Kanha National Park

Introduction

A delightful town situated in the Mandla district, Kanha National park is the haven of an exceptionally wide variety of wild animals, including the majestic creature tiger. Kanha Tiger reserve is located in maikal ranges of eastern basis of triangular Satpura range in Central India. The park was established in the year 1955 and has since actively contributed to the preservation of many endangered species. The National Park was taken under the Project Tiger Reserve in 1974. Abundant in flora and fauna, the Kanha National Park houses one of the rarest species of deer- the Barasingha. One of the most scenic wildlife reserves in Asia today, this National Park came to be known the world over through Rudyard Kipling's book- The jungle Book. An alluring and picturesque landscape, it is famous for its wildlife safaris and attracts tourists from all over the world. Other important animals in this park are leopards, wild dogs, wild cats, foxes, sloth bears, hyenas, langurs, wild boars and jackals. Reptiles including pythons, cobras, krait and other varieties of snakes are also found in this National Park. Being a highly commercialized forest, the Kanha National Park has plenty of stores from where you can buy traditional handicrafts, t-shirts and souvenirs. Kanha National park has an attractive topography with huge plateaus, meadows and valleys. Such huge grass-lands and meadows like Sondhar/Sondar, Bishanpura, Ghorella was lands of local villagers before project tigers. While Banjar and Hallon both are major rivers of Kanha. But some other small rivers are also their like Sulkum, Nila etc. The beauty of Park is untold and makes you feel as heaven is here on every next moment visitor can find something undetected. Kanha continues to sway the imaginations of visitors and considered as the most scenic and well-managed National Park in Asia. Due to Rainy season Park remains closed from July to mid October. All the safari zones are good and have their own importance. Jabalpur is the best suitable place to reach Kanha National Park.

History

Kanha was originally formed a part of Gondwana which means "Land of Gonds". Given forest were inhibited by two native tribes of central India, The Gonds and The baigas. These tribes practiced shifting cultivation and subsited on forest produce. Before the middle of 19th century, Kanha forest was slightly known. Probably, the slash-and-burn (or "bewar") cultivation methods of the tribes like Baiga and Gond, stretched back for centuries. Region was ruled by Gond dynasty since many centuries. Baigas are among the oldest inhabitants of India. Their knowledge of animal and their behavior is remarkable. They are good trackers. We can find many Baiga guides in current time also. The first forest management rules were instituted in year 1862. When cutting of various tree species like sal, teak, saja, shisham, and bija without official authorization was prohibited. In 1879 Kanha Area was declared as a reserve forest. In the year 1880, during British era, this region of Madhya Pradesh, then called the Central Provinces was the setting for Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories. In 1923 A. A. Dunbar Brander, a government official and a keenly observant amateur naturalist, focused on the region's wildlife in a landmark publication. The Kanha forest was declared as a century in 1933. Kanha National Park bags award of Best Tourism Friendly National Park. Awards were announced by Department of Tourism, Govt. of India.

Location

Kanha Tiger Reserve is spread over Maikal-Satpura range, laying at Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. It lies within longitude 80° - 26' - 10" to 81° -4' -40" and latitude 22°-1°-5" to 22°-27'-48". The tiger reserve (1,949 sq km) has two divisions: core zone (national park, 940 sq km), and buffer zone (multiple use area, 1009 sq km). Besides, there is also the Phen Wildlife Sanctuary (110.740 sq km) which serves as a satellitic micro core. The well known Tiger Reserve Kanha National Park is located among the Banjar and Hallon valleys in the Mandla/Balaghat District of the state of Madhya Pradesh in India; Kanha is located 160 kms south east of Jabalpur. Kanha stretches across 22° 7' to 22° 27' N and 80° 26' to 81° 3' E. The Park has two entrances at opposite ends, one at Khatia - Kisli and the other one is from Mukki gate. The distance between Mukki and Kisli gate is about 45 kms. Border of the park touches Raipur city of Chattisgarh. Kanha have different variety of flora and fauna. It suffers from extremities of climate with scorching hot summers and chilly winters.

How to reach

By Air

Nagpur at 266 kms is the nearest Airport to visit Kanha National Park and is linked up by various domestic airline services with Mumbai. Jabalpur Airport also can use. It is 165 km from Kanha.

By Rail

Jabalpur at 169-kms is the convenient rail head to visit the Kanha National Park.

By Road

Kanha National Park is well-connected by road with Jabalpur 175-kms, Khajuraho 445-kms, Nagpur 266-kms, Mukki 25-kms, and Raipur 219-kms. The accesses are: Koshi - Kanha (9-kms), Kishi - Katia (4-kms), Kishi - Mukki (32-kms). There are regular to and fro bus services available from Jabalpur to Kanha.

Kanha Jungle Safari

Just like other tiger reserves of India, tourists can do jungle safari in Kanha national park. Here two rounds of jeep safari drives are offered i.e. morning drive and evening drive. On every Wednesday, national park remains closed for only evening safari round. Morning Kanha safari usually begins from 6:00 AM and evening safari usually begins from 15:00 hrs. However, this time varies from season to season, depending upon the change in sunrise and sunset timings. Duration of morning jeep-safari is approx. 4:00 hrs where as evening safari is of 3:00 hrs. Here maximum 06 tourists are allowed in one jeep safari. Due to its popularity, here also we recommend advance safari ticket booking as it mostly gets sold-out in advance and thus walk-in customers faces problem in getting safari tickets. Here all the visitors are mandatory to carry their original ID document, during all safari drives.

Elephant Safari

Elephant safari in Kanha national park is difficult to get because, as per rule, forest department have to use elephants primarily for patrolling purpose. Their is no natural elephants in Kanha national park and thus they are purchased from other states. Tourist can apply for elephant safari, through written application and have to wait for written approval from Field Director of national park. Usually elephant ride of 03:00 hrs is allowed to those tourists who have booked full-day safari in national park whose cost is very high. Their is provision of joy-ride also, of 01:00 hrs but mostly requests are rejected due to unavailability of elephants. So to be very frank, 90% chance is that tourists will not get elephant safari and 10% chance is to get elephant safari on condition that you are undertaking full-day jungle safari in Kanha national park. All this is to be done through any good luxury resort then only we may expect something.

Flora

Kanha national park lies in Maikal-Satpura range. It is rich in flora & fauna. Kanha forest area is mainly of Sal (Shorea robusta) trees which can be seen throughout the forest. It is believed that about 70% of the forest area is of Sal tree. Apart from Sal we can find Bamboo forest, Saj (Terminalia coricea), Indian Butter Tree, Flame of forest, Bel (Aegle marmelos) or Stone Apple, Banyan tree, Harra or Harad Tree, Baheda Tree etc. It is indeed a beautiful forest with varying landscapes. During safari, we will find vast meadows, hilly terrains, dense bushes, nullahs, river-valleys, cliffs etc. At some places we will find some cluster of fruit trees like Guava, Mango, Lemon etc which shows that those sites are of those villages which were relocated to other areas.

Fauna

Kanha national park fauna is amazing. Their are many rare wildlife species we can see during Kanha jungle safari. Some of the prominent mammal attractions are Hard-ground Barasingha, Tiger, Leopard, Indian Gaur, Wild Dog (Dholes), Black Buck, Spotted Deer, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Nilgai etc. The prime attraction of Kanha tiger reserve is its Hard-ground Barasingha which is not found anywhere else in the world. This Swamp Deer species is called Hard-ground because of its feeding habit. They consume grasses produced in hard-ground thus they are not common. It is rigorous conservation effort by park management that their population is revived and we are able to see them in their natural habitat.

Best time to visit

Kanha national park permits visitors to enter the park only for a specified period, starting from the 16th of October and the season lasts till 30th of June. These months are the best season to visit Kanha. The proper sighting of the animals starts from March to June. In this time the weather is hot and small grass does not become a hindrance to your viewing. The park is not open in the months of July to September because of the monsoon which make the roads in the park too slippery. The visiting season of Kanha national park starts from November to June.

Accommodation

Here in Kanha national park, we will find 03 popular entrance gates, for jungle safari drives. Their names are Khatia gate, Mukki gate and Sarhi gate. Hotels and resorts are available close to all these entrance gates. Among them, Khatia and Mukki gates are older ones thus have large number of resorts and safari lodges in all category. Before selecting your hotel, you should be aware of the fact that you will get access to your pre-booked safari zones, through that entrance gate. Their are some pre-conditions pertaining to safari vehicle entrance for different safari zones so it is important to clarify it before selecting the hotel/resort.

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