Pench National Park, situated on the southern fringes of Madhya Pradesh is known for its fearless tigers.
The area was declared a reserve forest in 1929 but hunting permits were available till 1970-71 when the government woke up to the serious threat posed to the animal population and an area of 449.39 sq. km. was notified as the Pench Wildlife Sanctuary in 1977. Further in 1983, it was accorded the status of a national park and was made a part of the project tiger in 1992.
It is best to take as many trips into the jungle as possible, which will increase your chances of spotting animals. Early morning rides can be the most rewarding when odds of spotting animals are the highest.
The temperatures in winters can drop to as low as 1 or 2 degrees. Carry all the warm clothes and wear them in layers. The time of dawn is when you hear noises and bird calls which your guide can help identify.
Wildlife Attractions in Pench National Park
The park is known for its population of the fearless master predator. Most of the tourists come to visit the place, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Tiger. Pench offers its visitors numerous wildlife attractions which include over 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians and more than 210 varieties of birds.
Some of the prominent avian residents of the park include the barbet, bulbul, minivet oriole, wagtail, munia, myna, malabal pied hornbill, collared scops, owl, waterfowl and blue kingfisher among other variety of animals which can be commonly seen adorning the skies of Pench.
Major mammalian species found in the region include animals like cheetal, sambar, nilgai, wild pig, tiger, leopard, jungle cat, leopard cat, striped hyena, wild dog, wolf, sloth bear, pangolin and the mighty Indian gaur.
Jeep safari and elephant rides can be especially rewarding for sighting some rare animals. Take an early dawn safari when the animals come out in the open in search of food and water. Jeep safaris and elephant rides are available during morning and evenings.
The safari timings are, Morning : Nov1-Feb15 & May1-Jun30 (6-11 AM), Feb16-Apr30 (6 AM-12:20 PM). Evening : Nov1-Feb15 (2:30-5:30 PM), May1-Jun30 (3:30-6:20 PM), Feb16-Apr30 (4-7 PM). It is better to sit next to the guide so you can hear every instruction and information being told. Ask questions to increase your knowledge.
Pachdhar Potters Village
Situated at a distance of just 18 km from the Turia gate, it is a small but clean village. Potters can be spotted here sitting outside their homes working on their wheels giving beautiful shapes to clay. The articles are up for sale and at a cheap price at that.
There are a number of villages around the park. Trips can be organised to these villages which are an excellent way to get a glimpse of the local culture and customs of the gond people.
How to Get There
By Air :
Nagpur is the nearest airport connected by daily Indian Aitlines flight from Delhi (5:50) & from Mumbai (6:40 & 19:40). Jet Airways flies daily to Nagpur from Delhi (18:20) & from Mumbai (7:05 & 19:40).
By Rail :
Nagpur is the nearest railhead connected by regular trains from major Indian cities. Some of the important daily trains are from Delhi, G T Exp. (18:40), Tamil Nadu Exp. (22:30), Kerala Exp. (11:30), Dakshin Exp (22:50). Daily trains from Mumbai are Vidarbha Exp. (19:40), Sewagram Exp. (15:10), Howrah Mail (20:35) while those running Bangalore-Nagpur are the Sampark Kranti (23:30, except Tue & Thu) and Chennai-Nagpur are the Grand Trunk Exp. (16:30), Tamil Nadu Exp. (22:20), Navjivan Exp. (9:35).
By Road :
The route from Nagpur is through the national highway no. 7 to Khawasa via Kamptee, Mansar, Deolapar and Manegaon. From here, take the district road to Pench National Park.
Distances from Major Cities
92 km (NE)/2 hrs.
Travel Tips/Important Information
- There are three entry gates to the park, the Turia gate (the most convenient entry gate), Karmajhuri gate and the Jamtara gate.
- Private vehicles are allowed inside the park but only with the company of an authorised guide.
- Park charges include Entry fee : Rs. 60 (Indians) & Rs. 500 (foreigners), Vehicle : Rs. 1000/trip, Vehicle entry : Rs. 150/trip, Guide : Rs. 75/trip, Camera : Rs. 25 (still) & Rs. 300 (video), Elephant ride : Rs. 100 (Indians) & Rs. 600 (foreigners)
- Early morning safari can be the most rewarding if you want to spot tigers and other rare animals.
- Try not to wear flashy clothes and strong smelling perfumes.
- Follow the instructions of your guide and do not pollute the envoironment.