5 National Parks In North India You Can Travel To During Covid
Oh, for traveling again! The Covid lockdown has put a clampdown on any travel plans that you might have had. While the early lockdown days were relaxing, the novelty wore out soon and we’d like to step out again. But as the Covid threat is still out there, it’s not a safe idea to travel just yet.
Of all the travel destinations, national parks are among the most ideal to visit during Covid. You get to be isolated from the tourist crowd that mills about the holiday destinations. Also, you’re back in touch with nature away from the maddening city life. So long as you’re careful with social distancing and sanitation, here are 5 national parks in North India to visit during Covid.
This location is exactly what its name is: a national park in the Thar Desert. It’s a vast 3000 sq km park on the outskirts of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. For those who’d love to understand and explore a desert ecosystem, this is the perfect place to be in.
At first glance, this hostile terrain landscape of sands, sparse vegetation, and craggy rocks seem devoid of life. But that’s not the case here. This park is home to a variety of flora and fauna. You’ll see chinkaras and with a bit of luck, even the desert cats, desert foxes, and wolves.
However, the main attraction of Desert National Park is its avian population. It is home to the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard. In addition to this, the winter months attract even more birds here.
Things To Do:
You can set out on wildlife safaris in this park which will let you experience this extreme yet beautiful place and its wildlife to its fullest. Also, if you’re interested to camp in the sands, the Sam Sand Dunes aren’t far off either.
Nearest Airport: Jodhpur Airport (295 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Jaisalmer (13 km away)
Road: Desert National Park is a mere 10 km away from Jaisalmer, which in turn is well-connected to major cities.
A motorcycle trip to Ladakh is considered the ultimate trip of a biker. The hostile terrain and the freezing temperatures make it very challenging. As a wildlife traveler, you can do it too and experience the hardy flora and fauna of Hemis National Park in Ladakh.
Spread over 4400 sq km, this is the largest national park in South Asia and is home to over 200 snow leopards. While the landscape is barren, it sustains life for animals including Tibetan wolves, Eurasian bears, and the endemic Shapu.
While Hemis may be the perfect national park to visit during Covid, keep in mind that Ladakh’s terrain and climate aren’t something to trifle with, especially in the winters. Make sure that you’re physically fit before setting out.
Things To Do:
The challenging landscape of Ladakh means that it’s a haven for adventure travelers and trekkers. You can set out on a trek from the famous Hemis Monastery to the Gotsang Gompa nearby.
While the best season for bird watching is during the summer months, the cold winter months are the time for a snow leopard safari. Mind you, there are no vehicles allowed in the park, so you’ll have to move on foot.
Nearest Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh (48 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Jammu Tawi (685 km away)
Road: Public transport is available to the park from Leh, which is connected to major cities.
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh
Located along the Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh is the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. As this park is away from the mainstream tourist radar, it makes for an ideal national park in North India to visit during Covid.
The fertile lands of this park have nurtured plants and forests which in turn have supported the fascinating wildlife here. This wasn’t always the case as these lands were indiscriminately exploited by poachers. It took the efforts of “Billy” Arjan Singh, a hunter-turned-conservationist, to make these lands a wildlife sanctuary and reintroduce animals here.
Thanks to him, Dudhwa Tiger Reserve now has a sizable population of tigers and rhinoceroses. Along the marshes, you can spot large numbers of the Barasingha and the black-necked stork.
Things To Do:
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve has opened but with strict Covid guidelines. While you aren’t allowed to get your own vehicle in the park, there are jeep safaris with social distancing norms enforced. You can stay within the park premises in Dudhwa huts, although only two people can share one hut owing to Covid guidelines.
Nearest Airport: Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow (238 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Palia Kalan (17 km away)
Road: Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is connected to Mailani and Bareilly, which are connected to major cities.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
With its swamps, dense forests, and meadows teeming fascinating wildlife and the mighty Brahmaputra roaring beside it, Kaziranga National Park in Assam is sure to amaze you.
Within the calm of this wilderness live many, many species of animals; the most renowned among them being the greater one-horned rhinoceros. While you’re almost sure to see these majestic creatures, if you’re lucky, you might even get to see elephants or even the elusive tiger (at a safe distance, hopefully).
Visiting during the winters is the best as along with seeing more animals, you’ll be treated to sightings of migratory birds in the park’s wetlands.
Things To Do:
Kaziranga National Park has a lot of activities that would enthrall the wildlife lover and even if you’re not, it’s sure to make you one. In addition to the jeep safaris, you can also set out on package tours that would get you even more acquainted with places in and around the park. You’d also get a chance to live among the many tribes of Northeast India.
Nearest Airport: Jorhat Airport (114 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Furkating Junction (96 km away)
Road: The main gate at Kohora is connected with all major cities of Assam.
Mouling National Park, Arunachal Pradesh
This national park is for the wildlife traveler who ventures into trails rarely taken. Mouling National Park of Arunachal Pradesh is explored so little that it’s believed that there are many undiscovered plant and animal species here.
The unique location of the park has resulted in it being a biodiversity hotspot—there are conifers in the higher altitudes which experience snow. On the other hand, the lower altitudes are extremely humid tropical rainforests with many cascading waterfalls. Depending on your preference, you could choose where to go!
With patience and luck, you might sight a clouded leopard or the majestic Bengal tiger. And if you gaze upwards, perhaps you’ll see a hornbill or the vibrant Sclater’s monal.
Things To Do:
Considering how isolated and underdeveloped Mouling National Park is, you can enjoy the largely untouched wilderness in complete isolation. However, make sure that you’re sure of the park’s rules.
So long as you’re following social distancing norms, you could interact with the Adi tribe and if you have the stomach for it, try crossing their cane-and-bamboo bridges built across the Brahmaputra.
Nearest Airport: Pasighat Airport (129 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Murkongselek (165 km away)
Road: The nearest major city is Guwahati. From there you go to Pasighat and then you reach Yinkiong and then enter Mouling National Park.
Covid Precautions When Traveling
The pandemic is far from over. So, social distancing rules have to be followed to a T, no compromises there.
If you’re unwell, skip this trip. Don’t take any unnecessary risks in these times.
Those below 10 and above 65 years of age are more susceptible to infection. They should avoid going on trips too.
Book accommodations that are Covid-ready and confirm if the national park you intend to visit is open to the public.
Cashless transactions reduce risk of infection.
Keep yourself up-to-date on the Covid regulations of the state you’re planning to visit and also of your home state.
Install the Aarogya Setu app on your phone and a Covid self-declaration form, irrespective of the rules, to be on the safer side.
If you develop symptoms of Covid, seek help immediately.
Which Is The Largest National Park In Northern India?
The Hemis National Park in Ladakh, covering an area of over 4400 sq km, is the largest national park in India. In addition to it, the park is also the highest in India, with an elevation of over 3000 meters above sea level.
How Many National Parks Are There In India In 2020?
As of 2020, there are over 104 national parks in India, and they comprise 1.33% of the total geographical area of the country.
Which Is The Smallest National Park In India?
The South Button Island National Park is the smallest in India. It’s located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and covers an area of a mere 5 sq km.
Which Is The Oldest National Park In India?
Jim Corbett National Park, then known as Hailey National Park, is the oldest in India. It was declared a national park in 1936.
Where Is The Largest Tiger Reserve In India?
The Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve spread across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is the largest tiger reserve in India. It covers an area of over 3728 sq km.
What Are Some Of The Common Symptoms Of The Coronavirus Disease?
The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, dry cough, and tiredness.
Can The Coronavirus Disease Spread Through Feces?
Covid-19 isn’t known to spread through feces. The virus primarily spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, releasing the infected aerosol droplets into the air and a nearby person comes into contact with them.
Are Small Gatherings Safe During Covid-19 Pandemic?
While the general rule is that the more the people, the greater the risk of infection, gatherings of any number involve a bit of risk during the Covid pandemic.
Has Covid-19 Been Detected In Drinking Water Supplies?
According to WHO, the Covid virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies. So the risk of getting the disease through water is very low.
Can Covid-19 Spread In Hot And Humid Climates?
The Covid virus is known to be capable of spreading in all areas, including places with hot and humid climates. This is why you should be taking the Covid precautions seriously, wherever you are.
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