Yonder’s top 4 places to see on a wildlife holiday in India

BY Susan, Yonder destination expert

Aside from its chaotic cities and colourful culture, no luxury holiday to India is quite complete without experiencing some of its incredible wildlife.

So, whether you’re just dipping your toe into India’s vast array of flora and fauna, or you’re a dedicated nature lover, here’s a lowdown on Yonder’s favourite places to visit on a wildlife holiday to India.

India is a vast country with more than a hundred national parks to go at, covering landscapes ranging from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan to the rolling green hills of the Western Ghats on a holiday to Kerala. And with that comes a huge diversity of wildlife – including over 400 species of mammals and around 1,300 species of birds, many of which are endemic.

Luckily, especially if you are planning a family holiday to India, we’ve done the hard work and come up with four excellent places to go on your wildlife tour in India. And if you choose to book through Yonder, your tailor made holiday to India will include a private safari led by an expert naturalist, giving you the best possible chance to have an enjoyable and successful trip that Rudyard Kipling would be proud of!

Tiger safari in Ranthambore

If you’re booking a wildlife holiday in India, Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan should be near the top of your list. Why? Because India is home to over 70 per cent of the world’s tiger population, and Ranthambore is one of the absolute best places to spot the majestic Bengal tiger in its natural habitat.

Rajasthan is a mystical place, fit for the most romantic of luxury honeymoons in India, and after you’ve explored its captivating hilltop forts and golden sands, you simply must plan some time for a Rajasthan wildlife safari.

And Ranthambore, covering around 400 square kilometres of untamed jungle habitat and once a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur, is the perfect destination. According to India’s government, tiger numbers have increased by around a third in the last five years, making the chance of sightings more likely. However, the number of the endangered Bengal tigers is still in double digits, so be sure to go on a range of safaris to increase your chances.

On your luxury holiday in India, you’re likely to see a wide range of other amazing flora and fauna too, from the ubiquitous langur monkeys, marsh crocodiles and deer, to leopards, striped hyenas, jackals and sloth bears. You’ll also have the chance to see a myriad of fascinating birds, from woodpeckers, kingfishers and parakeets, to hornbills, owls and eagles.

Tigers and leopards in Bandhavgarh

Another great place to spot tigers in India is Bandhavgarh National Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh. This biodiverse, protected area is famous for its high density of Bengal tigers, as well as  its large breeding population of leopards.

Their prey consists mainly of spotted deer, or chital, which are a common sight, along with sambar and barking deer, and the nilgai or blue bull – the largest Asian antelope and endemic to the Indian sub-continent.

The park also has over 80 species of butterflies and over 250 species of birds, including the towering sarus crane which comes to breed in the rich grasslands of Bandhavgarh during the rainy season.

Elephants and black panthers in the Western Ghats

Periyar National Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Thekkady, Kerala, and part of the Western Ghats mountain range. Characterised by spectacular rolling, green hills and forests, it is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, which makes Kerala holidays so special.

As with Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh, the Unesco-listed park is famous for its tigers, but its rivers and lakes are also excellent places to see Asian elephants, as the park has a population of around 800.

A boat trip or bamboo rafting on Periyar Lake will provide you with a great opportunity to spot elephants sucking up gallons of water and bathing each other with their trunks. You’ll also be able to spot over 250 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles and 35 species of mammals.

The Western Ghats mountain range, covering an area of over 50,000 square miles, is also home to  the rare black panther –  a type of Indian leopard. Although rare, this is one of the places in the world you’re most likely to spot this magical creature popularised by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

The birds and butterflies on a Kerala backwaters holiday

Kerala holidays on the tropical Malabar Coast is another one of India’s natural jewels, but, far from the majesty of the mountains and mystique of the jungle, life here runs at a more placid pace, and its wildlife opportunities are in tune with this tranquil, relaxed demeanour.

Kerala has more than 500 species of birds, and many different varieties can be seen and heard throughout the backwaters, including cormorants, egret, heron and Siberian crane.

The Keralan backwaters provide the perfect opportunity to take in some more relaxed wildlife watching, also suitable for the family holiday in India. And after touring the backwaters, swaying in a hammock amongst the flowers and coconut palms of Marari Beach or visiting a butterfly garden, is the most relaxing end imaginable to your Indian wildlife adventure.

Susan, Yonder destination expert
Susan is a writer and editor long stranded in South-East Asia. In the travel arena, she has written features for in-flight magazines, updated guidebooks to Thailand and Vietnam, and reported for two US newspapers.

YONDER SUGGESTIONS

Go on a luxury holiday to India to see spectacular wildlife.   Yonder offers tailor-made wildlife and safari experiences in Indian national parks along with cultural holidays.

In addition, tailor-made holidays to Rajasthan and Golden Triangle tours which can include Delhi, Agra Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur are available.  All Yonder itineraries are bespoke and always include private guides and drivers.

As India specialists, Yonder provides ideas and inspiration on its  Destinations pages and also through its Inspirations and Collections pages.

All Yonder itineraries are crafted on a tailor-made, one-off basis, so you can be sure that your holiday will be as individual as you are.