There’s an escape from India’s rikshaw-filled alleys and buzzing markets. It’s called nature, and it consists of incredibly peaceful animal kingdoms.
Kaziranga National Park, Ranthambore National Park & Sundarbans National Park
There’s an escape from India’s rikshaw-filled alleys and buzzing markets. It’s called nature, and it consists of incredibly peaceful animal kingdoms. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready to explore three of India’s national parks, with chances to look straight into the eyes of some of the planet’s most majestic creatures.
Kaziranga National Park
Hear the silky soft wind playing with the trees. Hear the waves calmly bumping into the riverbank. When seated on the cottages’ balcony in Diphlu River Lodge in Kaziranga National Park, one senses the serenity of the surrounding nature and the luxurious comforts of the accommodation at the same time. The air-conditioned lodges are partly made from wood and leaves, making them dissolve into the green setting. Sipping on a drink from the minibar you might catch a glimpse of the parks’ animal citizens already.
The legitimate thrill is a jeep safari through the meadows and wetlands while seeking for the great Indian rhinoceros. When thirsty, these armoured giants can be found in groups encircling ponds in the park. During the safari, a display of superb nature reveals itself to the eyes of the traveller. Endless stretching marshes, flat grassland and mysterious dense forest submerge one in a mere green wonderland, that’s grazed and inhabited by countless mammalian species.
Kaziranga National Park is often mentioned as one of the largest kingdoms of the Royal Bengal tiger. Despite their perilous appearance tigers are shy natured and not keen on an audience. The accommodation will provide a vehicle and a guide. The guide is necessary to find the graceful faces of the world’s biggest cats. You might get focussed on the natural beauty on eye level, but don’t forget to look up. In the simmering skies above Kaziranga National Park, crested serpent eagles and rare Bengal floricans are always silently circling.
Kaziranga is located between two airports: Guwahati International Airport and Jorhat Airport, both of which are served by well-maintained roads that lead directly to the park. You can also take a train from New Delhi to the park’s nearest train station, Furkating, which is about 75 km away. www.kaziranga-national-park.com
Where to stay
⇒ IORA The Retreat, Kaziranga
Warm Assamese hospitality meets modern comforts at this intimate retreat located a short drive away from the Park. With only 42 rooms and suites set amidst an impeccably manicured property, this 20 acre resort offers up a sanctuary for nature lovers.
⇒ Diphlu River Lodge
Set on the scenic banks of the Park’s nearby river, the Diphlu River Lodge is the ideal gateway to nature. The lodge even hosted British royal couple William and Kate in their 2016 visit to India, where they stayed for two nights in one of the lodge’s airy, spacious suites.
Ranthambore National Park
Call these leafy grounds in Rajasthan ‘Cat Capital’, and nobody will dare to contradict you. Leopards, jungle cats, caracals, and the king of the jungle – the Royal Bengal tiger himself – reside in the shade of the verdant rooftop. The wet marshlands are populated by a tremendous amount of reptiles, such as monitor lizards, vipers, pythons and the uncrowned emperor of all Indian serpents: the cobra.
Lovers of feathered creatures will be rewarded with sights of elegant hornbills, glowing kingfishers and hardworking egrets searching for fish. Riding a boat is the best approach to wildlife spotting and possible encounters with turtles and frightening crocodiles.
The craving for wildlife discoveries won’t be satisfied after a day trip in the park. Choose a sleepover in style in the Burra Sahib Suite in Sher Bagh Ranthambore. Spending the night in a tent might not sound like an appealing rainforest experience, but entering the glamorous world of lush camping equals being catapulted to an advanced universe.
The breath-taking living room in a colonial pattern is dotted with dark wooden furniture, whiskey bottles and bookshelves with literary classics. Private privileges are the enchanting keywords in the Burra Sahib Suite. Guests won’t have a single concern with a personal butler available all day. With a private heated pool and veranda facing superior scenery, this secluded suite is the most captivating accommodation all over the national park. At night, the birds and the fireplace outside sing a lullaby, rocking the damping jungle to sleep.
The Park is well-connected to all of India’s major cities. Simply take a train to Sawai Madhopur Railway Station, which connects to major cities like Jaipur, Bombay, and Delhi. From there, the park is a mere 10km away. www.ranthamborenationalpark.com
Where to stay
⇒ Sherbagh Resort
Relive the golden days of safari expeditions at Sherbagh Resort, a luxury tented camp resort that borders the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Each of its 12 hand-made canvas tents recall the heyday of safari expeditions in India, with plush Edwardian furnishings further evoking the feeling of nostalgia.
⇒ Vanya Vilas Resort
Enveloped by quaint hills and bordered by a bubbling lake, the Vanya Vilas Resort offers a luxury tenting experience at nature’s doorstep. Air-conditioned tents with teak flooring are decked out in modern facilities to make stays more comfortable, but if you want to experience nature in all its glory, simply head out to your private garden to sunbathe and drink in the scenery.
Live like an emperor at the Aman-I-Khas’ majestic tents and facilities. The resort’s luxurious camps are swathed in the fascinating architecture of the Rajput and Mughal era, allowing guests to indulge like a royal as they spot various species of wildlife – such as sloth bears and deer – in the neighbouring Aravalli Hills.
Sundarbans National Park
The orange sun rises over the vast swamps called the Sundarbans. The eyelashes are still heavy, but the chef’s creations bluntly awake the taste buds of everyone on board. A mix involving tasty ingredients like a massive mangrove forest area and exciting wildlife, results in Sundarbans National Park, one of the most delicious Indian nature delicacies you’ll sample.
Discovering a labyrinth of mangrove trees and rivers by comfortable houseboat particularly is a holiday memory that remains. Sundarbans Houseboat is a floating palace rather than a wooden boat. The majestic craft houses three air-conditioned cabins, flat screen televisions, a computer gaming system and a laid-back upper deck dining area. Get the camera and binoculars out while the houseboat gently makes its way through the wet maze that India shares with neighbouring Bangladesh.
Mangrove forests are one of the planet’s most fertile ecosystems, and the variety of species living here overwhelms the majority of the travellers that visit the Brahmaputra and Ganges delta. Hawksbill sea turtles and saltwater crocodiles swiftly move in the marshes, monitored by peregrine falcons and pythons up in the branches. The houseboat twists throughout broad waterways, passing by groups of black-headed ibises and black-tailed godwits. Nevertheless, an Indian feast isn’t complete without a delightful dessert: a full body exposure – or even a glimpse – of the Royal Bengal tiger. Forget about the bubble of your routine work life, travel to the soul of the wetlands and prepare for a humbling meeting with the second largest cat on earth.
As one of India’s most popular wildlife destinations, Sunderban National Park is well-connected by roads and trains. There are numerous ways to reach the Park, but guests must enter from Kolkata by road – the easiest way to get there is by taking the road from Kolkata itself. Alternatively, the nearest train station, Canning, offers numerous bus and rickshaw services that will take you to the park directly. www.sunderbannationalpark.in
Where to stay
⇒ Sunderban Tiger Camp-Wildlife Resort
Situated directly within the reserve compound, this rustic resort sits along the Datta River, offering scenic views by night. The resort is carefully styled to meld with the lush compound that it sits in – all without compromising on the luxury quotient. ◼
© This article was first published online in Dec 2018 – World Travel Magazine.
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