The ancient Indus Valley Plains of Pakistan, the Arabian Sea and the Gangetic Plains border western India. This western region is the most varied in India in terms of language, culture and development.
Western India has an arid landscape with a large part of Gujarat and Rajasthan being part of the Thar Desert. The region offers diverse terrain from dry deciduous forests to savanna grassland to huge flat saltpans.
Key species to look out for in this region are:
Mammals: Asiatic Lion, Leopard, Striped Hyena, India Wolf, Desert Fox and the Asiatic Wild Ass.
Reptiles: Marsh Crocodile, Rock Monitor Lizard and the Spiny-tailed Lizard.
Birds: The Great Indian Bustard, Greater Flamingo, Pelicans, Short-eared Owl, Indian Coarser and also has the largest Harrier roost
Rajasthan and Goa are two well-known states popular with tourists for very different reasons. Despite many challenges from human presence, the wildlife has managed to survive in sustainable numbers in certain areas. An intricate connection between the people of India and the level of tolerance towards other living beings plays a massive part in holding on to the natural heritage.
A fierce warrior history with old stone forts and the inhospitable Thar Desert. Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur is renowned for its bird life, and a World Heritage Site. Sariska Tiger Reserve and Mukundra Hill Tiger Reserve are designated wilderness areas. Geographically Ranthambore National Park is situated in northwestern India. Due to the similarity of habitat and topography, the park is often in Central India wildlife books.
Loved for its gorgeous beaches lapped by the Arabian Sea. Along the coast, yoga retreats are popular with westerners. The more serene of these are off the beaten track in laid-back fishing villages. Colonial Portuguese history influences the architecture in the 17th Century churches. Spice plantations add a touch of exotic to tasty fare.
Conversely, Maharashtra and Gujarat states are heavily industrialised. Maharashtra is home to the cities of Mumbai and Pune. Gujarat is a business hub and the place to buy colourful saris and textiles. Human populations cause the shrinking of wildlife habitats here.