When you’ve been fatigued by the stress of your routine life, you just want to take a break and get away from the monotony of your daily life at home and at work.
What best way than to spend the time you took off, being one with nature. Nature has so much to offer and we keep going away from it. (Thankfully there are policies that help in protecting the national parks and many hotspots with biodiversity that are not to be touched!)
India is a country which is rich in its culture, traditions, language, people, food, religion and many such things. What it truly is abundant in, is its nature – the mountains, the rivers, the deserts, the forests, the snow and the wildlife.
Be it the beautiful snow-capped Himalayas or the fierce heat of the Thar. The stunning waters down south or the rich woodlands that fill up the Western Ghats. These are just a few areas of India that you need to see once in your lifetime to heartily appreciate the country you live in and even the country that is among the top five for every globetrotter!
We all should, once in a while, take a step back and just watch nature unfold its beauty. The twists and turns it takes when left alone is a sight you can’t miss.
There are innumerable places in India that you can visit and make memories out of but some of the best places you need to include in your “must-see-places” list and be mesmerized by the magnificent grandeur of Mother Nature are listed below.
1. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
This is an 874 sq-km jungle reserve in Karnataka. It was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve. This park was once a private hunting ground of the Maharaja of Mysore. The park protects several endangered wildlife species.
Complete with the massive green forest, Bandipur houses a lot of wildlife like the bulls, antelopes, elephants, sloth bears, panthers, boars, deer, jungle fowls and many more.
The best time to visit the park would be between March and June with the temperatures going up to 32 – 38 degrees with high humidity. This would be the time when all the wild animals will come out to the more open expanse of the forest, in search of water and escape the heat. If you are lucky you might spot much of the wildlife on your safari.
The best mode of getting there is to drive via the Mysore - Ooty highway. The gates to the reserve are closed between 9 pm to 6 am to avoid wildlife fatalities.
2. Periyar National Park, Kerala
This park is set high in the mountains of the Western Ghats, in Kerala. This park was originally formed with the building of a dam in 1895, which is the perpetual source of water for the native fauna. It was later established fully in 1982.
Encompassing an area of 925 sq-km, the park is an abode to elephants, tigers, deer, macaques, langurs, kingfishers, pythons and cobras, to name a few. Apart from the wildlife, one can take the complete advantage of being out in the open, the fresh air and the greenery that has a soothing effect on the nerves.
Other places like Kumily and the Cardamom Hills can also be visited from Periyar. Best time to visit would be from October to June.
Easily accessible by air – Kochi and Madurai airports, by rail – Kottayam city and by road through Kumily the nearest town from Periyar. Kumily is close to Kottayam and Madurai.
3. Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, Indian Ocean
If land wasn’t enough to quench your thirst of the charm of nature, you can go down towards the vast oceans and seas that engulf the country.
This marine national park is located in the Indian Ocean, a collection of 21 small islands, it is 10 km away from the east coast of Tamil Nadu. The Gulf of Mannar is extended over an area of 160 km which is the central area of the Biosphere Reserve, which is also the first ever in South East Asia. The reef was declared a Marine National Park in 1986 but given the status of a Biosphere Reserve in 1989.
You can access glass bottomed boats from the mainland to sight life underwater. The islands are home to a lot of birds, herbs and the endangered mammal – Dugong. The islands also have an aquatic life like the bottlenose, spinner and the common dolphins, sea horses, pearl oysters and barracudas to list a few.
Best time to visit the Park would be between October and March. Getting there is from Mandapam which is 150 km away from the nearest airport in Madurai.
4. Lakshadweep Islands, Laccadive Sea
This archipelago is also known as the “Aquatic Paradise of India”. Along with the picturesque scenes of the sea and the sands, the islands have a lot on offer. There are beautiful coral reefs and the Kavaratti Aquarium which display a lot of fishes and sharks.
The whole journey to the islands through ships is so enchanting that you tend to forget the life you had back on the land. These islands have a very laidback way of life contradictory to the busy mundane lives in the city.
All these islands are built on corals which are an amazing creation to see and they constitute India’s Coral Islands.
Best time to visit is from October to mid-May. There are flights from Cochin to Agatti and ships from Cochin as well.
5. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bay of Bengal.
This archipelago is famous for its white-sand beaches, rainforests and the coral reefs which harbor sharks and rays and are the most popular snorkeling and diving sites.
The islands offer a lot of sun, sand, and sea. It also has a trek to Lalaji Bay through the forest which leads to another white sand beach. It has several other attractions like the Anthropological Museum, Samudrika Marine Museum, Kalapathar, Neil’s Cove to name a few.
Best time to visit would be from April until July. You can get here by air and sea from major cities like Cochin, Delhi, and Kolkata.
6. Srinagar, Kashmir
This valley does not need any exotic flora and fauna to fascinate you. Just the scenic beauty will leave you awestruck and open-mouthed. This is as close as you can get to Nature. In spite of being commercial and populated, Kashmir will leave you enchanted with its natural beauty. Some of the most popular, yet less visited sights in Srinagar are –
Badamwari Garden – originally made by the Mughals, this garden has a massive expanse of space and is filled with almond trees, hence the name. It is best visited during the spring when the almond trees are in full bloom.
Betab Valley – best visited in February and March, this valley has breathtaking views for all the nature lovers. Situated close to Pahalgam, this valley is very serene, you can just sit by the river and admire the nature. The landscape is just too beautiful to be expressed in words, you will end up filling your device memory with its pictures!
Dal Lake – the lake is in itself a charmer, but what it is famous for is the Shikara rides. These boat rides will leave you speechless on the quaint surroundings it has. You can also choose to stay in the houseboats which is a different experience altogether. Best visited in the early mornings when you can see the floating markets and feel the crisp fresh morning breeze.
Out of the many places in India which are worth visiting, these places are highly recommended, if you are planning a quiet and a blissful trip.
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