A visit to a national park would be an ideal change of space if you seek some days out of the concrete jungle to stay in an actual one. You get to breathe in air that’s clean, you get to wake up to the twittering of birds instead of the cacophony of traffic, and you get to get back in touch with nature.
With its diverse landscape and ecosystems, South India doesn’t lack green spaces where plants and animals thrive. Interestingly, it is also home to more than a few anmal reserves and national parks. So, the southern end of the country does seem like a good idea for a a quick get away. But, where exactly would you go? Well, here are five National Parks in South India for you to visit!
Originally known as Anshi National Park, this patch of wilderness in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka is one of the 50 tiger reserves in India. What sets this park apart from the others is that it’s the only place where the black panther is found.
Of course, as the name suggests, there are tigers here too, along with a large number of animals including sloth bears, bonnet macaques, pangolins, and a lot more. The park is also a bird watcher’s heaven, with birds like hornbills, frogmouths, and over 200 species living here. The waters of the Kali River, in turn, are home to crocodiles.
Things To Do:
Exploring the wilderness of the Kali Tiger Reserve is a given. With patience and a bit of luck, you might be able to see and maybe even photograph the tigers, or even the incredibly rare black panther. If you’re up for it, you can set out on treks and even camp in the park (seek prior permission). Remember that the wild can be a potentially hostile environment. So follow the advice of the park officials to have an adventurous yet safe holiday.
Nearest Airport: Hubballi Airport, Dharwad (117 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Londa Junction (Goa-Dharwad route - 78 km away) and Karwar (Konkan Railway - 58 km away)
For the traveler visiting Hyderabad and seeking a relaxing holiday in the wilderness, the Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park may be an ideal spot to visit. Being in close proximity to Hyderabad city, the park plays the role of the city’s green lung. This park used to be the Nizam’s hunting grounds back in the day, but now the animals living in this park roam about freely.
This small 15 sq km park is home to surprisingly large amounts of flora and fauna. You’re sure to come across the endangered blackbucks. Also living in the park are panthers, chitals, and over 120 species of birds.
Things To Do:
You can embark on a wildlife safari to experience the park to its fullest extent. Make sure that you have your camera with you. The park is also dotted with watchtowers that will offer you unhindered views of the wilderness.
As the park is right on the outskirts of Hyderabad, you could just as easily explore the city as well. But bear in mind the social distancing norms, always!
Nearest Airport: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad (27 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Nampally aka Hyderabad Deccan (16 km away)
Located on the banks of the Godavari delta, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh boasts of being the second largest mangrove forest in India, after the Sunderbans of West Bengal.
Being a confluence of the Godavari River and the Bay of Bengal, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary offers the best of both worlds – with a wide variety of flora and fauna that call this place home. The most prominent among them are the critically endangered white-backed vulture and the long-billed vulture. Also, this is the place where the small Olive-Ridley turtles nest. Being a swamp, this dappled green landscape is also home to mosquitoes, so make sure that you have enough repellant on you.
Keep in mind that this is a delicate ecosystem, so do your best to not disturb it.
Things To Do:
For the traveler whose priority is to observe nature and be enveloped by it, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary is great. You can walk through the mangrove forests on a two-kilometer stretch of a footbridge that leads you to the vast river. Boating services are available, so you can experience this watery world to its fullest.
Nearest Airport: Rajahmundry Airport (70 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Kakinada Port (15 km away)
The smallest national park in the state, Pampadum Shola is about 35 km away from the popular Munnar and close to Eravikulam, the first national park in Kerala. Being off-the-radar, this park offers the explorer the solitude that’s not only ideal, but recommended during Covid.
As the name suggests, Pampadum Shola National Park comprises mostly evergreen sholas, a threatened form of vegetation found only in South India. While the park may be small, it is still rich in flora and fauna. Notable animals here are the Nilgiri marten, which are only found in these forests, leopards and gaurs, and birds like the Nilgiri flycatcher, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and blue rock-thrush.
While August to October is considered the best time to visit Pampadum Shola, the weather here remains pleasant throughout the year. So you can set out on hikes (with prior permission from the officials if required).
Things To Do:
There are hiking packages available at Pampadum Shola. You can explore the unique forest to your heart’s content and witness the local wildlife going about their lives. If you’ve developed a passion for shola forests, you can even avail yourself of an eco-trek at the nearby Anamudi Shola National Park.
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport (144 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Aluva (144 km away)
Also Read: Experiencing Onam Festival In Kerala
For the traveler with a passion for the great seas and what lies beneath the waters, this is the place to be. Not a park in a general sense, the Gulf Of Mannar Marine National Park is actually a chain of 21 islands in the eastern tip of Tamil Nadu in the Indian Ocean. Its unique location has led it to become a biodiversity hotspot, home to over 3600 species of flora and fauna.
Particularly interesting are the coral reefs of the Gulf of Mannar – there are over 117 types of them. You can also see marine life including sea turtles, dugongs, and dolphins. The waters around the Park are also home to the humongous blue whale. Not only the endemic species, this hotspot is also the place where migratory birds like waders and terns spend their summer.
Things To Do:
Being a place that is home to beautiful marine flora and fauna, it’s a given that you want to observe them closer. You can do just that in glass-bottomed boats and watch the spellbinding marine world. The islands around the park see many species of birds, so it’s perfect for the bird enthusiast.
If you want to explore more, the nearby locations of Adam’s Bridge, Dhanushkodi, and Pamban Island are worth a visit too.
Nearest Airport: Madurai Airport (202 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Rameswaram (23 km away)
Also Read: 20 best Hillstations In Tamil Nadu
Visiting these 5 national parks in South India can just be the trip you needed for so long. But to reiterate, Covid is still a very real threat, so you must practice social distancing at all times. Also, the rules on Covid can change dynamically, so be up-to-date on all the lockdown rules (including the Covid-related documents to be carried) and confirm if the places you wish to visit are open and Covid-ready. Lastly, don’t take any undue risks with respect to Covid. If you feel sick, get help immediately.
Which Is The Highest Park In South India?
Eravikulam National Park in Kerala is the highest park in South India. It’s in this park Anamudi, the highest peak in Kerala, is located.
How Many National Parks Are There In India?
There are 101 national parks in India. These account for about 1.23% of the total geographical area of the country.
How Many Sanctuaries Are There In India In 2020?
As of 2020, there are 566 wildlife sanctuaries in India and they comprise about 3.72% 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.
Is Kabini And Nagarhole Same?
Kabini is a river that flows through the Western Ghats. This river separates the Nagarhole and Bandipur National Park.
How Many National Parks Are In India?
There are a total of 106 national parks in India. In total, they cover about 1.37% of the country’s area.
How Many Sanctuaries Are There In Tamil Nadu?
There are a total of 15 wildlife sanctuaries, 5 national parks, and 15 bird sanctuaries in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Which Animals Are Endangered In Telangana?
Palm Civet, Ratel, Ruddy Mongoose, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Flying Squirrel, and Golden Gecko are some of the animals you can find being protected in Telangana.