Things to Do in Kanha : A Travel Guide to Kanha National Park
Nestled in Maikal range amidst the sylvan settings is located the largest park of Central India, Kanha National Park. Sprawling across an area of 2059.7 sq km it comprises of 940 sq km core, 1009 sq km buffer zone and 110.79 sq km of Kanha and neighboring Phen Sanctuary. Falling in the districts of Mandla and Balaghat, the park encompasses Banjaar and Hallon valleys.
A glimpse in the history of Kanha National Park
One of the first Tiger Reserves to work for Project Tiger, Kanha was established as a sanctuary in 1933, declared as a National Park in 1955 and eventually in 1973 was made a Tiger Reserve. It is commonly believed that Kanha got its name from the texture of the soil found there, which is locally called Kanhar.
In the 19th century the reserve was originally a part of the Gondwanas i.e. the land of the Gonds. The land of Kanha was occupied by the Gonds and the Baigas, the two major tribes of Central India who still live at its outskirts. With the introduction of The Jungle Book in 1894 the astounding landscapes of Kanha and Pench hailed to popularity. And to the curiosity of many, the striking jungles of Kanha and Pench inspired Rudyard Kipling to come up with the eternal concept of Jungle Book. The natural landscape and highland beauty of Kanha has been appreciated worldwide making it one of the prime wildlife destinations.
How to reach Kanha :
Air: Jabalpur is the nearest airport to Kanha at a distance of 170 km from Kanha and travelling time is 3.5 hours. Second best option is Raipur airport. Distance to be covered by road from Raipur to Kanha is 225 km and travelling time is 4.5 hours.
Another way is to take a flight till Nagpur. Distance to be covered by road from Nagpur to Kanha is 270 km and travelling time is 5.5 hours. Kanha Earth Lodge provides with reliable cab services from the airport till the lodge.
Rail: Jabalpur is the nearest and convenient rail head to visit Kanha. Distance to be covered by road from Jabalpur railway station to Kanha is 170 km and travelling time is 3.5 hours.
Gondia is another rail head from where Kanha is accessible. But there are no trains form Delhi to Gondia. It is convenient for the people travelling from Mumbai and Kolkata. Distance to be covered by road from Gondia to Kanha is 120 km and travelling time is 3 hours. Kanha Earth Lodge provides with reliable cab services from the railway station till the lodge.
M.P. Sampark Kranti is the most suitable train to reach Jabalpur from Delhi. Nizamudin Jabalpur Super Express is an alternative. Details could be checked and bookings can be done on www.irctc.co.in and www.indianrail.gov.in.
Road: Kanha National Park is well-connected by road with Jabalpur 170 Km, Khajuraho 445 Km, Nagpur 270 Km and Raipur 219 Km. NH12 from Jabalpur to Mandla will take you to Kisli gate. Mukki gate is accessible from Nagpur via Gondia, Balaghat and Baihar. Bus and cab services are available.
Best way to reach Kanha
Though Nagpur is an international airport and has well connected flights worldwide, Jabalpur serves as a better option for people flying down from Delhi. Nagpur is a good option for people boarding flight from Mumbai & Bangalore while Raipur is a convenient option for people boarding flight from Kolkata.
Spice Jet, Air India and Jet Airways offer daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Jabalpur, Nagpur and Raipur. Tickets can be booked on individual airline sites or from www.cleartrip.com or www.makemytrip.com
Which is the best time to visit Kanha National Park?
Kanha National Park like all the other parks of Madhya Pradesh remains open for visitors from 1st October until 30th June. Parks in central India are also closed for Diwali and Holi. Visiting in the month of October will get you some beautiful sightings of the jungle and wildlife. You get the treat of enjoying nature at its best since post monsoon the park becomes more beautiful and dense with lush greenery. Also it is a good time to indulge into birds & butterflys.
Wintery feels of the jungle is something that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. Sightings are good and it is an appropriate time for all the birders to visit the park since numerous migratory birds inhabit the park during winters. Winter days end beautifully around a bonfire with steaming Indian snacks from a clay oven.
Though summer is hot but it has its own charm. For hard core tiger lovers it is one of the most appropriate times to visit the park. The frequency of animal sighting becomes higher during summer. Different wildlife can be sighted near the ponds where they come to quench their thirst. Evenings in lodges can be spent cooling off in the swimming pool.
Where to stay in Kanha?
Coveting luxury and closeness to nature at the same time? Kanha Earth Lodge is the answer to the question. Spread in sixteen acres of natural forest it is a beautiful Lodge that has been awarded many times for its eco-friendly architecture.
Inspired by Gond tribal architecture the lodge has used local stone and waste wood in its construction.
Kanha Earth Lodge is not only renowned for its architecture but also for its hospitality and its unique location. It is situated just 30 minutes from the Kisli park gate, rendering the lodge close enough to the park yet at the same time far away from the deluge of hotels ensuring a true wilderness experience for the guests.
There are twelve rustic yet refined luxury cottages with large open verandahs offering a beautiful view. The lodge has a craft shop, swimming pool and a beautiful organic garden where you can go for an early morning stroll. Small mammals like Jungle Cats and Civets and various birds tend to be frequent visitors of the Lodge.
Other activities organized by Kanha Earth Lodge
Cycling, Jeep Safari, Birding Walk, Tribal Village Visits, Crafts Workshop, Nature Walk are some of the other activities arranged by the lodge in and around it. Apart from it, Kanha Earth Lodge also organizes for special Bush Dinners where the guests can enjoy food in outdoor forest settings. Local tribal dances are also organized on special occasions.
Safari tickets can be booked online through the website: mponline.gov.in. You can also book the tickets through the resort in which you are going to stay. The entry tickets can also be collected from the booking window at the entrance gate of the National Park. Additional expenses such as booking charges, park rates, guide fees etc are termed under the additional expenses other than the entry tickets.
Trespassing different routes is not allowed. Like all the other parks of M.P., Kanha allows a total of six guests in a jeep plus a park guide & a driver are mandatory. 8 people in a jeep can be very crowded, it is best suited to have 4 guests + 2 and for photographers it is best to be just 2 guests in a jeep.
There are four zones in Kanha namely, Kisli, Kanha, Mukki, and Sarhi. Kanha like other major National Parks of Central India remains open from 1st October to 30th June. The park is closed on Wednesday evenings. The timings of the jeep safaris are as follows and slightly vary according to the season.
|Timings||Morning Safari||Afternoon Safari|
|16th October to 15th February||Sunrise to 11:00 AM||02:00 PM to Sunset|
|16th February to 15th April||Sunrise to 11:00 AM||03:00 PM to Sunset|
|16th April to 30th June||Sunrise to 10:00 AM||03:30 PM to Sunset|
What other activities can you do once you are in Kanha?
Elephant Safari: It is basically a joy ride of one hour organized only in the morning time. It takes place in Kanha and Kisli zone only. This safari cannot be pre-booked in advance. You only get to know about the availability of elephants on the day of the safari itself. It is compulsory to book the exclusive jeep safari tickets for Kanha or Kisli zone to experience this. In addition to the jeep safari tickets you are charged an extra amount for the elephant safari.
Visit Kanha Museum: A beautiful museum which holds valuable work of natural history of Kanha.
Night Safari: It is also a recently introduced activity in the park. You can go on a night safari in Khatia buffer zone. Only headlights of the safari are allowed to stay on, rest no other flash light or any other light is allowed so that wildlife is not disturbed. The duration of the safari is 2 hours. These tickets are not available online. They have to be bought at the park gate itself. For a hassle free safari, you can ask your lodge to book the ticket for you.
Nature Trail: Although Safari remains the prime attraction of the jungle, Nature Trails are for those who wish to explore nature closely on foot and for those who find joy in every little wonder of the jungle. Accompanied by a trained naturalist this is an amazing way to know about flora, butterflies, insects, birds and small mammals that come across your walk.
This walk takes place in Khatia zone of the park and the duration is appx. 2 hours. You need to drive till Khatia gate for this walk and obtain a permit for the same. Better suited is to do nature walk around Kanha Earth Lodge, as it is set in a forest, trails begin at your door step.
Wildlife in Kanha National Park
Reckoned as one of the prime wildlife destinations, Kanha National Park is home to variety of flora and fauna species. Kanha is one of the best places in the world for Tiger sighting. For hard core Tiger lovers and photography enthusiasts Kanha is the right place to visit. Tiger being one of the major attractions there are a variety of other species as well to attract your attention.
Mammals: Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Chital, Barking Deer, Gaur, Indian Jackal, Chousingha, Jungle Cat, Sambar, Langur are some of the mammals that inhabit the park. Hard-ground Barasingha, the state animal of Madhya Pradesh is found only in Kanha National Park in India. A few decades ago, Barasingha was on the verge of extinction but due to the conservation efforts the species was saved and it is considered as “Gem of Kanha.” Slim and bushy-tailed Dholes or Indian Wild Dogs are also found in Kanha. Moreover, beautiful Blackbucks can also be seen which have been recently reintroduced in the park.
Birds: Kanha is home to around 300 species of birds both resident and migratory birds such as Indian Roller, Indian Grey Hornbill, Cattle Egrets, Bee-eaters, Drongos, Black Ibis, Common Teal, Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Peafowl, White-eyed Buzzard, Kingfishers, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Lesser Whistling Teal, Steppe Eagle, Little Grebes and many more. Apart from these, birds of prey like Osprey and Shikra are also found in the park.
Reptiles: Python, Indian Krait, Russell’s viper, Indian Monitor, Common Rat Snake, Common Skink, and Indian Garden Lizard are some of the common reptiles that reside in the park.
Flora: The forest cover inside the park is largely tropical moist deciduous type. Kanha boasts over 200 species of flowering plants and the major flora can be discovered here are Sal, Saja, Lendia, Dhawa, Tendu, Palash, Mahua, and Bamboo. Kanha also inhabits Kulu or Ghost Tree and Sendhoor Tree or Vermillion Tree out of which vermillion is made.
Nearby Attractions from Kanha
Bandhavgarh National Park – Located 250 Km from Kanha, Bandhavgarh is also known as the Tiger land of Madhya Pradesh.
Where to stay – Snuggle yourselves in cozy tree houses of Tree House Hideaway that would take you back to your childhood memories of making tree houses or you can stay in Kings Lodge and enjoy spectacular opulence of the Lodge.
What to do – Jeep Safari, Elephant Joy Ride, and Visit Baghel Museum
Pench National Park – Located 190 Km from Kanha, Pench is known as The Land of Mowgli.
Where to stay – Pench Tree Lodge
What to do – Jeep Safari, Visit Ram Temple, Kohka Lake and nearby markets.
Jabalpur – Known as the Marble City, Jabalpur is famous for its cultural and political history.
Where to go – Dhuandhar Falls, Chausath Yogini Temple, Balancing Rock, Dumna Nature Reserve
Travel Tips for Kanha Tiger Reserve
- Park ticket bookings should be done 120 days in advance since the park tickets are limited.
- It is mandatory to carry ID cards for safaris. The ID needs to be the same as the one with which you booked your safari.
- Carry binoculars, camera and a bird book to identify birds to make your trip more fruitful.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes. Do check your shoes every time before wearing them to avoid scorpions and other creatures.
- Carry proper woolens in winters and an effective sunscreen in summers.
- Carry Hats/Caps and personal medicines (if any)
- Wear muted forest colours like earthy greens or beiges and avoid perfumes and deodorants.
- Afternoon shift of Jeep Safari remain close for visitors on Every Wednesday.
- Morning & Afternoon both the shift remain close on Holi & Diwali festival
- You can visit travel sites like IRCTC and Cleartrip for all railway and flight related information. To check information regarding bus schedules visit mptransport.org
- Elephant Safari and Night Patrolling are subject to availability. Hence advance bookings are not available.
Contact Pugdundee Safaris, if you wish to visit nearby destinations to Kanha National Park.