Each one of us who wants to vacation has hill stations and beaches topping our travel wish list, but did you ever think about going on a wild safari to immerse yourself in the animal kingdom? But, before you jump to any conclusion let’s tell you that we’re not talking about going to the far end of the world. India has some of the best wild life experiences to offer! Time is now ripe for you to veer off the beaten track and experience being in the wild where some kickass action is waiting for you. If you’re lucky you may even witness the predator-prey chase!

To help you take the decision where to go, we’ve picked the most popular wildlife safaris that will never disappoint you! Get, set, go…but play by the rules of the jungle and never disturb the animals.

BANDHAVGARH NATIONAL PARK

Picture this: You’re in a gypsy with your binoculars and are cruising along the trail in Bandhavgarh with a mission to spot a tiger. The driver suddenly stops. There’s a faint image of the big cat prowling behind the dense foliage and another following it. You find it unbelievable. You have goose flesh. You hold your breath and experience this phenomenon called the Big Cats! Yes, this is for real because you are in the Land of Tigers. It is a national park that boasts of being the highest tiger-populated area in India; you wouldn’t return without having spotted the big cat!

Besides tigers that is a major attraction for wildlife enthusiasts, the national park is home to several other wildlife species like cheetal, sambar, barking deer, wild boar, flying fox, blue bull antelope, four-horned antelope, black-faced langur monkeys and rhesus macaques or the red-bum monkeys to keep you amused! For birders too it’s a paradise for you can easily spot Bonelli’s eagles, crested-serpent eagles, hornbills, white-eyed buzzards, spotted black kites, storks, ibises among a plethora of bird species!

#DidYouKnow that before it was given the status of a national park in 1968, the forests around Bandhavgarh was the hunting ground or ‘Shikargarh’ for the Maharaja of Rewa!

Bandhavgarh National ParkPhoto Credit: Steve Winter

PENCH NATIONAL PARK

Named after the Pench river and home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Pench National Park is nestled in the southern reaches of the Satpura Hills bordering Maharashtra. It is relatively less crowded because it is lesser known as compared to its cousin national parks. The hilly terrain, teak jungle and the Pench river that flows through it supports a diverse wildlife and flora. You can spot a pack of wild dogs along the Jamtara, Pyorthadi, Chhedia and Bodanala areas in the reserve. Around the pastures and meadows you can easily spot wild boars, sambar, cheetal and gaur; sloth bears around the stony, hilly areas. The park boasts of 1200 species of plants that are of ethno-botanical importance. In fact, birders take special delight being here as over 300 species of birds call this park their home!

#DidYouKnow: There is one village called Fulzari inside the park and 9 on the periphery.

Pench National ParkPhoto Credit: Tarique Sani

RANTHAMBORE TIGER RESERVE

Sprawled over 1,334 sq km, Ranthambore is one of the most preferred weekend getaway for wildlife enthusiasts because of relative easy sightings of majestic tiger(s) in their habitat. You can spot them during the day time too when they’re either busy being the ferocious predators that they are! Other than the thunder-stealing tigers, the reserve is home to over 300 species of birds, 40 species of mammals and 300 species of plants that are a treat to the eyes of dendrologists. Not just the animal kingdom but the ruins that form the boundary of the park is also quite mesmeric. You can head to the fort to get a bird’s eye view of the jungle!

#DidYouKnow: Kachida Valley on the outskirts of the Ranthambore National Park is home to panthers!

Ranthambhor National ParkPhoto Credit: Souvik Kundu | National Geographic Your ShotLaunch Gallery

KANHA NATIONAL PARK

From the roaring tigers, elusive leopards, barking barasingha, jackals, hyenas and bird calls to the reptiles and buzzing insects, you will see a myriad of life forms at Kanha. It is understandable as to why no wilderness could have provided a perfect inspiration for Kipling to write Jungle Book than the Kanha Tiger Reserve. It is the largest national park in Central India. Within an area of 940 sq. km sprawled in two districts namely Mandala and Balaghat, you will see a change in landscape. From grassy meadows and scrubs to dense foliage and ravines cutting through the path becomes a perfect backdrop to photograph wild animals. Isn’t it every wildlife photographer’s dream come true to photograph animals in their natural habitat?!

#DidYouKnow: At Kanha Reserve the swamp deer population that plummeted steeply to 66 in 1970 is now 450 and still rising.

Kanha National ParkPhoto Credit: Dhiren Shah

Tempted to be amidst the fast and the furious tigers and leopards and agile sambar(s) among many other members of the animal kingdom? Well, in that case don’t forget to check out the wildlife safari and photo tour packages on this link.