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Delve into India – a land of mystery, mountains and wildlife you’ll never forget.

For many, India is a place of mystery and mountains. The rich range of habitat – from dry deserts to lush jungles, from green plains to staggering summits – is home to hidden creatures and awe-inspiring sights. Now is the time to fall in love with the secrets of India. It’s impossible to say no to a country where tigers hunt and rhinoceroses roam!

Greater-One-horned-RhinoPhoto credit: Ashley Boon, Babita tour and travels Indian Rhinoceros

Perhaps you’re after a tiger tour in India, or just want to find out more about the amazing wildlife of the region. Look no further than this guide to find the perfect wildlife tours in India for you.

The wonderful wildlife of India

Prowling Bengal Tigers, jaw-dropping Asian Elephants, and secretive Snow Leopards; it doesn’t get much better than this. India is home to a diverse array of creatures including the Indian Rhinoceros, Black Panther, Asiatic Lion, Red Panda, and Lion-Tailed Macaque.

Royal Bengal Tiger in IndiaPhoto credit: Ishan Vaidya, Go Wild India, Royal Bengal Tiger

Head out on safari to the lush green landscapes of India and step up your bird game. You’ll get to grips with the Great Indian Bustard – the heaviest flying bird in the world – and Sunbirds spanning every colour of the rainbow. India is the home of the pheasant and there are so many to spot such as the iridescent Himalayan Monal, the spotted Satyr Tragopan, and the scarlet-breasted Blood Pheasant. India gives you a vibrant, whirlwind adventure from start to finish. Are you ready to find out more?

Where to see wildlife in India

Assam

The region of Assam in North Eastern India is home to some of the most endangered animals on the planet. Among the green hills, valleys and mountains, get your once-in-a-lifetime chance to find the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, the Bengal Tiger, the Golden Langur and the Hoolock Gibbon.

gibbon Photo credit: Ishan Vaidya, Go Wild India, Gibbon

Famous for its delicious tea, Assam is filled with Hindu temples, colonial palaces, Buddhist archaeology and Islamic architecture. The area is also rich in biodiversity and is home to two national parks protected as UNESCO World Heritage Centres. Assam explodes with colour during the monsoon season (from May-October) bringing the area to life – get your fill of greenery at this time!

Rajasthan & Gujarat (North-West India)

Head over to Rajasthan and Gujarat in the North West of India. The remote region of Gujarat is home to more than 400 species of fauna including Puma, Black Buck, Indian Wild Ass, and the last surviving Asiatic Lions. These Kings of the Jungle have been hunted to near extinction and are now a protected species. While they might not be as big as the African Lion, with males having a smaller mane, they are by no means less impressive.

Asiatic LionPhoto credit: Enchanted India, Asiatic Lion

Rajasthan has thousands of miles of varied vegetation, from semi-evergreen forests to scrub grasslands and desert. There are also dry, deciduous thorn forests in the Aravalli Hills and miles of marshland in Bharatpur, making Rajasthan diverse in wildlife. The region boasts the largest population of Great Indian Bustards in the entire country. Your Indian wildlife safari wouldn’t be complete without them. 

Western Himalayas

Have you ever dreamt of wildlife watching at 4,000m high? Or heading to -30°C in a place rarely seen by human eyes?

Travel through thick snow and extreme temperatures to get your adrenaline rush! Journey to see a number of mountain species like the Woolly Hare, Blue Sheep, Ibex, Tibetan Wolf and Golden Eagle, but lay in wait for the highlight of your India wildlife tour – the mystical and elusive Snow Leopard.

Snow LeopardPhoto credit: Ishan Vaidya, Go Wild India, Snow Leopard

Often referred to as ‘The Ghost of the Mountains’, the Snow Leopard is an apex predator. The presence of the Snow Leopard indicates a very healthy ecosystem and they can be found hunting Blue Sheep and hares across the region. They are fascinating creatures with five-inch thick fur across their bellies to help them survive the harsh climate. Watch out for their pale green eyes and spotted ‘rosettes’ as they prowl across the ridgelines of Ladakh and Hemis National Park.

From the Western Himalayas, you can head across to Nepal or Bhutan if you want to take your wildlife adventure even further.

Central Indian Forests

The Central Indian Forests are a BirdLife International Endemic Bird Area. It’s here you’re in with a chance to see the rare Forest Owlet. Deep in the deciduous woodland, there are now less than 400 of these striking birds left in the world so it’s a special honour to get to see one on a wildlife safari in India. This diurnal hunter might be small but has large talons to catch prey much larger than itself!

Rare Forest OwletPhoto credit: Enchanted India, Forest Owlet

Get swept up in a whirlwind of colour as you travel through over 5,000km2 of forest, an area that’s essential for the preservation of Bengal Tigers. It’s thanks to places like this that the Bengal Tiger is making a miraculous comeback, with tiger numbers swelling 33% between 2014 and 2018.

South India and Andaman Islands

Head south for a wildlife extravaganza. The Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal are a birding spot like no other. There are around 300 palm-filled islands with sandy white beaches and dense tropical mangroves – the perfect habitat for the Andaman Islands’ endemic bird species. Spot Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Crake and Andaman Serpent Eagle, as well as owls like Andaman Scops Owl and Andaman Hawk Owl.

South India Andaman CrakePhoto credit: Peter Lobo, All India Birding Tours, Andaman Crake

Not only is the birdlife out of this world, but you might also be lucky enough to see Dugongs and Saw Sharks in the crystal-clear water. You’ll be mesmerised by the sights and sounds of a wildlife safari in South India.

India’s wildlife conservation

India’s ecosystem is a delicate and fragile thing. While much wildlife is flourishing, many creatures across the country face the danger of extinction because of illegal trading, excessive poaching, loss of habitat, and deforestation.

ElephantPhoto credit: Ashley Boon, Babita tour and travels Indian Rhinoceros

India has many effective wildlife conservation initiatives such as Wildlife Protection Act. The Wildlife Protection Act creates protected areas like national parks, reserves, conservation centres and sanctuaries across the country. Charities and NGOs in India, as well as wildlife conservation projects like Wild Tiger and Project Elephant, are there to help raise awareness of important conservation issues and fund real changes in the way wildlife is protected. Organisations like the Nature Conservation Foundation engage with local communities to educate villages and bring volunteers on board to help these amazing causes.

Further Reading

How many wildlife sanctuaries are there in India?

There are more than 540 wildlife sanctuaries in India. Each one of these sanctuaries is dedicated to preserving the incredible array of wildlife found there. Many of these sanctuaries and protected areas are helping bring species back from the brink of extinction. You can visit them and help support the wonderful work they do!

Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

This sanctuary in Gujarat to the North West of the country was established to protect the last Asiatic Lions in the world. While lions are most commonly associated with the plains of Africa, Asiatic Lions are limited to this small area of Gir National Park. An Indian wildlife safari around Gir means you’re in with a chance of seeing these beautiful beasts.

Head to The Forest of Gir to spy on Sloth Bears and rare White-Backed and Long-Billed Vultures. You’ll also get a chance to get to know the Ibisbill. This elegant wader-like bird can be found across the region, as well as many other parts of India, but it still remains a very uncommon sight. Its curved red bill, long legs and gloomy face make it one of the ‘most-wanted’ birds on your list!

Jim Corbett National Park

Spanning over 520km, Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest of its kind in India. Located in Uttarakhand, nestled deep in the Himalayas, this national park is home to the largest of the five big cats in India. Deep in the mountain forests, you’ll find the extraordinary Bengal Tiger.

Royal Bengal Tiger IndiaPhoto credit: Enchanted India, Royal Bengal Tiger

There’s something special about these imposing, blue-eyed beasts. Bengal Tigers weigh around 550lbs and have a 3.5ft-long tail, with their iconic striped coats helping them camouflage in the dappled forest light. However, it’s estimated that there are only around 2,200 Bengal Tigers left in the wild thanks to deforestation and growing human populations. Head on an Indian tiger safari and see these magical, declining creatures for yourself.

Jim Corbett National Park is also the home and top migration spot for more than 650 species of bird, including 50 species of raptor. Set up scope because you’re in for a real treat.

What type of wildlife holiday in India is best for me?

There are so many different types of wildlife available to you in India, so how do you know what’s best for you? Think about how much time you have and how much you want to be in the great outdoors. Here are just a few ideas for your wildlife holiday in India.

India tiger safaris

Royal Bengal Tiger on Tiger SafariPhoto credit: Enchanted India, Royal Bengal Tiger

Tiger safaris in India are not for the faint-hearted. These gorgeous, but secretive, creatures hideaway deep in the Indian mountains and forests. A safari is the very best way to get close to the Bengal Tiger – if you see one, you’ll never forget your brush with the wild.

Wildlife photography tours in India

Green Bee-eaters on India Birding TourPhoto credit: Babita Tours, Green Bee-eaters

India is well known for its vibrant colours and intoxicating heat. From the bright Green Bee-Eater to the stunning Sunbird, if you’re passionate about photogenic birds, India is the right place for you! Wildlife photography trips can be from one week to 18 days. Take your time getting the perfect shot as you tour the length and breadth of this amazing country.

Birding in India

Birding Tour to South India and the Andaman Islands - Purple-CochoaPhoto credit: Peter Lobo, All India Birding Tours, Satyr Tragopan

With more than 1,250 bird species in India, there is a bird to suit every birdwatcher. A birdwatching tour of India lets you get close to the Grey-headed Bulbul, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Black Baza, Crested Goshawk, Sri Lanka Frogmouth and the rare Wynaad Laughing Thrush. Head home with a thousand stories to tell about the birds you’ve ticked off your life list.

India is an awe-inspiring place, filled with wonder. Once you’ve been on a wildlife holiday in India, you’ll never be quite the same again!


Jennifer Lane
Jennifer Lane is a freelance nature and outdoor writer based in Manchester.
She has a varied career in magazine publishing and has written for the RSPB and British Vogue about her ‘unusual’ birdwatching hobby.  In 2018 she won a Northern Writers’ Award for fiction and is currently working on her third novel for children.
Follow her hiking and wildlife trips on Twitter and Instagram.
https://jenniferlanewrites.com/

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