WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES STEP INTO THE WILDER BEYOND


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Honestly, there is nothing to beat the sight of a tiger crossing the very path on which your jeep has been travelling. It can actually make your heart skip a few beats. And just as fascinating can be the sight of a bird high up in the branches, dazzling the surrounding landscape with its bountiful colours. Nature, which controls its flora and fauna, has in that sense been very favourable to Maharashtra, which has some of the largest wildlife sanctuaries located in ecological hotspots that attract both the researchers and tourists in huge numbers.
Of these, the Melghat Tiger Reserve is one of the best known in the country. Located at the border of Maharahstra and Madhya Pradesh, you may not only come across the majestic tiger in this reserve but also a wide variety of other animals and birds, including the very elusive forest owlet. The giant flying squirrel is also a rare sighting here. Another interesting destination is the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary which offers a perfect escape from the pressures of urban living. This is one place where the grasslands and wetlands come together and provide shelter for a wide range of floral and faunal species.
If it’s blackbucks that you want to see at close quarters, drive down to Rehekuri where a deciduous scrub forest lays out interesting exploration trails. The Radhanagari Sanctuary is yet another getaway that will fill you with the immense thrill of walking along a pathway in a dense forest while anticipating the sighting of wild animals in their natural habitat or absorbing the fantastic and myriad range of colours that the area’s flora has to offer. You could even see turtle hatchlings take their first baby steps out of their eggs and make a rather wobbly beeline towards the sea at Velas.
And if you think Mumbai is just an ever-buzzing congested sprawl, take a day off to explore the Sanjay Gandhi National Park which provides a window to the fascinating world of animals and birds. The park is home to 274 species of birds along with 42 kinds of mammals, of which the most renowned is the elusive leopard.

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