KANHA NATIONAL PARK

Kanha Tiger Reserve, also called Kanha National Park, is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh state in India. In the 1930s, the present-day Kanha area was divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, of 250 and 300 km² respectively. Kanha National Park was created on 1 June 1955 and in 1973 was made the Kanha Tiger Reserve. Today it stretches over an area of 940 km² in the two districts Mandla and Balaghat. Together with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,067 km² and the neighboring 110 km² Phen Sanctuary it forms the Kanha Tiger Reserve. This makes it the largest National Park in Central India.


Kanha Tiger Reserve was ranked in the top 10 Famous Places for Tourists. The park has a significant population of Royal Bengal Tiger, leopards, the sloth bear, Barasingha and Indian wild dog.


Places of Interest

Flora

Kanha Tiger Reserve is home to over 1000 species of flowering plants. The lowland forest is a mixture of sal (Shorea robusta) and other mixed forest trees, interspersed with meadows. The highland forests are tropical moist dry deciduous type and of a completely different nature with bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) on slopes. A very good looking Indian ghost tree (Davidia involucrata) can also be seen in the dense forest.

Kanha Tiger Reserve abounds in meadows or maidans which are basically open grasslands that have sprung up in fields of abandoned villages, evacuated to make way for the animals. Kanha meadow is one such example. There are many species of grass recorded at Kanha some of which are important for the survival of Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi). Dense forested zones with good crown cover has abundant species of climbers, shrubs and herbs flourishing in the understory. Aquatic plants in numerous tal (lakes) are life line for migratory and wetland species of birds.


Fauna

Kanha Tiger Reserve has species of tiger, leopards, wild dogs, wild cats, foxes and jackals. Among the deer species, Swamp Deer (Cervus duavcelli branderi) or Hard Ground Barasingha is pride of the place as it is the only sub species of swamp deer in India. The animal is adapted to hard ground unlike swamp deer of the North which live in marshy swamps. The reserve has been instrumental in rescuing the Swamp Deer from extinction. Indian Gaur (Bos guarus), belonging to the ox genus, is found in Kanha but seen mostly as winter ends. In summer gaur inhabit meadows and water holes in the park.

Other commonly seen animals in the park include the spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and the four-horned deer. The latter can be seen at Bamni Dadar climb. Recently, mouse deer have also been discovered in the tiger reserve.

Nocturnal animals like fox, hyena, jungle cat, civets, porcupine, ratel or honey badger and hares can be seen outside the park confines. Reptiles like pythons, cobras, krait, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks and grass snakes are nocturnal animals, and are therefore rarely seen. There are many species of turtles as well as amphibians found in or near the water bodies.


Wildlife Viewing

Khatia and Mukki are the two entrance points to the resesrve. Forest Department Jeeps are available on hire for touring the park. Visitors can also ride their own petrol vehicle. Elephants are used for tiger tracking. The best areas for good viewing are the meadows around Kanha and Bamni Dadar also known as Sunset point.


Getting there

168 km from Jabalpur.


Best time to Visit

October to June.