Rajasthan is well-known for its sand dunes and golden desert, but did you know that some parts of it also have lush green forests and unbelievable wildlife? You can find some rare and endangered species of animals and birds there, and imagine taking a jeep safari and noticing a panther or tiger very close to you. This is what you can expect while you go on an encounter with the wild in this beautiful and vibrant state of Rajasthan.
How about exploring the vast desert of Rajasthan while on your safari or immersing yourself in the beauty of the dense forests, breathing fresh air while listening to the chirping of birds and taking a concoction of earthy aromas when you visit the wildlife sanctuaries. Isn’t just this thought exciting? So here is a list of the five best wildlife encounters or national parks and sanctuaries located in Rajasthan, which you must surely visit if you wish to experience the jungle royalty at its best!
Ranthambore National Park
Touted as one of the most adventurous wildlife safaris – Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan was earlier a known hunting ground for the Kings or the Maharajas. Now turned into a wildlife conservation park, Ranthambore is most famous for its Tiger population and if you are keen on bird-watching tours. This national park is full of various species like leopards, jackals, hyenas, foxes and an array of beautiful birds like Ibis, Pelicans, Egrets, Flamingos, and Parakeets. Other than wildlife, there’s a lot to see here. If you like history, then you could see the Raj Bagh ruins, which are ancient ruined structures with domes and arches. The Ranthambore fort also offers a mesmerizing view from the top. The best time to visit here is between October and June as there are better chances of spotting wildlife when it gets hotter.
This sanctuary encircles the well-known Kumbhalgarh fort, and that’s how it got its name. It was previously a royal hunting ground and was later transformed into the wildlife sanctuary as it is known today. A perfect showcase for Rajasthan’s wildlife, this Sanctuary is counted as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in this state. It is home to various ferocious panthers, jungle cats, flying squirrels, and the gentle four-horned antelopes. Truly an indulgence for wildlife lovers, the Kumbhalgarh sanctuary is most popular for its wolf sightings as many wolves often stroll near water holes in the sanctuary. The best time to visit here is between October and March, which means you must book a trip in the winter season to visit the Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary.
Bera is a small district in Southern Rajasthan, and it is not a national park. However, in the last few years, this place has gained a lot of popularity primarily as a leopard sighting spot. Though due to urbanization and land encroachment, the wild animals get less space and the wildlife population seems to be thinning. The villagers in the region host safari tours, particularly around the Jawai Dam located in the Aravallis, where leopards can be sighted easily. This dam also houses many beautiful water birds. When you visit Bera, you could opt for taking a village safari or go for a jungle safari to see various species like leopards, geese, deers, hyenas, flamingos, and cranes. Do not miss visiting the leopard hills along with the Jawai Dam when in Bera.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park
An ideal place for bird lovers, the Keoladeo Ghana national park in Bharatpur was earlier known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. The park’s name has ‘Ghana’ which means dense in Hindi language, because of the rich vegetation and dense foliage in this park. This place is supposedly one of the best bird sanctuaries located in Asia, and it’s truly a bird paradise. A walk in this serene and beautiful park is definite to rejuvenate and refresh your mind. This national park is a dwelling for over 400 species of permanent and migratory birds. Besides the resident birds like storks, pelicans, cranes, eagles, shanks, hawks, etc., this park houses various pretty migratory birds out of which some are the most exotic and rare species of birds like the black-tailed godwit, Siberian crane, the red-crested pochard, and spotted redshank. So, if you want to immerse yourself in green heaven and soak yourself in the chirping of birds, then plan a trip to the Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur. The best time to visit here is between August and November if you want to see the resident birds, but for a glimpse of migratory birds, October to February is the ideal period!
Jhalana Reserve Forest
The Jhalana Reserve Forest, located in Jaipur, is one of the most recent and new wildlife encounter spots in India. Over the last few decades, this reserve forest has been an abode for over 20 leopards. Therefore, in May 2017, the government of Rajasthan finally decided to announce it as a protected reserve forest. Jhalana Reserve Forest covers just 25 sq. km. area, but the unique feature is the high probability of leopard sighting. Other than that, you can see birds like the white-eyed buzzard, shikra, peacock etc. Check out the Jhalana Park Safari or bird watching tours here, other than exploring mere tourist attractions in Jaipur.
A wildlife tour in beautiful and colourful Rajasthan is matchless. So, what are you still waiting for? Plan a visit soon to one of the many wildlife sanctuaries here and add to the list of your adventures and memories.