India’s natural attraction is not only constituted in its incredible scenic beauty but also for its sheer variety of flora and fauna. As such, there are plenty of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and biosphere reserves set up by the government to preserve these species. Some of these places not only offer incredible species diversity but equally magnificent natural beauty as well. Therefore, I’m going to list down top 5 natural attractions of India.
1. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
Bandipur National Park is one of the most beautiful places in India. It is located in the Nilgiri Hills and therefore, near to Ooty.
The park is extremely famous for its scenic beauty as it’s filled with sandalwood and teak trees. The hilly surroundings only add to its magic. The lush greenery of the Western Ghats will woo you.
Since the tiger population in India declined by more than half during the British period because of hunting and poaching, strict measures were taken after Independence to protect the tiger. It is also the national animal of India. The first site chosen for Project Tiger was Bandipur.
Now, in addition to tigers, there is a considerable increase in the number of elephants, hornbills, deer, bears, etc. Therefore, this park preserves a lot of endangered species.
2. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
When you come to Karnataka, don’t forget to pay a visit to this lovely wildlife sanctuary.
This place is a haven for wildlife photographers. The amount of diversity found here is hardly found anywhere else. This park is blessed with immense natural beauty. It has semi-evergreen and dry deciduous forests which are an unusual combination. It also has the beautiful Bhadra river in its midst.
A rich diversity of birds can be found here. Apart from the endangered species like tiger, elephants, snakes like king cobra and python can also be found here.
3. Sunderbans National Park, West Bengal
Moving a little bit to the east of India, Sunderbans is one of the most famous national parks in India. Sunderbans translates to beautiful forests. It is indeed beautiful.
What sets Sunderbans apart from other national parks is the fact that it is covered with mangrove forests. It is a profoundly old forest. It is the first home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. Since it’s their original habitat, these tigers can be found in plenty here. Well, not plenty because they are endangered, but comparatively, this park has a large population of the Bengal Tigers.
You can also find the saltwater crocodile here. Since its located in the deltaic region, Sunderbans is very diverse in aquatic flora and fauna. Species like the Gangetic Dolphins can be spotted here.
The natural background of mangrove forests offers a different view than the common woods you find around India. It is also a must-visit place if you are very much into wildlife.
4. Gir National Park, Gujarat
With so much protection for tigers, you must be wondering, well, what about the lions? So here it is. The Gir National Park is the only park in India to protect the lions, or specifically, the Asiatic Lion. In fact, it is one of the most protected national parks in Asia. The forest is dry deciduous. Although there are a lot of water bodies in this place, most of them dry up during summer.
The establishment of this park created problems for the tribal population living in the area because their domestic cattle were often eaten up by the Lions. But since the government had named this place as a national park, the locals learnt its importance and decided to coexist. You can still find the people collecting water from the river in the forest.
The Lions don’t come out often, but when they do, it’s a lucky chance because Asiatic Lions are endangered with only a relatively small population left and they are found only here.
5. Periyar National Park, Kerala
Coming back to lots of greenery and water, Periyar is one among the most beautiful national parks of India.
Surrounded by evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park presents beauty beyond words. It has an artificial water body, the Periyar Lake, flowing through it. You can boat through this lake and encounter the endangered species of this park which includes elephants, tigers and Nilgiri Tahrs.
6. Silent Valley National Park, Kerala
The Silent Valley National Park got its name because of the pin-drop silence within the forest. Located very near to the Western Ghats at a high altitude, this place has a multitude of indigenous and exotic species of plants and butterflies. There are also a variety of snakes to be found here. Sometimes, exotic birds have also been spotted in the park.
The park is highly protected by the Kerala Government because it spans vast hectares of land and any disturbance in the area would mean a destruction of the rich diversity within it.
Another fascinating factor about the Silent Valley National Park is that many tribal communities live within this park. They have been living here for centuries, and the government was considerate enough to realise that it was necessary for them to live in close sync with nature otherwise they would not survive.
While going for a safari within the park, you can visit the tribes. They are extremely friendly. It is an incredible experience to watch that people live in such a close connection with nature even today.
7. Hemis National Park, Jammu & Kashmir
Talk about high altitudes, and you cannot miss out on Hemis National Park. This national park is assumed to be the highest altitude national park in the world.
Situated at an elevation of 3500-6000 m above sea level, it is a fantastic park indeed. If you are an adventurer at heart, this is the ideal place for you.
Snow-capped mountains set a beautiful background for the park. Many species of alpine trees can be found in this area. In addition to that, animals like the gorgeous snow leopard and many indigenous species are also protected here.
If its one of its kind in the world, it does become a must-visit place.
If you’re thinking of a trip to Jammu & Kashmir check out our itinerary for Leh and the Ladakh region in Jammu & Kashmir.
8. The Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
I just could not omit this park out of the list because of its immense scenic beauty. Since the park is located in Himachal Pradesh, it’s quite obvious that it’s a high altitude park.
There is much to say about the scenic beauty of this park than the wildlife here. The park has an unusual background of coniferous forest with high mountain peaks covered with snow. It looks amazing, and you never get tired of the breathtaking view.
Another striking feature of this park is the colour of its meadows. A particular part of its meadows have an emerald colour, and it is probably the most beautiful sight ever.
Regarding the animals here, Himalayan Brown Bear, Snow Leopard and Musk Deer are some species to be found here.