There’s beauty all around us. We’ve experienced it in the littlest moments through the blooming of a plant, gentle morning dew drops, insects that perch on our skin, the sound of crickets creating a racket in the wee hours of night, and many more of such moments. Life thrives all around us whether we pause to notice and acknowledge it or whether we choose to ignore it. The world does go on, and the sun rises in different parts of the world were never ours to begin with. The jungles. The forests. The rivers. The caves. The mountains. The valleys. The seas. There is a whole league of life that thrives unnoticed, and oftentimes when we pause to take a look, we realise how elated it all makes us feel. It is almost as though we can touch purpose and meaning again, as though we can touch and feel ourselves again.
It goes unsaid that nature roots us and keeps us grounded through little reminders that we humans aren’t the only inhabitants of the world. It reminds us that there’s another world out there, one that we must protect so that the earth and our existence in it may remain whole and complete. That is why a visit to a national park or a sanctuary so often reminds us of how we live in a symbiotic environment, and how each of us are connected to the other. These trips aren’t just about admiring the beauty that a space holds, but rather, reminds us to consider the possibilities of our existence as humans, and the existence of the world as a whole. It reminds us that we exist in symbiosis with nature and that we aren’t very separate from it. It reminds us that the moment there’s imbalance, there’s also consequence. And more than all of it, these trips fill us with peace of mind away from the chaos and madness of our regular corporate lives and the city culture.
Kanha National Park: A Sanctuary for Tigers and Other Wildlife
One great place that reminds us of this and so much more is the Kanha National Park. Known popularly for its tigers, the national park is home to a lot more than fierce felines. A beautiful array of wild landscapes, gentle meadows as well as limp wooded areas and a thick forest cover makes it one of the best wildlife experiences in India. Not just in terms of its terrain, but also in terms of the wildlife that thrives in this region. Kanha National Park is situated in the Maikal range among the range of Satpuras and is in Madhya Pradesh, the central highlands of India.
The National Reserve for tigers and other thriving wildlife is spread across two districts called the Mandala and the Kalaghat district.
The national park started out as a reserve forest in 1879 before it was revalued as a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and then reinstated as a national park in 1955.
Kanha National Park is currently spread over a 940 sq. km distance in the Maikal range of the Satpuras and is a sightseeing hotspot for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and nature lovers. Spread across the terrain are beautiful crystal clear streams sandwiched between the forest’s dense green covers which makes it quite the sight to see. This thick cover is home to several plants, fauna, avifauna and the other beautiful creatures of the wild right from tigers to the barasingha - a unique species of deer, chital (spotted deer), barking deers, langurs (hanuman monkeys), jackals, chourasingha (four-horned antelopes), sloth bears, wild dogs, a range of reptiles like pythons, cobras, vipers, rat snakes, skinks, and different types of lizards.
Wildlife Conservation at Kanha -
Owing to a collaboration between the Centre for Environmental Education in Ahmedabad and the United States National Park services, a multifaceted informational programme was installed at Kanha from 1989 to 1991. The informational programme encompassed a park museum, two orientation centres and a range of publications to generate awareness on wildlife conservation. The reserve has a reputable record in research, monitoring and managing the security of the wildlife at Kanha which is what makes it stand out among the rest today.
While Kanha is known for its wildlife preservation measures, it’s most popularly known for its endeavour to protect the tigers of India as well as in conserving and preserving the Barasingha - a deer species that was on the verge of extinction and revived by efforts taken by the government. With a staggering increase from 66 barasinghas to a 400-500 range today, Kanha still continues to fight the good fight against the poaching of animals, especially tigers. The increased poaching of tigers since the 1990s is quite a challenge as poachers fight it out for the bones of tigers, which are used in several medicinal traditions in Asia. It is said that India, carrying close to 60% of the world’s tiger population, loses up to a tiger a day to illegal poaching. Keeping all this in mind, Kanha is a haven for animals that are on the verge of extinction.
Kanha, the jungle that inspired ‘The Jungle Book’ -
For those of us who grew up reading Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, released in 1894, this place awakens a childish curiosity. The novel narrates the story of a boy who was raised in the jungle by wild wolves. Kipling, the author is said to have been inspired by early british travellers who vividly described the Kanha region and wrote tales on it. Though he never got to visit the place himself and wrote the novel seated miles away in a snowy Vermont, his book brings India to life, inviting the reader to take a walk through the dense forests of the jungle.
Best time of the year to visit the park -
The best time to take a trip down to Madhya Pradesh and into the Kanha National Reserve is from October to June as that is the period when the Park remains. For a rare tiger spotting, it is best recommended to visit during April to June, as the heat makes wildlife come out in the open and congregate around water. As with most National Parks in India, Kanha is said to be closed in the months between July to mid-October.
How to get there -
After you get to Mumbai or Delhi, Jabalpur is the nearest airport to Kanha. Alternatively, the Raipur or Nagpur airports also have direct connectivity to Jabalpur.
The nearest Railway Station to Kanha National Park is Gondia and Jabalpur, with both being about 3 and 4 hours long drive, respectively, to/ from Kanha. From Gondia, the entry gate to Kanha is the Khatia Entrance Gate, while from Jabalpur the entry gate to Kanha is at the Mukki Entrance Gate.
What to eat there (local food) -
Since it is Kanha National Park, there aren’t too many food joints apart from the food served at the nearby resorts and hotels around Kanha. However, if you drive further in, there are places that offer their own unique renditions of traditional food like the Gond Thali - a local thali inspired by the Gond tribe of Madhya Pradesh.
There are other local delicacies available at the nearby restaurants like Dal Bafla, Biryani, Bhutte ki Kees, Korma, Rogan Josh, Poha, etc.
Some of the restaurants that serve these foods are Kanha Jungle Lodge, Kanha Resorts, Mogli Resorts, among a few others.
Things to do -
There are different tour packages for jungle safaris, ranging from jeep safaris to elephant safaris. The jeep safaris are designed for the adventurous souls giving the freedom to explore and discover places that would otherwise be difficult with other forms of transportation. In a day, Kanha does up to 2 jeep safaris - one for early mornings and the other one taking place in the late afternoons in a 6-seater jeep. Sighting wild animals during Kanha’s jungle safaris is one of the most enthralling experiences the national park provides.
Being one of the main centrals of the Indian highlands with a favourable tropical climate, Kanha Reserve is home to a wide range of birds and is said to be home to over 300 different species of avifauna that are quite the sight to see. For bird watchers, photographers and nature enthusiasts, it is truly a haven ripe with inspiration and wonder. There’s almost everything from water birds, prey birds, nocturnal birds, scavengers to common ground birds.
The widely found birds in Kanha are Malabar Pied Hornbill, White Eyed Buzzard, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Eurasian Blackbird, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Painted Francolin, White Rumped Shama, Gold Mantled Chloropsis, White Bellied Drongo, Spangled Drongo. Racket Tailed Drongo, Tawny Babbler, Jungle Babbler, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Grey Francolin, Black Naped Flycatcher,Common Iora, Jerdon’s LeafBird, Golden Oriole, Black Hooded Oriole, Common Grey Hornbill, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Tickell’s Flowerpecker, Verditer Flycatcher, Tawny Fish Owl, Barred Jungle Owlet, Spotted Owlet, Brown Fish Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra, Common Kestrel, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Pariah Kite, and the Indian Pitta.
Places you can visit from Kanha -
The sights aren’t just in Kanha, but around it as well. The beautiful terrains of Kanha extend further, leaving you with many more sights to see in the vastness of this forest land. Not too far away are other wildlife conservation spots and parks, restaurants serving local cuisines, glimpses of the local culture, sunset points, and more.
Sunset Point -
A beautiful place like Kanha National Reserve would be incomplete without a sunset point. With many travellers swarming in to see the beautiful, statuesque Kanha Reserve, you’ll find tourists around the Bammi Dadar, which is one of the most popular sunset points in the area.
Bandhavgarh, Pench and Tadoba National Parks -
For wildlife lovers, it bodes well to know that Kanha isn’t the only national park in the vastlands of Madhya Pradesh. Other national parks like Bandhavgarh, Pench and Tadoba are some great spots to visit for the nature lover. Ideally, it’s best to span a holiday over a few days and dedicate a day each to these beautiful spots of thriving and rich in flora and fauna. Not just that, while doing so, also experience the rich culture, history and stories that these places hold - stories of the displacement of a few of their local, indigenous tribes due to the conversion of the land into a reserve forest, as well as get to explore the rich, healthy, holistic livelihoods of the people of the region.
Please explore Kanha National Park T-Shirt Collection by Gubbacci. These custom T-Shirts will remind of you all the memorable moments you have experienced at Kanha National Park. These T-Shirts will surely be a conversation starter at all occasions.