Madhya Pradesh Has a Wildcard | Nat Geo Traveller India - Part 2

Madhya Pradesh Has a Wildcard

The state’s five national parks—Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Panna and Satpura—are hotspots of exotic animal and bird sightings.  
Photo by James Warwick/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images.


Photo by Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images.

Photo by Danita Delimont.

MP’s largest and oldest national park, Kanha was where National Geographic’s award winning documentary ‘Land of the Tigers’, was shot. While tiger sightings are common, the probability is not as high as in nearby Bandhavgarh. Besides the tiger, Kanha is home to numerous leopards, deer and antelopes. The park is also home to large herds of barasingha or swamp deer that were close to extinction about 20 years ago. Years of strict conservation efforts have also ensured that Kanha is one of the best maintained national parks in the country. Tall sal and bamboo forests are interspersed with grassy meadows where sighting blackbuck, chital, sambar and barasingha are common.



Photo by Christine Pemberton/Gallo Images/Getty Images.

Photo by Christine Pemberton.

The jungles of Pench were the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale The Jungle Book that was set there. The river Pench running through the park, divides it into two almost equal quarters. The teak forests found here are home to numerous animals and birds, including the tiger and a large population of leopards. With fewer tourist numbers, it’s easy to fall in love with Pench and its quiet expanse. While exploring the forests it isn’t hard to imagine that Mowgli and his animal friends trekked through these very parts plotting their next move against Sher Khan. For die-hard Jungle Book fans, try and find all the places mentioned in the book.



Photo by Sylvain Cordier/Biosphoto/Getty Images

Photo by Sylvain Cordier.

Located in the Hoshangabad district of M.P., this national park straddles the Satpura Hills. Despite its large area and healthy population of animals, it does not often feature on tourist itineraries, making it a perfect pick for those looking for some exclusive jungle time. A mixed deciduous forest carpets the hilly terrain, while the river Denwa flows gently through the national park, providing vital irrigation to the jungle. While visitors can explore the park on a jeep safari, elephant safari and boat safari, the highlight is a walking safari that takes you right through the core area of the reserve.

  • Chaitali Patel is the former Associate Editor, Special Projects at National Geographic Traveller India. She's partial to nature, history and the arts. She believes that every trip is as much a journey within as it is one outside.

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