India is one of the most diverse countries in the world not only in its culture but also in biodiversity. The animals here have inspired many novels and stories, the most popular being The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling. India is home to tens of thousand species of trees, birds, insects and animals, with many of them being endangered. This has led to the establishment of over 500 National Parks and a steady rise in eco-tourism. Indian jungle safari tours have now become a popular adventure activity for people all over the globe. The Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant, Indian Rhinoceros, Gharial and the Indian Skimmer are a few of the species that have sparked the interest of vacationers with a green thumb. The tours are not just animal-centric but also based on the habitat. From the peaks of Himalayas to the sand dunes of Rajasthan, the rainforests of Arunachal Pradesh to ravines of the Chambal River, India offers diverse habitats for adventure activities and wildlife safaris.
Wildlife Tourism in India
Eco-tourism in the country is steadily gaining popularity with a wide variety of jungle resorts available for those discerning travellers. With innumerable wildlife tours, India stands close to Africa in wildlife tourism. People, especially from the large metropolises, are looking for a break from the pollution-filled city life and escape to greenery of the jungles. The crisp clean air, the tall green trees and the sounds of chirping birds are certainly a pleasant change from the busy cities. India’s diverse ecosystem is fascinating to explore. The thrill of spotting endangered animals is priceless. But these tours also play an important role in the conservation of the Indian forests. Eco-tourism has helped in bringing about an awareness of the threats faced by the flora and fauna in the country.
Jungle Resort in India
Hundreds of jungle resorts sprung up in the last decade. These resorts not only conduct safaris into the forests but also have a range of adventure sports to tickle the fancy of adrenaline junkies. Trekking on the hills, bird-watching and nature trails are some of the fun activities one can do in the jungle. The resorts also have other in-house recreational activities like rappelling, zip-lining, camping and river rafting.
The Indian Safari Game
Choosing the best jungle safari in India is a difficult task. With a host of animals to see in India, tiger destinations take the top spot. The Bengal Tiger is not only India’s national animal but also the face of wildlife conservation. The dry grasslands of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan is said to be a sure-choice for a sight of the majestic feline. The Jim Corbett National park comes second with an opposite habitat of tall Saal forest trees. The Pariyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala offers not only one of the largest tiger populations in the country but also a range of other animals such as the Nilgiri Tahr, Asiatic Elephant and Malabar Giant Squirrel.
More to See in India
Although the Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Elephant are the most sought-after animals, India is famous world over for many other species, a few are listed below:
The Indian One-horned Rhinoceros at Kaziranga National Park, Assam: The Kaziranga National Park has the highest population of the Indian Rhinoceros in the world. The forest has lush green tropical trees as well as tall grasslands and is located on the banks of the great Brahmaputra River.
Bengal Tiger and Saltwater Crocodile at Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, West Bengal: The Sundarbans is a unique mangrove forest located on the borders of West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the largest crocodile species in the world – the Saltwater Crocodile. What’s more is that the Bengal Tigers here are famous for being able to swim in the shallow waters of the mangroves.
Gharial at National Chambal Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh: The Gharial is a Critically Endangered species of crocodile that feeds exclusively on fish. The unique attribute of the National Chambal sanctuary is that it not only houses the largest population of this prehistoric croc but it is also India’s first river sanctuary. The Chambal River also hosts a large variety of birds including the Indian Skimmer, Lesser Flamingos, Sarus Crane and hundreds more.
Asiatic Lion at Gir Forest National Park, Gujurat: The Asiatic Lion is the one of the 2 species of Lions. The Gir National Park is the only place in the world that is a home to the king of jungle with just over 500 lions. The dry savannah-like landscape is unique to Gujarat and is home to several other animals like Bonelli’s Eagle, Pangolin, Four-horned Antelope and the Black Buck.
Birds at Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan: The semi-arid forests of the Keoladeo National Park are home to over 230 species of birds. It is India’s most popular bird sanctuaries. The avian fauna here include Painted Storks, Asian Open-billed Storks, Sarus Crane and the Imperial Eagle. Apart from birds, the Park has many other animal species like Nilgai, Sambar deer, Striped Hyena and the Monitor Lizard.