Kanha National Park
A good number of wildlife species are present in Kanha National Park. These wildlife species creates the core of the Kanha national park which was taken under Project Tiger Reserve in 1974. This park is the only habitat for rare hard ground Barasingha in India.
Situated in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Kanha National Park is one of the most beautiful and well managed of all national parks in India. It is well known not only within the tourists, natural history photographers and wildlife lovers but also to public at large. Tourist throng here to see the magnificent big cat Tiger and one of the rarest deer the Hard ground Barasingha (Swamp Deer) also known as the – Jewel of Kanha national park. Many endangered species have indeed been saved here. Today Kanha is among the few most scenic and beautiful wildlife reserves in Asia. This 'Tiger Country' is the ideal home for both predator and prey. The romance of the Kanha National Park has not reduced over time – it is still as beautiful as described by Rudyard Kipling in his famous book – The Jungle Book.
Located in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, 160 Km s from Jabalpur, Kanha national park cum Tiger reserve extends over an area of over 1,940 Sq. km’s of which 940 Sq. Km’s is designated core area and the rest buffer. The major feature of this region's interesting topography is the horseshoe shape valley and the whole park area is surrounded by the spurs of the Mekal. The Surpan River meanders through Kanha's central Maidans, grasslands that cover the extensive plateau. Kanha National Park offers home to rare hard ground barasingha.
Kanha's sal and bamboo forests and rolling grasslands, are by far the most striking features of this region where sighting Swamp deer, Sambhar, Chital, Gaur and other denizens of jungle is common. Just imagine, the feeling of seeing the king of the forests – Tiger, on an evening stroll or taking a nap under shade of tree or may be tigress teaching its cubs the nuances of jungle life.
The park was created in 1955 by a special law and, since then, it has dedicated itself in preserving a variety of animal species. It was declared a Tiger reserve in 1974 and since than has been under constant vigilence and conservation activities are being followed deligently.
Thousands of tribal people have been illegally evicted from Kanha Tiger Reserve since 1968. In 2014, Baiga tribesman Sukhdev was killed after attempting to buy land for his family. Kanha’s frontline staff continue to receive support, training and equipment from WWF, even as they carry out the eviction of the 22,000 residents who are to be forcibly resettled from tiger reserves in the region. Indigenous rights groups including Survival International have condemned the evictions, and pointed to the hypocrisy of resettling Kanha’s indigenous residents while tourists are encouraged to visit the Reserve. Tourists may wish to consider this before visiting Kanha.
Once upon a time, Kanha & Satpura region, now famous as Tiger reserve, was ruled by elephant.
Main Flora: Shorea robusta, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Terminalia tomentosa, Dendrocalamus strictus
Main Fauna: Chital Cervus axis, sambar Cervus unicolor, barasingha Cervus duvauceli branderi, barking deer Muntiacus muntjak, chausingha Tetracerus quadricornis, gaur Bos gaurus, langur Presbytis entellus, wild pig Sus scrofa, jackal Canis aureus, sloth bear Melursus ursinus, wild dog Cuon alpinus, panther Panthera pardus, tiger Panthera tigris.
The main wildlife attractions in the reserve are Tiger, Gaur, Sambhar, Chital, Barasingha, Barking deer, Sloth bear, Jackal, Fox, Porcupine, Jungle cat, Python, Hare, Monkey, Mongoose and leopard. There are also many reptiles, insects and butterflies.
The bird species include Storks, Teals, Pintails, Pond herons, Egrets, Peacock, Pea fowl, Jungle fowl, Spur fowl, Partridges, Quails, Ring doves, Spotted parakeets, Green pigeons, Cuckoos, Rollers, Bee-eater, Hoopoes, Drongos, Warblers, Kingfishers, Woodpeckers, Finches, Orioles, Owls, and Fly catchers amongst many others.
The climate of this region is tropical. Summers are hot and dry with a maximum and minimum temperature of 42°C and 24°C. Winters are cold with an average maximum and minimum temperature of 24°C and 1°C, respectively. The annual average rainfall is 152 cm. The park is closed from July to mid October during monsoon.
Jabalpur has the nearest airport and railway head, about 3 hours away. Mandla is the nearest city. Khatia (3 km from Kisli) and Mukki are the two main entry points to the Kanha National Park. From Jabalpur, Kisli is 165 km via Chiraidongri, and Mukki is 203 km via Motinala and Garhi. For travellers from Bilaspur (182 km), Raipur (213 km) and Balaghat (83 km), Mukki on State Highway No. 26 is more convenient. From Nagpur, Kisli is 259 km via Nainpur and Chiraidongri, and Mukki is 289 km via Balaghat.
With flight connectivity from Mumbai and Delhi it has become a very good option for travellers to come via Jabalpur.
Try and get a morning safari as the time you get is about 4 and a half hours. The afternoon safari is less than 3 hours and the charges are the same.
Prices below are as at February, 2018...
Jeep cost is 2000/ rupees and can be shared between a maximum of six people. Hotel pickup will be Rs 200 - 700/ more.
Each jeep load must then pay a guide fee (360/ - 500/- rupees) and an entry fee. The entry fee is different depending on whether you are going to the core zone or not. Kanha has 4 core zones - Kanha, Kisli, Sarhi and Mukki, one satellite core - Phen as well as 3 peripheral zones - Khatia, Khapa and Sijora.
Entry fee for a jeep:
Core zones - 1550/ rupees
Buffer / Peripheral zones - 1250/ rupees
Entry fee for a jeep with foreigner tourists are also same.
Above Rates are from Entry Gate.
If you ask Jeep at Your Resort, then it will be charged extra money.
You can book full vehicle or single seat permits as well as canter (open bus). Full vehicle permits are for exclusive safaris whereas in single seat you share the Gypsy with other tourists along with jeep and guide cost.
You can also book canter which charges approx. 550/- per person. Canter can be booked at entry gate only.
For student groups entry fees can be made 50% on special request to the field director office in advance.
Obviously the more people you can share with the cheaper it will be per person.
Jeep numbers are limited and getting a permit can be a pain. 80% are sold via mponline and may sell out 3 month or so in advance. The remaining 20% are sold on the day. Tickets for the morning safari, particularly in the premium zone, are much sought after and people may queue overnight to ensure a spot. It's better to buy your permit in advance if possible. Otherwise an agency may be able to book you a spot - either by joining you with an existing jeep that has space, or by having a local lad line up overnight on your behalf - no guarantee with this one.
Afternoon game drives, especially to less popular zones like Mukki and Sarhi, may have permits available with no queuing required.
The park can be visited only by 4WD Gypsys which are available for hire either from a government office near the entry gate or else can be booked via your hotel or travel agency.
Kawardha Palace is located at a three hours drive from the Kanha National Park. This beautiful resort was built in the period of 1936-39 by the king Dharamraj Singh. This resort is spread in the area of eleven acres and beautiful Italian marble is used to built this resort. Other places near to Kawardha Palace are Mandawa mahal, Krishna Temple, Madan manjari Mahal and Bhoremdeo Temple.
Bamni Dadar is located near to Kanha National Park. This place is also known as the sunset point. It is famous among the tourists coming to visit Kanha National Park. Almost every tourists who comes to visit Kanha Sanctuary, also visits sunset point as well. Sunset is the best time to capture the scenic beauty of Kanha National Park in the camera. Sunset from the Bamni Dadar is amazing.
Zones Kanha national parks tourism area is divided into 4 zones - Kanha, Kisli, Sarai and Mukki with Kanha zone being the premium zone. Although all the zones are equally good as far as bio dicersity is concerned but tigers in Kanha and Kisli zones are more accustomed to Gypsy and human traffic and so much easily sighted. To check Tourism maps of Kanha National Park see: Kanha National Park Tourism Zone maps
Bamni Dadar is well known as the sunset point. This place is quite famous among the tourists and mostly people visit this place to capture a wonderful view of sunset. Animals like Sambar, Barking Deer, Gaur and the Four Horned Antelope can be easily seen here.
Kanha Museum is located inside the park and is amazing place to visit. This is the best place to get information about the topography and different interesting aspects about the park.
Medicinal Plantation Conservation Area or MPCA is located at village Boda Chhapri 2 kms from village Mocha and worth a visit. But do remember to ask for a naturalist with good knowledge of plants and do not go on your own as this place is well inside dense forest. Best is to contact the local forest officers for permission and guide.
Tourists should do an advance booking  to visit the Kanha national park. Tourists should book the advance trip with tour operators who can also take care for all the essential requirement of theirs.Jeep safari is arranged twice in a day, once in the morning and once in the evening time, which is the best way to explore the beauty of this national park.
Zones: Kanha tourism is divided in 4 zones Kanha, Kisli, Sarhi and Mukki with Kanha zone being the premium zone. It is good if you take morning safari to Kanha or Mukki zone and evening to Kisli or Sarhi zones if you are entering the park from the main gate / Khatia gate. .
Jeep safari: Jeep safari is one of the main way of getting into the forest reserve area. A jeep or gypsy is an open 4X4 vehicle which allows tourists to witness the fauna and flora of Kanha Tiger reserve on the move. Kanha national park runs jeep safaris twice a day, morning and afternoon shift.
Elephant Safari: Have been banned after Hon'ble Supreme courts order. Tourists can enjoy the amazing sightseeing as well as enjoy the wild animals in their natural habitat.
Jungle walk (Nature trails): One of the best way to explore and understand the local bio diversity is on foot. Forest department has made jungle trails near Khatia entrance gate and Village Chhapri. To go on trail contact your accommodation provider or at the entrance gate. Nature trail at village chhapri is highly recommended for bird watchers.
There are a lot of options for buying stuff as Kanha is a highly commercialized forest.There are a huge number of stores available. You can try buying local handicrafts and t-shirts or key chains and woodworks. You can even buy stuff from the stores. most items are overpriced so use your sense and negotiate.
Kodo - Kutki restaurant at Kanha Village Eco Resort (Website) is a good option, it has separate veg and non veg kitchen facilities, they serve excellent Indian and continental food and has Ethnic (Tribal) food also available. A perfect place for pure vegetarians and Jain food. There is a fixed menu but on special request food of choice can be prepared. Every thing is freshly cooked so you may have to wait for 45 min but be rest assured you will be very happy you did.
There are many other hotels that offer eating facilities. Kamlesh Dhabha is a local eating joint where you can get good food. Their 'Malai Kofta' and 'Daal' are especially worth trying. place order for chicken half hour in advance, as it is freshly dressed and then prepared.
popular brands of liquor are available at the wine shop at mocha. shop seemed to be open from early morning to late night.