Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve

Mandla district of the Madhya Pradesh state, India, owns the pride of housing Kanha, a scenic National Park cum tiger reserve. Enclosed within the Mekal spurs, the park spreads across a core area of 940 sq. kms and a cushion area of 1005 sq. kms making it 1945 sq. kms. in total area. The fascinating horse-shoe shape of the valley is the key feature of this terrain. This national park cum tiger reserve was started in 1955 as a part of the ‘Project Tiger’ programme. 

This exotic park is dotted with dense bamboo and Sal forests, cushioning grasslands and sparkling streams. The Surpan river meanders through the central path and grasslands that cover the extensive plateau. Steep rocky escarpments along the edges offer breathtaking views of the valley. Located in the Mekal range of the Satpura hills in the central Indian highlands in a typical horseshoe-shaped topography, this wonderful park makes it all the more interesting for views it offers along the rocky edges.

Kanha – a geographic review: The park consists of a core area of 940 sq. kms surrounded by a buffer zone of 1005 sq. kms. The buffer zone is dotted by more than 150 villages and 40% is a forest region. There are two gates to enter the park at Kisli and Mukki. On reaching either of the gates, there are authorised jeeps and guides who would be happy to guide you through the forest. You can also have a wonderful experience like the elephant safari.

Inhabitants of Kanha:This tourist destination is an abode to the traditional Gond tribes of the Gondwana tract and the Baiga tribes, the inhabitants of the Mekal range. Earlier during 1860s, the villagers enjoyed the freedom to cut and burn the forest. Till 1870s, the technique of Bewar (shifting cultivation system) was in vogue on the hill slopes.

Tourist Highlights at Kanha:The scenic Phen Wildlife Sanctuary which is controlled by the Reserve Management stretches across a core space of 110 sq. kms.  

The Kanha Museum is the museum sited within the park. The park also hosts Bamni Dadar, an exotic sunset point that entices the tourists with its spine-tingling forest views.

The floras and faunas of Kanha Tiger Reserve:Kanha being one of the promising tiger reserves, also hosts spotted deers, barking deer, endangered barasingha (earlier numbering only 66 but now increased to 400 in number), the 4-horned antelope, gaur, porcupine, jackals, sloth bear, wild boars, mongoose, flying and Indian palm squirrels, chital, sambar and hyenas.

The reptiles include common rat snakes, vipers, krait, pythons, indian monitors, wild lizards to name a few. Its grace is enhanced by the aqua species like the giant danio, mud perches, the brown and the green snakeheads.

This majestic bird watcher’s paradise hoards more than 300 varieties of rare bird species too. This reserve enriched by its floras and faunas, is interspersed with plains, grass lands and dense forests interspersed with river beds and multi soils.
Best Season:
Except for February, March and from July to October (monsoon), the Kanha National Park is open to the public.

How to reach Kanha : - Nagpur is the nearest airport 266 kms from Kanha National Park.
- Jabalpur at 169 kms serves as the nearest railway station.
- By road this park can be reached from Mukki (25 kms), Jabalpur (175 kms) and Nagpur (266 kms).
- Within this park, Koshi-Kanha is 9 kms, 4 kms is the Kishi-Kanha trip and Mukki-Kanha is 36 kms.
- The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) provides jeeps, facilitating the visitors to travel through the park.

Accommodation and booking:Reservations can be done for accommodation and local sightseeing through Chalet resorts, Log huts, Kisli and MPSTDC. There are private resorts too that would organise your safaris and also have multi cuisine hotels / restaurants.

Additional Tips:

Visiting hours in the Park:

Months                                                 Morning                  Evening
Mid-November to Mid-February       7am - 12 noon       3 - 6pm
16th February to April-end                7am - 12 noon       4 - 6pm
May and June                                      7 - 11am                  5 - 6pm