India is home to some of the finest forests in the world. From lush green pine and deodar trees to diverse wildlife ranging from tigers to elephants, India’s forests are home to some of the most amazing living species. A vacation amidst one of these forests can prove to be a rejuvenating and enriching experience. Not only will it make you feel closer to nature, but it will also give you a better understanding of your country and the beings that reside in it.
Here are the 10 most amazing forests in India you must check out at least once.
Sundarbans, West Bengal
Located in the eastern state of West Bengal. the Sundarbans are known to be home to the white tiger (a variant of the Royal Bengal tiger). The vast Sundarbans National park is part of the Sundarbans delta which covers close to 10,000 square kilometres and is the largest deltas in the world. The lush green mangrove forest is a tiger reserve and a biosphere reserve. A large number of Sundari trees spread across the forest which also houses fishing cats, leopard cats, macaques, wild boar, Indian grey mongoose, fox, jungle cat, flying fox, pangolin, and chita.
The best place to spot the Asiatic Lion, Gir forest in Gujarat is a delight for wildlife lovers. The Gir National Park is spread over 1,412 sq km in the Junagadh district of Gujarat. It was the erstwhile game preserve of the Nawab of Junagadh and was established as a national park in 1965 with the aim to protect and increase the lion population, which had sunk to two dozen in the early 20th century. Apart from the Asiatic lions, the dry deciduous forest is home to several leopards which include jungle cat, desert cat, rusty-spotted cat. ou will also find sloth bears, Indian cobras, striped hyenas, golden jackals, Indian mongoose, Indian palm civets, ratels, chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara and wild boar.
Sacred Grove, Khasi Hills, Meghalaya
One of the most remarkable features of the Khasi Hills is the sacred forests, which have been preserved by traditional religious sanction, since the ancient days. One of the most famous sacred forests is the Mawphlang Sacred Forest, about 25 kilometres from Shillong. The sacred grove has an amazing life form of plants, flowering trees, orchids and butterflies. An ideal destination for nature lovers. There is, however, one rule when visiting the forest – bring in nothing and take out nothing from the forest.
Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh
The Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh is the third-largest national park in the world. Spanning over an area of 1985 sq.km., with 177 sq.km. in the buffer zone and 1808 sq.km. in the core area, the Namdapha National Park forms the greatest forest region of India. It is nestled between the Patkai range and Dapha bum range of Mishmi Hills. The park is home to snow leopards, clouded leopards, common leopards, tigers, dholes, wolves, Asiatic black bears, red panda, red fox, yellow-throated marten, Slow Loris, Hoolock Gibbons, Capped Langurs, Assamese Macaques and Rhesus Macaques. Its biggest draw is the critically endangered Namdapha Flying Squirrel which is only found here.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett National Park is one of India’s most popular tourist attractions, especially for wildlife lovers. Established in 1936, it is India’s first national park. The most commonly found wildlife at Jim Corbett includes wild elephants, sloth bears, langurs, rhesus macaques, peacocks, schools of otters, several types of deer including chital (spotted deer), sambars, hog deer and barking deer. It is one of the best forests in India to spend a peaceful vacation in.
Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
Karnataka’s Bandipur National Park is a forest spread over 874 sq km. It was once the private hunting ground of the Maharajas of Mysore. You can find tigers, Indian elephants, spotted deer, gaurs (bison), and antelopes among other species here. The towering Western Ghats surrounding the park give it a breathtaking backdrop.
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Stretching to parts of the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills in south India, the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an International Biosphere Reserve that attracts nature lovers all year round. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012. Tribal groups like the Todas, Kotas, Irullas, Kurumbas, Paniyas, Adiyans, Edanadan Chettis, Cholanaickens, Allar, and Malayan are native to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur
Another gem in northeast India, the Keibul Lamjao National Park is famous for being the only floating park in the world. It is an integral part of the popular Loktak lake and was declared a National Park in order to preserve the natural refuge of the endangered Manipur Eld’s deer also called the dancing deer, listed as an endangered species by IUCN.
Vandalur Reserve forest
A protected forest area in the southwestern part of Chennai, the Vandalur Reserve Forest is one of the best forest reserves in south India. It also included the Madras zoo which is a popular attraction. The Vandalur Hill provides stunning views of the surroundings and makes for an excellent offbeat holiday.
Kanha National Park
And then there is Kanha National Park, the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh. It is famous for being home to about 300 species of resident and migratory birds. However, what it is most popular for is the barasingha (swamp deer). The sprawling sal and bamboo forests in Kanha make spotting the Royal Bengal tiger, leopards, sloth bears, sambhars, chitals, gaur and the Indian wild dog quite easy here. Kanha is also credited for being the forest that inspired British author Rudyard Kipling to write The Jungle Book.