Into the wild: Best destinations

A country like India, renowned for its rich and diverse wildlife, has myriad destinations that will fill your adventurous soul with a new kind of excitement and energy. So this summer, all the animal lovers must plan their trips to these remarkable and thrilling wildlife destinations in India. Here is a list of the most prominent national parks in India, where you can seek refuge this summer and quench your thirst for adventure.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
A perfect retreat from the heat of plains, the Jim Corbett National Park is quite a rage among adventure seekers. With its breathtaking landscape and natural uniqueness, this place has captured the imagination of various nature and animal lovers. Also one of the oldest in the country, this park was earlier known as Hailey National Park, but was renamed after the famous James Edward Corbett. He was a well-known hunter-turned-conservationist of his time. The park is home to a myriad of wildlife species and enthusiasts mainly come here to spot tigers and tuskar elephants. The entire park is divided into six ecotourism zones, namely Bijrani, Dhikala, Jhirna, Sonanadi, Durgadevi and Dhela. Staying options are various but make sure to book beforehand.
Nearest railhead: Ramnagar Railway Station
Prominent attractions/things to do: Jungle safari, elephant ride, Corbett Museum and birdwatching
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Assam, as we are all aware of, is noted for its breezy weather and diverse wildlife. Spread across the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam, the Kaziranga National Park is home to exotic one-horned rhinoceros along with elephants, tigers, swamp deer and wild buffaloes, which combine to become the ‘Big Five’. This world heritage site attracts nature enthusiasts, wildlife photographers and animal lovers from all across the globe in hordes, each year. There are several lodging options available inside the park, where travellers can stay and experience the life amidst wilderness.
Nearest railhead: Guwahati Junction railway station
Prominent attractions/things to do: Jungle safari, elephant ride, birdwatching and explore the tea gardens
Periyar National Park, Kerala
Periyar National Park or the Periyar Tiger Reserve is perfect for those wishing to escape to greenery and tranquillity. The park bewilders everyone with is mystic charm, abundant natural bounty and rich biodiversity. Picturesque to the core and filled with mystery, you won’t have a single dull moment while exploring this park. Just be ready with your camera and tripods as you can easily spot elephants, leopards, sambars and, of course, tigers here. Keep your eyes and ears open or else you might experience ‘blink and miss’ moment! Here, you can also opt for Periyar Lake boat safari, which is another fun moment. Staying options in Periyar are many so you need not worry, but it’s advisable to have your accommodations booked in advance.
Nearest railhead: Ernakulam Junction railway station (Kochi)
Prominent attractions/things to do: Jungle safari, bird watching and boat safari
Hemis National Park, Jammu Kashmir
One of the famous high-altitude national parks in India, the Hemis National Park in Ladakh district is recognised for its unique bio diversity. The park is home to a number of endangered species such as Eurasian brown bear, leopards, Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf and red fox. The entire region is simply astounding and reminds you of some romantic Hollywood movies.
A treat for the sore eyes, this place will have your heart after you have been here. Though reaching here is another story. The nearest railheads are at Kalka and Jammu; from there, one will have to hire a cab or taxi to reach somewhere close to the park. Also, staying here might be a little problematic as there are no hotels in proximity or inside the park; but there are a few villages around where travellers can take shelter and stay in the basic facilities available. Sounds like real adventure, right?
Nearest railhead: Kalka and Jammu Tawi railway stations
Prominent attractions/things to do: Jungle safari, trekking, camping, visiting Hemis Monastery,
The Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
Awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2014, The Great Himalayan National Park is noted for its conservation of rich bio diversity. Located in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, this national park is a must visit for every nature and wildlife aficionado as the destination is a natural habitat to myriad flora and around 375 spices of animals. Is that not just amazing? Surrounded with snow-clad mountains and verdant forest, this national park will have you enthralled throughout your expedition. Besides, exotic birds, one can also spot snow leopards, musk deer, Asiatic brown bears, blue sheep, red fox, black bear, goral and Himalayan tahrs. Also keep your eyes open for the Western tragopan, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh, little forktail and blue whistling thrush. Staying here won’t be an issue as there are a few modest accommodation options (government) available inside. Book before though!
Nearest railhead: There’s no railway station nearby so one will have to take a bus till Kull-Manali and Kullu is well-linked with major Indian cities via road
Prominent attractions/things to do: Trekking, walking along the jungle, boating in Tirthan Riverm camping, jungle safari
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand
Away from humid sun and pollution, the Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is a boon for weekenders from Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana and other neighbouring regions. Founded in the year 1982, this national park is built around the majestic Nanda Devi peak. The park was given the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and later, in the year 2005, got renamed as Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks. Animals that can be easily spotted here include Himalayan musk deer, Himalayan tahr, langurs, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, and if you get lucky, you can also get up, close and personal with a brown bear (remember the famous movie ‘The Revenant’). The destination binds you with its exotic collection of wilderness and captivating views of the surroundings. Staying inside can be a little tricky as there aren’t much options inside. Nevertheless, there are various hotels available in Joshimath and Badrinath (close to the park), catering to all kind of budget.
Nearest railhead: Rishikesh railway station
Prominent attractions/things to do: Hiking till Nanda Devi Peak, walking in the valley, jungle safari

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