Among the tourism circuit, Pench came into limelight much later. I was in Pench during the nineties, and it was still placed in the ignorance list when Kanha had become globally famous many decades earlier. Tucked away in the remote confines of Madhya Pradesh and partially in Maharashtra, it is an esoteric land of the tiger and boasts of an amazing tropical ecosystem albeit much constricted. Forest types are dry deciduous mixed and the climate is warm as compared to rest of Central India.
Seoni Hills, of the pench
A lot had been written on the jungles of Seoni Hills by Rudyard Kipling when he chanced upon manuscripts describing a naked wolf child inhabiting the forests in the 19th Century. Incidentally in the Kipling Era, Kanha and Pench were contiguous, hence both are euphemistically called Kipling Country albeit this famous epithet has remained within the confines of historical annals and to the British mainland.
Rudyard Kipling born in India spent much time here, he was a noble prize-winning writer, and none could have penned the esoteric behind the wolf child better than him. He certainly spelled class, and the Jungle Book is one fine example of extreme imagination and storytelling bordering reality merged into one. By thought he was a white supremacist, but nevertheless India has honored him with a museum.
Jungle Book, though famous in the literary circles within the Great Britain never left the shores to avail global popularity. It was the film by Disney that brought Kipling Country and the exploits of Mowgli the Wolf Child to sudden popularity.
The film Jungle Book based on wilderness of Seoni Hills made Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve an overnight sensation. Jungle Book stirred the imagination of people of a naked child roaming in the company of wolves facing the indomitable Sher Khan. Baloo and Baghira are die hard companions and look after the child’s safety in the mysterious jungles of Seoni. Nurtured by the wolves Kabaki and the pack, the predators are still living in the reserve although Mowgli is no more. With intense conservation initiatives the wildlife is bouncing back, and coming across wild animals on highway and near the Seoni Township is no more a surprise.
Pench Tiger Reserve is home of many of Central India’s enchanting mammals, reptiles and birds. Sloth bear, wild dog, wolf, tiger, leopard, Nilgai, four horned antelope, gazelle, massive gaur and number of deer species make the wildlife heaven their home. Among reptile’s python constrictors can often be seen in daytime while the rest are illusive and a rare sight. At Totlah Doh, dam visitors can chance upon the marsh crocodiles besides a number of turtles and fish species. The Totlah Doh Dam is one of the best places to check list wetland and shore birds in the park which is home to more than two hundred and fifty avian species.
Pench River is the lifeline of the forests and intersects its Eastern end, nevertheless a large number of waterbodies besides the perennial river sustain life during the hot months of Indian summer.
Tiger Tourism at Pench
Pench is divided into two parts although larger part resides in the State of Madhya Pradesh. It was once part of famous Central Indian Highlands as mentioned in the book by James Forsyth. Much isolated now, it is home to more that 50 tigers thanks to Project Tiger Program.
The tribe is growing fast and tourists throng the reserve to witness wilderness at its pristine best. On a permit you can go for an open jeep safari and enjoy seeing the tigers, enchanting wildlife and the birds. The permit is issued by MP Online Portal, and it is mandatory to book one. It is advisable to book in advance since the entry is limited, and in case of a rush you will be left behind.
The safaris are organized in core zones and few in the buffer zone as well. Night safari at Pench is organized only in the buffer zone, the outer ring of the reserve.
The Core Zones in MP
Buffer Zones at Pench
Maharashtra Core Zones
Pench Buffer Zone (Maharashtra)
The Maharashtra Ecotourism booking can be done at mahaecotourism portal. Safari can be organized in both the parks but separate permits have to be obtained.
Accommodation & Services
Jeeps for safari are usually organized by the hotels and resorts or can be hired at the respective gates. For travel services and general purchases Khawasa township bordering the states is the best place. It is at a distance of 10 km from the Turia Gate.
Most of the resorts are situated near the Turia Gate in MP besides a MPTDC Lodge at Rukhad near the Rukhad wildlife sanctuary. The accommodations pertain to all categories including five star and budget.
21.6495° N, 79.2451° E
The park comprises 758 km2 of which 299 km2 is the core area while the rest is the outer ring or core zone.
- Jabalpur Airport to Pench National Park is 210 Km via Khawasa
- Nagpur Airport to Pench National Park is 90 Km via Khawasa
- Kanha National Park to Pench is 250 Km
- Gondia to Pench National Park is 148 Km
The park is open from 1st October to end of June every year. No safari is organized on Wednesday evening. Please carry photo ID and vaccination card.
Come Join Wildekart to a Explore Mowgli Land!