Best season for Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Satpura, Panna and Pench
Every season in the jungles slowly unfolds its little treasures and magic, spreading its platter far and beyond.
The parks in Central India open in October after the annual rains have left its impact to be cherished for long. The nip in the crystal Sal jungle air is felt from the very beginning of the season, the dense foliage of Sal and bamboo overshadowing all.
The animal sightings are limited but consistent; the abundance of food during the bountiful rain turns the jungle inhabitants into their best form – with lovely winter coats and deposits of fat.
The nights are crystal clear with innumerable stars and the days warm & comfortable for the guest to enjoy the outdoors.
Guests can enjoy the old world hospitality around bonfires with their favorite concoction & great camaraderie. December end to mid Jan are the coldest months, sometimes temperatures plummeting to as low as 2-3 degrees on a few days. Dew drenched mornings are bitingly cold and slow, softly the sun breaks through the broad Sal leaves and puts life back into top gear.
Many birds can be found trying to take the sun in to break away from the freezing night especially eagles, quails & francolins. They are so slow and sometime motionless even when approached closely, giving great opportunity for photography.
January slowly gives way to the much milder weather with the hot summer slowly inching closer. This period witnesses low undergrowth enhancing sightings of animals manifold. The buffer forests see a lot of frenzy in these months especially around the flowering Mahua trees. Young & old working tirelessly to collect the fallen Mahua flowers to save for their year around local concoction, the extras find way to the local haats. Animals also compete aggressively to get their share – especially the sloth bear. It is not uncommon to see them inebriated during the day. The locals believe till Mahua falls, the morning and evening chill still remains and with the Mahua gone the summer heat sets in.
Summer is from Mid April to June and offers the best Tiger sightings, as like humans animals cannot stay away from water. All major waterholes and manmade saucers in the parks are claimed by different Tigers. There comes a time when things get so predictable that you know which water body will be occupied by which tiger and when the Tiger will visit for quenching its thirst. Tigresses with cubs specially can’t stay away and it is not uncommon to see cubs playing in the water bodies.
Summer is also the season for reptiles to be out, and like tigers can be found in abundance close to water bodies. Locally a period of Nau Tapa is popular, meaning the nine hottest days of the season. This may not have any scientific backing but is followed rigorously by the locals, all major travel and outside work is put off.
Whichever season you travel in, nature has its own special secrets to unravel.
So come explore and unravel these special secrets of wilderness.
Photo Courtesy : Sudhir Shivaram