India is famed for its wildlife. Its national parks are home to some of the world’s most fragile eco-systems, a mosaic of mangrove swamps, alpine meadows, dense rainforest and arid desertscapes. Whilst India’s call of the wild is the famed Bengal tiger, keeping your eyes peeled for an array of endemic flora and fauna as you scale the country’s national parks is bound to delight. So whether it’s coming face to face with big cats, or simply soaking up the natural splendour of India that whets your appetite, we’ve handpicked a selection of India's best national parks to visit throughout the country.
An express eight night trip through central India, this itinerary takes you to two of India's most prolific national parks to enjoy safari style game drives, plentiful wildlife and search for majestic Bengal tiger.
This two-week itinerary is the perfect combination of culture, wildlife and relaxation, including the attractions of India’s well-travelled Golden Triangle route, the abundant wildlife of Ranthambore National Park and the serene sandy shores of Goa.
Central India, Mumbai and Goa
With vibrant cities, serene areas of natural beauty, and a rugged wilderness home to tigers and a myriad of other wildlife, Central India, Mumbai and Goa offers the perfect blend of what makes India so magical. Embrace the infectious energy of Mumbai, unwind on Goa’s sandy coast, explore National Parks and discover the historic riches of Khajuraho to fully experience this region in all its glory.
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Mumbai is a cultural melting pot, an amalgamation of cultures and classes squeezed into a metropolis broken up by colonial architecture, museums and historical monuments. It can be a little overwhelming upon first arrival, however the vibrant energy soon sweeps you away, and Mumbai becomes a joy to explore.
Particular highlights of the city include the Prince of Wales Museum, one of the best museums in the whole of India; the Elephanta Caves, famous rock temples containing a number of beautifully carved sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses; the Gateway of India, a grand 20th Century archway; and the Dobi Ghats, traditional open air laundry areas creating a spectacular sea of fabric. The markets of Mumbai are also well worth a visit, and it is easy to get lost within the maze of bazaars with their incredibly varied displays of goods.
After a couple of days in Mumbai, Goa provides the perfect retreat away from the city. The beaches are what Goa is famous for, and although this fame does bring crowds, it is still relatively easy to find superb empty stretches of beaches and small beautiful bays that have a local feel. As well as beaches, there is a wealth of flora and fauna across Goa’s four protected wildlife areas, each home to a variety of animal and bird species including deer, monkeys, gaurs, pythons, cobras, Malayan giant squirrels, elephants and tigers. Other places of cultural interest are found in Old Goa and Panaji, including opulent churches, beautiful temples and colonial mansions.
The jungles of Central India inspired Rudyard Kipling to share his charming stories of ‘The Jungle Book’, and are best enjoyed on safari in one of the regions many National Parks. Bandhavgarh will encourage you to track tigers on elephant-back. At Kanha head to Sunset Point at dusk for breath-taking views and grazing silhouettes. Tadoba, perhaps the finest tiger habitat, has a stand-out volume of mammals and birdlife. Prepare to meet elephants, leopards, jackals, wolfs, sloth bears, crocodiles, wild dogs, sambars, antelope and deer. Escape the tourist crowds in Satpura, exploring its rugged landscape of sandstone peaks and spotting its diverse wildlife population.
The city of Hyderabad offers a change of pace from the National Parks. Once the global centre of the pearl and diamond trades and today a thriving IT hub, Hyderabad is a shining example of authentic India in a modern world. Get acquainted with Salar Jung Museum’s inspiring collection of paintings and intricate marble sculptures.
The towns of Khajuraho and Maheshwar are fantastic cultural and historical additions to any trip through central India. The former is home to the internationally acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage listed temples that showcase some of the finest temple art in the world, and the latter is a deeply spiritual town on the banks of the holy Narmada river, home to a grand heritage hotel with the walls of a magnificent 16th Century Fort complex.
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Did you know?
From October to March, on Mumbai’s eastern waterfront, thousands of flamingos flock to the Sewri- Mahul mudflats. The migratory birds come from far and wide to feed on the shrimp and algae in the creek.
Did you know?
Mumbai is the world’s only city with a national park within the city’s perimeter. The Sanjay Ghandi National Park is home to an array of wildlife including leopards, crocodiles and monkeys.