Pench National Park is placed in Chhindwara and Seoni districts of Madhya Pradesh (India). The name is derived from the Pench River, flows through the National Park. The river flows from north to south that divides the park into equal eastern and western halves-the well woody areas of both districts. The park has several species of animals among which wild guars, tigers, leopard, monkeys and deer, etc., are easily observed. The park is nearby from Pauni on National Highway 7 and very close to Maharashtra & Nagpur. There are two famous gates for tourist entry, which is named as Turiya and Karmajhiri.
Pench National Park was stated as a sanctuary in 1977, but in 1983, it elicited to the status of National Park. Later in the year 1992, it was recognized as PenchTiger Reserve, which covers 758 sq. km of area and the Pench National Park form the centre zone of the Reserve that covers 292.85 sq. km, and the Mowgli Pench Wildlife Sanctuary covers 118.30 sq. km of areas. A Buffer Zone formed by Reserve Forests, Revenue land and Protected Forests occupies 346.73 sq. km.
Pench National Park has splendid history. The depiction of its magnificence and natural wealth occurs in Ain-i-Akbari (Constitution of Akbar), which was a 16th century document written by Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak (the Emperor Akbar’s vizier), recording the Akbar’s administration empire. Pench has inspired Rudyard Kipling to write the popular novel ‘The Jungle Book’. Above all, third part special Tiger of BBC ‘Spy in the Jungle’ was also filmed in Pench National Park, which was based on the growing of four Tigers in Pench.
Pench National Park is very rich in fauna and it’s an abode to a large number of endangered species. The most dominant predator is Tiger and there are around 25 of them in these prey-rich woodlands. There are some other predators like dhol (Indian Wild Dog), leopard, hyena, wolf, jackal and jungle cat. Some prey species observed in the park are sambhar, chital, gaur, muntjac, langur, wild boar, and rhesus macaques. Commonly seen species are herd of deer.
There are more than 170 species of birds comprising various migratory ones like peafowl, crow pheasant, junglefowl, red-vented bulbul, crimson-breasted barbet, magpie robin, lesser whistling teal, racket-tailed drongo, egret, pintail, shoveler, herons to name a few.
As per the study in the year 1, 25 tigers were found under the umbrella of the park along with 39 mammals, 13 reptiles, and 3 amphibians. Aside from mammals and other land-based flora & fauna, the park is also rich in bird life. As per the evaluation of the wildlife authorities, 210 species of birds was observed in this park like munias, barbets, minivets orioles, bulbul, waterfowls, wagtails, mynas, and blue kingfishers.
The park is blessed with rich and verdant forests, spread throughout the area of the National Park. Southern dry broadleaf teak forests are there, which blend with tropical mixed deciduous forests. The flora in Pench includes different kinds of shrubs, climbers and tress. It has some uncommon varieties of herbs with medicinal properties that are mentioned below:
The Safari timing in Pench National Park is almost similar like other parks of the country. The entry and exit of the park vary as per the season. The best time to visit Pench National Park is between February and April. Due to the shorter duration of daylight in winters, the morning entry time is quite late and evening exit time is early. The National Park remains open for visitors from 16th October to the end of June and closed during the rainy season (July-October) every year. Early morning safari is the most worthwhile to spot tigers and other rare animals.
Morning Safari: 07:30 hrs
Evening Safari: 15:00 hrs
Morning Safari: 10:30 hrs
Evening Safari: 17:30 hrs
Pench National Park is popular for its wildlife and flora & fauna. There are many ways to explore the wildlife of forest. They are:
Sitaghat- This spot is winding path that is close to the bank of river Pench, speckled with rocks and artistic looking trees. During summer season, white flowers and bushes lope all along with bank. To view these flowers in full blossom, it is must to visit in the early morning hours. The place also appears to be a splendid spot for wildlife sightseeing.
Alikatta- This place is another exciting attraction that has fascinating area of grassland, where animals are also observed. In evening time, there is excellent view of grazing herds comprising of thousands of spotted deer. One can also enjoy elephant rides that begin from this place.
Chhindimatta Road- Journeying over rocky hills, it is considered as place of interest in the huge Pench reservoir. The rocky cliffs make tremendous places for leopards. Other species like Eagles, Buzzards, and hawks are observed looming over their nests.
Bodhanala Range- This area is worth sightseeing for visitors. It starts from slopy hill, bamboo forest to a huge pond close to the border of the park. It is a perfect area for raptors.
Above all, there are some other attractions to explore in Pench like Raiyakassa, Doob Road, and Kalapahad. Travelling to all these places give wonderful opportunity to come across huge herds and king of jungle.
There are some main tourist attractions nearby Pench National Park, which add more fun and excitement in trip. They are: