Rendezvous with lions and tigers and rhinos!
A tigress looking for a mate in Kanha National Park
Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is etched in the mind of every book lovers, - the dense forest, the wild animals, and the adventure of a single young boy amidst the realm of the unexplored. The book depicts the fantastic world of the jungle where every step is an adventure, a discovery and a unique harmony between the flora, fauna and the feral. In Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, The Jungle Book comes alive, and precisely so, as the book is inspired by Kanha National Park.
Stretching for more than 940 sq km in a horse-shoe shaped valley bound by the spurs of the Mekal range, the park presents a varied topography. The park abundant with sal (Shorea robusta) and bamboo forests, the lush grassy meadows, steep rocky ravines and the winding Surpan river is home to many different animals, birds, spiders and snakes. This national park is considered to be one of the most well maintained national park in Asia.
Kanha National Park is an ideal home for a
wide variety of endangered species.
Kanha boasts of about 22 species of mammals. However, the most magnificent of all is the tiger population. The best and the only way to enjoy the park and its inhabitants are by jeep safaris and occasional elephant safaris. Driving through the deep forests during the wee hours of the dawn, seeing the thick mist spiraling away with the first rays of the rising sun, the quivering of the sal leaves, the sudden ripples in the water bodies, looking out for the pugmarks in the moist dew- wet path, all magnifies the anticipation and excitement of a true jungle safari. One can watch many wild animals grazing in the woods and clearings in the forest, some attentive to the passing jeeps while others are completely oblivious to the thrill of the humans. Gaurs, bisons, sambars, barasinghas, monkeys, black bucks are easily spotted while sloth bear, leopards, hyena and jackals are rather difficult to detect.
Asiatic Lions find their unique habitat
at Sasan Gir, Gujarat
The most impressive experience in a national park or forest is spotting a tiger in its own natural habitat, - mighty and majestic, quite unlike the caged ones in the zoos. Apparently tigers are quite unaware of the awe that they rouse in humans. Visitors are often caught spellbound in presence of tigers and even cubs. It is a mixed sensation of awe, wonder, fear and fascination. It is not an unusual sight in Kanha to see a tiger crossing the road, - a perfect picture of elegance and regality, rather oblivious to the jeeps standing nearby filled with awe-struck visitors.
Experienced drivers and guides follow the majestic animal within a short distance, letting the tourists enjoy the timeless beauty of the Indian national animal for long. The animals as well as the visitors maintain a respectable distance from each other, letting each of them enjoy the other without intruding into others’ domain. It is indeed a truly impressive experience to be so near a tiger, look into its eyes and feel its power enthrall you. The roar of the tiger, the calls of the other animals, the cooing of birds, rustling of leaves, all build up to that mesmerizing atmosphere which leaves visitors hanker for more and more.
Everyone visiting Kanha national park has been enamoured with the indigenous beauty of the nature and the fine balance between the flora and fauna and the feral and they all come back time and again to reinvent that same magic, that same thrill, the same astonishment as felt on the very first visit.
A golden sunrise at Kanha National Park.
Benefits of an early morning safari.
Jim Corbett National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Manas National Park, Periyar National Park, are other equally magnificent national parks which are famous for tiger spotting, and other animals.
These elegant black bucks were no way interested
in giving us a pose and oblige us.
In the southwest of the peninsular state of Gujarat, lies the 116 square-mile Gir Forest, created to protect the last wild population of lion outside the African regions. Since 1913 when the Lion population over here fell drastically to just 20 animals, the numbers have increased to around 411. The Asiatic lion is slightly smaller than its African cousin is and its mane is also smaller. Apart from the lions, Gir houses different species of animals, reptiles, birds, insects and more than 400 different kinds of plants.
Kaziranga National Park in Assam, North East India is picturesque forest which hosts two-thirds of the world's one-horned Rhinoceroses! The determined efforts of the Indian government and wildlife officials, the almost extinct population of one-horned Rhinos has risen from merely 12 in early 1990's to more than a thousand Rhinos now. Kaziranga has a sizeable population of elephants and wild buffaloes. Other most notable wildlife of Kaziranga National Park includes the majestic Tigers, the main predator of the sanctuary and the only natural enemy of the Rhinos.
An exciting and enjoyable elephant safari is another major attraction for tourists visiting Kaziranga National Park. As the park is covered with extensive and tall elephant grass, the natural beauty and wildlife of Kaziranga can best be explored and enjoyed from the top of an elephant's back. Elephant Safari is the safest and most pleasurable way to observe the activities of the Indian Rhino, Tigers and the herds of Wild Elephants.
A curious Gaur calf looks at our vehicle.
In no hurry to let us pass.
Animals comes first in their homes
Bird lovers don’t need to feel left out, as they too can have a gala time visiting many beautiful bird sanctuaries all over the country. Due to the varied topography and climate, India is endowed with multiple species of bird, both Indian as well as migratory. India boasts of a wide number of birds, almost 1200 different species. Peacock is the national bird of India, which is found in many sanctuaries and other national parks. It is at its spectacular form during the monsoon and mating season when the colourful plumage is opened out. Amidst the verdant green foliage of parks, peacock plumage looks as if a painter’s easel has been dropped on the bird. It is truly magnificent.
Keoladeo National Park, popularly known as Bharatpur bird sanctuary in Rajasthan is considered to be the most famous in India. Thousands of rare birds including the endangered Siberian Crane come to Bharatpur almost every winter. Ruddy Shelducks, Gulls, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Coots, Garganey, Tufted Ducks and Common Pochard are also abundantly seen in this national park. Greater spotted eagle has recently been recorded breeding here, a new breeding record for the species in India.
A painted stork perched on a tree at
Kokkarebelluru, a small village near Mysore.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kerala is home to many migratory birds and a paradise for ornithologists and bird lovers. Apart from Siberian crane, some birds from the Himalayas come down here too during the winter months. The best way to enjoy and view the birds is in the early morning, slowly cruising through the water in a houseboat. One can enjoy sighting large number of migratory birds like Flycatcher, Teal, Siberian Stork, Crane, Parrots and Wood Beetle.
Ranganathittu and Kokrebellur are two marvelous bird sanctuaries in Karnataka. Mugger crocodiles soak themselves in water while painted storks, open-billed stork, pelicans, kingfishers, and ibises, dominate the treetops. Common birds like cormorant, egrets, terns, darters, and herons are also abundantly seen. The sight and sound of birds fill the sanctuary up with a noisy serenity. The small village of Kokrebellur, is dotted with migratory birds like spot-billed pelicans and painted storks. Apart from them many other birds can be seen dominating the treetops.
Elephant grass are called not without a reason.
They can grow as tall, sometimes taller than a
fully grown tusker. If a tiger crouches in them,
you can never be able to spot them.
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat is the largest wetland sanctuary in India and welcomes thousands of birds and tourists every year. The sight, sound, colour and behaviour of the birds are best enjoyed when assisted by experienced guides especially during the wee hours of the dawn.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is Goa is one of the best bird sanctuaries in India. It is one of the smallest bird sanctuaries where flying sparrows, beautiful peafowl, parrots, pelican, Indian giant squirrel and other rare species of fauna can be spotted.Sultanpur National Park, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, Mayani Bird Sanctuary, are other famous bird sanctuaries in India.
The forests and national parks and the sanctuaries in India are all picturesque in their own individual ways, each offering breathtaking views of nature and wild life in perfect harmony. One need not be an ardent animal or bird lover to enjoy the peace of the forests interrupted by the cacophony of birds and animals. Everyone should attempt at least once to visit any of such sanctuaries to feel the vibes of the nature and experience the yet unexplored.
A 3 months old hatchling of Open Billed Stork
at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Mysore.
You can see many more of our wonderful wild life photographs in the galleries.