Rajasthan brings to mind the images of forts, palaces, lakes, colourful festivals and the mighty Thar Desert. Rajasthan is a land of varied topography, ranging from the semi green forests of Mount Abu to dry grasslands of the desert, and from the dry deciduous thorn forest of Aravali to wetlands of Bharatpur. Each of these areas is home to variety of rare as well as endangered animal and bird species. The sanctuaries and the wildlife parks here attract the migratory birds and become their temporary home. Migratory birds like the common crane, ducks, coots, pelicans and the rare Siberian cranes, imperial sand grouse, falcons, buzzards flocks to this state during the winter season. In the season time, the whole place echoes with enchanting sounds and fascinating visuals against the sprawling meadow of flora. Each of these areas is a haven for a wide spectrum of wildlife, bestowing the state with some of the most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries in India.
With its unconventional beauty and varied attractions, Rajasthan simply charms its way into our hearts. However, there is another aspect of Rajasthan that draws visitors in hordes. Well, it is Rajasthan's rich wildlife that makes adventure lovers and wildlife enthusiasts flock its national parks and wildlife sanctuaries every year. A very well known fact is that Rajasthan has a variety of flora and fauna. Rajasthan is the haven of the tigers and many endangered species. Rajasthan is the home of some rare species of tigers, blackbucks, chinkara, the desert fox, the endangered caracal, the great Indian bustard, gavial, monitor lizard, wild boars, porcupine, etc. The leopard (panther) here is found in forests and in open degraded forest areas with rocky outcrops adjoining towns and villages. Each type of ecosystem is host to some rare species, so they have been marked as special area wildlife.
Rajasthan boasts of three national parks and over a dozen sanctuaries that offer a fascinating variety of birds and beasts, of flora and fauna and of hilly and forested terrain. Most of these areas are open to visitors round the year but are closed briefly during the monsoon. The wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan offer some of the best wildlife tours in India and can be explored either by jeep or on elephant back. So, get set for a jeep or elephant safari and enjoy a close encounter with the wild beasts and beautiful birds in their natural habitat. For those looking for adventure, these wildlife sanctuaries of Rajasthan provide the kind of excitement that really makes the adrenaline flow.
The Nahargarh Biological Park has a variety of vegetation and several species of wild beasts. The Jhalana Nature Trail, Arboretum Park, Amrita Devi Park and Machia Safari Park are the other popular ones. Around 550 species of birds can be traced in the lakes, ponds, marshlands and grasslands of Rajasthan. They are an absolute paradise for bird lovers most of which are residents. The best colony of birds in the world is Kealodeo National Park situated in Bharatpur. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur is a bird sanctuary that is visited, every year, by our feathered friend from distant lands. It is famous for the exotic Spoonbills and Siberian Cranes. It has more than 400 species of birds and more than 130 of them breed inside the park. Being a unique bird place, the UNSECO has recognized it as a world heritage site. The Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary and the Ranthambore National Park are tiger reserves and homes to the royal Indian tiger. These destinations have a large variety of other wild species including the wild boar, jackal, sambar and nilgai. The Ranthambore National Park is also a heritage site, as it houses the magnificent ruins of a thousand-year-old fort.
The best season for bird watching begins with the onset of winter when marshlands and lakes are inhabited by migratory birds as well as resident birds. Flamingos, too can be seen in salt-water lakes like Pachpadra near Barmer and Sambhar near Jaipur. The major wetlands other than Bharatpur in Rajasthan are :
Jaipur -- Kukas, Kalah, Bund, Buchora Chandi, Chhaparwara and Ramgarh
Alwar -- Silislerh Jaisamand and Mansarover
Udaipur -- Ana Sagar and Faterhsagar in Ajmer, Jaisamand,Pichhola and Badi ka Talab
Jodhpur -- Balsamand and Sardar Samand
Chittaurgarh -- Bassi Dam
Bhilwara -- Meja Dam
Nature trails and eco-tourism parks have been developed as an attempt to reverse the damage done by territorial encroachment and to recreate a pristine environment. About 350 Bishnois sacrificed themselves in order to prevent the local king from cutting down the trees in their area and a cenotaph erected in their memory at Khejrli near Jodhpur stands as testimony to their fight for conservation. It is among such traditions that the erstwhile princely rulers of the State maintained the best forest tracts as hunting preserves and consequently several jungles with varied flora and fauna have been conserved.
So when you plan a holiday trip for Rajasthan, don't forget to have a glimpse at the wildlife parks here. Tour to Rajasthan and explore the rich dense forest covers of Rajasthan. Visit Wildlife Rajasthan and watch the ferocious tigers, leopards, etc in their natural habitats. Travel to Rajasthan wildlife and see the rare and endangered species wander around the ruins of the majestic forts and palaces of bygone years. See the birds dance, sing, and quarrel and feed their babies, a sight you will love to behold. Catch them in you cams, while they are busy drinking water or determined to catch their prey. Watch them quarrel and make love, while traveling in the confines of Rajasthan Wildlife. The greatest attraction for all the wildlife lovers visiting Rajasthan is various safaris they can choose to enjoy the richness of wildlife of the region. You can enjoy a jeep safari or an elephant safari and make a close encounter with the wild beasts and beautiful birds in their natural habitat. Some of the most noted National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Rajasthan are mentioned below:
Ranthambore National Park of Rajasthan in India
Ranthambore National Park is the only dry deciduous tiger habitat in the world and probably the best place in the world to see wild tigers. The Ranthambore National Park, which is a part of the much larger Ranthambore tiger reserve, a Project tiger reserve, lies in the Sawai Madhopur district of eastern Rajasthan. It is the only forest reserve in Rajasthan state and in the entire Aravali hill ranges where wild Bengal tigers still exist. The dry deciduous habitat of the reserve makes it much easier to find and observe tigers in their natural wild habitat.
Ranthambore National Park is dotted with structures that remind you of bygone eras. There are many water bodies located all over the park, which provide perfect relief during the extremely hot summer months for the forest inhabitants. A huge fort, after which the park is named, towers over the park atop a hill. There are many ruins of bygone eras scattered all over the jungle, which give it a unique, wonderful and mixed flavours of nature, history and wildlife. Tigers at Ranthambore National park have been known to even hunt in full view of human visitors. These tigers are famous for being seen in the daytime too, due to their lack of fear of human presence in vehicles. This lack of fear of humans is excellent for tourists, as they get to see the tigers often.
This National park is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream. All the Tiger safaris in the Reserve are conducted inside the National park. The park is open to tourists during October-June, and receives more than 100,000 wildlife enthusiasts every year from all over the world. In Nutshell, Ranthambore National park is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream.
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Keoladeo Ghana National Park of Rajasthan in India
A paradise for the avian world and the pilgrimage for the bird lovers, the Keoladeo Ghana National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary lies between two of India's most historic cities, Agra and Jaipur. This north Indian sanctuary is situated in the country's northwestern state of Rajasthan, about 190 km from the national capital of Delhi. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that sees (or saw) thousands of rare and highly endangered birds such as the Siberian Crane come here during the winter season. Over 230 species of birds are known to have made the National Park their home. It is also a major tourist centre with scores of ornithologists arriving here in the hibernal season. The foundation of this Bharatpur wildlife sanctuary was laid in 1760 when the Maharaja of Bharatpur made an artificial lake and the dam at this very site to store the water brought by the annual floods in this area. It got its name as Keoladeo Ghana Park on account of an ancient Hindu temple at the centre of the national park devoted to Lord Shiva. The term 'Ghana' is derived from Hindi, which means dense and refers to the thick forest, which covers the entire area. Bharatpur became a national park on 10 March 1982, and was given the status of a World Heritage Site in December 1985.
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Sariska Tiger Reserve of Rajasthan in India
Sariska Tiger Reserve is well nestled in the Aravali Hills covering 800 sq km area divided into the grasslands, dry deciduous forests, sheer cliffs and rocky landscape. Whether you want to have camel safaris, go out for shopping in the surrounding places, visit medieval palaces or wildlife watching; Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is the best place for you. Nearly 90% of the area in the sanctuary is covered with dhok trees accommodating various wildlife species. A variety of other wild animals like the leopard, sambhar, chital, nilgai, four-horned antelope, wild boar, rhesus macaque, langur, hyena and jungle cats are found in the Sariska Tiger Reserve apart from the tiger. The Sariska National Park is home to India's largest population of peafowl, and harbours quail, sand grouse, golden- backed woodpeckers and crested serpent eagles, among other species. Also the Siliserh Lake on the edge of the park has a large number of crocodiles.
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Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary of Rajasthan in India
Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary is located in Chittorgarh District of Rajasthan in India. The Bhensrod Garh sanctuary is situated around 55 km west of Kota and covers a total area of 229 sq km of scrub and dry deciduous forest. Bhensrod Garh is one of the latest additions in the list of Wildlife Parks or Sanctuaries as protected home to variety of rare as well as endangered animal and bird species. It was established as a sanctuary in the year 1983. A number of invaluable archaeological remains have been excavated from here and can also be seen in the Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary. The Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary shelters rare sloth bear, leopard, hyena, jackal, fox, spotted deer and birds in its open degraded forest areas with rocky outcrops adjoining towns, villages and Bhensrod Garh Fort.
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Darrah Sanctuary of Rajasthan in India
Rajasthan, known for its Forts and Palaces is also a home to a lot of endangered wild animals and birds. Though the environment of Rajasthan is not very much agreeable for greenery but still it is a shelter for many flora and fauna with a number of Wildlife Sanctuaries. The Darrah Wildlife sanctuary is thickly forested, lying along the southeastern border of Kota. This hilly sanctuary with thick forests is worth a visit. The Darrah sanctuary is spread over an area of 250 sq. km and is strategically located 50 km away from the town of Kota. In the days of yore, Darrah sanctuary used to be the royal hunting ground of the erstwhile maharaja of Kota before it was handed over to the government of India. The Darrah sanctuary was officially declared as a protected area in 1955. Darrah sanctuary is densely wooded and is spread over a hilly terrain. Darrah wildlife sanctuary is thronged with various kinds of wild animals. Some of the resident species of this mysterious sanctuary are wolf, cheetah, nilgai, deer and wild boar. Today, the Darrah Sanctuary boasts of a rich wildlife population consisting of leopards, wolves, sloth bears and chinkaras. The sanctuary is also home to a number of birds and reptiles. Adventure freaks and wildlife enthusiasts can look forward to a wonderful time at Darrah. Indeed from jungle safaris to treks, there are lots to see and do at the Darrah Sanctuary. Besides, The Darrah Sanctuary is lush with green foliage and many rare medicinal herbs and trees. The tourists seeking adventure and solitude indulge in trekking along the many mountain trails and in undertaking jeep safaris through the forested areas.
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Desert National Sanctuary of Rajasthan in India
The Thar Desert, which is known as the 'ocean of sands', covers a large portion of western Rajasthan. It's a wrong notion of people that the deserts can't support a varied flora and fauna. The fragile ecosystem of the Thar supports a unique and varied wildlife species. In this vast ocean of sands lies the famous Desert National Park, which provides an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert and its diverse wildlife. The Desert National Park is located 45 km west of the Jaisalmer city in the West Indian state of Rajasthan close to the India- Pakistan border. Spread over an area in excess of 3150 sq km, this is probably the largest park of India. Rajasthan Desert National Sanctuary was set up in 1980. The desert sanctuary being a fragile ecosystem has its own flora and fauna. Sand-dunes, both fixed and shifting, low rock-faces, grasslands and scrublands, characterize this park where the greatest need is for water. The topography of the park comprises of craggy rocks, compact salt lake bottoms and vast sand dunes, which form about 20% of the Park. There are three main lakes in this sanctuary - Rajbaugh Lake, Milak Talao Lake and Padam Talao Lake. These lakes are the major watering holes for the inhabitants of the national park. As the desert only supports a few type of small grasses, shrubs and xerophytic trees, the leaf cover is limited and not suitable for large herbivorous, camel being an exception. Vast tracts are encrusted with sewan grass, and the aak shrub and khair, khejra and rohira trees are widespread, but sand dominates every scene. Even so, many creatures have adapted to this harsh, inhospitable terrain.
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Jaisamand Sanctuary of Rajasthan in India
Rajasthan is as famous for its wildlife sanctuaries as for is forts and palaces. The regal charm as on the one hand enchants you in total bliss on the other hand it also gives you the delight of the nature which has a completely different definition for its ambience. When we talk about the wildlife sanctuaries we are incomplete if we are not discussing the Jaisamand Sanctuary in Rajasthan. It is located at a distance of 51 km south east of Udaipur and spread over an area of 160 square km. Jaisamand Sanctuary came into existence in the year 1957. This sanctuary is the habitat of innumerable species which include sloth bear, leopard, chital, chinkara, wild boar and a large number of the birds that breed here such as darter, open bill stork, pond heron, little cormorant and Indian Shag. The aquatic life ad the amphibians are also found in the lake such as the fish and the crocodiles.
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Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary of Rajasthan in India
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a major attraction for the tourists coming to Udaipur. This Sanctuary falls under the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. Kumbhalgarh Park lies at a distance of 65 kms from Udaipur on Udaipur - Pali - Jodhpur road. If you are a wild-life lover, this is a perfect place for you to visit. Sprawled in an area of 578 sq km, Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary encircles the massive fort of Kumbhalgarh. This wildlife park has imbibed its name from the same fort. Broadening across the Aravalli Range, Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary is located in the most rugged of the Aravali in Pali, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts of Rajasthan. Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary with an area of 578 sq Km and at an altitude of 500 to 1,300m is home to a very large variety of wild life, some of which are highly endangered species. The sanctuary provides natural abode to many creatures like Wolf, Leopards, Sloth bear, Hyena, jackal, Jungle cat, Sambhar, Nilgai, Chausingha (the four horned antelope), Chinkara and Hare. In fact, Kumbhalgarh is the only sanctuary of Rajasthan, where you can trace wolf engaged in its activities. The Aravalis hills, which remain barren for most of the year, turns green during rains and provide shelter to sloth bear, leopard, flying squirrel. Kumbalgarh is the only sanctuary of Rajasthan, where activities of the rarely found wolf can be seen. More than forty wolves inhabit the Joba area of the sanctuary. During summer, when water becomes scarce, pack of wolves roaming around water holes is a common sight.
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Mount Abu Sanctuary of Rajasthan in India
Mount Abu is the highest peak in the Aravalli Range at a average height of 1,219 mtr's above sea level is the oasis in the deserted land of Rajasthan and posses the honor of being the only hill-station in Rajasthan as well as north-west India. Situated amidst lush green forested hills on the highest peak in the Aravali range is also the summer capital for the Indian state of Rajasthan, home to lakes, waterfalls and green forests, the hill retreat, has a very cool and soothing climate thanks to its rich flora covering the entire hillside that includes coniferous trees and flowering shrubs. The road leading to Mount Abu is a curved one characterized by arid region dotted with huge rocks in weird shapes and high velocity winds. The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is more than just a summer retreat. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1960 and covers 290 km² of the mountain. Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is located in one of the oldest mountain ranges of India, the Aravalli range. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1960. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many sightseeing points offering fantastic views. It is made from igneous rocks which have formed large cavities in many areas due to the weathering effects of wind and water. This is common throughout the entire Mount Abu region. Many people visit the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary just for the sightseeing and views, but most visit The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary for the animals and birds. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is about 7 kilometres long and only 300 metres wide. This means that while you take the long walk down The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary you won’t miss much on either side. In addition to the sightseeing opportunities, the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination for eco-tourism. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary crosses a variety of mountain highs, from 300m to 1722m at Gurashikhar- the highest peak in the Aravali Ranges.
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Ecotourism in India
The year 2002 was celebrated as the 'International Year of Ecotourism' and this environment friendly form of tourism has many important connotations that range from responsible tourism to environment conservation and contributing towards keeping the natural environment clean and as unadulterated as possible.
Ecotourism is an attempt at sustainable ecological development and India Wildlife Tours offers online ecotourism booking to the some of the most naturally beautiful locales in India.
The concept of ecotourism is gaining momentum in India very quickly. The promotion of the concept of using natural products in different walks of life is opening up vast options for using stuff that are environment friendly be it compost or toiletries.
Certain things that you can do to contribute in your own way towards the conservation of the natural beauty of the luxuriant locales that you visit are:
- Try not to litter forests etc with non-biodegradable wastes such as tins, cans, bottles etc. these things must be disposed of in the municipal waste bins.
- Avoid contributing to noise pollution by toning down your radios etc. when you go on wildlife tours as the noise can easily distract or scare wild animals who are accustomed to the natural sounds of the jungle.
- Avoid using detergents and defecating near water sources in the jungle.
- Avoid building campfires in dense forests and do not leaves cigarette buds or other waste material in the forests.
Do not consume aerated or alcoholic beverages and throw the bottles in forests areas.
The aforesaid are a few tips for those interested in conserving the environment and at the same time are eager to enjoy the natural vistas and other natural attractions while on travel tours to India.
Project Tiger in India
The Project Tiger was established with an initiative of the Government of India under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi in the year 1972. The idea was to save the alarmingly dwindling population of Panthera tigris or the tiger by establishing special reserves that offer a large enough natural habitat for the tiger and other wild life animals. Most of the national parks that come under the Project Tiger have a core area that is usually left undisturbed and a buffer zone that offers ample opportunities for wildlife safaris.
The first national park that was declared as a part of the Project Tiger was the Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal, India during the year 1973.
The main objectives of the ambitious project tiger were to create and maintain natural habitats that can effectively help to rehabilitate and conserve wildlife in India and to maintain a viable tiger population for scientific, ecological aesthetic and cultural values.
Initially there were 8 national parks that were declared as an integral part of the Project Tiger though today there are quite a few national parks in India that have been given the status of a Project tiger reserve.
During the first stage of implementation of the Project Tiger the conservationists concentrated on issues such as prevention of forest ecology disturbance, poaching, habitat destruction and other related problems. Entire villages were relocated so that the interests of the humans and animals would not clash. The core areas at the India national parks were developed as breeding zones and humans were kept away from this part of the forest.
The Project tiger has had a tumultuous history though a lot of good work has been done to preserve tigers. Still the Project Tiger is a continuous and on going struggle to save wild animals from poachers and vagaries of human beings.
Leapords in India
Leapords are cats with an elongate and muscular body. Their paws are broad and their ears are short. In tropical regions their coats tend to be shorter and sleeker, whereas in colder climates their fur is longer and denser. The coloration varies from the color of straw to grayish to even chesnut. The backs of the ears are black except for a spot either located centrally or near the tips.
These appear to other animals as eyes. The throat, chest, belly, and the insides of the limbs are white. The rest of the head, throat, chest, and limbs all have small black spots. The belly has larger black spots, almost like blotches. Region and habitat have an affect on the appearance of P. pardus.
In Africa, leopards living in hilly areas tend to be larger than those living in lowlands. There is a tendency to melanism (black coloration) in this species. This characteristic is more frequent in densely forested areas where being darker is probably beneficial in remaining unseen as compared to open areas. Whether spotted or black, leopards' coloration is extremely effective. Scientists have been unable to spot these cats just a few yards away even knowing that they were present. Leopards have been recorded as long as 2.92 meters but that is extreme, 1.37-1.67 is more common.
Pantera pardus could at one time be found from British Isles to Japan and throughout most of Asia. Today they can still be found in Africa, except for the true deserts of Sahara and Kalahari, and some parts of Asia such as Sri Lanka. Leopards are more common in Eastern and Central Africa. Conversely, they are rare in Western and Northern Africa and most of Asia (Nowak, 1997; Sanderson, 1972).
Leopards are famous for their ability to go undetected. They may live practically among humans and still be tough to spot. They are graceful and stealthy. Amongst the big cats they are probably the most accomplished stalkers. They are good, agile climbers and can descend from a tree headfirst. Along with climbing, they are strong swimmers but not as fond of water as tigers; for example, leopards will not lay in water. They are mainly nocturnal but can be seen at any time of day and will even hunt during daytime on overcast days.
In regions where they are hunted, nocturnal behavior is more common. These cats are solitary, avoiding one another. However, 3 or 4 are sometimes seen together. Hearing and eyesight are the strongest of these cats' senses and are extremely acute. Olfaction is relied upon as well, but not for hunting. When making a threat, leopards stretch their backs, depress their rib cages between their shoulder blades so they stick out, and lower their heads (similar to domestic cats). During the day they may lie in bush, on rocks, or in a tree with their tails hanging below the treetops and giving them away.
The diet of these big cats is surprisingly varied. Prey for this species includes: wildebeest, impalas, reed-bucks, Thomson's gazelles, jackals, baboons, and storks. These are the most common food sources with Thomson's gazelles and reed-bucks making up the majority. However, other prey are included in leopards' diet. At times they seem to show a preference for canines, even attempting in the past to snatch dogs right from the feet of their masters.
They will eat fish and domestic stock such as goats. They will even eat carrion, scavenging tiger kills. These cats are capable of sneaking right up next to the prey before being spotted, almost appearing from nowhere. Bite marks occur on the nape of the neck and the throat. The bite on the back of the neck often occurs when animals are attacked from behind.
Lifespan / Longevity
Leopards live 21-23 years in captivity. In the wild, life span is not exactly known. It can be approximated from reports of "man-eaters" (see negative effects), which are easier to follow; from the beginnings of their attacks until the end, life span in the wild can be estimated around to be 7-9 years.
Expected Lifespan In Wild: 7 to 9 years
Expected Lifespan In Captivity: 21 to 23 years
Economic Importance for Humans
The skins of these cats have been sought after throughout history. There is still a market for them today, although much of the hunting is illegal. Produces - Fur, leather or wool.
When living near populated areas these cats will attack and kill domestic stock such as goats and pigs. Where this prey is provided leopards will achieve unusually high densities and the problem persists. They will also attack and kill humans. One particular leopard in India, known as "Kahani man-eater" killed over 200 people although this behavior is not the norm.
The status of P. pardus ranges from endangered to critically endangered to threatened depending on the geographic region. Even though these cats are highly adaptable, they still face many problems. These include habitat destruction, being hunted as trophies and for their fur, and persecution as killers. Illegal hunting of leopards for their fur became so common in the 1960s that as many as 50,000 skins were marked annually.
The avian population in the park is also very healthy. During late summer and in the monsoon months, it is possible to see large numbers of peacocks with their tail feathers fanned out and doing their famous shimmering "dance". Some of the bird species visible in the park are Peafowl, Red Jungle Fowl, Spur Fowls, White Breasted Kingfishers, Golden Backed Woodpeckers, Great Indian Horned Owls, Quails, Partridges, Sangrouse, Tree Pies, Crested Serpent Eagles, Parakeets, Drongos, Sunbirds and Vultures.
Birds of North India
Indian Union covers an area of about 3,267,500 square kilometers and stretches from north about 3,200 kms and from east to west about 3,000 kms. In the north are the snow-covered Himalayas with some of the highest peaks of the world. In the south, the triangular Deccan plateau is bounded by jungle-covered hills to the north and by the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal on the other two sides. Between the Himalayas and the Deccan lies the fertile Gangetic Plain, about 1,920 kms long, with the Great Indian Desert to the west of it.
Inevitably, this vast region has a diverse climate. There is, thus, a great variation in physical and climatic conditions and consequently, in the character of vegetation. Such environmental conditions have greatly influenced the character of wildlife. Because of its geographical position the wildlife of India comprise numerous representatives of Malayan, north and west-Asian, European and African Fauna. India has a unique fauna and excels in the range and diversity of its wildlife. There are over 500 species of mammals, 2,060 species of birds, 748 species of reptiles and 30,000 species of insects. To preserve its unique wildlife, India has created 11 National Parks and 135 Sanctuaries in the country, covering a total area of 26,000 sq. km
Sariska wildlife Sanctuary is part of the Project Tiger. The Sanctuary extends over an area of 800 sq. kms, and has a wide spectrum and rich population of wildlife. A rich avifauna of more than 200 species of birds, which includes Babbler (Common, Jungle & Large Grey). Black/Red Headed Bunting. Little Brown Dove, Crested Serpent Eagle, Pale Harrier, Gray Hornbill, White Breasted Kingfisher, Small Minivet, Golden Oriole, Great Gray Shrike, Tailor Bird, Wryneck Woodpecker and many more, makes it an ideal place for bird watching.
Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary, better known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, is considered the best bird marsh in the world. It has 29 square kms of marsh, woodland and scrub. It is also described as "one of the most magical places for bird watching on earth" featuring both nesting indigenous as well as migratory water birds. It is a big shallow lake divided by various roads and dykes into smaller compartments, depth nowhere exceeding 2.5 meters. More than 330 species of birds have already been identified. Local birds such as Painted Storks, Open Bill Storks, Spoonbills, Cormorants, Darters, Ibises, Moorhen, Pheasant - tailed Jacana, Purple Coot, White-breasted Waterhen, Paddy Bird, Night Heron, Comb Duck (Nukta) and Dabchick, begin nestling when the rains are about to start. Migratory birds start arriving in October which include a variety of Ducks, Geese, Raptors, Waders, Warblers and Cranes (including the Siberian Crane, of which there are about only 350 birds in the world and the Sanctuary is the wintering ground for about 52 such Cranes).
Corbett is regarded as one of the true bird parks of the world. Out of the 2,060 species and subspecies of birds recorded in the Indian subcontinent, over 600 species/subspecies of birds have been recorded from Corbett at one time or another. This number is greater than the total number of bird species found in Europe and represents around one fourth of the available diversity found in India. Out of the 69 species of raptors found in India, 49 can be seen in Corbett making it a striking element of the local avifauna. The reserve, which covers 520 sq. kms is not less than a paradise for bird-watchers. European bird-watchers are some of the keenest visitors to the reserve during winters when the bird diversity is at its peak.
Birds which can be spotted at the banks of River Ramganga on the outskirts of Corbett Park include Brown Fish Owl, Himalayan Kingfisher, Brown Dipper and Plumbeous/White-Capped Redstarts. One can also see Little/Staty backed Forktails and Mountain/Rufousbellied Hawk-Eagles here. Inside Corbett Park, Blue Whistling Thrush and Red Jungle Fowl are immediate possibilities. But with some efforts one can spot Oriental White-eye, Jungle Owlet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Lesser Fish-Eagle or even Great Thick-knee, Stork-billed Kingfisher and many more. Mammals include Tiger, Indian Elephant, Chital, Sambhar, Muntjack (Barking Deer), Hog Deer and Common Langur. A trip to these magnificent Sanctuaries will also take you through Jaipur (Pink City) and Agra (City of Taj) which will add the experience of Indian culture, heritage, history and hospitality to your memories.