Kanha National Park is the soul of Madhya Pradesh. It is home to various wildlife species. Kanha National Park was taken under Project Tiger Reserve in 1974. Kanha Park is the only abode for rare hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha) in India.
Kanha Park is the biggest national park and Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. It is spread over the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh. Kanha Park is stretched over an area of 940 km with a buffer zone of 1,067 km. Stringent conservation programs for the overall protection of the Park’s fauna and flora, makes Kanha Park one of the most well maintained National Parks in Asia. The major feature of this region’s interesting topography is the horseshoe shape valley and whole park area is surrounded by the spurs of the Mekal. The Surpan River meanders through Kanha’s central maidans, grasslands that cover the extensive plateau.
Kanha Park has significant population of animals and birds, such as Bengal Tiger, Barasingha, Cheetal, Chausinga, Sambar, Muntjak, Gaur, leopard, wild-dog, gray jackal, wild boar, sloth bear, peacock and many more.
A heightened attraction within the Park is Bamni Dadar, popularly known as Sunset Point that offers the most awe-inspiring backdrop of the sunset against grazing Sambhars and Gaurs, magnifying the natural splendor of the area.
Way to reach Kanha National Park
Jabalpur is the nearest airport (connectivity from all the metro cities) and railway station, for drive of about 3 hours. Mandla is the nearest city.
Khatia (3 km from Kisli) and Mukki are the two main entry points to the Kanha National Park. From Jabalpur, Kisli is 165 km and Mukki is 203 km. Kanha Park is also accessible from Bilaspur (182 km), Raipur (213 km) and Balaghat (83 km).
There is a fee by the Government of Madhya Pradesh for the entry into the Forest. Entry fee varies as per the zone. There are four zones : Kanha zone, Kisli zone, Sarhi zone and Mukki zone, of which kanha zone in the morning shift is the best zone. Although all the zones are equally good as far as bio diversity is concerned but tigers in Kanha and Kisli zones are more accustomed to Gypsy and human traffic and so much easily sighted.
Best way of booking is through www.mponline.gov.in and you should book in advance to get the booking in the premium zone. In March 2014 the Jeep entry fee were as follows:
Entry fee for a Jeep of Indians only
Premium zone – INR 1850
Non-premium – INR 1250
Entry fee for a Jeep with at least one foreigner
Premium zone – INR 3650
Non-premium – INR 2450
You will also have Jeep cost of INR 1800 which can be shared between a maximum of six people. There is also guide fee of INR 300 for each jeep.
Jeep safari is arranged twice in a day, once in the morning and once in the evening time, which is set as per the suitable time to explore the beauty of this national park. You should try taking safari on one zone in the morning and another zone in the evening to experience the splendor and magnificence of Kanha Park.
Elephant Safari is also one of the best ways to have a closer view of the animals of Kanha Park. Tourists can enjoy the amazing sightseeing as well as enjoy the wild animals in their natural habitat. You can spot a tiger eating, drinking or even playing with its cubs on an Elephant Safari.
As per my personal experience, the most interesting way to explore and experience the jungle life is on foot. Forest department has made jungle trails near Khatia entrance gate and Village Chhapri. You can contact the hotels you are staying in or at the forest entrance gate for the jungle trail. Nature trail at village Chhapri should not be missed by bird lovers.
Where to stay at Kanha Park
Kanha Park is one of the main tourist attractions of Madhya Pradesh. The website of tourism department of Madhya Pradesh provides the basic information about the whereabouts of visiting Kanha Park.
For accommodation there are number of good hotels and lodge house for the tourists. With the development of Madhya Pradesh tourism, many star hotels have also come up in the vicinity of the forest. Banjar Tola, Taj Group Hotel is one of the best hotels near Kanha Park.
When to visit Kanha National Park
You cannot visit Kanha Park in monsoons. It is open from the month of October to June. The month of March is the best month for wildlife viewing and the temperature is not very high. However months of April & May provide a great opportunity to Wildlife Photographers specially who are looking for some rare photographs of the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Kanha National Park is one of the famous Tourist attractions in Madhya Pradesh. Visitors throng here to see the magnificent big cat Tiger and one of the rarest deer the Hard ground Barasingha (Swamp Deer) famous as the – Jewel of Kanha national park. My humble request to the readers of this article is to explore Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh to its fullest, even if you are not fond of wildlife animals.