For a first-time visitor to India and its wildlife, what better introduction can there be than a tour that encompasses some of the best wildlife and birdwatching destinations of North India?
Our guided birdwatching and wildlife tour takes you to the a variety of the best sites of North India, such as Sultanpur National Park, Jhalana Leopard Reserve, Ranthambhore National Park, Keoladeo National Park (more popularly known as Bharatpur), the National Chambal Sanctuary (home to the
highly endangered Gharial), the Himalayan Foothills near Nainital, and the Corbett National Park, regarded as the best Tiger Reserve of Uttarakhand. You also have the opportunity of spending some time at the Taj Mahal, easily India’s most well-known monument, for a well-rounded experience of
Starting from Delhi we will have time for some local birding at the Sultanpur National Park before continuing on to Jaipur, and an afternoon safari at Jhalana, a leopard-rich habitat ideal for a quick but fruitful safari.
From Jhalana, we move to Ranthambore National Park. Once the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur and the British, it was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1955 and a National Park in 1980. Ranthambhore is arguably one of the best wildlife reserves in North India to spot a tiger. In fact, Ranthambhore is credited to be home to the world’s most photographed wild tigers. It is also home to Leopard, Jungle Cat, Golden Jackal, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Sloth Bear, Marsh Crocodile and a variety of migratory waterfowl. The Ranthambhore Fort forms a spectacular backdrop to these wild forests and their inhabitants. The picturesque lakes of Rajbagh, Padam and Malik are the centre of attraction for all the wildlife lovers visiting this forest.
One of the smallest national parks in the country at just 29 sq. km, Keoladeo Ghana National Park (also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) has a variety of habitats and is the winter home of over 350 species of birds. Among these are an array of bird species, including Great White Pelican, Ruddy
Shelduck, Eurasian Spoonbill, White-breasted Waterhen, Oriental Darter, Knob-billed Duck, Brown Hawk-Owl, Rufous Treepie, and many more.
Bharatpur also has an excellent variety of mammal species, such as Nilgai, Sambar and Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, and Golden Jackal.
Even though this trip is bird-centric, it would almost be a sin to miss a visit to one of the most iconic manmade structures in the world, the Taj Mahal, which we shall do on our route back through Delhi and on to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. Pangot and Sat Tal are small Himalayan villages, just 15 km from the hill station of Nainital in the state of Uttarakhand. These Kumaoni villages, and the forested areas around them, offer spectacular
views, lovely nature trails, and great birding opportunities. The road passes through mixed forests of thick oak, pine and rhododendron. Perennial creeks and streams crisscross the area, adding to its beauty. Around 250 bird species have been recorded in this area, and one can see a variety of Himalayan species like Himalayan Vulture, Blue-winged Minla, Spotted & Slaty-backed Forktails, Blue Whistling Thrush, Rufous-bellied and Himalayan Woodpeckers, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Kalij Pheasant, and a variety of other species.
We then head back down to the plains to one of the most scenic reserves in India, Corbett National Park. Yet another hunting-turned-conservation story, Corbett was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park in order to protect tigers and their habitat. It is India’s oldest national park, and in the 1970s, it also became the first national park to come under the Project Tiger initiative.
Corbett boasts a myriad of different landscapes – hills, rivers, lakes, marshy areas, grasslands, and dense forest. This variety of habitats offers you a wide assortment of animals, including Tiger, Asian Elephant, Sloth Bear, Indian Muntjac, Yellow-throated Martens, and many more. For birdwatchers, there are more than 500 species of birds seen, including Great Hornbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Lineated Barbet, Long-tailed Broadbill, Black Francolin, and much more. Some of the more interesting species include Pallas’s and Lesser Fish Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Tawny Fish Owl, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Hodgson’s Bushchat, Bright-headed Cisticola, Rosy Minivet and Himalayan Rubythroat.