From hauntingly beautiful snowy escapades to lush forests and hills of rolling green, from the endless golden beaches to the sapphire and emerald lakes embedded in the landscape, the natural beauty of the Indian subcontinent is unparalleled. The unspoilt and unexplored terrains of the country leave one in awe of their breathtaking splendour. Moreover, the differences and contrasts of one region from another accentuate the appeal of these landscapes - be it the frigid cold deserts of Leh that call to the soul-searcher in you or the sun-drenched mystique desert dunes of Rajasthan that take you back to the times of royals. Starting from the snow-capped Himalayas in the north, traversing the deserts of Rajasthan, crossing the lush forests of Madhya Pradesh and then sailing in the expansive backwaters of Kerala, and finally diving into the pristine waters of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the journey is full of adventurous highlands and serene plains and lowlands. A land boasting a diverse variety of flora and fauna, India is also home to many national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, tiger reserves and biosphere reserves, which offer enchanting wildlife sightings.

From hill stations and lakes to beaches, here are all the natural retreats to include in your itinerary while travelling from one end of the country to another.

Tourists and wildlife enthusiasts often make a beeline to the exciting Bandhavgarh National Park, in Madhya Pradesh, which is a comparatively smaller park housing the highest known population of tigers in India. The country's oldest national park, Jim Corbett, in Uttarakhand, is the most popular wildlife retreat that invites tourists for its tromping herds of elephants that are the most common sighting, wild boars and tigers. Steeped in legends and myths, the alluring park makes for a spine-chilling experience.

The buffer area is the best to experience the enchanting Indian jungles. It is alive with an abundance of wildlife. Set against the magical backdrop of sunlight filtering through the thick forest canopy and glinting off the strands of a giant wood spider’s web, you can see herds of elephants, including the little calf struggling to control its wayward trunk, white sock gaurs or Indian bison, a predatory pack of bushy-tailed wild dogs, cheetal, sambar, barking deer, troops of monkeys, peacocks, a crested serpent eagle... And the prized sighting of a tiger. A woodpecker tapping for its supper on the bark of a tree adds percussion to the symphony of chirping birds.

An unmissable wildlife experience that will last a lifetime is at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sundarbans. Home to the unique Royal Bengal tiger, it is one of the largest mangrove forests and active deltas in the world. The mist-shrouded area is rife with a variety of flora and fauna, including 260 species of birds and other threatened species like the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.

In Periyar National Park, Kerala, one can go on a walking safari with a wildlife ranger and guide who was once a poacher. Recruiting poachers as tour escorts was a masterstroke of conservation as it guaranteed them an honest source of income and since they knew the lay of the land and the behaviour of its residents, they became the unofficial eyes and guardians of the forest they once plundered. The offshoot of this arrangement is that tourists get to experience the wild from a whole new perspective.

Blending adventure with wildlife, trekking is an exhilarating way to explore the jungles. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Great Himalayan National Park, in Himachal Pradesh, bordered by mist-shrouded mountains and cut by silvery rivers is home to the Himalayan brown bear, bharal (blue sheep), snow leopards and Himalayan tahr (wild goat), which can be spotted on an exciting trek through the forests.

Pristine Landscapes

Mountains, beaches, rivers, lakes and deserts awe you with their natural splendour.

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/content/dam/incredible-india-v2/images/experiences/nature/vagator-beach-goa/vagator-beach-goa.jpg Beaches /content/incredible-india-v2/en/experiences/nature-and-wildlife/beaches
/content/dam/incredible-india-v2/images/experiences/nature/gun-hill-mussourie/gun-hill-mussourie_1920x1080%20copy.jpg Hill Stations /content/incredible-india-v2/en/experiences/nature-and-wildlife/hill-stations
/content/dam/incredible-india-v2/images/experiences/nature/nubra-valley-jammu-kashmir/nubra-valley-jammu-kashmir.jpg Mountain Ranges /content/incredible-india-v2/en/experiences/nature-and-wildlife/mountain-ranges
/content/dam/incredible-india-v2/images/experiences/nature/sand-dunes-jaisalmer/sand-dunes-jaisalmer.jpg Deserts /content/incredible-india-v2/en/experiences/nature-and-wildlife/deserts
/content/dam/incredible-india-v2/images/experiences/nature/alaknanda-river-kedarnath/alaknanda-river-kedarnath.jpg Rivers /content/incredible-india-v2/en/experiences/nature-and-wildlife/rivers
/content/dam/incredible-india-v2/images/experiences/wildlife/birds-porbandar-gujarat/birds-porbandar-gujarat.jpg Bird Sanctuaries /content/incredible-india-v2/en/experiences/nature-and-wildlife/bird-sanctuaries
/content/dam/incredibleindia/images/places/guwahati/assam-guwahati-manas-national-park-11.jpg National Parks /content/incredible-india-v2/en/experiences/nature-and-wildlife/national-parks