Kanger Ghati (Bastar)
Guru Ghasidas - Sanjay National Park (Sarguj/Koriya)
Tamor Pingala (Sarguj)
Virgin Kurschel Valleys (Bastar)
Rugged mountain views, deep gorges, the densest forests outside of the Amazon and seasonal wildflowers . all go to make up the perfect environment for varied species of wildlife. Whether you are a tourist, amateur naturalist, wildlife aficionado, ornithologist, artist or photographer, Chhattisgarh gives you the rare opportunity to observe wildlife in its natural habitat. Bastar has a fair variety of avifauna, both resident and migratory. Most of the migratory birds visit during winter, to glean the paddy fields after the kharif crop has been harvested. The state bird, the Bastar Myna, is a type of the Hill Myna ( Gracula religiosa Linnacus), and an accomplished mimic and talker, adept in imitating the human voice. For this reason, it has been traditionally prized as a cage-bird, resulting in it being hunted to the point of becoming an endangered species! Today, it is an offence to cage this bird. The Bastar Myna is a colourful bird, glossy pitch black with yellow legs, orange and yellow beak, bright yellow wattles on the head and a dash of white on the side wings. It is seen in pairs or noisy flocks in preferred locations in the forests and villages. If you are lucky, you might see it in the Kanger Valley National Park. Else, you can visit the Myna Park in Jagdalpur. The Bastar Myna is at its loquacious best between 10 am and 12 noon and 3 and 4 pm. Some distinct varieties of common birds are also found in Bastar. For instance, the Jungle Crow is pitch dark and slightly larger than the domestic crow. It has a heavy-duty bill and a deep and hoarse "caw." It is more audacious in attacking the nests of gentler birds and even the pups of smaller animals. Its movement in the forest often leads to tiger or panther kills. Other species of avifauna include partridges (which nest in shrubs outside villages and run almost as fast as they fly), 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. Major wildlife species include blue bull, Chinkara, black buck, Sambhar, Barking Deer, wild dog, wild boar, jackals, hyena, and crocodiles. Tigers are in the Kurandi reserve forest and in the Kanger Valley National Park. Panthers are distributed almost all over Bastar, especially in the Northern plains. Indian sloth bears are in the Northern plains around Kanker and in the Southern part around Bailadila. Bison are in the Kutru National Park. Crocodiles are in the riverine ponds in the Kanger Valley National Park at Bhaisa-darha. As the night sets in wild bears, prowling panthers and snakes can be seen out on the roads. There is no record to suggest any danger to tourists from these animals. However, it is advised not to stop the car and venture into the forest on foot at night. Reptiles found include the Indian Cobra, Krait, Viper, Rattle Snakes and Python. Also look out for giant ant-hills (eight to twelve feet high). And trees that have shot up straight into the sky and branched only after attaining a height of 80 feet or more. This phenomenon is attributed to the density of the forest - the trees have shot up to the sunlight necessary for growth, available only from the top. 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.