Kanha National Park is located in the Banjar and Halon valleys in the Mandla /
Balaghat districts of the state of Madhya Pradesh. The Kanha National Park is one of
the India’s finest tiger reserves. It is spread over an area of 940 sq kms or
more than that in a horse
shoe shaped valley bound by the spurs of the Mekal range. The park presents a
varities of topography.
Kanha National Park is more famous for its wildlife and the natural beauty of its
landscape which is very fascinating. One of the best locations to enjoy that bounty
is Bammi Dadar, also known as the sunset point.
Kanha also shelters one of the largest populations of the tigers in the country.
Some of the other larger animal species found in the park are sloth bears,
leopards, striped hyenas, spotted deers, wild boars, jungle cats, jackals and a
variety of monkeys. Over 200 spices of birds have been spotted in the park.
There are many folklore about how it got the name 'Kanha'. Some say it came from
kanha, the clay like soil of the river bottoms, others say that the area is named
kanha because of a holy forest sage who once lived here and was the father of shakuntala,
whose son was Bharat and whose story was told in our legends.
Kanha Tiger Reserve abounds in meadows or maidans which are basically open grasslands
that have sprung up in fields of abandoned villages, evacuated to make way for the animals.
Kanha meadow is one such example. There are many species of grass recorded at Kanha some of
which are important for the survival of Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi).
Dense forested zones with good crown cover has abundant species of climbers,
shrubs and herbs flourishing in the understory. Aquatic plants in numerous "tal" (lakes) are
life line for migratory and wetland species of birds.
At Kanha the majestic tiger is the keystone species.
The big cats tigers and leopards are tertiary carnivores in the food chain.
Besides the big cats wild dogs, wild cat, fox and the jackal are carnivores commonly seen at Kanha.
Among the deer species Swamp Deer or Hard Ground Barasingha is pride of
the place as it is the only sub species of swamp deer in India (Cervus Duavcelli Branderi).
The animal is adopted to hard ground unlike swamp deers of the North which live in marshy swamps.
Kanha National Park has been instrumental in rescuing the “Swamp Deer” from extinction.
Indian Gaur (Bos guarus) is in reality an ox race it is found in Kanha But seen mostly as winters ends.
In summers gaur inhabit meadows and water holes in the park.
Other commonly seen animals in the park include the spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and the four-horned deer.
The latter can be seen at Bamni Dadar climb. Recently, mouse deer have also been discovered in the tiger reserve.
Black buck did not originally survive here as the habitat was not suitable. However, Black buck
have recently been reintroduced inside a fenced area in the park. Nilgai can still be seen near
the Sarahi Gate, while the Indian Wolf once commonly seen at Mocha is a rare sight now. Hyena and
sloth bear are seen occasionally. Langurs and wild boars are common, but the pugnacious rhesus macaque
is seen less often.
Nocturnal animals like fox, hyena, jungle cat, civets, porcupine, ratel or honey badger and hares
can be seen outside the park confines.
Reptiles like pythosn, cobras, krait, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks and grass snakes are nocturnal
animals, and are therefore rarely seen. There are many species of turtles as well as amphibians found
in or near the water bodies.
Jabalpur, the most convenient place tp approach the Park from, has the nearest airport (175 km), with, however, limited flight connectivity. Nagpur (260 km) and Raipur(219 km) have other airports, with better connectivity with the rest of the country. Mandla (70 km) has a good connection with Kanha and there is a tourist taxi service from Jabalpur to the national park. From Jabalpur, the best way to travel is via Mandla and Nainpur - perhaps with an overnight stop - then taking the diversion at Bamhni. Mandla, Nainpur and Seoni all have sports clubs, Internet cafes, guides, Christian churches and some beautiful temples.
There are three gates for entrance into the Park. The Kisli gate is best accessed from Jabalpur and stops at the village Khatia, inside the buffer area. The second gate is at Mukki and the third, most recently opened, gate is at Serai.