Kanha National Park is known for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the park gained popularity because the famous author Rudyard Kipling used it as the location for his widely famous fictional wildlife novel, “The Jungle Book”. Apart from that, the park is known for housing endangered species of tigers. Barasinghas are another defining attribute of this park.
By entering into the park I was imagining Kaa sitting and saying welcome to Mogwli world. As our jeep moved ahead Bagira said hey wanna meet Mogwli. Go run fast he is waiting there for you. But all this was in my dreams.
As I went deeper into the park, the open scrubland meandered its way uphill, becoming a narrow trail, barely wide enough for a jeep, surrounded by dense woods. The engine faltered and the jeep stopped for a second. That’s when we heard it – the warning call of the monkey in the distance. Somewhere around us, there was a tiger. The drivers sat tensely clutching their steering wheels, almost sniffing the air. The rest seemed uncertain of where to look, unused to the language of the wild. Fiddling with cameras, binoculars, door locks, all waited for ten minutes in absolute silence. In my head, there wasn’t a single thought, I expected nothing. I mulled over the option of telling them about my jinx; then they would certainly have moved on. The driver in the jeep facing us shuffled in his seat, a sign that he wanted to try his luck elsewhere.
This was my first trip to any wildlife park in the country. So with no real expectation I went to Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. But from the moment I entered, I was in love with it. With an ever-changing landscape spreading over 250sq km, it was undoubtedly the prettiest park, teeming with splendid animal and bird life.
No matter there was no sher khan sight as he must be making new plan to disturb Mogwli. But still the woodland was emerging in front of my eyes like a Pandora secret box.
Kanha failed to fulfill my long quest to see a tiger in a most fantastic manner. Actually I have selected the wrong time to visit. During this time the main forest is closed and the buffer zone is opened. So if you are damn lucky you can spot a tiger.
Kanha has been part of Project Tiger since 1973 and it seems to have earned dividends not just for the tiger but also the 12-horned Barasingha, or swamp deer, which has swung from a dismal 60 odd to over 500.
Since the tourist zone is fairly large, there are lovely moments to be had with just the surroundings as versus the madness of Bandhavgarh National Park, for instance, where one literally travels in a convoy of jeeps, with one sole aim in mind – the tiger. My first sighting that morning was spotted deer.
Every year the Kanha National Park is open for visitors from the 15th of October to till 30th of June. Located in Madhya Pradesh in Central India, as per the climate of the region, the peak season to visit is during winters. The best time to visit the park is between November and March. In the summers the heat is unbearable. After the rains of the monsoon have revitalized all the nature & vegetation, the wilderness becomes exciting. November brings a lot of guests in the park. A lot of migratory birds visit the park during the winter months. It is the best time to bird-watch.