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Madhya Pradesh Kanha Tiger Reserve
|Location||Madhya Pradesh, India|
|Area||940 square kilometres (360 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Madhya Pradesh Forest Department|
|Summer Temperature||45° C (maximum), 28 °C (minimum)|
|Winter Temperature||18° C (maximum), 01°C (minimum)|
A National Indian Park of international recognition, Kanha Tiger Reserve is major destination in the central region of the country. Location of this park in Maikal ranges in the Madhya Pradesh state of central India makes triangular Satpura range base. The area is part of the two districts of the state namely Mandla & Balaghat. The government initiated widening the tiger project program in 1972 for the purpose of ensuring better protection to the Royal Bengal tigers. This initiation was with the establishment of nine tiger reserves in various Indian states out of which Kanha National Park was one such chosen location.
Total area of this tiger reserve is 1949 sq. kilometers out of that the major area is the core one that houses National Park in an area of 940 sq. kilometers while the area meant for multiple use or buffer zone is of 1009 sq. kilometers. Illustrious flora and fauna of this national park keeps it apart from the rest. The collections are of tigers and several those animals that have become rare by now. Main aim is to preserve them. Barasingha or cervus duvauceli branderi famously called Swamp deer are few such endangered animals. In fact they have already reached at close to extinction and some are witnessed in this park only.
It was on June 01, 1953 that Kanha National Park was officially established through combining Hallon and Banjar wildlife sanctuaries together. Both Hallon & Banjar are identical as major rivers nearby this national park that has been growing faster over the period.
The striking topography if Kanha National Park is due to splendid plateaus, valleys and enchanting meadows. Many local villagers had donated their lands to build and extend the park’s area where ample grass and meadows have been developed. Some of them are Sondhar/Sondar, Bishanpura and Ghorella amongst others. Besides the two prominent rivers Banjar and Hallon good number of minor rivers too have direct impact on the area’s progress. Sulkum Nila is one such river. In fact this park is known for its beautiful landscape that literally turned it into a heaven on the earth. Visitors enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experience here. As a highly maintained national park it attracts the visitors from Asian and other countries to explore it.
Having been established originally Gondwana—or “Land of Gonds” the new name Kanha was given later. Both Gonds and Baigas tribes inhabiting in the central India forest region had their impact due to original inhabitants whose main involvements were in cultivation activities besides producing various stuffs from the forests. A look on the nearby villages shows the presence of people from these tribes in the surrounding villages nearby the Kanha National Park.
1879: It was in the year 1879 that the present day forest area of Kanha National Park had been officially declared a reserve forest.
1935: The name Banjar Valley Sanctuary was given to it in 1935 which upgraded as Kanha National Park on the later stage.
1953: Official foundation of Kanha National Park held in 1953 in which wildlife sanctuaries Hallon and Banjar were developed. These names are derived from the nearby river valleys in the areas of Maikal ranges in Satpura hills.
1960: Phased relocation of a few villages were initiated in 1960 to expand Kanha National Park. By now 27 villages got relocated to fruition the park expansion plan.
1970: Mukki valley didn’t include in the Kanha National Park while it was created. Expansion continued till 1970 in multiple phases especially to expand the park area.
1974: The nearby Hallon Valley became part of this park in this year.
1983: Addition of Phen Wildlife Sanctuary in this national park in 1983 was a big step. It would earlier serve as integral part of Motinala ranges that was previously part of the South Mandla Territorial division or East Mandla Division of this area. It finally became wildlife sanctuary during 1983 with the realization of its potentiality hence it became part of the tiger reserve in that year.
1995: Establishment of buffer zone in 1995 was important step. It is autonomous division but remains under the control of national park.
Weather And Best Time To Visit
This national park observes nearly 1,600 mm average annual rainfall. It welcomes three major seasons from wintry dry from November to February months and March—June observing warm but hot period to the time from July to October when the area observes rains.
Occurring of frost is common scene in the wintertime especially in valley areas where meadows are common. Most often the temperature goes down to even -2°C during nighttime while average day temperature maintains at 32°C.
Spring season arrives here in the second week of February itself. Semal trees, pallas and or silk cotton besides beautiful landscape with impressive orange flowers and nectar creation by the birds make it effective occasion.
High daytime temperature averaging to 40° - 45° C in May month doesn’t make it suitable hence willowing of grasses is common during that time. The Sal tress start getting new, leaves which turn greenish over the weeks. The colorful month in the park is none other than April when almost all trees turn green and flowers are abundant. The place observes low rainfall in that time.
Maximum rainfall which this national park observes is during the monsoon season and with this the forest turns green from its previous yellow appearance. Growing of new grasses and them even going up to two feet or more by July – August months is worth noting. The forest gets enriched with orchids so are creepers start proliferating during that time.
Best Time to Visit
Choose visiting this national park from October to April months which are best in all respects.
Places To Visit
Considered one of the highest plateaux in the entire tiger reserve, Bamni dadar attracts countless visitors with its splendid appearance especially the wonderful beauty and forestry attractions. Previously the British would overview this park through aircraft to enjoy its beauty. The one place named Bamni Dadar still has aircraft facility for aerial view of the park hence you shouldn’t ignore that place once visit the park anytime in future. The point is known more as kanha’s sunset point. The tourists often visit Bamni dadar so that they can feel the amazing sunset view once they complete their park safari tour. It is the place where one can enjoy completely stunning view of the park in western portion. Its identity of being highest of kanha points keep it into limelight. Commonly barking deer and Indian bison are seen at this place.
Once the expansion plan of this tiger reserve was initiated the first village that got shifted first was none other than Sonf. It is the place where several barasinghas descended over the period with the shifting of inhabitants to another place. They have been successfully breed in the area that now has ample grasses and meadows suiting better protection to these special animals. Many other meadows equally serve this purpose like Sonf that had been villages on previously.
Considered highly popular place to visit the Kanha Meadows is worthwhile and can’t be ignored. It is the place where tigers hunt their prey and it makes an attraction for the tourists to watch. The large meadows are the areas where herbivores are common though carnivores are equally prominent in this place.
A small water pond inside the reserve itself is famously called Sharan tal which, as the locales believe had been named so where dutiful son character of the prominent mythological story Shravan Kumar would have arrived for fetching water to serve his parents who were blinds. The story goes on that the father of Shri Rama; King Dasharatha had sjot him by mistake with bow arrow assuming that Kumar was but a wild animal having arrived at the pond to drink water.
The place, as the mythological story explains, named Shravan Chita is symbolic at which Shravan Kumar, the dutiful son had been cremated. The story explains how the King Dasharatha had shot Shravan Kumar while in hunting trip and mistakenly shot him who had arrived to fetch water for blind parents indeed. It is the location in the middle of the park and can be best accessed while entering through the Kisli gate in the side of Kanha area. Good chunk of herbivores as well as carnivores arrive here to drink water from the pond.
Located at a distance of approximately 04 kilometers from Kanha, it is known for one of the naturalists cum forest guide encountered with tiger—king of jungle while passing by with a guest during in jungle safari tour. Although he fought with tiger until end but couldn’t save his life. Symbolic gravestone has been created in his memory.
At the very entrance of Kisli Gate itself, Kanha Museum was part of a project for establishing it by Madhya Pradesh government’s forest department hence it is maintained by that only. The museum has ample collection of numerous reptile, carnivore and herbivore skeletons besides other collections. It remains open for the whole year as there are ample visitors here.
A structure named Shravan machan nearby the shravan tal at the very opposite side of the mountain seeks attention of everybody. According to the mythological story the doomed arrow to dutiful son Shravan Kumar was fired from this place. It is a hill here on that machan had been erected and is named and it is called Macha Dongar. It was often used by the King Dasharatha as hunting hideout place. It had been built at a height that could be compared to trees from where passing animals could be attacked while hunters patiently waited for them.
How To Reach
The Kanha National Park can be reached from the nearest airport Nagpur that is located at a distance of 266 kilometers. This airport connects with several cities in the country.
Nearest railway station Jabalpur is a distance of 169 kilometers only.
The park is connected well through roadways with Jabalpur, Khajuraho, Nagpur, Raipur and Mukki at 175, 445, 266, 25, and 219 kilometers respectively. The park has local transportation facility as well which is within the park itself with Koshi-Kanha, Kishi-Katia and Kishi-Mukki at the distances of 9, 4 and 32 kilometers respectively. Several regular bus services are available to and fro to commute passengers from Jabalpur to Kanha and vice versa.
Jeep service operated by the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) ease for the tourists to visit and explore all parts of the park. Contact the Manager, MPSTDC, Log huts, Kisli to make advance bookings. The local sightseeing is also arranged by the Wild Chalet Resorts at the Mocha village.
Flora And Fauna
Although varied but still enjoyable terrains inside this park is notable. There are huge bamboo forests besides Sal and meadows where enough deer herds are found besides good collection of pretty antelopes and black bucks. One may also see the timorous barking deer at this place. Some more animals are rarest of barasinghas and swamp deer which are witnessed here. As the records show earlier there were mere 66 of such rare animals in Kanha park but their numbers have increased to more than 400 by now.
It’s true that spotting wild animals is tough and can be seen if luck favors but when it comes to Kanha Park you spot them much because it has large collection and enough of them for your view. Those visiting first time keep looking the bigger animals and literally miss out smaller animals in many cases. Kanha has at least 175 bird varieties that make good choice for the bird watchers to enjoy great time. Good attraction here is definitely the tiger that can’t be easily spotted.
While you are in the verge of finding tigers there are ample chance to see grazers, porcupine, several gray langurs, mongoose, hyena, jungle cats and leopard et al. Rest attractions are multiple categories of deer like barasingha, chital; also called spotted deer and chousingha besides nilgai. Similarly prominent gaur or Indian bison and wild pig make good attractions at this place.
Use elephant safari and see the Kanha animals by sitting at the back of the elephants. It is an excellent sighting option indeed.
- Sunrise to 12.00 noon / 3.00 pm to Sunset—From 15 November to 15 February
- Sunrise to 1200 noon / 4.00 pm to Sunset—From 16 February to 30 April
- Sunrise to 11.00 am / 5.00 pm to Sunset—From 1 May to 30 June
Where To Stay
Both The Khatia Jungle Camp and Forest Rest House in Kisli and Mukki offer excellent accommodation facility to the visitors. They have double room facilities with best comfort levels. The Khatia Jungle Camp also has three dormitories with 20 beds to accommodate the visitors. The facilities include air coolers/conditioners and hot water facilities besides hutment furniture sets. Equally are other amenities like television sets connected to DTH. The basic amenities are made available to the visitors.
All visitors are suggested to ensure they arrive at the gate at least 30 minutes in advance to finish entry formalities and hassle free park admission.
Tourist Information Centre’s
- The Manager, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd., Log Hut, Kisli, Bhopal.
- The Field Director, Project Tiger, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Mandla - 481661.