Kanha National Park: A Wildlife Adventure in India

Posted On : 18-9-2017
Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park & Tiger Reserve Guide

So intense the magic of the jungles of Madhya Pradesh that Rudyard Kipling created some of the most-loved characters based on it for his famous jungle book, from Mowgli, ‘Baghira’, ‘Bhalu’ and, of course, ‘Sherkhan’. Seeking pugmarks (footprints) of a tiger in the wild and spotting animals as they lazy around gazing at you with caution and suspicion almost a habit. Kanha Tiger Reserve is an ideal wildlife place if you want to experience tiger watching on your India trip.

Long stretches of open meadows or grasslands make this tiger reserve a stunningly different feature and it is exactly where the adventure begins. Herds of chitals or spotted deers can be seen grazing, stopping to look up every time a vehicle stops to click their photo or capture their beauty in their handy-cams. When you go close to a sloth bear, he hides hidden in a bush and treats himself to some termites.

We were showing patience and waiting for him to come out from its hiding but he did not come out. After that, we came across herds of Indian gaur on paths, in the woods grazing, and near the water body. The lonely gaurs spotted on the path were the ones discarded from their herd after losing a fight against another male gaur of its group. Sudden rainfall in the morning lessened our chances of spotting the tiger, as we have very little time for Kanha Tiger Reserve so we decided to go for the tiger show.

Contrary to its name, a tiger show is not where the tiger jumps through fireballs or stands on chairs. However, it is also no less than spotting a tiger on your own. The mahouts along with forest guides trail the tigers on elephant back till they settle at one place somewhere in the jungle. Four to five elephants surround the tiger(s) or tigress with her cubs. Tourists take their allotted number and have a close look at the ‘royalty’ on the elephant’s back. Tigers? They don’t seem to mind. During winters, Tigers are hassled by the mist and dew and therefore they prefer to walk on the open pathways rather than settling into the bushes and trees. During the summer season, tigers are spotted near the water bodies, especially in the evening.

Fact File

Kanha is located in the Maikal range, the eastern sector of Satpura hills, a part of central Indian highlands. Kanha Tiger Reserve came into being in the year 1955 then known as Kanha National Park, It was declared a tiger reserve in the year 1974 under Project Tiger.

The reserve is closed during monsoons, from the month of August to October as heavy rainfall forces most of the animals to go into hiding.

Kanha has approximately 22 species of mammals that include spotted deer (chital), swamp deer (Barasingha), blackbuck, sambhar, barking deer Indian daul), common langur, jackal, wild boars among others. The sightings of some species are rare such as Indian pangolin, chinkara, otters, leopard, wild dog, Indian fox, sloth bear, striped hyena, jungle cat, mouse deer, and chausingha or four-horned antelope.

Kanha is home to almost 200 varieties of wild birds like the spotted owl, jungle fowl, peacock, egret, babbler, mynah, kingfisher, grey hornbill and so on. Evenings are the best time for bird watching especially near water bodies. Do not forget to pack your binoculars.