of landing the legendary Mahseer, a fearsome battling River Carp. Permits need to be sought from the Project Tiger office in Ramnagar; most resorts as well arrange all-inclusive fishing trips.
Jeep Safari in Corbett
Jeep Safari is the most suitable and convenient way to travel within the Corbett national park, which can be rented for park trips from Ramnagar, from the KMVN Tourist Lodge and other travel agencies. A single bus per day goes to Dikhala from Ramnagar making a stopover at the Forest Rest houses en route. Banking and other important tourist facilities are accessible at Ramnagar and Lucknow. A pair of binoculars, staying quiet and no bright colors and a strict no usage of strong perfumes need to be ensured.
Air: Phoolbagh, Pantnagar is the closest airport. Delhi is the nearest international airport.
Rail: Ramnagar is on the broad gauge track from where the road transport options have to be availed to reach the park.
Road: Buses arrive every half hour after the eight hour trip from Delhi; Delhi Transport Corporation runs a semi-deluxe service, and most of the alternatives are pretty much basic.
Which is your favorite of the Indian National Parks? Let us know in the comments!