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Pench National Park – A Traveller’s Guide 2022

Madhya Pradesh

Table of Contents

About Pench National Park

The forest referred to in Rudyard Kipling’s famous “The Jungle Book” and popularly known as Mowgli land is the Pench Tiger Reserve and its surrounding area. The Pench National Park is named after the Pench river, originating from Mahadeo hills and flows from north to south through the National Park, covering a length of 24 Km.

History of Pench National Park

Flora and Fauna of Pench National Park

Pench Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh)

The Madhya Pradesh part of Pench Tiger Reserve is located in Seoni and Chhindwara district in southern Madhya Pradesh The  1179.632 km which comprises Pench Priyadarshini National park (292.86 sq. km ) and Pench Mowgli Wildlife Sanctuary (118.47 sq. km ) as the core zone and an additional buffer zone with an area of 768.302 sq. km.

Flora

The Pench Tiger Reserve’s (Madhya Pradesh) major forest types are southern Indian tropical moist deciduous, southern tropical dry deciduous, and southern dry mixed deciduous forest. Pench Tiger Reserve is an excellent example of a teak (Tectona grandis) dominated forest, overlapping with bamboo and other species, with extensive shrub cover and open grassy patches.

Fauna

The high habitat heterogeneity of the Pench Tiger Reserve supports a diverse range of species, including gaur (Bos gaurus), sambar (Rusa unicolor), chital (Axis axis), wild pig (Sus scrofa), barking deer (Muntiacus vaginalis), four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), chinkara (Gazella bennettii), tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), grey wolf (Canis lupus), striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), and golden jackal (Canis aureus).

Pench Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra)

The Maharashtra state part of Pench Tiger Reserve is located in the Satpura Maikal hills of Nagpur district. This tiger reserve includes Pench National Park (257 sq. km ) and Mansingh Deo Wildlife Sanctuary (195 sq. km )

Flora

The vegetation of the Pench Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra) is classified as southern tropical dry deciduous forests. Teak (Tectona grandis) and its associates, including Terminalia bellirica, Diospyros melanoxylon, Madhuca longifolia, Aegle marmelos, Terminalia arjuna, Cassia fistula, and some bamboo species, are the reserve’s most prominent trees.

 

Fauna

The top predator species found here are the tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), and wild dog (Cuon alpinus). Sambhar (Rusa unicolor), chital (Axis axis), barking deer (Muntiacus vaginalis), nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), gaur (Bos gaurus), and mouse deer (Moschiola indica) were among the ungulats .

Zones and types of safari Pench National Park

The tiger safari permits booking at Pench National Park is under the administration of two states: Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In both states, there are different gates to enter certain zones in Pench National Park.

Tiger Safari Zones of Pench (Madhya Pradesh)

The Madhya Pardesh part of Pench can be divided into 7 gates and has a total carrying capacity of 159 jeeps and some allowed to be booked from the gate.

Safari Gates : Core zone in Pench (Madhya Pradesh)

There are three gates to enter the core zone in Pench (Madhya Pradesh). All three gates are closed every Wednesday afternoon shift tiger safari.

1.      Touria Gate

  • Touria gate is the oldest and the most popular safari zone of Madhya Pradesh Pench National Park.
  • Lies almost on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. One can also visit Pench Wildlife Museum situated at the gate.
  • Zone Forest has Mixed vegetation, scrublands, and small streams dominated by Acacia Catechu
  • Main spots in Touria zone: Baginnalla waterhole, JodaMunara, Junewani waterhole, Pyorthadi, Alikatta, Kala Pahad (highest point of Pench)
  • Due to its proximity to NH- 7 this gate is very busy and has maximum jeeps allowed to enter the Park. A total of 74 jeeps are allowed which includes 37 jeeps in both morning and afternoon tiger safari shifts.
  • Closed on Wednesdays for the afternoon tiger safari.

 

2.      Karmajhiri Gate

  • Less Busy with limited accommodation options
  • Option of staying at the forest rest house
  • Zone Forest is dominated  by Teak and Bamboo plantations in some areas
  • Main spots in Karmajhiri zone: Bodhanalla, Sitaghat, Alikatta
  • A total of 16 jeeps are allowed which includes 8 jeeps in both morning and afternoon safari shifts.
  • The zone is good for finding a pack of wild dogs
  • Closed on Wednesday for Morning and Afternoon safari.

 

3.      Jamtara Gate

  • The third gate of the park offers a limited area to explore
  • Banyan Trees, Shindoori, and Camel foot climbers are some trees found in this zone
  • Main spots in Karmajhiri zone: Chendia ghat, Tikari, Alikatta
  • A total of 9 jeeps are allowed which includes 5 jeeps in both mornings and 4 jeeps in the afternoon safari shift.
  • The zone is good for sloth bear sighting
  • Closed on Wednesday for Morning and Afternoon safari.

Safari Gates : Buffer zone in Pench (Madhya Pradesh)

There are 4 gates to enter the buffer zone in Pench (Madhya Pradesh) are:

1. Rukhad:

  • As this area is in the hilly region the vegetation here is moist deciduous
  • Lots of Bamboo, Jamun, Arjun Trees, flowing streams, and lots of butterflies.
  • Rukhad is also crucial for the Tiger corridor of Pench and Kanha.
  • A total of 36 jeeps are allowed which includes 18 jeeps in both morning and afternoon tiger safari shifts.
  • Kuraigad is a fort that has view point where tourists can deboard
  • Breakfast point at Dhamandda
  • Night tiger safari can be done in the Rukhad zone. A total of 5 jeeps are allowed for night tiger safari.
 

2. Teliya

  • Breakfast point at Interpretaion center
  • Easily accessible from Touria gate which is 4 Km away
  • Teliya buffer zone is known for its wolf sightings, and Black Panther or Melanistic leopard sightings in the recent past
  • A total of 37 jeeps are allowed which includes 19 jeeps in both mornings and 18 jeeps in the afternoon tiger safari shift.
 

3. Khawasa

  • Breakfast point at Interpretation center
  • Easily accessible if staying nearby Touria gate
  • A total of 36 jeeps are allowed which includes 18 jeeps in both morning and afternoon tiger safari shifts.
  • 15 jeeps are allowed to do night tiger safari from Khawasa gate
  • Preferred zones by wolves, foxes, porcupines, and Owls due to their open vegetation.
 

4. Khumbhpani

A new buffer zone with a total of  10 jeeps is allowed which includes 5 jeeps in both morning and afternoon safari shifts.

Tiger Safari Zones of Pench (Maharashtra)

Safari gates : Core zone in Pench (Maharashtra)

There are three gates to enter the core zone in Pench (Maharashtra).

1. Sillari Gate

  • This is the well-known and main gate to Pench Maharashtra. Sillari is about 40 kilometres from the Turia gate.
  • Closed every Wednesday for a tiger safari during the morning and afternoon shift
  • The forest with dense bamboo and teak, as well as numerous water bodies and waterfalls.
  • Some important areas are Swarg and Bamboo Ban
  • The Totlah Doh Dam, which is being built on the Pench River, can also be seen.
  • Wild Dogs and Sloth Bears can be seen in this area of the forest.
  • A total of almost 100 jeeps are allowed in a single day from Sillari gate. 45 in the morning tiger safari shift and 55 in the evening tiger safari shift.

 

2. Khursapar Gate

  • This gate is 12 kilometres from Turia Gate. It has grown in popularity in recent years as a result of good tiger sightings.
  • The terrain is undulating, and you can see Chowsingha, Chinkara, and Gaurs.
  • Bakhari Lake is one of the few natural water bodies in this area.
  • Some other important spots are Bandra Talab, Chitgohta.
  • Closed for tiger safari every Tuesday for both morning and afternoon tigersafari.
  • A total of almost 60 jeeps are allowed in a single day from Sillari gate. 30 in the morning tiger safari shift and 30 in the evening tiger safari shift.

 

3. Chorbahuli Gate

  • Closed for safari every Monday for morning and afternoon tiger safari.
  • Chorbahuli was opened for tourists on January 1, 2013
  • When travelling from Nagpur to Jabalpur, this is the first gate you will encounter. Chorbahuli, located on the Maharashtra side of Pench National Park, is a lesser-known tiger safari zone.
  • The forest patch is dense here to Pench Tiger Reserve.
  • A total of 28 jeeps are allowed with 14 in each shift of Morning and afternoon safari.

Safari Gates: Buffer zone in Pench (Maharashtra)

There are 4 gates to enter the buffer zone in Pench (Maharashtra) are:

1. Kolitmara

  • Kolitmara gate is one of the entrances to the Pench Tiger Reserve on the Maharashtra side. Nagpur is about 80 kilometers away.
  • You can also go on a jungle safari in your own vehicle.
  • Enjoy river rides by boat, and the main attraction is the original dense jungle.
  • The number of vehicles allowed into the Kolitmara Zone is 7 in the morning and 13 in the evening.
 

2. Surewani (Nagalwadi)

  • Total 14 jeeps are allowed with 7 in each shift of Morning and afternoon tiger safari.
 

3. Khubada (Saleghat)

  • Total of 24 jeeps are allowed with 12 in each shift of Morning and afternoon tiger safari.
 

4. Paoni (Buffer)

The buffer area of Pench Tiger Reserve is part of Umred Paoni Karhandala Sanctuary

Types of safari at Pench National Park

If you’ve decided to pay a visit to a national park, you know pretty well that you aren’t leaving without embarking on a wildlife safari tour. Lucky for you, the Pench National Park has one of the most engaging safari experiences among all national parks in India.

Jeep Safari in Kanha

Night Safari

The booking of a Night tiger safari is done on the same day as the Date of the Safari from the Forest department counter. Its starts after the sunset and last about 3 hours depending summer or winter months. One can enjoy a night tiger safari in Khawasa and Rukhad zone if staying closer to Touria gate.

Jeep Safari in Kanha

Jeep Safari

The Jeep tiger safaris are conducted in Pench National Park in two shifts morning and afternoon depending upon Sunrise and sunset time respectively, The booking opens up 120 days for zones in Madhya Pradesh part.  In Maharashtra, part tiger safari bookings open up almost 60 days before the date of tiger safari.

Jeep Safari in Kanha

Full-Day Jeep Safari

Mostly preferred by photographers where they are following any particular subject species or documentarians filming any particular family. In a folder Safari cheap enters 15 to 20 minutes prayer to all Safari vehicles spend they within the park you can lunch between the wilderness. Opportunity to explore more as in full day permits chips are allowed to exit 15 minutes after all jeeps are excited the park post the evening Safari. There are no restrictions Tiger Safari in a particular zone. In full-day permits, the guest is allowed to move in different zones except for the Maharashtra part of pench.

Jeep Safari in Kanha

Half-Day Jeep Safari

After Safari can be further categorised as a morning Safari and a evening Safari. Morning Safari starts at around 0600 hrs. Depending up on sunrise time and and lost for about 4.5 to 5 hours. After the morning Safari guest comes back to the lodge. Grab of quick lunch and continue the jungle safari during evening time. The evening Safari last 3 to 3.5 hours depending on the time of sunset.

On 15th Januray 2022 Pench lost one of his most famous tigress collarwali. She died at the age of 16 years 4 months due to multiple organ failure because of old age. Born in October 2005 she was one of the most famous tigress globally.

How Collarwali got it’s name?

The actual name of Collarwali is T-15. In March 2008, the group of researchers from Wildlife Institue of India, Dehradun attached a radio collar to the tigress. In 2016 the radio collar was lost in the Jungle of Pench National Park and it had not been replaced since then till her death.

Why’s Collarwali Famous ?

During her lifetime Collarwali gave birth to 29 cubs which is the Guinness Book of World Record for giving maximum litter of Cubs by any tigress in India. She was one of the major contributors to the increase in the Tiger population in Pench National Park. According to tiger experts, it’s very unusual to give birth to 8 litter in a lifespan of 16 years. She was one of the major contributors to the increase in the Tiger population in Pench National Park.

Collarwali was in fame since her early days when she became the part of the BBC documentary “Spy in the Jungle”. This documentary captures her siblings growing up and moving out to create her own territory.

Even after their death, she received the love, respect, and affection from wildlife enthusiasts around the world. Pench National Park is with a visit to see the Legacy left by Collarwali: The queen of Pench.

How to Reach Pench National Park

Planning a visit to Bandhavgarh National Park is a crucial step, as small details like date, season and lodging can make or break your vacation. When it comes to deciding when to visit, there really isn’t the best option. It entirely depends on your preference and what the park has to offer at that time of the year.

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