We’re always complaining that this modern life is too stressful, so maybe it’s time we did something about it. With a few days of prime vacation time left, consider packing your bags and seeing some of the sights that this country has to offer. India’s vast size makes it possible for one end of the country to be full of the kind flora and fauna that you’d have no chance of seeing at the other end.
So, instead of feeling bogged down by the urban jungle you’re living in, check out one of India’s four biosphere reserves. These reserves are large areas of natural habitat that often include one or more national parks and protection is granted to the flora and fauna of these regions, as well as to the indigenous people living here. The purpose of these reserves is to demonstrate that humans and nature can coexist in a balanced relationship.
Since today is World Biodiversity Day, we thought it only fitting that we give you a tour of the Indian Biosphere Reserves that would make any nature-lover’s must-visit list of destinations.
Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
We start up north, in the land of the cold mountain air and animals so elusive that few have ever managed to see them. The Nanda Devi National Park is situated around the famous Nanda Devi peak in Uttarakhand (see article cover picture), at an elevation of more than 3.5 km above sea level. Pack for the cold, because this is one place that’s unforgiving, in terms of weather. You’re going to need all the warmth you can get as you wait for a rare appearance of the famed snow leopard of the Himalayas as well as the Himalayan musk deer and the Himalayan tahr.
Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve
Only in India can you go from the deserts in the western parts of the country to the world’s largest mangrove forest in the east. The Sundarbans National Park is also a tiger reserve and biosphere reserve located in West Bengal. Due to the unique ecological conditions prevalent there, a strange and amazing mix of flora and fauna is the region’s calling card. The undisputed king of this region is the Bengal Tiger, which has made the mangroves its home. As you glide across the water in your tour boat, keep your eyes peeled for any sightings of this majestic creature. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, but don’t forget to pack the mosquito repellent!
Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve
You want islands? We got islands. The Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve encompasses two national parks and most of the island of Nicobar. If all the animal life at the previous two parks were on land, Nicobar is all about the sky and the ocean. The area is home to several unique species of birds, including the indigenous Nicobar scrubfowl, which was pushed close to extinction by hunting and the 2004 tsunami, which wiped out a large part of the animal population of the island. The apex predator here is the saltwater crocodile, so whatever happens, don’t enter the water unless your guide approves it! But if you really want to get your feet wet, hop on over to the Andamans and have yourself that island vacation you’ve been hoping for.
Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve
One of ten internationally-recognised biosphere reserves, the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats is a truly stunning locale, filled with an astonishing variety of wildlife. The reserve is comprised of several national parks – including Mudumalai, Mukurthi and Nagarhole – as well as two wildlife Santuaries, Wayanad and Sathyamangalam. If you’re looking for a nature fix, this is the place to be. Several tribal groups live here, coexisting with the wildlife in perfect harmony. The biosphere reserve has the largest population of two endangered species – the lion-tailed macaque and the Nilgiri Tahr, a bizarre-looking species of sheep which also happens to be the state animal of Tamil Nadu. And, if you’re craving the city lights at the end of it, you can end your vacation in Ooty and live like a king.
Like this article? Also read: How to: Write a Postcard While on Vacation
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