About Panna National Park
Established as a National Park in 1981 and officially declared a Tiger Reserve in 1994, Panna National Park is spread over 542.67 sq km. the sanctuary was formed out of the hunting reserves of the princely states of Panna, Chhatarpur and Bijawar, and in 1975, most of this area became a part of the Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary. 14 out of the 17 villages situated in the park have been relocated to make the park an outstanding habitat for tigers.
Tiger sightings in the park are now as good as in the more famous Bandhavgarh amd Kanha national parks, Unlike in Bandhavgarh or Kanha, you don`t have to follow a queue of jeeps into the reserve and sit idling in exhaust fumes as you wait for a 30-min lumber through the bushes or jostle for space with hordes of other visitors. This lack of tourists in remarkable, given the park`s wonderful location.
Trees common in Panna include teak, tendu, mahua and salai. Panna has had a checkered history as far at its tiger population is concerned. It had a thriving tiger population unti the 1990s but lost them all by early 2009 due to poaching, infanticide by males and paucity of female tigers. However, in a global first, the park has regained its tiger population as a result of translocation of 6 founder animals from other parks, including two captive tigresses. The park now has over 55 tigers, despite the dispersal of several cubs and translocation of four tigers to Satpura, Sanjay and Vah Vihar national parks.
Panna National Park`s topography is a splendid mosaic of plateaus, plunging gorges, vast expanses of teak forests and savannah grasslands. It comprises the upper Talgaon Plateau and the middle Hinouta Plateau and is fed by the Ken river, which runs for about 55 km within the sanctuary. NH75 cuts through the park; 80 per cent of the reserve falls to its right (west to east) and 20 per cent to the left. Your park safari will take you along the right of the highway, in the main reserve area. Among other attractions, Dhundwa Falls are located on the Hinouta Plateau and Pandava Falls are best approached from the Pandava Falls Gate, just off the NH75 to Panna Town and Chhatarpur Town. The gate is about 7 km east of the Madla Gate.
Most safaris enter the park from Madla Village, which is located on the main highway, 22 km from Panna Town. Both Khajuraho and Chhatarpur lie to the northwest of the park. There are a few lodges located at Madla that provide vital tourist services.
Driving up from the Madla Gate, you follow the Ken river for a few miles and then wind your way past an open grassland and thick, closed canopy forests on to the rocky Hinouta Plateau. From here, look down on the river and enjoy the expansive views of the park.
The other entrance to the park is from Hinouta, which falls on the eastern side of the park, 20 km away from the Madla Gate. The Panna diamond mines lie close to the Hinouta Gate, which was a convenient exit point for the safati to facilitate a visit to the mines.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
From safaris to boat rides, spotting crocodiles to tigers and sloth bears, Panna offers many exciting opportunities to the wildlife lover. Besides the big cats, which can be elusive, you can also spot several other animals including sambar, spotted deer, chinkara, nilgai, langur, wild dogs, hyena, jackal, sloth bear, gharials, otters and crocodiles.
Birding enthusiasts should bring their binoculars: the park hosts a large avian population as well, with 300 species of birds including the grey-headed fish eagle. A ride on the Ken River is a must and promises to be a rewarding experience – you are sure to glimpse many birds from your vantage point on the boat. The dense teak forests in Panna add to its many charms and lend it a wornderfully mustic touch.
The mainstay of any trip to Panna, jeep safaris in the park run in the morning and afternoon. There are no government jeeps available, so you`ll need to rent jeeps from a private operator or ask your hotel to arrange one, even though it can be rather expensive.Pre bookings is highly advisable.
On the Ken River
The Forest Department offers an hour-long boat ride on the Ken river during Panna`s open hours. This tour will be especially worth your while in winter, when you can see scores of crocodiles basking in the sun. The Ken River Lodge offers its own boat tours outside the park for its residents. Because these trips can be arranged whenever you like, they can be more rewarding than the Forest Department tour. Sundown is perhaps the best time to spot and photograph the waterfowl.
You can also go angling on the river. Permits are arranged by the Ken River Lodge for their residents for angling outside the National Park area, on the Ken.
This is a requirement for any trip to the jungle. Lasting an hour or so, it is your best chance to spot a tiger.This is subject to availability from the Forest Dept.
Night Safari in Gangau
Some of the most interesting animals come out only at night, including rare jungle cats, porcupines and sloth bears. The tiger reserve is closed after dark, but Ken River Lodge arranges night safaris through the nearby reserve forest. The trip takes 3-4 hrs, and it’s almost certain you’ll spot animals that you can’t see in the park during the day. The price is a bit steep. So it`s best to form a group (of four) to fill up the vehicle if the trip isn`t included in your package.
Pandava Falls (6 km) These waterfalls are an idyllic spot situated just a few minutes drive from Panna. It is believed that the Pandavas spent some time in the ancient caves here, which overlook the pool at the base of the 30-m high waterfall. The fall is perennial in nature and can be visited throughout the year, but is at its peak during the monsoons.
The enjoyable walk to Pandava Falls takes a couple of hours, and is a good way for teenagers to burn off some excess energy.
Panna : A success story
Panna was the 2nd tiger reserve after Sariska to loose all it’s resident tigers to poaching specifically, a significant disadvantage of it’s location.
Although tigers were reintroduced in Sariska in 2005, way before Panna, currently the population of tigers in sariska is around 18-20 whereas Panna boasts of more than 35 tigers including the core, buffer and the local landscape which does comprise of Lalitpur & Chitrakoot.
Here is the story of this magical transformation of Panna from a barren land to a crucial tiger habitat.
The unsavoury report of the absolute dissapearence of tigers from Panna would have been ignored and gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been for the wildlife scientist Mr Raghunandan Chundawat who approached pillar and posts to highlight this issue and bring this matter into the books of the NTCA ( National Tiger Conservation Authority ) as well as the local government and central Ministry of Environment & Forests.
Subsequent to the park going dry, a plan to repopulate the reserve was initiated – a pioneering attempt in the state.
The then Field Director of Panna, Mr Sreenivasa Murthy inspired and motivated his team with assistance from scientists, NGO & the government and roped in the locals through activities like “Panna Nature Club”.
On 3rd March ‘2009, a female from Bandhavgarh ( T1 ) and another female from kanha ( T2 ) were relocated to Panna. The intention of bringing 2 females were to stabilize the asymmetrical sex ratio. However, unfortunately, the last male tiger of Panna also mysteriously disappeared. To balance this, a male tiger ( T3 ) from pench was shifted and released in the park on 14th Nov ‘2009.
T3 was a wandering soul and started moving out of the limits of the park towards the southern direction from Panna, distinctively towards Pench, it’s homeground. This was for the first time that the world had witnessed the homing instinct in a wild tiger.T3 was tranquilized, captured and brought back to Panna. He was released in the park & subsequently mated with T1. A unique experiment of sprinkling female tiger urine, procured from Van Vihar, Bhopal, in T1’s area was initiated to confine him to the limits of the park and allure him to mate.
T1 delivered 4 cubs on 16th April ‘2010 of which 2 still survive. This created another history of successful breeding post reintroduction and relocation of tigers.
The park today boasts of 40 adults and 14 cubs as per the Wildlife Institute of India.
Panna, located in the north western part of Madhya Pradesh, was a princely state of pre independent India and was ruled by the Bundela Rajput leader, Chattrasal. Pre independence, Panna was ruled by the Bundela kings and covered an area of 67,200 sq kms with almost 1,008 villages in it’s arms. It was named Panna after the capital of the state.
Panna National Park is located at a crucial intermediate forest belt where Cape Comorin, originating from the south is fragmented and is the origin point of the Gangetic plains.
Panna, by virtue of its location, witnesses extreme and tropical weather. The last week of December and the month of January may also witness sub-zero temperatures and frost.
The Forest Department offers standard accommodation facilities at Karnawati Forest Rest House, Jungle Cottage at Hinauta and Forest Rest Houses at Madla and Hinauta.
There are two Gate Madla and Hinauta
Panna National park acts as an important corridor for the NE-SW Vindhya ranges.
Each & every season offers a unique experience.
How to Reach Panna National Park
The nearest airports is Khajuaraho at a distance of 45 kms ( 45 mins drive ) & Jabalpur ( 220 kms ( 5 hrs drive ).
The nearest railway stations are Khajuraho & Satna ( 80 kms ).
Tour Packages for Panna National Park
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