For all the adventure seekers, amateur naturalists, wildlife aficionados, ornithologists, artists and wildlife photographers… there are dense forests and acres of green surprisingly close to Vizag… the verdant green state of Chhattisgarh.
With a whopping 41.33% of the state covered by forests, the state is home to not one but three national parks. Declared as protected areas, these wildlife sanctuaries are a haven of a multitude of flora and fauna. For a splendour getaway to appreciate nature in her glory, to see firsthand the grand rugged mountain views, peer down deep gorges, camp out in the densest forests, observe varied species of wildlife and gaze at seasonal wildflowers, Chhattisgarh is the destination to checkout.
Bastar is home to many species of avifauna, both resident and migratory, like the Bastar Myna, the Jungle Crow, partridges, cattle egret, pond heron, babblers, parrots and parakeets, blue jay, wagtails, quails (both black and grey varieties), bul bul , koel , fly catchers, woodpeckers, sun bird and weaver bird. Most of these birds are visible in the Kanger Ghati National Park, a bird-watchers paradise. Major wildlife species include Tigers, blue bull, chinkara, black buck, sambhar, barking deer, wild dog, wild boar, bison, jackals, hyena, and crocodiles. Panthers are distributed almost all over Bastar, especially in the Northern plains. Indian sloth bears are in the Northern plains.
After dusk, wild bears, prowling panthers and snakes can be seen out on the roads. Reptiles found include the Indian Cobra, Krait, Viper, Rattle Snakes and Python. It is advised not to stop the car and venture into the forest on foot at night. Giant ant-hills (eight to twelve feet high) and tall straight trees of 80 feet or more create a wondrous topography of the area. In the Kurandi forests, there are four ancient (over 500 years old) teak trees, named after the four brothers of the Ramayana: Ram, Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan.
For a planed tourist, the best bet would be to check out the National Parks and hitch along with a guided tour. The National Parks in Chhattisgarh include the Indravati National Park (Dantewada), Kanger Ghati (Valley) National Park (Bastar) and Sanjay National Park – also known as the Guru Ghasidas National Park (Sarguj/Koriya).
The Indravati National Park is the Tiger Reserve in the state. Located in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, the approximately 2799.08 sq km park derives its name from the Indravati River. The park has rich patches of grasslands interspaced by forests of Sal, Teak and Bamboo trees. The grasslands are home to Wild buffalos, Chital, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Gaurs and other herbivores of the park. The major wildlife in Indravati National Park include the endangered Wild Buffalos, Barasinghas, Tigers, Leopards, Gaurs (Indian Bison), Nilgai, Sambar, Chausingha (four-horned Antelope), Sloth Bear, Dhole (Wild Dog), Striped Hyena, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Pangolins, Monkeys and Langurs among many others. The commonly found reptiles in the park are Freshwater Crocodile, Monitor Lizard, Indian Chameleon, Common Krait, Indian Rock Python, Cobra and Russell’s Viper to name a few. The Park also gives shelter to the large variety of birds of which Hill Myna is the most important species here.
The Kanger Valley or Ghatti National Park is located amidst the 34 km long and scenic Kanger Valley along the banks of Kholaba River at a distance of about 27 km from Jagdalpur (headquarters of Bastar). Spread over an area of approximately 200 sq km comprising mainly of hilly terrain, the Park derives its name from the Kanger River, which flows throughout its length. A Biosphere Reserve, it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque national parks of India with a rich biodiversity. Besides wildlife and plants, the main attraction here are the caves (Kutamsar Caves, Kailash Caves and Dandak Caves) and the Tiratgarh Waterfalls. Kanger Dhara and Bhaimsa Dhara (a Crocodile Park) are the two beautiful and exotic picnic resorts in the Park. Major Wildlife of the Kanger Valley National Park are the Tigers, Leopards, Mouse Deer, Wild Cat, Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer, Jackals, Langurs, Rhesus Macaque, Sloth Bear, Flying Squirrel, Wild Boar, Striped Hyena, Rabbits, Pythons, Cobra, Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards and Snakes to name a few. The avian fauna at the Park includes Hill Myna, Spotted Owlet, Red Jungle Fowls, Racket-tailed Drongos, Peacocks, Parrots, Steppe Eagles, Red Spur Fall, Phakta, Bhura Teeter, Tree Pie and Heron among many others.
Sanjay National Park or the Guru Ghasidas National Park is located in Surguja and Koriya districts of Chhattisgarh. Covering an area of approximately 2,303 sq km, the park has a number of rivers, rivulets and other perennial sources of water, providing enough water supply for the for the wildlife and birds. It is famous for its rich and diverse flora and fauna, housing a wide variety of wildlife and birds including some of the rare and endangered species. The major wildlife found in Sanjay National Park includes Tigers, Leopards, Chital, Nilgai, Chinkara, Jackals, Sambar, Four-horned Antelopes, Jungle Cat, Barking Deer, Porcupine, Monkey, Bison, Striped Hyena, Sloth Bear, Wild Dogs, Wild Pigs, Cobra, Monitor Lizards, Python to name a few. Sanjay National Park is also a little paradise for bird lovers and houses wide varieties of avian population with prominent being the Parrots, Peacock, Bulbul, Minivets Orioles, Wagtails, Munias, Blue Kingfisher, Phakta, Ducks, Neelkanth Pigeon, Dabchick, Peafowl, Crimson Breasted Barbet, Teetar, Tree Pie, Racket-tailed Drongos, Egrets, and Herons to name few.