Go on a wildlife excursion of Bandhavgarh National Park

One of the largest national parks in India, Bandhavgarh is a massive natural habitat for wild animals. Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, the Bandhavgarh National Park spreads across an area of 105 sq. km., with an extension into the forests of Katni, thus covering a total area of 802 sq. km.

Image source: Wikipedia

The park has quite a history associated with it. Prior to the independence of India, the entire forest area served as a hunting ground for the Maharajahs of the state and their guests. Even after it was declared a national park in 1968, no conservation policies were introduced. Eventually, after the Wildlife Protection Act was constituted in 1972, the Project Tiger was initiated which worked in favor of saving the diminishing species of tigers. If you’re keen on spotting tigers in the wild, book a taxi service in Allahabad.

Of wildlife and vegetation

This natural habitat is rich in biodiversity. With rippling streams cutting through the wide valleys are interspersed with grasslands and dense Sal forests, Bandhavgarh is a paradise for wilderness lovers. The thick forests of deciduous vegetation like Saja, Salai, Dhobin and bamboo flank the forest areas.

Bandhavgarh National Park has been a huge breeding ground for Indian leopards and various species of deer. Additionally, the park has a high density of Royal Bengal Tigers. There are about 50 tigers with famous names in the entire forest area, as of 2012. Featured in National Geographic, the tiger population of Bandhavgarh have become the highlight of this habitat.

Apart from the ferocious beasts, Bandhavgarh also houses more than 250 species of birds, about 80 species of butterflies and a huge number of reptiles- snakes, forest lizards, salamanders and more.

Image source: Wikipedia

Explorers and bird watchers have recorded a total of 350 species of avifauna. Some of the notable ones are the Malabar pied hornbills, falcons, four kinds of vultures and more. In the monsoon, the grasslands and the water banks become the breeding grounds for Sarus cranes.

On any given day, you can do a guided jungle safari to explore the dense forests of Bandhavgarh. And unlike many national parks in India, this one offers easy sightings of Sambar and barking deer, spotted deer, Indian leopards, Nilgai (wild buffalos), Indian wolves, grey mongoose, sloth bear, striped hyena among others.

Fort of the forest

In the middle of the wilderness, on an 800-meter high cliff, sits the historic Bandhavgarh Fort. In fact, the national park derived its name from the fort itself. Though in ruins, the fort makes for a panoramic view of the surrounding forests and landscape. If you so dare and are keen on exploring this fort, you can do a short trek to see the remains of a dynasty that once ruled the region.

The fort also has a history of its own. It is said that this fortress and its surrounding premises served as a kingdom to three or four dynasties: the Mauryas, Vakatakas, Dengars, Kalachuris and finally the Baghels. Until, in 1935, when the inhabitants abandoned the fortress and the kingdom.

Reaching Bandhavgarh

Image source: Wikipedia

Jabalpur airport in Madhya Pradesh is the closest and major point of travel for Bandhavgarh National Park. You can opt for any of the daily running flights to Jabalpur city from any of the major tier 1 and tier 2 cities in India and then book a cab from Jabalpur to Bandhavgarh. Alternatively, you can opt for a train journey. The nearest railway stations from Bandhavgarh are Katni and Umaria. For touring around the fort and forests, most jungle resorts and hotels arrange for a jeep service.

The wild has a charm of its own and exploring the forests of a natural habitat of such magnanimity can be of a thrill of another level- something you might not know till you reach there.

A Nature Lovers Guide to Wildlife in Tadoba

The beast that stalks the Indian forests, the undisputed king, is the Bengal tiger. This most legendary of predators is slowly becoming the stuff of legend in many parts of the continent, and India is one of the last bastions of the largest cat in the world. Indias Project Tiger Reserves are famed and we have watched them documented in countless nature shows. In real life, though, sighting a tiger can often be a hit or miss game. From a wildlife enthusiasts perspective, there are certain reserves where one is more likely to encounter the animal and Tadoba is one of them.

Maharashtra’s pride, the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is the largest in the state. Nagpur and Chandrapur are the two major towns near the park. The rugged terrain and thick forests spread more than 1,700 square kilometers, making it a prime habitat for many species.

Image source: Wikipedia

Animals of Tadoba

There are currently more than 80 tigers in the core area of Tadoba National Park. This population thrives because of an abundance of prey present in the area, along with an organized conservation effort by park authorities. Some of the other animals you will come across in your Tadoba safaris are spotted deer –  a favorite food of the tigers, sambar deer, and the nilgai.

Leopards and the Indian wild dog, or dhole, are two other major predators of Tadoba. Striped hyenas and langurs are also found in Tadoba. Tadoba Lake is one of the major landscape highlights here and a domain of the Indian mugger or crocodile. Other reptiles found here include monitor lizards and terrapins.

Image source: Wikipedia

Birds of Tadoba

Bird lovers will rejoice in Tadoba; there are close to 200 species found here. The early morning safaris are a great time to enjoy some rare bird sightings as the weather is much cooler. Some of the species found here include the crested honey buzzard, the paradise flycatcher and many woodpecker species. The area around the lake is an ideal place to glimpse raptors and waterfowl. There are many species of eagles found here as well, such as the grey-headed fish eagle, a specialist fish hunter, and the crested serpent eagle, which as the name suggests hunts snakes. The black-headed ibis is another iconic Indian bird that you will find on the lakeside.

Image source: Wikipedia

Safari Experiences

You can explore the park in open-top Gypsy safaris and if you are a photography enthusiast, there are fewer places that rival Tadoba for wildlife shots. There are three separate zones for safaris in the national park and the timings change according to the time of the year. Safaris happen in the early mornings and late afternoons.

A Short Getaway Alternative
Rent a car in Nagpur and head off to the countryside: some of the attractions include Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and the hill station of Idukki. There are many Nagpur to Tadoba cabs that will allow you to have the complete backwaters experience.

Mumbai for the nature lover

If there’s one thing that we all associate with the city of Mumbai is the population, pollution and pandemonium. Being the busiest metropolis of the country, you would hardly expect a healthy amount of greenery amidst this concrete jungle. But we have good news for the ardent lovers of nature and all things natural. Believe it or not, the City of Dreams has safely kept a number of green zones with scenic natural beauty, in its deepest corners. If you’re looking to explore Maximum City’s green pockets, we recommend booking a taxi in Mumbai for the ultimate experience.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Image source: Wikipedia

Spread across 40 sq. miles of forested areas, this park is the largest cover of lush greenery in Mumbai and the quietest zone of the bustling city. Home to innumerable flora and fauna, this park has evolved to become Mumbai’s very own natural retreat. Experience the magic of nature with a hiking, trekking or walking expedition across the natural trails, lakes and caves. For the photography fans, this is the perfect place to capture the wild side of nature, where you might randomly spot a leopard, deer, monkeys and other animals taking shelter within its dense foliage.

Ranibagh

Spanning an area of 53 acres, Ranibagh or ‘Jijamata Udyan’ is Mumbai’s only heritage botanical garden. Established under the British Raj, about 150 years ago, this extent of greenery was developed in honor of Queen Victoria, as a conservatory to save the city’s unique foliage of its time. This completely natural reserve houses more than 850 species of plants, which includes at least 286 varieties of trees like Baobab, Indian coral tree, fig tree and more. If you are in time, you might be able to spot the Indian Flying Fox- the largest Indian bat species. Apparently, this botanical garden houses their entire colony. Open from 9.30am to 5.30pm, Ranibagh is a must-visit for a dose of greenery.

Sewri Mangrove Park

Image source: Wikipedia

Far down south of Mumbai, in the area of Byculla, you will find the Sewri Mangrove Park- a natural habitat of migrating flamingoes. Every year from November to March, thousands of flamingoes and other migratory birds find home in this jetty landing area of South Mumbai. If you are a bird-lover, then Flamingo watching is a must-do activity for your winter months. For a better viewing, drop by early morning or just before sunset to witness the convention of these pink feathery beauties. Joining the pink team, are other avian members like the Black-headed Ibis, Western Reef Egret, Sandpiper, Herons, Cranes, Swallows and, if you are lucky, you can spot some more exotic species.  

Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

Image source: Wikipedia

Situated on the northern border of Borivali National Park, this sanctuary acts as a corridor between the park and the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. With a healthy mix of dense and light forested trails, this natural reserve is the perfect place for hiking, trail walking and bird-watching. Explore Tungareshwar in monsoon for the best experience of lush greenery and spot exclusive birds like the Rufous Treepie, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Crested Serpent Eagle, Brown-headed Barbet and more.

Yeoor Hills

Image source: Wikipedia

For a weekend day trip or a refreshing change from the hustle bustle of the city, drive down to Yeoor Hills in Thane- on another edge of the Borivali National Park. If you thought there can’t be extraordinary trees in this concrete jungle, then, the Yeoor Hills will prove you wrong with its clusters of bamboo, boar, apple, mango, red pine, amla, black currant, tamarind, turmeric, lotus, jackfruit almond and more such species of plants.

Next time, when you need a green therapy, hit one of these places to soothe your eyes and bask in the freshness of nature.

Explore National Parks around Mysore

Mysore City is the former capital and a vibrant cultural hub of the state of Karnataka. Popularly known as the city of kings during its prime, Mysore or Mysuru is a popular region full of history and tradition. The city is also situated close to some of the most bio-diverse regions of the nation. This includes numerous breathtaking national parks that can be accessed in numerous ways including the renting of outstation cabs in Mysore.

Bandipur National Park

The world famous Bandipur national park and tiger reserve is one of the most visited regions in Southern India, known for being a center involved in the efforts for rehabilitation and repopulation of tigers, Bandipur also hosts numerous endangered forms of habitation other than tigers which include:

  • Sloth Bears
  • Leopards
  • Asian Elephants
  • Dhole
  • Gaur

This national park plays host to over 30 Tigers, 3,000 Asian elephants and has an area of over 874 square kilometers. Having cities like Bangalore (215km), Ooty (70km) and Mysore (80km) Bandipur national park is one of the most well preserved and efficiently run natural reserves in the country. Situated between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, this reserve is separated by Nagarhole national park near the Kabini Reservoir. The most picturesque manner to travel to this region and this world-famous national park is by either hiring cabs from Mysore to Bandipur or finding some car rentals that allow for a more leisure journey. The best time to visit Bandipur National Park is around the months of November to February, this ensures the monsoons have passed and the weather clears up during the winter months which allow for a better opportunity to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park used to be the official hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Mysore before it was converted into a sanctuary in 1955. It later got the official status of a national park in 1988. It is situated in the north-west region of Bandipur at a distance of 88km from Mysore that can be easily covered in less than half a day with a Mysore car rental. The national park has many serpentine streams along with a rich forest cover, hills, valleys and even waterfalls.

Masinagudi

Masinagudi is a part of the Mudumalai National Park which is the Tamil Nadu side of the Western Ghats’ Nilgiri Sub-Cluster which covers an area of 6,000 square kilometers. Masinagudi is located in the foothills of Ooty and is a very popular destination for tourists who want to immerse themselves in nature. Masinagudi has many stay options from farmhouses to large resorts.

Kabini Reservoir

The Kabini reservoir is the backwaters formed due to the construction of a dam on the Kabini River. The reservoir is rich in bio-life and is a popular watering hole for the wildlife in the National Parks surrounding it. The Kabini reservoir separates Bandipur and Nagarhole.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is just under 20 kilometers from Mysore and the nearest town is Srirangapatna. The sanctuary is under a square kilometer but has a high density bird population. The birds stay on small islands on the water which you can get to via the boats available at the sanctuary.

#60DaysOfSummer – Staycation in Masinagudi

If you’re looking for a quick getaway from the city, spend the weekend hidden away in some of Masinagudi’s resorts and tree houses. Masinagudi is the perfect getaway for anyone who wants to sit back and relax on their vacation.

From Masinagudi, you can also visit Bandipur National Park and Madumalai National Park if you’re looking to spend more time in nature.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Bangalore to Masinagudi.

#60DaysOfSummer – Elephant Safari of Kaziranga

How about a tour of Kaziranga National Park on elephant back? If you find jeep safaris too run-of-the-mill while you’re out exploring the wilderness, try the elephant safari here. The national park is in north Assam by the river Brahmaputra and is home to the endangered Great One-Horned Rhinoceros.

If you want to cover more wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in North East India, you can also head to Pakke Tiger Reserve, Namdapha National Park and Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Guwahati to Kaziranga National Park.

#60DaysOfSummer – Jungle Safari in Nagarhole

Nagarhole National Park is spread across Coorg and Mysore and is home to elephants, sloth bears, sambars and a large variety of wildlife. The best way to explore the wildlife and wilderness here is to take a jungle safari. The forest department here organizes safaris twice a day, and covers a large part of the park.

The jungle safaris are typically very regular, but in the monsoons and during the peak season, it’s best to check schedules with the forest department. It is also advisable to take tips and pointers from your guide very seriously.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Bangalore to Nagarhole National Park or from Mysore to Nagarhole National Park.

 

#60DaysOfSummer – Birdwatching in Chilika Lake

Chilika Lake

If you’re visiting Puri and feel like taking a break into the wilderness, head to the gorgeous Chilika Lake for some birdwatching.  The lake is very close to Bay of Bengal and is fed by fresh water streams and has a wide mouth that opens to the sea. The lake hosts a large number of migratory birds each year.

Satpara, Barkul and Rambha are its three major tourist spots. One of the more interesting phenomenon at Chilika happens at the Nalaban Island which is completely submerged in water during the monsoon and emerges again after the rains stop. The island is said to be the best place to spot birds descending during migratory season.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Bhubaneshwar to Chilika Lake.

#60DaysOfSummer – Elephant Safari in Kabini

Kabini

Sometimes, getting away from city life could mean diving headfirst into a quiet vacation in the middle of the forest. Go on an elephant safari in Kabini if you’re tired of your standard vacations. You can experience life in the midst of the wild, by the banks of the Kabini river.

Kabini is right in between Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks, giving you access to a lot of green and wildlife. The parks are not too far from town, and have some earthy hotels and resorts that make the experience complete. You can try staying at Jungle Lodges or The Serai while you’re here.

HOW TO GET THERE
Book a cab from Bangalore to Kabini or from Mysore to Kabini.

 

#60DaysOfSummer – Spot Tigers in Ranthambore

Ranathambore

Want to go on a vacation where everything is tiger themed with actual tigers? Go to Ranthambore National Park for a jungle safari, and you won’t be disappointed. Even some of the hotels have names like The Tigress and The Sher Garh Resort.

Apart from the star attraction, Ranthambore is home to peacocks, a number of migratory and native birds. And if you’re exhausted from the safari and want to relax, sit by Surwal Lake to soak in the beauty of Ranthambore. And we have the perfect reading material for your trip – pick up a copy of The Tigers of Taboo Valley by Ranjit Lal. You’ll be more than ready to explore the jungle by the time you get there.

HOW TO GET THERE

Take a cab from Jaipur to Ranthambore National Park.