The forests of Madhya Pradesh in the middle of India are a magnet for many wildlife. This vast hinterland grows with a wide variety of flora and fauna. Vindhya and Satpura range of hills, marked by crossing with formerly paved plains, herd rivers, rocky ravines, and lush green forests, is an ideal ground for wild animals. It is no surprise that Madhya Pradesh tourism boasts 25 wildlife sanctuaries, 9 national parks, and 6 tiger reserves. The state is home to many endangered species of tigers, from where the state is named Tiger Country, Barasingha among other animals such as leopards, wild boar, deer, and many more.
For those seeking wildlife adventures, this is the state, and you can choose from its extensive national park, sanctuary, and tiger reserve. Here is our choice of the best five wildlife sites of Madhya Pradesh.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is located in the Vindhya Hills in the Umaria district and is spread over 450 square kilometers. It is said that this park has the highest density of Royal Bengal tigers in the world and seeing a tiger here is not ideal but luck! Soak in the sounds and aroma of the forest, while enjoying a safari amidst the tropical forest with sal trees and vast grasslands. You can also see other wildlife here in the form of white tigers, leopards, lazy bears, and deer, as well as 250 varieties of birds including eagles, great cormorants, and cranes.
Must-knows of Bandhavgarh Park:
Bandhavgarh Park is open from 1 October to 30 June. The morning jeep safari time is 6.30 am in winter and 6 am in summer. While the afternoon safari starts at 2.30 in the afternoon and 3.00 in the summer season. Other scenic spots around the park are the Bandhavgarh Fort and ancient man-made caves and rock paintings.
How to reach Bandhavgarh National Park:
The nearest airport of Bandhavgarh National Park is Jabalpur Airport at 190 km followed by Khajuraho Civil Aerodrome which is 250 km away. The nearest railway station is 37 km from Umaria and 100 km from Katni. All these places are well connected by road, and cabs or state and private buses can be found from these cities to reach Bandhavgarh.
Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park is an extensive expanse of forests and grasslands, covering an area of 940 sq km, making it the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh. The huge plateau of Bamhanidadar, which is an attractive place for birds of prey, offers a spectacular sunset view to the tourists and a panoramic view of Kanha forestland. The park is globally famous for bringing the Barasingha (swamp deer) back from extinction and is certainly a famous tiger reserve. Other animals that roam its wild footpaths are leopards, foxes, jackals, wild dogs, wild cats, and Indian cattle.
Must-knows of Kanha National Park:
Kanha National Park is open from 16 October to 30 June. The morning jeep safari starts at sunrise, while the afternoon safari ends with sunset. The safari is closed from Wednesday afternoon. Places of interest around the park are Kanha Museum and Shravan Tal.
How to reach Kanha National Park:
The nearest airport to Kanha National Park is Jabalpur Airport at a distance of 170 km. Other options are Nagpur Airport at 290 km and Raipur Airport at 260 km. The nearest railway station is Gondia which is 127 km away. Jabalpur, Raipur, and Nagpur are also important railheads. From all these cities, cabs can be availed to reach Kanha.
Pench National Park
Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve spread over 758 sq km in the jungles of Seoni and Chhindwara districts and crosses half of the Pench River from which it derives its name. The park is famous for the establishment of Mowgli from the Jungle Book and its most famous darshans are the Indian wolf (ekra), dull bear (sand), and of course the Royal Bengal tiger (Sher Khan). Otherwise, it has wild boar, Indian leopard, fox, striped hyena, four-horned antelope, gaur, barking deer, and about 285 species and a wide variety of animals as home and migratory birds.
Must-knows of Pench National Park:
Pench National Park is open from 16 October to 30 June. The morning jeep safari starts at 7.30 am and at 6.30 pm in winter. The afternoon jeep safari timings are from 3.00 pm during winter and 4.00 pm in the evening.
How to reach Pench National Park:
Nagpur Airport, the nearest airport to Pench National Park, is about 92 km away. The next Jabalpur Airport is about 192 km away. Apart from this, these two are also the most convenient railway heads. In addition, Nagpur is connected to Pench by NH 7 and is a two-hour drive away, while Jabalpur is 4 hours by road.
Satpura National Park
Satpura National Park is spread over an area of 524 square kilometers in the Satpura Range of Hoshangabad District and is one of the most beautiful parks. The rugged terrain is mostly covered by dense forests, marked by sandstone peaks, ravines, and narrow valleys. Its highest peak is the Dhopgarh peak at 1,350 meters. It is also popular for sightings of tigers as well as leopards, blackbucks, wild dogs, Indian bison, crocodiles, and Malabar giant squirrels. If you are looking for a jungle safari away from the tourist crowd then this is your destination.
Must know of Satpura National Park:
Satpura National Park is open from 1 October to 15 June. You can take different types of safaris here, including jeep safari, elephant safari, or walking tour. There is an option of morning, afternoon, or full-day safari. Apart from this, you can also enjoy activities such as boating, canoeing, or bird watching.
How to reach Satpura National Park:
The nearest airport to Satpura National Park is Bhopal Airport at 190 km. Jabalpur Airport is about 265 km away. The nearest railway station is Sohagpur about 20 km from the park, but it has limited trains. Pipariya is the next nearest railway station at a distance of about 45 km. Road connectivity is good and you can reach the park by taxi from any of these cities/towns.
Panna National Park
Panna National Park and Tiger Reserve is an extension of 543 sq km in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts. The park is as popular for its wildlife as it is for its beautiful springs and diamond mines. The Cane River crossing the Panna Hills forms a large catchment area, which is a part of the nearby Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary. Look at the Indian crocodile here – a large reptile found only in the Indian subcontinent. Apart from the tiger, other wildlife in the park is a leopard, dull bear, chital, nilgai, chinkara, and sambar. There are more than 200 species of birds in the forests including Raja vulture, eagle, and honey buzzard.
Know about Panna National Park:
Panna National Park is open from 16 October to 30 June. Some of the interesting places nearby are Ken Gharial Sanctuary, Pandava Falls, and Rane Falls. You can take a boat ride on the Cane River and even go bird-spotting.
How to reach Panna National Park:
Khajuraho, the nearest airport to Panna National Park, is about 45 km. In addition, Khajuraho is the nearest rail and road head. While Satna, Madhya Pradesh is another railway station about 70 km away.
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