Lantern Fish

A Poetry and Travel Blog

Your Winter Getaway to India-Part II

unsplash-logoSujith Devanagari

If you’re not looking for respite from the cold in a desert or on the beach, and are looking forward to a more adventurous holiday, here are some more suggestions for you:

The Snowy Mountains

India is endowed with quite a few mountain and hill ranges, including the famous Himalayas. These beautiful mountains offer various opportunities for adventure, skiing and other fun activities. Some of the states you can visit for a snowy adventure are:

1) Himachal Pradesh

This beautiful mountanous state shares its borders with the Indian hill states of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The main tourist destinations in the state include Kullu, Manali, Shimla, the Spiti valley, Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Dharamshala and McLeodganj, among others.

2) Uttarakhand

Lying adjacent to Himachal Pradesh is another beautiful hill state, where you will find opportunities for relaxing, binding with nature and having some great adventures. The major attractions in the mountains of this state include Mussoorie, Nainital, Dhanaulti, Chamba, Auli, Ranikhet, Almora, Chamoli, Munsyari, Rudraprayag, Kedarnath and many more.

3) The Kashmir Valley and Ladakh

The beautiful valley and the awe-inspiring peaks along with the many rivers and lakes in this Northern-most part of India inspire a respect for life and nature. The places to visit here are Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Leh, the Zanskar, Kargil, Hemis National Park, the Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake and others.

4) The North-Eastern States

The Seven Sisters of North-East India have rich cultural heritage, amazing wildlife and opportunities for you to enjoy the snow. Some of the major attractions of this part of the country are Tawang, Bomdila and Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, Gangtok and Katao in Sikkim, and various other destinations in the states of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya.

Wildlife

Home to various species of plants and animals, India and its biodiversity are a treat for wildlife lovers, especially in the winters. The country is known for the Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lions, Asian Elephants, Rhinoceros, Snow Leopards and various species of reptiles as well as migratory birds. You should keep in mind that a visit to some reserves may require special permits, so make sure you acquire them before heading there!

Here is a list of National Parks and Sanctuaries you can pick from, for your holiday:

1) Tigers:

Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Known for the Royal Bengal Tiger, Elephants, Leopards and various other species of animals and birds, this national park offers an experience of a lifetime.

Sunderbans National Park

Situated on the Ganges delta shared by India and Bangladesh, the Sunderbans are a beautiful mangrove forest with rich wildlife and are a home to the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Another home of the Royal Bengal Tiger, Ranthambore National Park is situated in the desert state of Rajasthan and is famous for other species of wild cats, the desert fox, striped hyenas and crocodiles as well.

2) Turtles

Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary, Odisha

Part of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Gahirmatha is famous as the mass nesting site of Olive Ridley Turtles, that migrate here for breeding in the winter months.

3) Asiatic Lions

Gir National Park, Gujarat

The only natural habitat for wild lions outside the continent of Africa, Gir National Park is also famous for various species of birds, deer and reptiles.

4) Rhinoceros

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

One of the most well-known places to spot the Indian Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park is also home to tigers, elephants, deer, reptiles and birds.

Manas National Park, Assam

Named after a river by the same name, this national park is also a tiger reserve, where you can spot a variety of other animals including elephants, amphibians, reptiles and birds as well.

Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal

Situated in the state of West Bengal, which lies just next to Assam, this wildlife sanctuary is home to the one horned rhinoceros, tigers, elephants, quite a few varieties of deer, boars and birds and reptiles as well.

5) Snow Leopard

Although the best time to spot the snow leopard is in the winters, be careful that you don’t delay your trip as heavy snowfall makes trekking and safaris difficult in the mountains, so such activities may be closed after November.

1) Hemis National Park, Ladakh

Although the National Park is mostly known for the highly elusive big cat, you can also spot a variety of wild sheep and goats, Tibetan wolves and the ibex here. But since the temperatures can be well below zero degrees, make sure you’re well prepared.

2) Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh

The Namdapha National Park is open throughout the year, so you can visit it after November as well. Besides snow leopards, this National Park is also known for three other species of big cats- the clouded leopard, the common leopard and the royal Bengal tiger. You can also spot wolves, bears, foxes and red pandas here.

3) Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Uttarakhand

Although visiting this biosphere reserve after November is difficult, October is a good enough time to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and their wildlife. The reserve is known for snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, musk deers and many species of primates and birds.

4) Great Himalayan National Park and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh

The Great Himalayan National Park, located in the Kullu district and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary in the Spiti Valley, are both home to the snow leopard and various other Himalayan animals and birds.

Well, this concludes my list of places you can visit in India on your winter holiday. Just make sure you make your reservations in advance, to avoid any inconvenience.

M.K.

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