About Pench National Park
The best thing about Pench National Park is that it offers all the charm of Bandhavgarh, however without the crowds. This is where you can spend hours without coming across another vehicle filled with visitors. And here’ s the best part– Pench is also where you can spot a tiger, without an orchestrated theatrical ‘tiger show’.
However don’t make your experience all about spotting the king of the jungle. There’s a lot more to see and experience here: the wild canines, the collared scops owls, chameleons, jackals and hornbills. Likewise, don’t miss out on the small creatures that are sure to further enrich your experience of being out in nature– funnel spiders, a small owlet, the flash of blue of a nightjar’s wings, butterflies swarming around the jeep’s yellow indicator, or a baby boar grunting after its mother.
ABOUT PENCH NP
In 1863, the first Inspector General of Frests (India). Dr Dietrich Brandis, visited this location and set policies for the forests. In 1929 it was declared a reserve forest, however hunting permits were available till 1970-71. In fact, according to local records, in 1949-50, 49 tigers were shot in the |location. In 1977, finally realizing the need to protect the tigers in the region, 449.39 sq km was demarcated as the Pench Wildlife Sanctuary. Then in 1983 it was declared a National Park and in 1992, a Tiger Reserve. It became the 19th reserve to be protected under Project Tiger.
The total area of the Pench Tiger Reserve is spread out across 1180 sq km, including a buffer zone of 768 sq km. the core area, which is of 411 sq km includes| the Pench Moguli WS. The terrain is undulating, with most of the area covered by small hills, steeply sloping in the sides. The hills in the park include CHindi Matta, Khumabdeo, Khariban Matta, Arjal Matta and Kalapahar. Matta translates to hills in Gondi (the language of the Gond tribals in the area. Kalapahar is the highest at 650 m, while Jamtara and Ghumtara are the plateaus.
It’s only in the previous decades that Pench has actually opened up to tourists, though ironically, descriptions of its natural wealth and richness appear as far back as 400 years ago in the Ain-i-Akbari (Abu Fazal’s renowned account of the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar). The natural beauty, the huge prey base, the numerous predators and its biodiversity were also featured in numerous wildlife books dating back to the 17th century.
The well-known 19th– century author Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book is apparently set around this tract of the Satpura, though Kanha has somehow usurped the claim to fame. In reality, Liling has actually even penned a poem, Hunting tune of the Seeone pack, after this location of Pench located in the Seoni District.
Pench National Park or the Indira Priyadarshini Pench Tiger Reserve is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh and is adjoining with Maharashtra’s Pench National forest. You can access the park from Maharashtra as well. In the Madhya Pradesh side, the park is located in the Seoni District and is named after the Pench River, which flows north to south through the park.
Pench forms part of an area of 2,500 sq km called the Satpura-Maikal landscape, which includes Melghat, Pachmarhi, Kanha, Chhattisgarh and Bandhavgarh. There are three gates: the Turia Gate which is the most convenient and the Karajhuri and Jamtara Gates.
Here also, like the other parks in MP, only registered local vehicles are allowed inside, and with a signed up guide. The majority of hotels, however, will include park-related charges in their rates, so check with your hotel about the safari in advance.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
If you’ve come to watch wildlife, make sure you plan your day to fit in as much as is possible. It is difficult to get up every day before dawn (specially during the freezing winter season}however, do youself a favour and make that effort. Keep in mind, animal sightings (especially tiger) are not guaranteed, and the more journeys you make into the jungle, the more likely you are to see the animals. And don’t worry about losing out on sleep. As in between the morning and evening rides, there will be plenty of time to take that well-deserved nap.
Let’s be honest: you’ve come to Pench for the jungle rides and everything else, every other activity, is secondary.
The morning rides can be a challenge; it will be freezing in the winter months and if you include the wind chill. Temperatures can drop to 1 or 20 C. Take a blanket and wear your warm clothes in layers instead of a single thick sweater.
Ask for a wake-up call and consider a minimum of 10 minutes over and above what you think you will require to get ready in time for the 6.00 am journey.
Some say the jungle is at its best at dawn, for it is also at its most noisy state. Listen to the calls; your guide will help you to identify them. Keep your ears and eyes open and, ideally, your mouth shut!
Sunset at Kohka Lake
Sure, you’ve seen a hundred other sunsets, and you will probably want to give this one a miss, however, don’t. The lake is in fact a small reservoir and in the evening, numerous water birds come to roost. Carry a flask of coffee, some sandwiches and settle in comfortably for a few tranquil hours of bird watching.
Pachdhar Potter’s Village
The village is around 18 km from Turia Gate. It’s a dusty but clean village with potters sitting at their terraces making their pots. Just watch or perhaps try your hand at making one. Be prepared to get your clothes messy, though.
Take a one kilometer walk on the bed of a stream, which is a tributary of the Pench River, in the dry season. You will be accompanied by a naturalist who will show you everythin, from a termite nest to a rufous woodpecker, and if you are fortunate, a flying squirrel.
Totlah Doh Dam
Located around 35 km from the majority of hotels in the area, this is a great picnic spot, especially for day trippers. If you come on a weekday, it’s usually quiet and the breeze blowing from the reservoir is pleasant and cool.
Pench for Children
If your child is a baby, both you and the kid are unlikely to take pleasure in Pench. If the kid bawls in the forest, everyone in your jeep will want to feed you and the kid to the tiger. Which implies you will spend most of your time at the hotel! Nevertheless, that could indicate you get to your feet, view the butterflies, listen to melodious bird-song and be waited upon by the attentive staff.
History of Pench National Park
Pench Tiger Reserve’s current geographical area has an illuminated history. Abul Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari, an immortal book showcasing Akbar’s regime & era, does mention the flora, fauna & the location of this forest.
Flora in Pench National Park
The forest cover in the park area includes teak mixed with other species like saja, bijiayasal, lendia, haldu, dhaora, salai, aonla, amaltas. The ground is covered with maze of grasses, plants, bushesm as well as, saplings. Bamboo is also found at places. Scattered white kulu trees, also referred to as ‘ghost tree’, stand out conspicuously among the various hues of green. Another important flora for both wildlife and tribal people of this region is mahua. The flowers of this tree are eaten by mammals and birds, and also harvested by the tribal people as food and to brew local beer.
Fauna in Pench National Park
Although the prime attraction of Pench National Park remains the Royal Bengal Tigers, the park has shot into limelight because of it’s significant population of cubs.
There are around 40 tigers in the park, 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians. Commonly seen wildlife is chital, sambar, nilgai, wild pig, and jackal. Other species in the park include the Indian leopard, sloth bear, indian wolf, wild dog, porcupine, monkey, jungle cat, fox, gaur, striped hyena, four-horned antelope, as well as, the barking deer.
The park is rich in bird life too. According to an estimate of the wildlife authorities, the park harbours more than 210 species including several migratory ones. Some of these species of feather are magpie robin, peafowl, crow pheasant, junglefowl, crimson-breasted barbet, red-vented bulbul, racket-tailed drongo, Indian roller, lesser whistling teal, pintail, shoveller, egret and herons, minivet, oriole, wagtail, munia, myna, waterfowl, as well as, blue kingfisher.
All the National Parks of MP remain closed from 1st July till 30th Sept or as reviewed & declared by the Forest dept.
There are four distinct seasons in the area which is distinctly common to Central india – the summer from March to the second week of June (till the first shower of monsoon), the rainy season from the second week of June to almost first week of September and the winter from November to February.
Pench National Park Safari
Pench National Park has been classified into three core zones & two buffer zones for tourism purposes.
The core zones are :
Touria is the main zone of Pench national Park.
Karmajhiri & Jhamtara are the other core zones for tourism purposes.
The buffer zones are Rukhad & Teliya.
All the National Parks of Madhya Pradesh reserves half day off on every Wednesday’s.
There are no afternoon safari’s on Wednesday’s.
There are no safari’s on national holidays & festivals.
The Pench National Park has its importance in the natural history of central India.
Many accolade of its natural beauty and its richness in fauna & flora have appeared in numerous literatures dating back to the 17th century.
- Visit the Potter’s Village at Pachdhar
- Go Boating Near The Pench Reservoir
- Unwind & Relax
It’s advisable to stay at Touria, the main entry point to the park.
Madhya Pradesh Tourism hosts Kipling Court at touria.
The Core area of Pench National park consists of Indira Priyadarsini Pench National Park and Mowgali Pench Sanctuary.
The Indira Priyadarsini Pench National Park is located in Seoni and Chhindwara districts & The Pench Mowgali Sanctuary is confined to Kurai block of Seoni district.
Each & every season offers a unique experience.
How to Reach Pench National Park
The nearest airport is Nagpur at a distance of 100 kms.
Jabalpur airport is at a distance of 200 kms.
The nearest railway stations are Nagpur, Chhindwara & Jabalpur respectively.