We entered the jungle in our jeeps, accompanied by a sharp-eyed guide, ready to discover the secrets of the forest. Like everyone else, we were looking for Sher Khan, the big cat Rudyard Kipling so lovingly slandered and immortalized in his Jungle Book. We tracked the tiger in Kanha National Park, tracked pugmarks, kept our eyes peeled for signs of dragged kills and listened for 911 calls. Despite all that, the majestic animal just wouldn’t oblige us to attend.
The next day, we went along for what is sometimes derisively called the “tiger show,” an orchestrated encounter with the cat. This is when the mahouts take their herd of ‘tracker’ elephants into the forest and use a sophisticated radio system to communicate the tiger’s movements – all of this happens while you’re in the visitor center sipping coffee and waiting your turn to scramble up to a elephant. As expected, our first sighting of the tiger was on top of an elephant – the striped animal had just hunted, and as evidenced by a carcass, made a meal of a 30-litre haircut. He was so desperate to rest that he raised his head only twice, even as three elephants hovered above him. Surprisingly, the fact that this sighting was managed on the scene did not surprise the excitement of spotting a tiger in its den.
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After this meeting Kanha National Park, we got back into our jeeps and drove to a direction where we were told we would be able to spot wild dogs. Slender, red and wild-tailed, wild dogs or idiots are the most feared savages in the jungle. We saw a dozen dholes, who had just finished breaking off and eating three chital. They strolled through the grass close to Shravantal, a beautiful body of water where the chances of sighting birds are very high.
There were more beautiful views in store. In the evening we enjoyed a picturesque drive to Bahmnidadar, the highest motor point in the park at 873 meters, once used as an airstrip for hunting parties. Along the way, the forests of salt and bamboo turned into mixed trees, the soil became loamer, and the hills reflected the mood in the air. At the Sunset Point on Bahmnidadar, we were again rewarded with a spectacular view of the entire Banjar River Valley.
Perhaps the best part of our trip in Kanha was when, during our drive through the forest, a swarm of antlers belonging to a company of barasingha (swamp deer) emerged from tall grass. Just over three decades ago, the park’s barasingha population had declined significantly and the species was nearly extinct. Thanks to conservation efforts, their numbers have now risen. When the deer shook their antlers, it seemed like they were telling us their success story. It’s a story we’d love to hear over and over again.
Over Kanha National Park
Throw it away is 2,000 km2 in size. It has a horseshoe-shaped valley and grasslands surrounded by the Satpura Mountains, at an altitude of between 450 and 900 meters. Consisting of the Banjar and Halon valleys of the erstwhile princely provinces of Central India, it became a hunting ground for the British from 1879-1910. In 1933, Kanha was established as a sanctuary and was declared a National Park in 1955. The park has a rare species of barasingha, which lives in a hard-bottomed habitat.
It is believed that the name Kanha comes from the texture of the soil found in the area. The soil is sandy in Banjar Valley Throw it away, reach Kisli and Mukki. In the lower pockets, the soil is finely textured and tends to be somewhat clayey. It is locally called kanhar and this apparently gave the park its name. Although one of India’s more protected Project Tiger reserves, conservationists have concerns about Kanha. This is due to its proximity to impoverished villages and its proximity to Nagpur, which is known as an illegal wildlife trading hub in Central India.
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State: Madhya Pradesh
Location: Kanha and its Maikal Range, part of the eastern part of the Satpura Range in Central India, carve further into the eastern profile of Madhya Pradesh (southwest of Jabalpur)
Distances: 980 km SE of Delhi, 480 km SE of Bhopal, 270 km NE of Nagpur Route from Delhi NH2 to Agra; NH3 to Biaora; NH12 to Jabalpur via Bhopal; NH12A to Mandla; district roads to Kanha (Kisli) via Bamhni route from Nagpur NH6 to Bhandara; roads to Kanha (Mukki) via Balaghat and Baihar.
When to Go: The park is open from October 1 to June 30 (and closes during monsoons). Temperatures range from a maximum of 29°C to a minimum of 2°C. Winters are fierce and frosty, so don’t forget to wear your woolen clothes. Nov-March is the most comfortable time to go The best sightings are in March as the weather is good and the turf is low and provides better visibility. In addition, the shrinking water basins also ensure good observation. In December there is the best chance to spot barasingha