For generations, nature and wildlife conservation has been a part of the Indian culture and heritage. From its highest peak at Kanchenjunga to the Indian Ocean, amazing India also spells variety and adventure. A land of rich and varied geography including the Himalayan Region, Kerala and the Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshdweep Islands, India offers such diverse activities such as elephant and camel safaris, and yoga and meditation retreats, to thrilling whitewater rafting adventures.
Families will especially enjoy ample opportunities for trekking, birding, hiking, canoeing and bicycling all amidst spectacular flora and fauna. The best time to visit India is between October and March as the air is drier and the temperatures are more comfortable. Some top sites include:
- Himalayas – the “Abode of Snow” stretches across north India revealing forests, flora, and fauna below making it a wonderful area for trekking, camping, mountaineering, and skiing.
- Garhwal – with so many government-created national parks and sanctuaries, this area including the Valley Flowers, which has more than 300 species of wildflowers as well as Himalayan black bears, musk deer, and snow leopards.
- Goa – on the western coast of the Indian Peninsula, the area is a magnet for beach-goers but also offers plenty of wildlife sanctuaries and birding areas.
- Kerala – in south India, this area boasts some of the richest ecosystems in the world. Known for its backwater cruises, plantations, wildlife parks and beaches.
- Thenmala – the first planned ecotourism destination has a culture, leisure and adventure zones in addition to wildlife sanctuaries.
Due to explosive economic growth and decline over the last years in India, rich forest areas and biological reserves have been exploited in the name of development. In addition, there are no national ecotourism or sustainable tourism certification programs in place.
Fortunately, though, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the government to set aside more lands as wildlife areas and national parks. Currently, there are more than 89 national parks, 19 Ramsar sites, 13 biosphere reserves and more than 489 sanctuaries for the protection and conservation of wildlife.
Ultimately, with opportunities to experience wildlife, architectural heritage, cultural festivals, and adventure, India offers a good mix of child-friendly activities and destinations for the entire family.