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Covers 1,945 Sq. Km in area with a core area (most of the wildlife abounds) of 940 sq. kms, Kanha National Park is a part of Project Tiger, one of India's most important conservation efforts. Kanha is also that beautiful park about which 'Kipling' wrote so vividly in his Classic work 'Jungle Book'. In 'Jungle Book', Kanha is a beautiful area of forest and a home to many rivers, streams, rich plant diversity and abundance of wildlife which still exists today.
Comprising the Banjar and Halon valleys of the erstwhile princely provinces of Central India, Kanha became an hunting reserve for the British from 1879-1910. In 1930's this area was divided into two sanctuaries Hallon (250 sqkm) and Banjar (300sq km). One of these subsequently disbanded and the area remained a protected one until 1947 and in 1955 Kanha National Park came into being. In 1974 Kanha became one of the first nine Project Tiger reserves under Project Tiger. This is the park, where the first scientific study of the tiger done by the great zoologist George Schaller. A series of research and conservation programs for the protection of Park's flora and fuana has given Kanha its deserved reputation for being one of the finest and the best administered National Parks in Asia. The first interpretation center has also been set up here.
The park has sparsely wooded grassy plateau, rolling grasslands, meandering streams of the Banjar River, sprawling slopes with lush green, tree, shrubs, climbers and bamboos. There are also plenty of smaller plants, creepers and mushrooms. The landscape, rich in vegetation presents a spellbinding view and is eminently suitable for providing shelter to a variety of mammals and birds. The park boast 31 species of trees and 600 species of flowering plants. Acacia torta, Anogeissus latifolia, Bauhinia retusa, Buchanania lanzan, Butea monosperma, Boswallia serrata, Semecarpus anacardium, Largerstroemia parviflora, Terminalia arjuna, Tichebyla, Emblica officinalis, Dichanthium, Chlonis, Eragrostis, Heteropogon, Eulalia and many others are found in Kanha.
The park is rich in mammals. They include 43 species of mammals and the most easily spotted are Tiger , Barasingha , Three striped palm squirrel, Langur, Jackal, Wild boar, Chital, Sambar, Wild pig and Blackbuck. Less commonly seen are Indian hare, Wild dog and Gaur / Indian Bison. Rarely seen are Indian fox, Sloth bear, Panther, Striped hyena, Leopard, Nilgai, Indian porcupine, Wolf and the Indian Pangolin.
More than 200 species of birds both resident and migratory are recorded in the park. These include the Cattle egret, Black ibis, Hawk eagle, Red-wattled lapwing, Racket tailed Drongo, Leaf warblers, Common peafowl, Crested hawk eagle, Crested serpent eagle, Peacock, Pigeon, Dove, Golden oriole, Treepie, White necked stork, Shikra, Mynah, Indian Roller, White-eyed buzzard, Rose-ringed parakeet, Shama, White breasted kingfisher, Large green barbet, Crimson breasted barbet, Grey Hornbill, Lesser golden backed woodpecker, Hair crested drongo, Common teal, Pintail duck, Various species of flycatcher etc. The good view points are in the hills where the mixed and bamboo forest harbours many species. Besides these birds, Innumerable butterflies adds colour to Kanha National Park.
Kanha park also supports a diverse population of Amphibians, Fishes, Arachnids, and Molluscs. The reptiles found at Kanha are Spectacled cobra, Common krait, Russell's viper, Copper-headed snake, Saw-scaled viper, and Monitor lizard.
Only 25% of the core area is open for visitors and 75% is out of bounds. One needs to get special permission from Forest Department to explore the rest of the core area. Kanha has two entrances one is in Kilsi (northwest) and the other is in Mukki (southwest). Among the two, Kisli is busier, as tiger sightings are more frequent. Several roads leads into the park.
Park Opening Time
Safaris at Kanha
The Elephant Safaris has three patrol units. Each patrol has 4 to 5 elephants and an elephant will seat a maximum of 4 persons at one time. Maximum time for safaris will be approximately 1 hrs and it should be booked the previous evening at the MPSTDC Manager, at the Baghira Log Huts, Kisli and Kanha Safari Lodge, Mukki.
Fee : Indians Rs 100, foreigners Rs : 600/-, Indian children (5-12 Yrs) Rs. 60, Foreign children (5-12 Yrs) Rs. 400
The open jeep Safaris which seat 5 people. For jeep book at the MPSTDC Manager, at the Baghira Log Huts, Kisli and Kanha Safari Lodge, Mukki. Bookings for a morning run should be made the previous day. But jeeps are not always available during peak visiting periods. Maximum time for jeep safaris will be approximately 4 hrs
Timing : 6 am-12 noon, 3- 5.30 pm; depends on sunrise