Kanha National Park
The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of
Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel "The Jungle Book". Kanha National Park located in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under Project Tiger. The Park's landmark achievement is the preservation of the rare hardground Swamp Deer (Barasingha), saving it from near extinction. Stringent conservation programs for the overall protection of the Park's fauna and flora, makes Kanha one of the most well maintained National Parks in Asia.
A heightened attraction within the Park is Bamni Dadar. Popularly known as the Sunset Point, it offers the most awe-inspiring backdrop of the setting sun against grazing Sambhars and Gaurs, magnifying the natural splendor of the area. Aside from its diverse wildlife and bird population, the frequent sightings of Tigers roaming in the wild at Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary remain the most popular draw.
Wildlife Attractions in Kanha National Park
If one animal species were to represent Kanha, it would probably be the barasingha, or the swamp deer. The barasinghas at Kanha are unique, being the hard ground variety, which populate the large open tracts of grass amidst the forests of teak and bamboo. Twenty years ago, the Barasingha was faced with extinction but some desperate measures which included the fencing-off of some animals helped save them and again the air in Kanha bugled with their rutting calls.
The main wildlife attractions in the park are tiger, bison, gaur, sambhar, chital, barasingha, barking deer, black deer, black buck, chousingha, nilgai, mouse deer, sloth bear, jackal fox, porcupine, hyena, jungle cat, python, pea fowl, hare, monkey, mongoose, tiger, and leopard.
The bird species in the park include storks, teals, pintails, pond herons, egrets, peacock, pea fowl, jungle fowl, spur fowl, partridges, quails, ring doves, spotted parakeets, green pigeons, rock pigeons, cuckoos, papihas, rollers, bee-eater, hoopoes, drongos, warblers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, finches, orioles, owls and fly catchers.
Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari are the two options for spotting wild animals in the park. The safaris can be enjoyed any time during the day while the best time for animal spotting is during early morning or late evening. The safari timings generally are 6 AM to 12 Noon and 3 to 5:30 PM.
While it is essential to take along a park guide on a jeep safari, an elephant safari is the better option where the mahout or the elephant driver will be your companion and guide. To get on an Elephant ride, one has to book a seat for the Tiger show, offered in the mornings.
You can top your visit to the Kanha National Park by visiting the Kanha Museum, situated inside the park. The museum provides useful information about varied topics including the topography, park maps, pug marks of various animals etc, which can enhance your experience of visiting the park.
Near the visitor centre one can see the stumps of two giant sal trees that are worshipped daily in the forests. Known as Raja Rani, these trees once lived in the Kanha National Park.
How to Get There
Jabalpur is the nearest airport, while Nagpur is the nearest most convenient airport. Indian Airlines operates daily Delhi-Nagpur (7:15) and Mumbai-Nagpur (6:40 & 19:40) flights. Jet Airways also has a daily flight schedule of Mumbai-Nagpur and Delhi-Nagpur.
Jabalpur (169 kms/4 hrs) is the nearest railhead. Daily trains between Delhi and Jabalpur are Mahakoshal Exp. (16:25) and Gondwana Express (14:30), while Mumbai is connected through the Mahanagari Exp. (00:10), Rajendra Ngr Exp. (23:40), Kolkata Mail (21:25), LTT RJPB Exp. (22:10) and Gorakhpur Express (6:35). Other major trains plying to Jabalpur include Sanghamitra Exp. (Bangalore-Jabalpur, 6:57, Tue & Fri) and Varanasi Exp. (Chennai-Jabalpur, 17:30, Mon & Sat).
There are regular to and fro bus services available from Jabalpur to Kanha. Cars can be hired from all the nearby towns to reach Kanha, the choice should however be an all terrain 4 wheel petrol vehicle. The drive from Nagpur to Kisli takes around 6 hours by car. The travel up to Seoni (130 km) on the Jabalpur National Highway is a smooth drive. From Seoni, take a right turn to Keolari, Nainpur and Chiraidongri to finally reach the Kisli gate of the park. Alternately, to reach the Mukki gate, divert away from Seoni through Balaghat and Boihar. Another option is the drive from Jabalpur (well connected by train to major Indian cities) via Tikaria and Mandla. To reach the park from Nagpur, take the NH6 to Bhandara. From there state roads lead to Kanha (Mukki) via Balaghat and Baihar.
The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) operates a Jeep Service for visitors to go around in the park. Advance bookings can be made through the Manager, MPSTDC, Log huts, Kisli. Wild Chalet Resorts at Village Mocha, Kanha can also arrange for local sightseeing.
Distances from Major Cities
940 km (SE)
480 km (SE)
270 km (NE)
Travel Tips/ Important Information
- There are two main entry points into the park, Kisli and Mukki (on the western side at a distance of 35 km from one another). Entering from the Kisli gate from Khatia, you will see the most biodiversity. It is the point of start for most safaris and also a major camping site. Both the entrances have canteens and orientation centres with sale counters where brochures and souvenirs are sold.
- Park timings are 6 AM till noon & 3 to 5:30 PM.
- Visitors are only allowed to go on jeep safari at designated times, which are in the morning from 6:30 to 10:00 and evening 2:30 to 6:00. Only petrol vehicles are allowed inside the park (speed limit 20 km/hr).
- The park charges are Entry Fee : Rs. 25 (Indians) & Rs. 500 (foreigners including morning and afternoon safaris)Vehicle Entry : Rs. 150, Camera : Rs. 40 (still), Rs. 300 (video), Tiger Show : Rs. 100 (Indians) & Rs. 600 (foreigners), Guide Charges per vehicle : Rs. 100
- Gypsies are available for hire at Kisli Gate. The cost of hiring a jeep is Rs. 13/km, which is shared among the passengers.
- Follow the rules of the park and do not pollute the environs by leaving behind litter and other non biodegradable material. The forest authorities are very strict in enforcing the rule and any discrepancies by the visitors are immediately reported and could mean heavy penalties.
- Do not forget to carry along binoculars and camera. Prior booking and basic information about the place can be of much help.