Reckoned as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India, the Jim Corbett National Park is famed for Bengal tigers and the beautiful landscapes. It’s known for over 300 wild elephants and 200 tigers thriving here together with the other animals. Various other species such as deers, otters, langurs, sloth bear, rhesus macaques, peacocks, sambar and gharials reside here in their natural habitat.
Jim Corbett is the oldest and the 1st national park of India. Bird watching is one of the best things to do here during winters as the park receives as many as 586 species of migratory birds. The National Park is rich in its leafy treasures that too with around 488 species of plants. Be prepared for freezing temperatures during the January and February. Temperature here are known to drop below zero degrees frequently. Hence pack accordingly as the cold here specially on morning drives are unforgiving.
2. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Known for its high density of Bengal tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park also features a rich biodiversity. The popular wildlife sanctuary in India is home to as many as 40 species of mammals and over 250 species of birds. Furthermore, the park preserves numerous reptile species.
Langur, deer, barking deer, wild boar, Indian bison and sambar are a part of the wildlife of this national park. Bandhavgarh National Park was the former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Rewa. While Bandhavgarh is also known to have a connection with the great Hindu epic, Ramayana, the Tigers are the main lure. Also, the Bandhavgarh fort is a famous attraction here.
The best of Bandhavgarh can be witnessed in winter months between November and February, and one must be prepared for freezing morning game drives through the meadows and grasslands.
3. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Ideal for spotting the Royal Bengal Tigers in their best natural habitat, Kanha National Park is the state’s largest national park and also the best administered one in Asia. Due to housing a vast population of the ‘Big Cats’, the park is a part of Project Tiger. The park has more than 1000 kinds of flowering plants, and has different habitats such as beautiful meadows, vast grasslands and rocky mountains. Thus, it one of the best places to visit in India for nature lovers.
During the safari, one can spot several colourful migratory birds, jackal, sloth bear, hyena, swamp deer (Jewel of Kanha), hyena, black buck and leopard. If you plan a wildlife tour in India, head towards the Kanha National Park. A must visit park in the winters, the real beauty of the meadows and grasslands of Kanha are seen in winters. December to February gets very cold and temperature can reach up to 4-5 degrees in the night and early mornings. So be well prepared and pack accordingly. Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan
A haven for wildlife lovers, Ranthambore National Park showcases a rare combination of beautiful nature, wildlife and history and heritage. Counted as one of the largest national parks in India, the wildlife tourist spot is famed for a decent tiger population. Also, the park is home to many leopards, sloth bears, grey langur, spotted deer, nilgai, rhesus macaque, chital, and so on.
Ranthambore is quite popular amid wildlife photographers and filmmakers. Once a hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur, the park is now a famous heritage site. Do not miss out on visiting 10th century Ranthambore Fort, and ruins of chhatris (cenotaphs) and old temple. Additionally, there are 539 species of plants which are also a major highlight in the park. Ranthambore gained it’s fame after the famous Tiger Machli. Although she passed away few years ago due to old age her linage continues till date and can be seen in the prime zones of this park.Ranthambore will always be close to my heart as my journey as a wildlife photographer started here over a decade ago. This is the place where I had seen and photographed my first tiger in the wild. A must visit place specially in winters. Although the winters in Rajasthan are very harsh, the beauty of this place in winters is something else.
4. Panna National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Panna National Park is regarded as one of the most prestigious wildlife sanctuaries in India. In 2007, the park won the Award of Excellence as the best maintained national park of India by the Tourism Ministry of India. Panna National Park is home to more than 1200 species of plants. Blossom-headed parakeet, honey buzzard, king vulture and bar-headed goose are a part of over 200 species of birds, which are spotted here.
Although the population of tigers here is not very high but the chances of spotting them are quite high. Some of the most common animals here apart from the majestic Bengal tigers are sambar, wolf, spotted deer, chinkara, chital and sloth bear.
If you want to see and admire the true beauty of the forest and landscapes of Panna, winters is the time you should come here. Best time to visit Panna in winters is Between November and January.
5. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
Known as the Gem of the south. Once the private hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Mysore, Bandipur National Park becomes all the more mesmerizing during the winter months. Plan a trip to this winter holiday destination in India and spot good population of Bengal tigers, Sambar, langur, sloth bear, spotted deer, gaur, leopard, elephants, wild dogs, Malabar squirrel, etc. Black-napped hare, jackal and tigers are some of the animals out of 100 animal species that can be seen here. The park boasts of being home to an impressive 350 avifauna species. Bounded by the lofty Western Ghats, it is known to be one of the most beautiful national parks in India. Bandipur has beautiful thick rain forest which is delight to witness in winters. Not to miss the beautiful rivers and water bodies full of life during these months. Winter months from November to February can get really cold with some surprise showers. So be well prepared.
5 must haves for your winter safaris and expeditions!!
1. Fleece Gloves
They are a life saver during freezing game drives specially in open jeeps. Specially for Photographers, It’s practically impossible to shoot if you are not having a pair of these in peak winter months.
A good of Balaclava will keep you warm and comfortable throughout your safaris in winters. A Full balaclava, protects your head, neck, throat and face, especially when in a n open jeep on cold winter mornings and late evenings.
A must have for winter safaris and especially in the above mentioned national parks.Choose a one to your liking and thickness that will keep you warm. Make sure it has enough pockets for you to keep your stuff handy. I always carry 2 thick jackets on all my trips during peak winters.
A good pair of boots are really important, especially in harsh winters and open game drives. Make sure you invest in a good pair of boots, regular shoes will freeze your feet in no time, and hence make you uncomfortable throughout your journey.
Something that I always carry on all my trips, especially in winters. The cold can at times get to you and you need to be prepared for this. Hence I always carry some regular meds which could be difficult to find last minute on all my trips.