If you are searching for an action packed holiday with family in tow, a visit to a wildlife sanctuary fits the bill to perfection. With Corbett, Kanha, Pench and other well known national parks across India, there is no dearth for an adrenaline pumping adventure for everyone.
Away from these overcrowded wildlife destinations, there are several offbeat ones also where the wildlife experiences are as thrilling if not more than their more esteemed counterparts. Some of these lesser known National Parks, which are no less appealing than the others, are briefly described here for the discerning nature enthusiast.
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9 Offbeat National Parks in India
Mollem National Park
Roughly 57 km east of the Goan capital of Panaji, lies the beautiful Mollem National Park.The park is in the core sector of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, and is known for the sightings of the highly elusive black panther and the Bengal tiger.
The 107 sq km park is full of exotic flora and fauna. The drive through the lush green forests makes it a haven for those looking to get away from the hectic and bustling state of Goa.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Covering some of the most scenic and rugged terrains of Udaipur, Rajsamand and Pali districts of Rajasthan, the 578 sq km Kumbhalgarh sanctuary is one of the hidden gems of forests in India.
The park provides a safe haven to some highly endangered species like wolf, leopard, golden jackal, jungle cat and chinkara. The Kumbhalgarh fort and the lion safari which is organised here, are the additional attractions of this area.
Gautala Autramghat sanctuary
Situated approximately 60 km from Aurangabad, in the state of Maharashtra, this is one sanctuary that truly merits the title of being secluded and remote. The park is endowed with extremely rich natural beauty, while the tropical and dry deciduous forest makes for a great habitat for jungle cat, leopard cat, leopard, wild boar, deer and other mammals.
Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary
Created in 1975, the Achanakmar sanctuary is surprisingly considered to be high on the tiger spotting list. Situated in the Bilaspur forest division, of the state of Chhattisgarh, the park also has a sizable population of leopard and bison.
The sanctuary happens to lie on the migratory path of the iconic Kanha tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, which could be one reason of the high tiger density found here.
Rajaji National Park
Strategically located in the foothills of the Shivalik mountain range, Rajaji National Park is an ideal sanctuary for the Asian elephant as well as hundreds of species of birds, both migratory and endemic.
The broadleaf forests and riverine habitat, with several streams running through them makes for a grand setting for a safari through this verdant region. Tiger, leopard, sloth bear, several varieties of deer are found here.
Desert National Park
Situated near Jaisalmer, in the state of Rajasthan, the Desert National Park is one of the few in India which provides glimpses of what life in the desert is like for the animals residing there.
Home to one of the most rare and endangered bird the Great Indian Bustard, the park has many other rare species of falcons, eagles among others. As the park is mostly covered with sand dunes, it is best viewed on camel back.
Manas National Park
Overshadowed but in no way under awed by its more illustrious counterpart, Kaziranga, the Manas National Park and tiger reserve is a hotbed of natural diversity. This UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for the large number of endemic species it holds, namely, hispid hare, Assam roofed turtle, pygmy hog and the golden langur.
The park is home to more than 300 bird species, 55 mammals and 50 reptiles, thus making it a must visit place for any photographer and wildlife lover.
Hemis National Park
This high altitude slice of pristine natural paradise overlooking the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers, is the last known haven of the extremely rare and elusive snow leopard.
Situated thousands of meters above sea level in Ladakh, all things about this park from the majestic settings, the mountains and the landscape seem surreal.
This bird sanctuary came into prominence in the year 2006, when a new bird species known as the Bugun Liocichla was discovered here. Situated in the northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh, the Eagle nest sanctuary is home to an astonishing number of 450 bird species.
Access to the sanctuary is difficult and accommodation extremely basic, but the untouched settings, great weather and the myriad chatter of birds singing in unison, makes a visit to Eaglenest well worth the effort.
The lesser known are not necessarily in any way less attractive or rewarding, at least when the current natural environment scenario in India is being considered. With a camera in hand and a pair of binoculars, the determined nature lover can easily have his moments to cherish when visiting these offbeat wildlife destinations.