Let’s face it, you came here expecting to embrace the wild. Enormous, calculating tigers stalking through the tall dry grass, peacocks unfurling their tails in the monsoon breeze, hordes of elephants storming through heavily damp rainforests. And it’s true, we have it all. Here’s where you can go to crawl into the heart of the jungle and hear the call of the wild whispering right into your bedroom window, whether your bedroom’s a luxury tent or a treehouse.
Gir National Park
The last remaining natural habitat of the Asiatic Lions now has 523 of the big cats lounging about its grounds, a mind-blowing increase from the 20 that survived the widespread hunting of the 19th Century. Apart from these star attractions, there’s also leopards, critically endangered long-billed vultures and marsh crocodiles. The park organizes a Safari Tour that’ll take you through the core area of the jungle and up close to the wildlife.
Where to stay: The Fern
Uncompromising luxury for the ecologically sensitive. The Fern hits all the big names from Sewage treatment to Eco-friendly toiletries and doesn’t miss the little details, taking care to decorate their sprawling property only in potted plants and no cut flowers.
Kanha Tiger Reserve
Deep lush valleys, heavy green boughs overhead and soft grass underfoot–this is the forest that inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. The safaris are intensive and take you right into the heart of the jungle, although they’re a hassle to book, but you can leave that to us! Opt for a safari later in the day and you can catch the Sambhars and Gaurs grazing at Bamni Dadar in he glow of the setting sun.
Where to stay: Chitvan Jungle Lodge
A gorgeous property that promotes absolute self-sustainability in the beautiful surroundings of Kanha. Vegetables come fresh from the in-house farm and all electricity is converted from solar energy. You can even bring your pets along!
Sunderbans National Park
A unique ecosystem formed by the deltas of the Ganga and Bramhaputra rivers and creating the largest halophytic mangrove forest in the world, the Sunderbans are ome to the famous Royal Bengal Tigers. If you visit in the winter you’ll see not only the tigers but Macaques, Indian Grey Mongoose, Leopard Cats, Ridley Sea Turtle, Wild Boar, Jungle Cat, Fox, Flying Fox, Fishing Cats, Chital, Pangolin driven to the riverbanks in search of some sun as you drift down the river by boat.
Where to stay: Solitary Nook Resort
A cozy little outpost that’s perfect for honeymooning couples. Rent out bicycles during the day to tour the forest and then simmer down in front of a roaring bonfire, with a pile of delicious sea-food on your plate.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Made up of 15 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar group, and the open creeks between them, this is a chance to see coral reefs first hand, either through glass bottomed boats or more closely by snorkeling or scuba diving directly into them. A veritable paradise of sandy beaches and swaying palms, you may mistake the islands for being all fun and games, but the reefs help you to understand the beauty we are constantly destroying and must learn to protect and nurture.
Where to stay: Sea Princess
Serene and tropical, nothing can touch you here but the sounds of the wind and the sea. Located on the beach itself, try to remember that insects and mosquitoes are simply part of the daily routine here. Try and opt for eating out a few times for the sake of variety and your wallet.
Balpakhram National Park
Balpakhram–the land of the perpetual winds.Tucked into a deep gorge in the South Garo HIlls this is a park teeming with life and shrouded in folklore. It is said to be the final resting place of souls before they depart for the next world, a story that seems to ring true in the whispers of the trees. Between these rich fronds frolic the rare Lesser Panda, the Indian Bison and the Serow. Medicinal herbs and endangered flora flourish 3000 ft above sea level and great hornbills and Orioles cry out.
Where to stay: Tura Guest House
There are no rest houses within the park so visitors must stop at the Tura rest house run by the Meghalaya Tourism Department.
Kaziranga National Park
A whopping two-thirds of the world population of Great One-horned Rhinoceroses reside in this leafy haven, a boost of 1600 animals from the parks original 200 in 1904. Ride in on an elephant safari and find that the animals are unperturbed by the gentle giants, allowing you to get well within photographing distance. While you may not spot a tiger, you’ll see their presence all around in in pugmarks and kills and territorial markings. Apart from these big beasts, there are also swift swamp deer and swamp partridge to be spotted and the Reticulated and Rock Pythons to watch out for!
Where to stay: Infinity Resort
Stilted cottages of cane and bamboo with thatched roofs echo the local architecture. A natural pool and verdant fruit trees mean a lively bird population you can watch out on your verandah each morning before your safari.