Best safari experiences in India, feat. UNESCO World Heritage national parks - Hindustan Times

Best safari experiences in India, feat. UNESCO World Heritage national parks

Mar 14, 2024 06:29 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural visit to Kaziranga National Park is drawing people to explore domestic safari and wilderness experiences in Assam.

The past couple of days have heightened the interest of travel-minded citizens, steering them to learn about the country's evolved safari scene and UNESCO-backed national parks—soon after the PM’s recent visit to Kaziranga National Park in Assam on a two-day visit to the state.

Indias' interest peaked after he posted a photo gallery on X (formerly Twitter), highlighting the diverse ecosystem and the one-horned rhinoceros.
Indias' interest peaked after he posted a photo gallery on X (formerly Twitter), highlighting the diverse ecosystem and the one-horned rhinoceros.

Indias' interest peaked after he posted a photo gallery on X (formerly Twitter), highlighting the diverse ecosystem and the one-horned rhinoceros. “I urge you all to visit Kaziranga National Park and experience the incomparable beauty of its landscape and the affection of the people of Assam,” he echoed on the platform. Confirming a rise in the bookings, a local tour operator from Kaziranga Wild Adventure, says, “We have seen a massive uptick in the number of queries from visitors, especially in the category of safari and wildlife sighting,” he added.

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For those, who are excited to experience the safaris, there are places beyond Kaziranga, that are also UNESCO-recognised national parks. They host and conserve some of the world's most alluring landscapes, wildlife and natural habitats. Whether it be witnessing the staggering sight of a Bengal tiger through Sunadrban’s impenetrable mangrove forestation, spotting the rare Siberian crane in Keoladeo or exploring Kaziranga on an elephant and jeep safari just like the Prime Minister, here are the six most amazing national parks in India to visit.

Nanda Devi National Park, Uttarakhand

Whatever the season, Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks have some of the most spectacular nature scenes throughout the year. Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, this transition zone between Zanskar and the Great Himalaya is renowned for its Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. The Nanda Devi region was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, which later expanded to incorporate the Valley of Flowers National Parks in 2005. Trekking and group tours are available for booking locally or through travel operators where you can opt for wildlife spotting activities.

Best time to visit: May through October

Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

This world’s largest stretch of mangrove forests along the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers runs between India and Bangladesh in extreme southeastern West Bengal. It’s an agriozoophile’s delight, with multiple boat safari routes running between the coasts on which you can experience the might of the Royal Bengal tiger. A two-hour safari can cost up to Rs. 10,000 per adult. We suggest stopping off at an eco-luxury resort and popping over to the Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary.

Best time to visit: September to March

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinos and was inscribed by UNESCO in 1985 for multiple ‘outstanding values’ including factors like one of the last modified natural areas in the north-eastern region of India. For a wilder and richer experience, score sightings of elephants on a safari at Central Range (Kohora) and around noon, hop on a jeep to spot swamp deers, wild buffaloes, wild bores and tigers in the Western Range (Bagori) / Central Range (Kohora) of Kaziranga National Park. Make the memorable experience with a stay in an equally thrilling jungle resort. “While PM’s adventure was majorly supported by the Forest Department, visitors can embark on a similar safari for Rs. 4,250 per person,” says a representative.

Best time to visit: Between November and April

Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan

Formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo National Park is located in Rajasthan, a little more than 2 kilometres southeast of Bharatpur. As a wetland of national importance and its geographical location amid the Central Asian migratory flyway, it is a prime spotting location for the Palaearctic migratory waterfowl, critically endangered Siberian Crane and other globally threatened species such as the Greater Spotted Eagle and Imperial Eagle.

Cycle/rickshaw/horse tongas safaris start from 8 am and are available till 5 pm. You can also rent bicycles and take a cycle tour of the park. To hire a cycle, you will have to submit your identification card at the counter.

Best time to visit: August to November for spotting resident breeding birds, and October to February for migrant birds.

Manas National Park, Assam

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site (1985) in Assam, Manas National Park boast many titles including Project Tiger Reserve, an elephant reserve, and a biosphere reserve. Spanning across the districts of Chirang, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Darrang, the best way to soak up the thrilling sight of rare and endangered endemic lwildlife like tiger, greater one-horned rhino, swamp deer, pygmy hog and Bengal florican is on a three-hour jeep safari to the Bansbari Zone and Bhuyanpara Zone which can cost between Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 6,000 per person. The morning timing is from 06:30 am to 9:30 am and 10 am to 1 pm and the evening timing is 2 pm to 5 pm.

Best time to visit: October to April

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    Sneha Chakraborty writes on travel, food, culture, gadgets and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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