Travel: A jewel in the jungle

Add a stay in a cozy boutique hotel, lots of jungle safaris, and a delectable meal by the bonfire, you are in wildlife heaven.

Travel: A jewel in the jungle

Send me to a tiger-filled forest and I am the happiest girl on earth. Add a stay in a cozy boutique hotel, lots of jungle safaris, and a delectable meal by the bonfire, you are in wildlife heaven. And that is what Kanha, Pench, and Bandhavgarh have to offer where niche wildlife resort that mixes oodles of old-world charm and warm hospitality with comforts and luxuries that turn mundane hotel stay into a treat to savor.

Kanha National Park

Imagine Stopping your vehicle beside one of the large golden grass meadows with the sunbeams angled by the tall forest behind you; a morning mist and the unseen crack of horns from a pair of barasingha stags clashing. It is also the habitat of spotted deer, the rare hard-ground barasingha, and ambush ground for the tiger. The higher forests are more tropical with bamboo growing in clusters within which gaur, wild pig, sloth bear, and sambar deer make their homes. With all this prey, tigers are numerous too (over 100 at last count) and habituated to jeeps, ensuring memorable sightings. In 1955, a 250 square kilometer patch of land was declared the Kanha National Park. The Mukki Valley was added to the Protected Area in 1970 and then, thanks to Project Tiger.

The park

Today it stretches over an area of 940 square kilometers with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,009 square kilometers. Along with the neighboring Phen Sanctuary, it forms the Kanha Tiger Reserve. There are four tourist zones here, each worth a visit – Kanha, Kisli, Mukki, and warhead. You can also visit nearby villages to see their farming practices and their weekly markets, which are fascinating. Ask your lodge about birding, cycling, or walking trails nearby and along the Banjaar River. There are nature trails in the buffer zone near the Khatia and Mukki Gates.

The Reserve is closed from 15th October – 30th June every year and is also closed for afternoon safaris every Wednesday. By Air connectivity Jabalpur to Kisli (160 km), Jabalpur to Mukki (200 km), and Nagpur (270 km). Transport can be hired to drive to the park. By Road: Kanha is a five to six-hour drive from Jabalpur or Nagpur. Mandla is 100 km from Mukki and 60 km from Kisli gate. The best properties to stay in are our Celebration Van Villas, Infinity resorts, Tuli Tiger Resorts, and Club Mahindra. Happy Holidays!

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Bandhavgarh National Park

It is hard to imagine that this area was originally home to powerful kings and maharajas residing in the large hilltop fort. Bandhavgarh means ‘Fort of the brother’ and is believed to have been gifted by Lord Ram to his brother Lakshman. The tiger reserve I s known for its healthy population of tigers and a variety of herbivores. Apart from tigers, 34 species of mammals have been listed with 260 species of birds and butterflies. The major mammals of Bandhavgarh are Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Wild cat, Hyena, Wolf, Chetal, Sambar, Black Buck, etc.

The best time to visit is 15 October to 15 June when you can get a soothing temperature. May is the hottest month while December is the coldest having mean temperature of 41.6 degree Celsius and 4.2 degrees Celsius respectively. It has also got better connectivity to major cities of the country. By Air: Jabalpur (180 km) and Khajuraho (210 km). By Rail / Road: Jabalpur (180 km), Katni (95 km), Satna (112 km), and Umaria (35 km) are the nearest railway stations. Please check park opening times with the gate as they vary slightly between summer and winter months depending on sunrise and sunset. The best resorts to live in are Syna Tiger Resort, Bandhav Villas, Infinity, and Lemon Tree.

Pench National Park

The evidence is undeniable that as you drive down the dusty dirt tracks, around every corner a drama will unfold, a glimpse caught, a movement spotted. It was here that Rudyard Kipling chose to base his story on the wolf boy Mowgli. However, it was not until 1992 that Pench was included under the umbrella of Project Tiger. Today, the Reserve covers districts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The park is predominantly a teak forest, but other hardwoods and flowering trees support a rich and diverse array of bird life too.

Tiger is the main cat species but commonly seen wildlife includes chital, sambar, nilgai, wild boar, and jackal. Other wild animals found are leopards, sloth bears, wild dogs, porcupines, jungle cats, foxes, striped hyenas, herds of gaur, four-horned choosing, and barking deer. There are more than 170 species of birds The Park remains open to visitors from 1st October to 15th June and is closed on Wednesdays for afternoon safaris. Connectivity By Air: Jabalpur and Nagpur by Rail / Road: Seoni (30 km) and Nagpur (70 km) are the nearest towns and railheads from where you may hire transportation. The best resorts to live in are Tuli Tiger Resort and Vanraj.

Article By Ritesh Mundra

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