India is a galore of wildlife attractions with more than 500 national parks and sanctuaries. Among them, Pench national park deserves special mention. Tourists from both the states are able to visit the national park and take a look at its natural resource. The national park has been described as a Tiger Reserve.
It is declared as the 19th Tiger Reserve in the country. It is to be noted that the name of the national park has been changed to 'Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park' in November, 2002. The name of the Pench sanctuary has also been changed to 'Mowgli Pench Sanctuary'.
Pench River flows through the nearby area of the national park. The park derives its name from this river.
In 1996-97, the Indian Eco-development project was started in Pench Tiger Reserve with the help of World Bank. Under this project, almost 99 villages around the park area were identified with the purpose of developing their own resource. The villagers will actively participate in the protection of the Tiger and help in the development of the project.
Area and location:
It is located in the Southern Madhya Pradesh and in Maharashtra also. 90% of the forest area falls in Madhya Pradesh while the rest is in Maharashtra. It borders Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara. It is exactly located at Turia that is 12 km from Khwasa, 80 km from Nagpur.
The total area of the national park is 292.85 sq. km, sanctuary is 118.31 sq km. and other forest area is 346.89 sq km. So the Pench Tiger Reserve occupies 757.89 sq. km.
The topography of the area is marked by gentle slopes, hills and many streams and rivulets. You can reach the flat-topped hills like 'Kalapahar' in order to get the majestic views of the thick green forests. 'Dohs', the local name for water pools quench the thirst of the wild animals.
Flora and Fauna:
The national park has a lot to offer to the tourists. Fishes, birds, animals and reptiles- all these are in plenty. A considerable number of Gaur (Indian Bison), Nilgai, Sambar, Wild Dog, Wild Pig, Nilgai, Sloth Bear, Chital, Barking Deer, Fox, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Porcupine, Chinkara, Small Indian Civet, etc. find refuge here.
For the birdwatchers, this park proves to be a paradise. A large number of residential and migratory birds come here. 258 species of birds are recorded which include White Scavenger, King Vulture, Coots, Pochards, Osprey, Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, Longbilled, Brahmini Duck, Bar Headed Geese, etc.
Apart from all these you will find 50 species of fishes, 30 reptiles, 54 moths, 10 amphibians, 45 butterflies, etc.
Mixed forests are the main floral species. Many Terminilis species, herbs and medicinal plants are found. Sal is found in heavy numbers during high precipitation.
Where to stay?
You need not worry about good accommodation. Heaven's garden in Pench Tiger Resort, Tiger Corridor Resort in the heart of Pench, Mowgil's Den Resort and Pench Jungle Resort will provide you the best accommodation facilities.
When to visit?
February to June remains the best period to visit the national park. The park is closed during the months of July, August and September. During the rest of the year, you can visit the park between 6a.m. to 10:30a.m. and 3p.m to 6 p.m.
The nearest railway station is Nagpur.
Nagpur is the important city that is only 80 km from the park.
Nagpur at a distance of 80 km is the closest airport. Jabalpur airport is 190 km from the park. So people can travel according to their preferences.
It is a matter of pride for the country that the national park provided the location used by the BBC for the novel wildlife series Tiger: Spy in the Jungle, a 3 part documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough. BBC broadcast the program for the first time in April 2008. The forest reserve is also the setting for Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.
After this virtual tour, we don't think that you would delay in planning a visit to this park. Pench national park or Pench Tiger Reserve is a treasure trove of the country. The abundance of wildlife, the richness of the biodiversity mingled with the scenic beauty of the region has made it a popular tourist attraction.