Wildlife Photographers' Paradise in India

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Rathika Ramaswamy, globally known for her pictures documenting wildlife, says, "Every time I press the shutter, it takes me one step closer to Mother Nature." She believes that India has one of the best fauna and flora, the country is blessed with diverse geographical landscapes and varied climatic conditions. As per the latest data from TERI, India has 103 national parks, 537 wildlife sanctuaries, and conservation and community reserves covering 4.88% of the country's geographical area. For a wildlife photographer, India has proven to be one of the best places to get some amazing shots of wildlife.

The Thorn of Elusive

Satpura means seven mountains. The dense forest of satpura consists of waterfalls, sandstone peaks, shallow valleys and little water bodies like Tawa reservoir. This is the best place in India to get pictures of elusive leopards and sloth bears. Other wildlife such as Spotted Dear, Indian Bison, Wild boar, Blackbuck, Porcupine, Sambhar, four Horned antelopes, Smooth otter, Pangolin, Marsh crocodile, & languars awaits you too.

Source: Wild World India

Photo of Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India by Sonal Agarwal

Main wildlife attractions: Tiger, Lion, Sloth Bear and Central Indian Birds photography.

Top things to do: One can go for Jeep Safari, Boat Safari; take an elephant ride; try cycling in the buffer zone, or can even try trekking.

Flight cost: Nearest airport to Satpura National Park is Bhopal. A round-trip journey from New Delhi to Bhopal for the month of October is ₹5,514. Satpura is about 150 km road journey from Bhopal.

Cost: On an average, daily expenditure per person including food, activities and stay will come up to will be ₹20,000 per day

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Satpura National Park is from October to June.

Where to stay: There are several options for travellers in Satpura National Park. One of them is Pugdundee Safaris Denwa Backwater Escape, where there are packages ranging from₹17,000 to ₹31,000 per night depending on your requirements. Another option is Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, where room rents range from₹18,000 to₹226,000 excluding all the activities charges.

Best for Tiger Photography

Bandhavgarh National Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh is known as one of the best places in India for tiger photography, as it has the highest density of tigers in India. Park's topography varies between steep ridges, undulating forest and open meadows. Due to this, it becomes slightly easier for a photographer to take shots of Royal Bengal Tigers. The upper area of Bandhavnagar National Park gets enough light early morning which is perfect for a photographer. Other than tigers, the place is also known for bird photography.

Source: Bandhavgarh National Park

Photo of Bandhavgarh National Park, Tala, Madhya Pradesh, India by Sonal Agarwal

Main wildlife attractions: Royal Bengal Tigers, leopards, deer and white tigers

Top things to do: Bird photography during winters; go for jeep or elephant safari;

Flight cost: The nearest airport for Bandhavgarh National Park is Jabalpur which is a 4 hours drive from the park. A round-trip journey from New Delhi to Jabalpur for the month of March is ₹8,795.

Cost: There are also several wildlife tours offered by private companies, prices of which range from ₹13,194 to ₹66,000. This includes accommodation, all meals and safari.

Best time to visit: For tiger photography, March to June is the best time and for landscape and bird photography winters are the best time.

Where to stay: Bandhavnagar has a variety of options for all kind of travellers. There are resorts based on preferences, such as standard, deluxe, luxury and high end. If you are looking for a standard resort, then you can opt for Mogli Jungle Resorts which charges ₹5,365 per night. For high- end resorts, you can choose Mahua Kothi which charges ₹32545 per night on double sharing.

The inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book

Located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the Kanha National Park was the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's classic Jungle Book. The place is known for its open grassy meadows, where sighting wildlife is easier. The meadows also provide a good backdrop for photography.

Source: Kanha National Park

Photo of Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India by Sonal Agarwal

Major Wildlife Attractions: Tiger, bison, barasingha, jackal fox, hyena. Bird species include storks, pintails, peacock, ring doves and spotted parakeets.

Top things to do: Barasingha's photography during winters; go for jeep or elephant safari; go cycling to nearby villages and markets.

Flight Cost: The nearest airport for Kanha National Park is Jabalpur which is a 4 hours drive from the destination. A roundtrip journey from New Delhi to Jabalpur for the month of March is ₹8,795.

Cost: There are also several wildlife tours offered by private companies, prices of which range from ₹14,999 to ₹46,460. This includes accommodation, all meals and safari.

Best time to visit: The Kanha National Park is closed from July to mid-October during monsoon. For tiger photography, March to June is a good time. Also, winters are good for Barasingha photography.

Where to stay: Kanha national park has a variety of options for all kind of travellers. There are resorts based on preferences, such as standard, deluxe, luxury and high end. If you are looking for a standard resort, then you can opt for Grand Tiger Resort which charges ₹5,500 per night. For high- end resorts, you can choose Singinawa Jungle Lodge which charges ₹20,000 per night on double sharing.

The Royal Hunting Ground

Ranthambore located in the state of Rajasthan was a hunting ground for the elite back in the day. Nestled in the terrains of Aravali and Vindhya ranges, the sanctuary is known for its Royal Bengal tigers. Tigers can be easily spotted during daylight engaged in their natural activities like hunting or taking care of their young ones. Ranthambore National Park attracts wildlife photographers both from India as well as abroad.

Source: Walk the Wilderness

Photo of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, India by Sonal Agarwal

Major wildlife attractions: diurnal tigers, marsh crocodiles, Nilgai and Graylag Goose,

Top things to do: Bird watching at Malik Talao; visit the Ranthambore fort; jungle safari; visit the holy lord Ganesha temple; take a tour of village Devpura which is home to beautiful Black Bucks.

Flight cost: The nearest airport for Ranthambore National Park is Jaipur which is 180 km away from the destination. A roundtrip journey from New Delhi to Jaipur for the month of March is ₹5,880

Cost: The Ranthambore tiger reserve area is divided into 10 Safari zones or routes, the safari tour is organized in all the zones. Jeep Safaris can be booked by Indian travellers at the price of ₹1500 per passenger. A maximum number of 6 people are allowed in one jeep. The rate for foreign nationals is ₹2,500 per passenger.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Ranthambore National park will be from October to June. Rest of the time the park is closed.

Where to stay: There are several high-end hotels and standard hotels offering accommodation in Sawai Madhopur. For a luxurious stay, you can opt for Sher Bagh that charges ₹46,000 per night on a double sharing basis. For a little reasonable stay, you can book a room at The Pugmark Resort which will cost ₹4,164 per night.

Salty Marshes of Gujarat

Little Rann of Kutch is one the favourite locations of wildlife photographers. This is due to the unique landscape of this place. Little Rann of Kutch is the only place in India which is home to the endangered wild ass. Similar to the Great Rann of Kutch, this place also has salty marshland. These marshlands are best to spot birds during winters, but if you want to catch a glimpse of mammals, then ride your jeep in the drier areas.

Source: Smarnika Das

Photo of Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Sonal Agarwal

Major Wildlife Attractions: Flamingos, demoiselle cranes, Indian wild ass and white-footed fox

Top things to do: Take a bullock cart ride through the villages around; visit the Modhera Sun Temple; Explore the architecture of Rani Ki Vav, multi-storey pavilion, a well and a large tank for surplus water.

Flight cost: Ahmadabad is the closest airport. It is 130km away from Little Rann of Kutch. A roundtrip flight from New Delhi to Ahmadabad for the month of October will cost ₹3,586.

Cost: One can opt for horse safaris or jeep safaris offered by different private companies. Charges of which range from ₹400 per passenger (canter) to ₹2,500 per passenger (jeep).

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Little Rann of Kutch will be from October to March.

Where to stay: For budget travellers, Devjibhai Dhamecha offers homestays that also organises trips to the sanctuary which charges ₹2,000 per night for twin sharing basis. For luxurious travellers, Rann Riders, a resort on the outskirts of Wild Ass Sanctuary, provides all amenities. The place will cost ₹7,920 per night.

The Avifauna Scantuary

Keoladeo National Park near Delhi, formerly known as Bharatpur Sanctuary, is India's one of the finest places for bird photography. The park is home to 375 bird species and is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Some of the migratory birds come into this park all the way from Turkmenistan, China and Afghanistan. The national park has a dense forest which provides a natural habitat for birds.

Source: IndianEncounters

Photo of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India by Sonal Agarwal

Major Wildlife Attractions: Saras Crane, Steppe Eagle, Pelicans, Spoonbills, Painted Storks, Bar Headed Geese, wagtails, ducks, flycatchers and Marsh Harriers.

Top things to do: Go cycling safari in the national park; take a bird watching trip to sanctuary; take a visit to the Lohagarh Fort, the Bharatpur Fort and the Deeg Water Palace; visit the Bharatpur lake.

Flight Cost: Bharatpur is a four hours drive away from Delhi. Flights to Delhi are available from all the major cities of India. A roundtrip flight from Mumbai to New Delhi for the month of August will cost ₹4,843.

Cost: Tickets for Keoladeo National Park costs ₹75 for Indian travellers and ₹500 for foreign nationals.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit this national park for residential birds is from August to November and for migratory birds from October to March.

Where to stay: For budget travellers, Royal Farm offers all the basic amenities and charges ₹1,700 per night for twin sharing basis. For luxurious travellers, The Birder's Inn located on the bird sanctuary road. The place will cost ₹7,920 per night.

A photographer's happy place

It is said that Jim Corbett National Park located in Uttarakhand is the best place where you can enhance and showcase your photography skills. It is also a top pick for our photography workshops in India. The national park is believed to be among the best places in Asia to photograph Wild Asiatic Elephants in their natural habitat. Spotting a Royal Bengal Tiger in the backdrop Himalayas can be once in a lifetime experience for photographers.

Source: Corbett National Park

Photo of Corbett National Park Uttrakhand, Ramnagar Road, Laxmipur Lachhi, Uttarakhand, India by Sonal Agarwal

Major Wildlife Attractions: Wild Asiatic Elephants, exotic Himalayan birds, Royal Bengal Tiger.

Top things to do: Enjoy signature jungle walks; Jeep and elephant safari; Spend a night in the forest; go fishing on the banks of river Ramganga.

Flight cost: The nearest airport is at Pantnagar (80 km/2 hours southeast of Ramnagar), A roundtrip from Delhi to Pantnagar n the month of March will cost ₹16,899.

Cost: Canter safaris are organised by the forest department which costs ₹1,500 per passenger in Dhikala zone of the park. For taking a safari in other zones of the park you will have to book a jeep safari, which will cost you around ₹2,000 to ₹4,500 depending on the zone you want to explore.

Best time to visit: Best time to visit the Corbett national park depends on what you want to do. For shooting Asiatic Elephants, March to June is preferred. For shooting birds, November to February is considered to be the best time period.

Where to stay: For budget travellers, Corbett Jungle Inn is a good option. It charges ₹2,900 per night for twin sharing basis, including all meals. For luxurious travellers, Jim’s Jungle Retreat offers packages with and without safari tours. A package for two nights and three days will cost ₹36,000 on twin sharing basis. Charge for only accommodation is ₹8,160 per night.

Are you a photographer and you have already been to few of these places? We want to know about all your encounters with different animals! Share your story with us here.

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