In Focus – Madhya Pradesh – The Heartland of India

Source: A&W Magazine

Madhya Pradesh – the heritage heartland of India. The Central province of India, known as Madhya Pradesh is blessed by nature, abundant in biodiversity, steeped in history and alive in terms of Culture. For those who like to live it up on the edge and go beyond the ordinary to explore the best of the jungles, a holiday in Madhya Pradesh is definitely a treat for them. The varied flora and fauna that the dense jungles offer a traveller makes Madhya Pradesh the gateway to a life changing experience of wilderness.

Madhya Pradesh, is one of the most exciting wildlife destinations in India. For avid nature lovers, there are 9 National Parks, 6 Tiger Reserves and 25 Wildlife Sanctuaries to quench the thirst for experiencing the Jungle. The heart of India, Madhya Pradesh is a kaleidoscope of nature. Plan a jungle safari in Madhya Pradesh to catch the true spirit of the Indian jungle.

Wildlife Tourism in Madhya Pradesh

National Parks in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is one of those promising states in India where the chances of spotting a tiger are tremendous. Whether it’s Bandhavgarh, Kanha or Pench, each and every national park is far from the civilization and has a rustic charm of its own. Remarkable flora and fauna of these nine National Parks is matched by scenic landscapes along with the incredible diversity. Some of the
national parks, including Bandhavgarh were once the hunting ground of the Royals. Who can forget the famous classic novel, The Jungle Book? Yes, the adventures of the little boy, Mowgli with Sher Khan and Bagheera. The inspiration that lead Rudyard Kipling to write Jungle Book set in the jungles of ‘Seonee’ was the charm of the dense jungles of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh has the highest density of tiger population in India, spotting a tiger here won’t be difficult.

A wildlife safari in these charismatic national parks is worth every penny. Popular national parks in Madhya Pradesh have a facility of wildlife safaris on jeep, canter and elephant. Even a short trek to these amazing wild wonderlands is possible. Come to Madhya Pradesh for peace, calm and serene air.

List of National Parks in Madhya Pradesh

Kanha Tiger Reserve

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Kanha National Park, is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh. The present-day Kanha area was previously known as two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, of 250 and 300 sq. km respectively. Kanha National Park was created on 1 June 1955 and in 1973 was made the Kanha Tiger Reserve. Today it stretches over an area of 940 sq. km in Mandla and Balaghat districts of MP.

Together with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,067 sq. km and the neighbouring 110 sq. km Phen Sanctuary it forms the larger Kanha Tiger Reserve. This makes it the largest National Park in Central India.

Kanha Tiger Reserve has species of tigers, leopards, wild dogs, wild cats, foxes and jackals. Among the deer species, swamp deer (Cervus duavcelli branderi) or hard ground barasingha is the pride of the place as it is the only subspecies of swamp deer in India, except the Great Swamp Deer of Sundarbans. The animal is adapted to hard ground unlike swamp deer of the north which live in marshy swamps. The reserve has been instrumental in rescuing the swamp deer from extinction. Indian Gaur (Bos guarus), belonging to the ox genus, is found in Kanha but seen mostly as winter ends. In summer Gaur inhabit meadows and water holes in the park.

Other commonly seen animals in the park include the spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and the four-horned antelope. The latter can be seen at Bamni Dadar climb. Recently, mouse deer have also been discovered in the tiger reserve. Blackbuck have inexplicably become very rare. They vanished completely, but have been reintroduced recently inside a fenced area in the park. Nilgai can still be seen near the Sarahi Gate, while the Indian wolf once commonly seen at Mocha is a rare sight now. Striped hyena and sloth bear are seen occasionally. Langurs and wild boars are common, but the pugnacious rhesus macaque is seen less often.

Nocturnal animals like fox, hyena, jungle cat, civets, porcupine, Ratel or honey badger and hares can be seen outside the park confines.

The Reserve brings around 300 species of birds and the most commonly seen birds are the black ibis, bee-eaters, cattle egret, blossom-headed parakeets, pond heron, drongos, common teal, crested serpent eagle, grey hornbill, Indian roller, lesser adjutant, little grebes, lesser whistling teal, minivets, pied hornbill, woodpecker, pigeon, paradise flycatchers, mynas, Indian peafowl, red junglefowl, red-wattled lapwing, steppe eagle, tickell’s flycatcher, white-eyed buzzard, white-breasted kingfisher, white-browed fantail, wood shrikes and warblers among many more.

Reptiles like Indian pythons, Indian cobras, krait, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks and grass snakes are nocturnal animals, and are therefore rarely seen. There are many species of turtles as well as amphibians found in or near the water bodies.Kanha and Satpura National Park being a part of Gondwana, now famous as a tiger reserve, was once ruled by wild Indian elephants.

How to get there

Air – The Jabalpur Airport (175 km distance/ 04-30 hrs) has direct flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Belgaum and Bhopal, with Air India, Spice Jet and Zoom Air operating daily flights. Nagpur (260 km) and Raipur (219 km) have other airports.

Train – Jabalpur is the major railway station with train connectivity across India. From Jabalpur, the best way to travel is via Mandla, which has a tourist taxi service to the park, and Nainpur – perhaps with an overnight stop.

There are three gates for entrance into the park. The Kisli gate is best accessed from Jabalpur and stops at the village Khatia, inside the buffer area. The second gate is at Mukki and the third, most
recently opened, gate is at Serai.

Bandhavgarh National Park

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One of the most popular national parks in India located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh was declared as a national park in 1968, with an area of 105  sq. km. The buffer is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals 820 sq. km. The park derives its name from the most prominent hillock of the area, which was said to be given by Lord Rama

to his brother Lakshmana to keep a watch on Lanka. The name Bandhavgarh literally translates to “Brother’s Fort”.

This park has a large biodiversity. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. The park has a large breeding population of leopards and various
species of deer. Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa captured the first white tiger in this region in 1951. This white tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa.

Bandhavgarh has one of the highest density of Bengal tigers known in the world, and is home to some famous named tigers which are large in size and are beautiful. Charger, a dominant Tiger so named for his habit of charging at safari elephants and tourists (whom he nonetheless did not harm), was the first healthy male known to be living in Bandhavgarh since the 1990s. A female known as Sita, who once appeared on the cover of National Geographic and is considered as the second most photographed tiger in the world, was also to be found in Bandhavgarh for many years. Almost all the tigers of Bandhavgarh today are descendants of Sita and Charger.

With the tiger at the apex of the food chain, it contains 37 species of mammals. According to forest officials, there are more than 250 species of birds, about 80 species of butterflies and a large
number of reptiles. But many people have the species’ list of about 350 birds along with photographs. The  richness and tranquillity of grasslands invites pairs of sarus cranes to breed in the rainy season.

One of the biggest attractions of this national park is the tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) and its sightings. Bandhavgarh has a very high density of tigers within the folds of its jungles. The 105 sq. km of park area open to tourists was reported to have 22 tigers, a density of one tiger for every 4.77 sq. km (Population estimation exercise 2001). The population of tigers in the park in 2012 is about
44 – 49. There is a saying about the Park that goes- “In any other Park, you are lucky if you see a tiger. In Bandhavgarh, you are unlucky if you don’t see (at least) one.”

Bandhavgarh tiger reserve is densely populated with other species – the gaur or Indian bison were extinct or had migrated to other forests, they were then reintroduced  to the park from Kanha; sambar and barking deer are a common sight and Nilgai are to be seen in the open areas of the park. There have been reports of the Indian wolf (canis lupus indica), striped hyena and the caracal the latter being an open country dweller. The tiger reserve is abundant with the chital or spotted deer (Axis axis) which are the main prey of the tiger and the Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca).

How to get there

Air – Bandhavgarh does not have the airport facility for mainstream flights, but Jabalpur city, which is the nearest city to Bandhavgarh, has good air connectivity with major cities of India.
Private charters can land near to Bandhavgarh National Park, as Umaria district has a small air-strip facility for charter planes.

Jabalpur Airport (199 km / 04-30 hrs) has direct flights to major cities across India and It is also convenient to reach from Nagpur airport or railway station and continuing the rest of journey by road as one can hire a cab from Nagpur easily.

Train – Katni and Umaria are both major railway stations with good train connectivity across India.

Madhav National Park

Situated in Shivpuri District of Gwalior region in north-west Madhya Pradesh, India. It was named after Madho Rao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior belonging to the Scindia dynasty of the Marathas. Shivpuri is steeped in the royal legacy of its past, when it was the summer capital of the Scindia rulers of Gwalior. Earlier, its dense forests were the hunting grounds of the Mughal emperors and Maratha royals. Historical records also say that the Mughal Emperor Akbar captured large herds of elephants for his stables while returning from Mandu in the year 1564.

Located in the eco-region of Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests, this national park has a varied terrain of forested hills and flat grasslands around the lake and is thus rich in biodiversity.

Since the area was a royal hunting reserve, it was well protected, and abounded with wildlife. It was famous for its tigers. Bengal tigers and other animals were known to wander in great numbers in the area. It is reported that in 1916, in the British era, Lord Hardinge shot eight tigers in one day at Shivpuri. Lord Minto supposed to have shot 19 tigers during his trip to Gwalior state. The last of the resident wild tigers were seen in Madhav National Park around late 1970. Owing to dedicated efforts the habitat has become secure and improved now that the transient tigers are tempted to become resident. One male and one female tiger have once again made Madhav their home since October 2007.

On the shores of Sakhya Sagar Lake which edges the forests, is a boat club, from where the park visitors can see a number of migratory birds especially in winter, when a large number of
migratory water-fowls visit the area. A viewing lodge constructed by the Maharaja called the Shooting Box, is situated above the Sakhya Sagar Lake. In the older days one could shoot wildlife, both with a gun and camera from here. Visitors could sit under cover and watch a tiger at a kill. All around the lake, the Maharaja constructed boat landing areas, picnic shelters, watch towers, hides etc. and a network of well laid out metalled roads.

Madhav National Park has an area of 354 sq. km. It was set up in 1958. The national park is open year round. With a varied terrain of wooded hills, the forest being dry, mixed deciduous and flat
grasslands around the lake, it offers abundant opportunities of sighting a variety of wildlife. The principal tree species found in the park are khair (Acacia catechu), salai (Boswellia serrata),
kerdhai, dhawda, tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon) and palash (Butea monosperma).

The predominant animal species that inhabits the park is the deer, of which the most easily sighted are the graceful little chinkara or Indian gazelle and the Chital. Other species that have their
habitat in the park are nilgai, sambar, chausingha or four-horned antelope, blackbuck, sloth bear, Indian leopard and the common langur.

Madhav National Park is equally rich in avi-fauna. The artificial lake, Chandpatha, is the winter home of migratory geese, pochard, pintail, teal, mallard and gadwall. A good site for bird
watching is where the forest track crosses the rocky stream that flows from the waste weir. Species that frequent this spot are red-wattled lapwing, large pied wagtail, Indian pond heron and white-breasted kingfisher. The park’s birds also include the cormorant, painted stork, white ibis, laggar falcon, purple sunbird, Indian paradise flycatcher and golden oriole.

Sakhya Sagar and Madhav Sagar lakes, created on Manier River in 1918, are two important biodiversity support systems in the park besides several perennial and seasonal streams and nallahs. Sakhya Sagar Lake is situated on the edge of forests of Madhav National Park. On the shores of the lake is a boat club also known as a sailing club. The Sakhya Sagar Lake is the habitat of variety of reptiles. Species that can be seen here are marsh or mugger crocodile, Indian python and the monitor lizard.

How to get there

Air – The nearest airport to this National Park is at Gwalior which is 130 km away. Pre-paid taxi services are available from the Gwalior airport to Madhav National Park.

Sanjay National Park

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Sanjay National Park is a wildlife paradise located in Madhya Pradesh. It is a part of the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve system. It is located in the Narmada Valley dry deciduous forests’ eco-region. The entire national park covers 466.7 sq. km, while Dubri is a wildlife life sanctuary covers an area of 370 sq. km, both together cover more than 835 sq. km area of the area known as Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve system.

The park was established in 1975 under wildlife protection act of 1972. Geologically the features are plain, mounds, hills, steep cliffs, water bodies, valleys, deep gorges, while the altitude ranges from 200-500 m. This is basically a moist deciduous  forest consisting mainly of sal (Shorea robusta). The forest area of Sanjay Dubri is a main wild corridor connecting Bandhavgarh National Park’s wildlife at north and Palamau Tiger Reserve’s wildlife, but still there is strict need to ensure the peaceful transit of wild animals and conservation of connecting forest. The area, with its large size and rich biodiversity, is well-known. It has Sal, Bamboo and mixed forests.

All of Sanjay National park had been in Madhya Pradesh, before Chhattisgarh was carved out of it in 2000. A large part of the area then went to Chhattisgarh, and this forest area, with an area of 1440 sq. km was renamed as “Guru Ghasidas National Park”, by the Government of Chhattisgarh.

The Fauna of the forest consists of the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Spotted deer, Sambhar deer, wild boar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Civet, Porcupine, Monitor lizard, and 309 species of birds are found here. Among the many birds here are the Golden Hooded Oriole, Racket-tailed Drongo, Indian pitta, Rufous treepie, Lesser adjutant, Red-headed vulture, Cenareous vulture, White-rumped vulture, Egyptian vulture and Nightjar.

How to get there

Air – The nearest airport to Sanjay National Park is the Banaras airport which is at a distance of only 71 kilometers.

Train – The nearest railway station is the Rewa Railway Junction. It is located some 54 kilometers from Sanjay-Dubri Wildlife sanctuary.

Road – The Sanjay-Dubri Wildlife sanctuary is well connected to major cities of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar pradesh such as Khajuraho, Banaras, etc.

Panna National Park

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via Wikimedia Commons

A national park located in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh in India. It has an area of 542.67 sq. km (209.53 sq. mi). It was declared in 1994 as the twenty second Tiger reserve

of India and the fifth in Madhya Pradesh. Panna National Park and the surrounding territorial forest area of North and South Panna forest division is the only large chunk of wildlife
habitat remaining in North Madhya Pradesh in the otherwise fragmented forest landscape of the region.

The National Park is situated at a point where the continuity of the Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests belt, which starts from Cape Comorin in South India, is broken and beyond this the Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests of the great Indo-Gangetic Plain begins. This area is the northernmost tip of the natural teak forests and the easternmost tip of the natural ‘Kardhai’ Anogeissus pendula forests.

The forests of Panna National Park along with Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining territorial divisions form a significant part of the catchment area of the 406 km (252 mi) Ken River which runs northeast for about 72 km (45 mi) through the park.

Among the animals found here are the tiger, leopard, Chital, chinkara, nilgai, sambhar and sloth bear. The park is home to more than 200 species of birds including the bar-headed goose, honey buzzard, king vulture, blossom-headed parakeet, Changeable hawk-eagle and Indian vulture.

Panna National Park was declared as one of the Tiger reserves of India in 1994/95 and placed under the protection of Project Tiger. Panna was given the Award of Excellence in 2007 as the best
maintained national park of India by the Ministry of Tourism of India. It is notable that by 2009, the entire tiger population had been eliminated by poaching.

The decline of tiger population in Panna has been reported several times. Two female tigers were relocated there from Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park in March 2009. However, the last male tiger had already disappeared. A committee to look into the disappearance of the tigers was formed.

In June 2009, it was officially announced that the Reserve, which had over 40 tigers six years ago, has no tiger left and had only two tigresses, which were brought in a while ago In February 2012, three years after the entire tiger population of the reserve was eliminated.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests approved a proposal to translocate two tigers and two tigresses to the reserve. One female each from Bandhavgarh National Park (coded T1) and Kanha National Park (T2) were translocated to Panna Tiger Reserve. A tiger male, coded T3, was brought from Pench Tiger Reserve but strayed out of the park shortly thereafter, in November 2009. The
tiger started walking towards its home in Pench National Park, indicating homing instinct. It moved steadily through human dominated landscape without causing any conflict. Forest department staff tracked it continuously for over a month and finally brought it back to the Panna Tiger Reserve. It then settled well, established territory and started mating. The tigress, T1, translocated from
Bandhavgarh National Park, gave birth to four cubs in April 2010 of which 2 survive till date. The second tigress, T2, translocated from Kanha National Park gave birth to four cubs several
months later and all four survive till date. A third tigress, coded T4, an orphaned cub was reintroduced to Panna in March 2011. She learnt hunting skills with the help of the male and mated with him. Her sister T5 was released in Panna in November 2011. Thus four tigers and around 10 cubs of up to 2 years are settled in Panna Tiger Reserve at present and their progress is being regularly monitored by the Forest Department.

How to get there

Air – Nearest Airport is at Khajuraho (27 km). Indian Airlines and Jet Airways are available from Khajuraho to Delhi. From the Airport, taxis are available to Panna National Park.

Train – The nearest railway station is at Jhansi (176 km) and there are regular train services to the major cities in India. Direct train services are available from Delhi, Mumbai and Agra. Taxis are available in the railway station to Panna. The other nearest station is Satna (90 km) but all trains don’t stop here.

Road – One could take the road journey through Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi and Datia and there are public bus services are available to Panna in regular intervals.

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Pench National Park

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The Pench National Park is situated in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh. It derives its name from the Pench River that flows through the park from north to south

dividing the park into almost equal western and eastern halves, the well forested areas of Seoni and Chhindwara districts respectively. It was declared a sanctuary in 1977 but raised to the status of
national park in 1983. In 1992, it was established as a tiger reserve.

In 1977, declaration of 449.39 sq. km. as Pench Sanctuary, immediately checked the rampant exploitation of this area for timber, making it a suitable habitat for the Big Cats. Encouraged by this, the government in 1983 declared Pench as a National Park and in 1993 as the 19th Tiger Reserve of India. Comparatively, Pench is a younger forest, yet it carries a promise to be one of the best to
ensure that the Tigers survive.

The area of the present Pench Tiger Reserve has been described in Ain-i-Akbari, and is the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

Pench National Park comprises 758 sq. km (293 sq. mi), out of which the area of 299 sq. km (115 sq. mi)  is the Pench National Park core area and Mowgli Pench Sanctuary. The remaining 464 sq. km (179 sq. mi) form the buffer zone.

The protected area is covered with small hills and well-stocked teak mixed forest in the southern reaches of the Satpura Ranges. Elevation ranges from 425 to 620 m (1,394 to 2,034 ft). The
temperature varies from 4 °C (39 °F) in December to 42 °C (108 °F) in May. Average rainfall is 1,300 mm.

The undulating terrain eventually leads to a greater height as one climbs up the Seoni Hills.  The  scenic spectacle is mesmerizing as the grandeur unfolds. The Pench River, which intersects
the reserve occupying almost 54 sq. km. of the forest as the backwaters of Totla Doh Dam and with many small rivulets, nullahs, ponds, water holes, springs and streams, well distributed throughout the forest, it provides succour to multitudes of life forms inhabiting this ecosystem.

The forest cover in the park area includes teak mixed with other species like saja, bijiayasal, lendia, haldu, dhaora, salai, aonla, amaltas. The ground is covered with maze of grasses, plants, bushes and saplings. Bamboo is also found at places. Scattered white kulu trees, also referred to as ‘ghost tree’, stand out conspicuously among the various hues of green. Another important tree for both wildlife and tribal people of this region is mahua. The flowers of this tree are eaten by mammals and birds, and also harvested by the tribal people as food and to brew beer.

The Bengal tiger is the main cat species of the park present in good numbers but since last one year due to 6 new born cubs their sightings have increased and being sighted almost everyday. As per latest Tiger Census, there are approximately 40 tigers in the park, 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians. Commonly seen wildlife is Chital, sambar, nilgai, wild pig, and jackal. Also Indian leopard, sloth bear, indian wolf, wild dog, porcupine, monkey, jungle cat, fox, striped hyena, gaur, four-horned antelope and barking deer live in the park.

The park is rich in bird life too. According to an estimate of the wildlife authorities, the park harbours more than 210 species including several migratory ones. Some of them are peafowl, jungle fowl, crow pheasant, crimson-breasted barbet, red-vented bulbul, racket-tailed drongo, Indian roller, magpie robin, lesser whistling teal, pintail, shoveller, egret and herons, minivet, oriole, wagtail, munia, myna, waterfowl and blue kingfisher.

How to Get there

Air – The nearest airports to reach Pench National Park is at Nagpur & Jabalpur. Nagpur airport is about 110kms and Jabalpur Airport is about 215 kms from Pench Tiger Reserve. Pench to Nagpur & Pench to Jabalpur can be reached easily by using taxi service that operates frequently between them. In compare to both of them, connectivity of Nagpur airport is better than Jabalpur. Nagpur Airport is a International Airport with more flight connectivity to other destinations like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Raipur, Dubai etc. Jabalpur airport is a small airport with connectivity from Delhi only.

Train – Nearest railway station for reaching Pench by train is at Nagpur city (105kms). Second option could be Jabalpur railway station (200kms) having connectivity with most of the major tourist destinations & cities of India like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur, Agra, Bangalore, Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow, Sawai Madhopur etc.

Road – There are state owned transport buses from Nagpur through which you can reach Khawasa Border (Madhya Pradesh – Maharashtra Border)on NH-8. From here, you are need to take alternate for go to Turia entrance gate the popular & most frequently used entrance gate for Pench Jungle Safari.

Satpura National Park

Satpura National Park is located in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. It is spread over Satpura Hills on highlands of Central India. Its name Satpura is a sanskrit word, which simply means Seven-hills. It is part of Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve and covers an area of 524 sq. kms It is the place where every true wildlife lovers should must visit to appreciate the peaceful jungle, away from hustle & bustle of safari jeeps, beautiful hilly terrains, deep gorges, rivulets, virgin forest locations etc. of Satpura National Park is nurtured in the Satpura Ranges of Hoshangabad district in center Madhya Pradesh. Along with adjoining Pachmarhi & Bori Sanctuaries, Satpura Tiger Reserve is spread over an area of 1427, otherwise Satpura National Park covers an area of 524 sq. km. Various ways of wildlife watching distinguishes its from other tiger reserves of India. Here one can do jeep safari, elephant safari, walking safari & boat safari.

The unspoiled Highland ecosystem of Satpura National Park is unique in nature and was established in 1981.

The terrain of the national park is extremely rugged and consists of sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, ravines and dense forests. The altitude ranges from 300 to 1,352 metres (984 to 4,436 ft). It has Dhoopgarh peak as high as 1,350 metres (4,430 ft) and the almost level plains of Churna.

The nearest town to the national park is Pachmarhi and the nearest rail-head is Piparia 55 kilometres (34 mi) away. The state capital Bhopal is 210 kilometres (130 mi) away.

Satpura national park is densely forested area in state. Here Sal and Teak species are dominantly visible in the park. Entire forest can be broadly classified into three major types i.e. moist deciduous, dry deciduous and Central Indian sub tropical hill forest. These major forest classifications can be further sub-divided. Moist deciduous forest can be further classified into moist teak forest as moist teak forest, slightly moist teak forest, moist mixed deciduous forest. The dry deciduous forest can be further classified as southern tropical dry teak forest, southern
tropical dry teak forest, southern tropical dry mixed deciduous forest. Here in this Biosphere Reserve, we can find 1190 species of angiosperms (Flowering plants) belonging to 127 families and 633 genera. Many angiosperms are yet to be identified. Flora is distributed into 180 families of which 54 are represented by just one genus each and 29 are represented by 2 or 3 genera each. Many of the thallophytes, bryophytes and pteridophytes are found exclusively. The occurrence of releict population of Sal (Shorea robusta) in this region is a unique ecological phenomenon. As the region is full of hilly terrains, gorges where sunlight reaches rarely results into moist loving tiny herbs, algae etc. of high ecological value.

Satpura national park, along with its surrounding buffer-zone area have a much better population of wildlife which are rarely seen in other national parks of state. This forest area is having history of wildlife conservation which is evident from the list of wildlife species currently present and those species which was present in past but not now like Lion, Water Buffaloes, Elephants, Barasingha etc. Here we can find 50 species of mammals, 254 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles, 50 species of butterflies and much more. Attractive birds species includes, Malabar whistling Thrush, Paradise Fly-catcher, Honey Buzzard, Malabar pied Hornbill etc. Presence of various flower species, moist conditions offers ideal conditions for various butterfly species to flourish like Oakleaf, Black Rajah, Great Eggfly, Blue Pancy etc. Here we can find about 14 species of endangered mammals and reptiles. Several species like Indian giant squirrels, Flying squirrels, Rhesus monkeys are endemic to the area.

Satpura national park is a popular jungle safari destination. Here tourists have various safari options which attracts many tourists from India and many other countries. Unlike other popular
national parks like Bandhavgarh, Kanha national park, Pench national park, here over-crowding problem is less due to which tourists better enjoy their time in jungle. Here safari options includes, jeep safari, elephant safari, walking safari, canoe, birding. Presence of huge back-water reserve makes this park more scenic and offers good sighting. All jeep safaris begin, after crossing the Denwa river. Presence of river acts like a natural boundary line to avoid unnecessary human disturbance and helps the region remain pristine.

How to Get there

Road – Satpura National park is close to Pachmarhi hill station and can be easily travelled by road from cities like Bhopal, Jabalpur, Chindwara, Nagpur. It is in Hoshangabad district and well linked by road from other places.

Train – Nearest railway station for reaching Satpura tiger reserve is Sohagpur about 20kms from national park. Being a small station, many long-route trains do not stops here so next better option in Pipariya railway station which is about 45kms from national park.

Mandla Plant Fossils National Park

Situated in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, this national park has plants in fossil form that existed in India anywhere between 40 million and 150 million years ago spread over seven

villages of Mandla District (Ghuguwa, Umaria, Deorakhurd, Barbaspur, Chanti-hills, Chargaon and Deori Kohani). The Mandla Plant Fossils National Park is an area that spreads over 274,100 square metres. Such fossils are found in three other villages of the district also, but they lie outside the national park.

The Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow, has done some work on the plant fossils of Mandla, though the study is yet in a preliminary stage. In Ghuguwa and Umaria the standing, petrified trunks of trees have been identified as Gymnosperms and Angiosperms- Monocotyledons and palms. There are certain Bryophytes also. There is some question about whether the fossils are from the late Jurassic or the early and mid Cretaceous age. This is because when the breakup of the single land mass, Pangaea occurred, it was split by the continental drift into Laurasia and
Gondwana somewhere between the Jurassic and Cretaceous ages. India formed a part of Gondwana. Depending on the age in which the split occurred, the fossils are either Jurassic or Cretaceous.

Interspersed with the plant fossils are to be found the fossils of molluscs. One theory is that the area in which the fossils are located, i.e., the Narmada Valley near Mandla, was actually a deep
inundation of the sea into peninsular India until the Post- Cambrian Tertiary age, about 40 million years ago. This means that Narmada was a very short river which terminated in the inland sea above Mandla, and that the recession of the sea caused geological disturbances, which created the present rift valley through which the Narmada River and Tapti River flow in their present journey to the Arabian Sea. All this, however, is speculation and conjecture because it is only recently that an interest has developed in the fossils of Mandla and detailed scientific studies are still wanting.

A region as ancient as this tells a great deal about what Madhya Pradesh was like millions of years ago. The absence of dicotyledons suggests that plant evolution was still at an early stage. The whole matter requires much more detailed study. The national park is spread over agricultural fields in seven non-contiguous villages, which makes it difficult to protect the fossils. The fossils look like ordinary rocks and are either removed from the fields unwittingly by agriculturists or are damaged by tourists and those unscrupulous people who think they can make quick money out of their sale. In Chargaon and Deori Kohani villages there has been extensive damage, especially by excavation of embedded molluscs.

Some say that if the Fossil National Park is to be saved, a separate administrative unit for park management should be set up, the land on which fossils are located should be acquired and fenced and the nearest university, Jabalpur, should be asked to set up a special research unit on the fossils.

How to get there

Jabalpur is the nearest Railhead and airport.

The nearest bus station is at Niwar. The Park is on the way to Sahpura after Mandla. There are buses that go via the Park to Sahpura from Mandla. Mandla is 77 kms. from Jabalpur. Sahpura is 14 kms from the Park.

Van Vihar National Park

Located in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh and declared a national park in 1983, it covers an area of about 4.45 sq. km. Although it has the status of a national park, Van Vihar is

developed and managed as a modern zoological park,following the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. The animals are kept in their near natural habitat. Most of the animals are either orphaned brought from various parts of the state or those, which are exchanged from other zoos. No animal is deliberately captured from the forest. Van Vihar is unique because it allows easy access to the visitors through a road passing through the park, security of animals assured from poachers by building trenches and walls, chain-link fence and by providing natural habitat to the animals.

The animals such as Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lions, wild cats, Indian Wolf, Sloth Bear, Red Fox, Indian Jackal, Wild Dog, Mongoose, Striped Hyena, Mugger Crocodile, Gharial, Snakes, Python etc., are kept in captivity in a system of kraal and enclosures in lines of modern concept of zoo management as per the norms of Central Zoo Authority. All felids and hyenas are fed with buffalo meat, mutton and poultry. Bears are provided with milk, vegetables and fruits to make a balanced diet.

Free ranging animals, such as Chital, Sambhar, Blackbuck, Blue bull, Nilgai, Chausingha, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Hare, Rhesus Macaque, Red Monkey, Common Langur, etc. are unique features of Van Vihar. There are no enclosures for them except the outer boundaries of Van Vihar. Normally the grass and other plant species growing in Van Vihar are sufficient for these herbivores. However, in summer when the grass is scarce, green fodder produced in the fodder farm and wheat husk procured from the market is provided as a supplement. In its Aquatic Ponds, Star Tortoises, Turtles, and a variety of fishes can be found. Van Vihar also preserves animals belonging to endangered species.

The wilderness of park offers an ideal habitat for a number of avian fauna. Till now about two hundred species of birds have been listed in different parts of Van Vihar. Large number of birds frequent this park, especially during winter the migratory waterfowl alight in great numbers in the adjoining extensive wetland of big lake. In the 2010s, the park developed a vulture breeding centre which initially focused on restoring populations of Oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis), and long billed vultures (Gyps indicus). The park is also the abode of a variety of butterflies and insects.

The park is maintained by the Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh. The park administration is headed by a director of the rank of chief conservator of forests and assisted by one
assistant director, 3 range officers, 3 deputy-rangers, 4 foresters and 24 forest guards. In addition to these, persons are engaged on daily wage basis, to meet the day-to-day requirement of the animal care and management.

Wildlife Sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh

There is no better way to introduce one to wildlife and to share its incredible beauty than to go on a safari to the wildlife haunts of the Madhya Pradesh. The wildlife sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh have lured millions of nature and wildlife lovers from across the world. All these wildlife sanctuaries are ideal places to witness the imposing beauty of the forest and the wilderness of the national park.

List of Wildlife Sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh

Bori Wildlife Sanctuary

A wildlife sanctuary in Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh,Bori Wildlife Sanctuary includes India’s oldest forest preserve, the Bori Reserve Forest, established in 1865 along the Tewa River.

The sanctuary covers an area of 518 sq. km (200 sq. mi), located in the northern foothills of the Satpura Range. It is bounded by the Satpura National Park to the north and east, and by the Tawa River to the west. The sanctuary, together with Satpura National Park and the Pachmarhi Sanctuary, forms the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve.

The sanctuary is mostly covered in mixed deciduous and bamboo forests, part of the Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forests ecoregion. It is an important transition zone between the forests of western and eastern India. Dominant trees include teak (Tectona grandis), dhaora (Anogeissus latifolia), tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), among others. Large mammal species include tiger,
leopard, wild boar, muntjac deer, gaur (Bos gaurus), Chital deer (Axis axis), sambar (Cervus unicolor), and rhesus macaques.

Bagdara Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bagdara wildlife sanctuary encompassing an area of approximately 478 square kilometres of Sidhi District in MP, was established in the year 1978. The sanctuary hosts a very dense cover of dry deciduous mixed forest which is the abode of a number of faunal species. It is regarded as one of the  most unique protected areas of Madhya Pradesh and is maintained by the state government.Bagdara Wildlife Sanctuary is known to host over hundred species of plants and wild animals. The dominant trees of the dry deciduous mixed forest of the sanctuary include Gigantic Creepers, Mango Groves, Orchids, Teak Trees and many more. Lendia, Khair, Dhawda and Tendu are also common. Main wildlife of the sanctuary enlists animals like Hyenas, Wild Boar, Black Buck, Cheetal, Chinkara, Deer, Sambhar, Panther, Tiger and others. Several rare faunal species are also found here. The ideal time to visit Bagdara Wildlife Sanctuary is between the period of November and June.

Phen Sanctuary

Phen Wildlife Sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh is spread with an area of 111 square kilometres, established in the year 1983. Phen Wildlife Sanctuary is situated adjacent to Kanha National Park in the North East direction. Phen Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as micro core area for Kanha Tiger Reserve. Covered the area of Motinala Range, almost all species found in Kanha are found in Phen. The State Government of Madhya Pradesh notified Phen Wildlife Sanctuary as a buffer zone.

Phen Wild Life Sanctuary is treated as a separate division which is under the unified control of the Reserve Management of India. Some of the major attractions of this sanctuary are Royal Bengal
Tiger, Leopard, Wild boar, Cheetal and Sambhar. The animals and the birds of Kanha National Park and Mandla Fossil National Park are also found here.

Ghatigaon Sanctuary

Ghatigaon Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Gwalior district in Madhya Pradesh. It is accessible from the city of Gwalior. It was established in 1981 and is home to several species of animals and plants. Ghatigaon Wildlife Sanctuary covers a total area of 511 sq. km. Primarily famous for the Great Indian Bustard, the sanctuary also houses a number of other animals as well. A number of rare birds, like, herons, egrets and spoonbills are also found here..

The sanctuary houses many varieties of flora. Some include the Khair, Murjan, Palash, Seja, Dhawada, Royenja, Ghote, Beweg, Dhaman, Salai, Heans and Katli.

The sanctuary is home to a significant number of great Indian bustards. The sanctuary also is a home to the blackbuck, Chital, monkey, wolf, blue bull, wild boar, fox and hyena.

November is the ideal time to indulge in bird watching in the sanctuary as flocks of migratory birds pay visit to the place

Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary

Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary situated on the northern boundary of Mandsaur and Nimach districts in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is spread over an area of 368.62 sq. km (142.32 sq. mi) adjoining Rajasthan. It was notified in 1974 and more area was added in 1983. The Chambal River passes through the sanctuary dividing it into two parts. The western part is in Nimach district and eastern part is in Mandsaur district. Its eco-region is that of Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests.

The Sanctuary is open throughout the year. With a varied terrain of wooded hills – the forest being dry, mixed and deciduous- and flat grasslands around Gandhi sagar dam submergence, it offers
abundant opportunities of sighting a variety of wildlife. The principal tree species found in the Sanctuary are Khair (Acacia catechu), Salai, Kardhai, Dhawda, Tendu, Palash etc.

The predominant animal species that inhabit the sanctuary are the deer, of which the most easily sighted are the chinkara or Indian gazelle, nilgai and sambar. In addition the Indian leopard, langur, Indian wild dog, peacock, otter, and Mugger crocodile are present.

Karera Wildlife Sanctuary

The Karera Sanctuary was notified in 1981 by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in accordance with the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It is spread over an area of 202 sq. km, of which as much as 146 sq. km is privately owned land. It was originally created with the aim of protecting the local population of the great Indian bustard.

The bustard, locally known as son chidiya or the golden bird and the blackbuck are the two important faunal species at the park, although bustards have not been spotted here since 1994. 245 migrant species of avifauna including pintails, terns, spoonbills and teals have been recorded at Karera.

The sanctuary contains mixed deciduous forests and acacia is the principal species. It also has river and swamp vegetation within its borders

Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary

Ken Gharial Sanctuary is a popular tourism spot near Khajuraho temples and Panna national park. It is located on the confluence of Ken river and Khudar river and spread over an area of 45.201 sq.kms. It is located in north-east of Khajuraho temples and North of Panna national park. It lies in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Panna and Ken Gharial have similar features like landscapes, vegetation, rocky outcrops, deep gorges, long canyons and waterfalls. Raneh fall is a famous tourist destination that lies in Ken Gharial Reserve area. The sanctuary is one location to see numerous gharials sun basking. Here sighting of other fauna like Spotted Deer, Wild boar, Nilgai etc, is common. In addition to this birding is also good at Ken Gharial Reserve. Here Shaheen Falcon is easily seen during visit.

Kheoni wildlife Sanctuary

Kheoni or Khinvi wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1955. The area of reserved forest is 115.320 sq km and of protected forest is 16.678 sq km and totalling to 132.778 sq km. This sanctuary houses different types of animals, birds, aquatic and lush greenery throughout. There are around 2 Lion, 8 Leopards, 70 Sambhar, 275 Chital, 163 Neelgai, 45 Chinkara and 75 Bhhendki according to 1999 census.

Narsinghgarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Narsinghgarh Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1978 under Forest Division Rajgarh Social Forestry. It is situated in Rajgarh District of Madhya Pradesh.

Narsinghgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is 57.197 Sq. km. It is home to a large variety of flora and fauna. Major animal species found here include Chital, sambar, blue bull, leopard and wild boar. It is a habitat of several local and migratory birds. Over 164 species of birds can be sighted here. The main attraction here are the peacocks.

Apart from the wide varieties of animals, bird and plants, there are a number of natural residual caves. These caves bear the ancient mural paintings of pre historic times.

National Chambal Sanctuary

National Chambal Sanctuary, also called the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 5,400 sq. km (2,100 sq. mi) tri-state protected area for the protection of the Critically Endangered
gharial, the red-crowned roof turtle and the Endangered Ganges river dolphin. Located on the Chambal River near the tripoint of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, it was first declared in Madhya Pradesh in 1978, and now constitutes a long narrow eco-reserve co-administered by the three states. Within the sanctuary, the pristine Chambal River cuts through mazes of ravines and hills with many sandy beaches.

The critically endangered gharial crocodile and the red-crowned roof turtle live here, and together with the endangered Ganges river dolphin are the keystone species of the sanctuary. Other large threatened inhabitants of the sanctuary include muggar crocodile, smooth-coated otter, striped hyena and Indian wolf.

Chambal supports 8 of the 26 rare turtle species found in India, including Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle, three-striped roof turtle and crowned river turtle. Other reptiles who live here are: Indian flapshell turtle, soft shell turtle, Indian roofed turtle, Indian tent turtle and monitor lizard.

Mammals of less concern which live here include: rhesus macaque, Hanuman langur, golden jackal, Bengal fox, common palm civet, Indian small mongoose, Indian grey mongoose, jungle cat, wild boar, sambar, nilgai, blackbuck, Indian gazelle (chinkara), northern palm squirrel, porcupine, Indian hare, Indian flying fox and hedgehog.

The National Chambal Sanctuary is listed as an important bird area (IBA) IN122 and is a proposed Ramsar site. At least 320 species of resident and migratory birds inhabit the sanctuary.
Migratory birds from Siberia form part of its rich avian fauna. Vulnerable bird species here include the Indian skimmer, sarus crane, Pallas’s fish eagle and Indian courser. The pallid harrier and lesser flamingo are near threatened. Winter visitors include black-bellied terns, red-crested pochard, ferruginous pochard and bar-headed goose. Other species include great thick-knee, greater
flamingos, darters, and brown hawk owl.

Common plants in the sanctuary include khair (Acacia catechu), palash (flame of the forest, Butea monosperma), churel (Indian elm tree, Holoptelea integrifolia), ber (Indian plum, Ziziphus mauritiana) and grassy patches on both sides of the river.

Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary

Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, covering about 1,197 sq. km (462 sq. mi), is the largest wildlife sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh. It is located in the centre of the state covering parts of Sagar, Damoh,

Narsinghpur, and Raisen Districts. It is about 90 km from Jabalpur and about 56 km from Sagar.

The flora consists of central Indian Monsoon forests, which include tropical dry deciduous forest. Major trees found are teak, saja, dhawda, sal, tendu (Coromandel ebony), bhirra (East Indian
satinwood) and mahua. In March the deciduous trees begin to shed their leaves for a hot summer season. Indian wolf is the keystone species of Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary. Other carnivores here include: Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, striped hyena, wild dog (Dhole), Bengal fox, Muggar crocodile, golden jackal, and bears. Other fauna often seen is smooth Indian otter, sloth bear and
Indian grey mongoose. Herbivores living here include: Four-horned antelope (Chousingha), nilgai (blue bull), chinkara (Indian gazelle), sambar deer, blackbuck antelope, barking deer, grey langur, rhesus macaque, Chital (spotted deer) and wild boar.

Reptile species found in Nauradehi includes monitor lizard, mugger crocodile, turtle, tortoise and snakes.

At least 150 bird species can be seen in Nauradehi. Some of the birds are king vulture, Egyptian vulture, white-rumped vulture long billed vulture, lesser adjutant stork, painted stork, open-billed stork, spotted owl, barred jungle owlet, black-shouldered kite, Indian pond heron, green sandpiper, pied myna, common myna, wood sandpiper, red-wattled lapwing, yellow wagtail, purple sunbird, white breasted kingfisher, stork-billed kingfisher, black drongo, Indian robin, long-tailed shrike, black ibis, rock pigeon, Indian peafowl, grey francolin, jungle babbler, golden oriole, spotted dove, Indian roller, magpie, paddyfield pipit, crested serpent eagle, jungle crow, green bee-eater, honey buzzard, changeable hawk eagle, shikra, paradise flycatcher, verditer flycatcher, black naped monarch, common woodshrike, plum headed parakeet, rose ringed parakeet and greater coucal. The spotted grey creeper, a rare bird, is also found here.

During winter season the sanctuary serves as the seasonal home for migratory birds, including the sarus crane.

Pachmarhi Wildlife Sanctuary

The name Pachmarhi is believed to be derived from the Hindi words Panch (“five”) and Marhi (“caves”). According to a legend, these caves were built by five Pandava brothers of Mahabharatha era during their thirteen years of exile.

Pachmarhi Sanctuary covers an area of 491.63 sq. km. As part of the larger Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve it serves as buffer zone for the Satpura National Park.

Large mammal species include tigers, leopard, wild boar, gaur (Bos gaurus), Chital deer (Axis axis), muntjac , sambar deer (Cervus unicolor), and rhesus macaques. The endemic fauna includes chinkara, nilgai, wild dogs, the Indian wolf, bison, Indian giant squirrels, and flying squirrels.

The forests are dominated by teak (Tectona grandis). They include the westernmost groves of sal (Shorea robusta), which is the dominant tree of eastern India’s forests. Other endemic vegetation includes wild mango, silver fern, jamun and arjun.

Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary

The Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary was formed in the year 1983. It consists of an area of 249 sq. km. Initially, an area of 105 sq. km. was declared as the Bandhavgarh National Park in 1968, which was extended to 448.842 sq. km. in 1982 with the inclusion of adjoining forest area. Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary was notified as part of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in 1983. It was year 1993, when Bandhavgarh National Park, Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary and the buffer zone area of park were together declared as the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger.. The Flora and fauna is similar to that of Bandhavgarh National Park.

The Sanctuary accommodates various species of animals like the Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Jackal, Wild dog, Chital, Sambhar, Nilgai, Porcupine, Chausingha, Bear etc.

Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary

An area of 344.686 square kilometres (34,468.6 ha) was set aside as a wildlife sanctuary in 1981. Since then this has been elevated to the Kuno Wildlife Division with an additional area of 900.0 square kilometres (90,000 ha) as a buffer area around the sanctuary. The park is home to many species of wild animals, including Indian wolves, monkeys, Indian leopards and nilgai.

The Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary was selected as the reintroduction site for the endangered Asiatic lion because it is in the former range of the lions before it was hunted into extinction in about 1873. It was selected following stringent international criteria and internationally accepted requirements & guidelines developed by IUCN/SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group and IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group which are followed before any reintroduction attempt anywhere in the world.

Currently the Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project is underway. The lions are to be reintroduced from Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in the  neighbouring state of Gujarat where they are currently overpopulated. This has involved the displacement of 24 villages of the Sahariya tribe who had lived in the  remote core area and have agreed to move out from the area set aside for the reintroduction of the Asiatic lions.

Feral zebu cattle roam the sanctuary, left behind by the relocated Sahariya tribal herders. The cattle are intended to serve as buffer prey for Asiatic lions,until wild prey populations are revived and self sufficient.

The Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Sheopur – Shivpuri forested landscape, which had the second largest area (6800 sq. km) amongst the surveyed sites for reintroduction of cheetahs. This site was rated high on the priority list for considering because a lot of restorative investment has already been made here for introducing the Asiatic lions. The protected area was estimated to have a current carrying capacity to sustain 27 cheetah, which could be enhanced to over 32 individuals by addition of some more forested areas (120 sq. km) to the Kuno Sanctuary and managing the surrounding 3,000 sq. km. The dispersers would not preclude the reintroduction of the Asiatic lion once the cheetah population is established and the two introductions would complement each other. Kuno offers the prospect of all the four large forest cats / felids of India to coexist as they historically did in the past.

Kuno Sanctuary acts as a buffer zone for tigers from Ranthambore National Park. Usually sub-adult male tigers who cannot establish a territory of their own after being driven out by dominant male tigers reside in buffer areas. Currently a tiger named T-38 from Ranthambore is said to be residing in Kuno Sanctuary.

 Ratapani Sanctuary

The Ratapani Sanctuary has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1976. As of March 2013, in principle approval by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has been granted for upgrading it to a status of tiger reserve. It will become a tiger reserve by the notification of the  Government of Madhya Pradesh. Located in the Raisen district of MP, in the Vindhya Mountains,it  is one of the finest teak forests in the state and is less than 50 km away from the capital city of MP, Bhopal.

A large variety of wildlife is found in the sanctuary. Some precipitous hills have cliffs; have large rock blocks and talus at the base. This unique feature provides shelter to various animals like
vultures, reptiles and small mammals.

Carnivores are the tiger, panther, wild dogs, hyena, jackal and fox and the herbivores include Chital, sambhar, blue bull, four horned antelope, languor, rhesus monkey and wild boar.
The omnivorous bear is also seen often. Smalleranimals, like squirrels, mongoose, gerbils, porcupines, hares, etc. are of common occurrence. Among reptiles, important species include different kinds of lizards, chameleon, snakes, etc. Among snakes, cobra, python, viper, krait, etc. are common.

More than 150 species of birds are seen here. A few to mention are the common babbler, crimson breasted barbet, bulbul, bee-eater, baya, cuckoo, kingfisher, kite, lark, Bengal vulture, sunbird, white wagtail, crow pheasant, jungle crow, egrets, myna, jungle fowl, parakeets, partridges, hoopoe, quails, woodpeckers, blue jay, dove, black drongo, flycatcher, flower pecker and rock pigeon

Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary

The Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary is said to be one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in India. Covering an area of approximately 1471 square kilometers, the Sanjay Dubri wildlife sanctuary is a majestic place to visit for nature lovers. It was  established in the year 1975.The Sanjay-Dubri wildlife sanctuary is blessed with a great variety of flora and fauna by the nature. The flora in Sanjay-Dubri wildlife sanctuary is dominantly the tropical dry deciduous forest. The major flora found in Sanjay-Dubri wildlife sanctuary includes Babul, Sal, Bel, Bambo, Palas, Hiwar, Bel, Bija, Khair, Tendu, Dhawda, Zizphus Helicteres, Terminenalia species, Salaia, Teak, etc

The fauna in Sanjay Dubri wildlife sanctuary is also quite remarkable. The major attraction is the Elephant. The most commonly found species include Bison, Chital, Panther, Wolf, Chausingha or the Four-horned antelope, Barking deer, Wild Dog, Sambhar, Chinkara, Nilgai, Hyaena, Wild-boar, Bear, Crocodile, etc.

Singhori Wildlife Sanctuary

The Singhori Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over a total area of 288 sq. km. Singhori Wildlife Sanctuary was created on 2nd July 1976 by The Govt. of Madhya Pradesh. The entire area of

the Singhori Wildlife Sanctuary is hilly and consists of hills, plateau, valleys, forges and at places plains. Most of the rivers flowing in this sanctuary are seasonal. There are two main streams in the
sanctuary i.e. Ghoghara River and Barna River. Bhadaria Kund in Ghoghara River is a permanent water source for the wildlife.

The forests in the Singhori Wildlife Sanctuary are of Tropical Dry deciduous types. The trees in this forest are Daora (Anogeissus latifolia), Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium), Salai (Boswellia
serrata), Khair (Acacia catechu), Saja (Terminalia alata), Tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon) also occur Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus). This area is also covered with Teak forests and Tropical Mixed deciduous forests.

Singhori Wildlife Sanctuary is the home of animal species like Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Sambhar, Chital and Wild Boar.

Son Gharial Wildlife sanctuary

Son Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1981. Its total area is 209 sq. km. and 200 metres wide strip along whole length of the river, both sides. The Son Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary stretches across much of the Son river’s length.

The forest’s boundary starts from the Bansagar dam site and ends at the Piparghar village where Son enters the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. There was a time when the Son river used to be the home of plenty of gharials. But in the recent years, this species of crocodiles has struggled for existence even in this sanctuary. Enough consciousness and conservation initiatives carried
out by the local authorities have allowed the gharials to survive in a better way. Which is why the Son Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the few places in India you will see these animals in their natural habitat.

Just like any other wildlife destination in the state, this one also has enough species to attract travellers from all parts of the world. While Chital, bison, nilgai, fox and barking deer have always been seen in this forest, the population of birds has also been increasing here for some time.

According to a recent research, the Son Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary has become the breeding ground for Indian Skimmers, a rare species of bird. Similarly, 24 new avifaunal species have made the sanctuary their home in the last few years. This indicates that the sanctuary is set to become a potential Important Bird Area (IBA) in the times to come.

Sardarpur Wildlife Sanctuary

Sardarpur Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1983. Its total area is 348 sq. km.

Sardarpur Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh containing Mixed deciduous, open teak and tropical riverine forest systems. It is also home to the Indian Leopard, Sloth bear, Wild boar, Nilgai and Chital.

Sailana Wildlife sanctuary

Located in the Sailana and Piploda blocks of Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh (M.P) spread under the area of 13 sq.kms.

This place was built to protect and promote the rarest species of birds. Sailana sanctuary is the prime habitat for Kharmour This sanctuary is home to and is named after the ‘Kharmour’ bird, a very rare species; and it is also a major stop for a wide variety of migratory birds. It is also one of the breeding habitats of Lesser Florican in India. The famous ornithologist Salim Ali visited the sanctuary and spotted 89 species of birds.

Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary

The Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1989. and is spread over a total area of 5 Ralamandal Wildlife  Sanctuary offers a wide variety of flora and fauna as a treat to your eyes. It is home to fauna species such as Leopard, Nilgai, Jarak, Bhedki (Barking Deer), Sambhar, and flora including Teak, Saja, Eucalyptus Babul and Bamboo.

Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary

Established in the year 1994, Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary lies within huge forest which is home to few of the dense plantations of Dhawa Trees and Kardhai Trees (Anogeissus Spp). Other than the Betwa River, Jamni River too flows along the Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary. Though it can’t be referred as a reserve, yet the Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary resembles a natural jungle environ which borders the Madhya Pradesh from Uttar Pradesh.

Apart from Dhawa and Kardhai Trees, few other plants which contribute to the thick plantations of Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary include Teak, Palaash and Khair.

Though one may not enjoy the pleasure of spotting tigers and leopards, one can find many interesting fauna like spotted deer, Nilgai, Peacock, Wild pig, Monkey, Jackal, Nilgai, Sloth Bear and many such species.

Around 200 bird species can be found at Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary near the river ecosystem, which includes many in-house birds and various migrants from all over the World like peafowls, peacocks, swans, black swan, Jungle Bush Quail, minivet, stork, kingfisher, owls, woodpecker, geese, collared scops owls and many more.

Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary

Established in 1975, Gangau is a mini wildlife sanctuary situated on the banks of Ken River, in Chhatarpur District, Madhya Pradesh. Spread over an area of 69 sq. km, it acts as a vital buffer for the Panna National Park. Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary is 38 km south-west of Khajuraho.

Gangau is home to a large variety of flora and fauna. The sanctuary comprises the territorial forests of the present North and South Panna Forest Division. Major animal species found here include striped hyena, Chital, sambar, langurs, Nilgai deer, Indian hare and wild boar.

Veerangana Durgawati Wildlife Sanctuary

Veerangana Durgawati Sanctuary, established in 1997, is located in Damoh District of Madhya Pradesh and covers an area of 24 sq kms.

The Fauna of this sanctuary include tiger, panther, spotted deer, sambar deer, four horned antelope, wild boar, nilgai and barking deer. Bird species include peacock, spur fowl, snipe, bar-headed goose, pin tail and dotted snake bird.

Adventure Tourism in Madhya Pradesh

Patalpani, Indore, MP
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What do tourists look for on their adventure holiday? Do they prefer nature walks, exploring monuments or indulge in a bumpy jeep safari ride? Do they want to trek to the top of mountains, breathe in the pristine air? Or would they want  to  spend a night under the star lit sky in the middle of wilderness away from the bustle of modern cities?

Then the terrains of Madhya Pradesh can serve as a wondrous gateway for adventure lovers to pump up their adrenaline. Perhaps Madhya Pradesh is one of those places in India where you can spot a tiger, a half arm distance away. Take part in offbeat activities like river rafting, zip-lining, jumping, and sliding, there is something for everyone here.

Many people visit Madhya Pradesh solely for heritage and culture the cities possess. But, For those, who like their trip full of thrills, should pack their bags and head out to Madhya Pradesh. The diverse landscapes offer a lot of opportunities to the adrenalin junkies who are eager to engage in adventure activities ranging across land, air and water. Mentioned below are some adventure ideas that tourists can enjoy on a trip to MP.


Image Credit: travelnewsdigest

Trekking in Madhya Pradesh gives a traveller ample time to explore the vivid scenery, abundant wildlife, a deep sense of spirituality and the thrill of adventure that the state offers.  A seat of learning, culture, history and art, undoubtedly the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh beckons trekkers from far and wide. With so much to see and explore in this heartland, it can be taken for granted that the place would make the adventurer happy.

With nine national parks to its name, it is not only the jungles and wildlife of Madhya Pradesh which beckon trekkers from across the globe. There are many forts and stunning landscapes that would impress a traveller.

In all its contrasts, Madhya Pradesh is truly a place where trekkers would have a mind blowing experience.

Trekking in Madhya Pradesh is all about exploring new archaeological sites, jumping on the craggy pathways, making a way between the hills and, of course, to gain spirituality quotient. The heart of India, Madhya Pradesh is bestowed with a myriad of landscapes and historical architectures that lures tourists from across the world to visit here. Each and every trek of the state has something exciting to offer.

Whether the tourist is an avid trekker or a first-time visitor, trails in Madhya Pradesh offers amazing trekking experience. If you are a photography enthusiast, then these trails will give ample number of opportunities to click the best shots.

Best treks in Madhya Pradesh are the Kanha Trek, Pachmarhi Trek and the Amarkantak Trek.

The Kanha trek takes the tourist one step closer towards the  jungle and a chance to spot the tiger are high.

Home to the Bengal Tigers, the famous Kanha National Park, and an adventurer could enjoy trekking and go on expeditions and safaris. Who knows, a Madhya Pradesh trekking tour in the wild may just bring you in close contact with the real Sher Khan of the jungle.

Pachmarhi trek is a must visit expedition as it unravels the marvels of nature. Pachmarhi is a never-ending outdoor adventure play-ground. The hill resort of Pachmarhi lies in the Satpura
ranges, at an altitude of 1,067 meters. The place is surrounded by low lying rugged hills, ravines, beautiful forests, 12 breathtaking waterfalls, serene pools and quiet glades.
Pachmarhi is a true trekker’s Paradise!

Amarkantak is a good place to go for weary souls sick of city life and on the lookout for an extended weekend getaway. It offers a respite to tired minds. The charming destination at a height of about 1,000 m marks the source of the three mighty rivers of central India ‘ the Narmada, Sone and the Johila. If you are yearning to spend some time in the cradle of nature, pack your bags and hop on to the next train bound for Amarkantak.

Bhimbetka Caves are among the most famous destinations in the nation. The caves happened to be the abodes of pre-historic man amid the Paleolithic period.. The remarkable claim to fame lies in the way that the majority of these works of art are still in a condition sufficient to be studied on. It is surely also a famous spot for trekking and the difficulty level isn’t that hard to beat.

Raisen is about 24 KM from Bhopal and is known for the Raisen stronghold and the Durgah of Raisen. Raisen fort is located on the highest point of a slope with a couple of royal residences, temples and various wells inside Raisen fort.It is a great place to visit for trekking enthusiasts furthermore a chronicled spot that you should certainly visit.

Ginnorgarh is a fortress that is located on a separated slope around 1127 m high. Ginnorgarh post is around 65 km from Bhopal and 3 km from Delawadi. The Fort was at one time a fortress of Gonds, however it fell to Dost Mohammad of Bhopal State. The experience of trekking towards the fort is totally fun but challenging as well.

Go on a trekking trip to Madhya Pradesh, embrace the beauty of the gorgeous Madhya Pradesh at its best and experience the deeply rooted traditions the state holds on to. Trekking in Madhya Pradesh is a pleasure for every tourist that can’t be easily described in words.

Pachmarhi the Trekker’s Paradise

Best Places for Trekking

 River Rafting

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Itching for some adrenalin rush? Go river rafting in Madhya Pradesh. Rafting through the wild waters of Madhya Pradesh is an experience of a lifetime.

In Madhya Pradesh, the river rafting can be best experienced on the gushing rapids of Betwa River. The flow of the river will take tourists to the weirdest, wildest and wackiest areas of the Madhya Pradesh, some of the best places in the state to spot rich flora and fauna.

Rafters encounter the best of Betwa River in all its glory. The 3 hours river rafting expedition will take one to the Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary, further downstream to the Kanchan Ghat.

At a distance of 1.5 km from Orchha Fort, Rafting in Betwa River is one of the top things to do in Orchha. Orchha is one of the top heritage destinations in Madhya Pradesh and also a top
rafting destination in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Also known as the Vetravati, the Betwa rises in the Vindhya Range just north of Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh and flows north-east through Madhya Pradesh and Orchha to Uttar Pradesh. The challenge of a turbulent current is no less than that of the rough landscapes. Nestled in the lap of lush greenery and massive cenotaphs, Orchha’s mighty river Betwa swift right from the Vindhya Range and empties itself into the Yamuna. The river is wide and its placid flow is intermittently broken by Grade I to Grade II rapids and gives another reason to adventure lovers to experience world’s most lovable water adventure.

The safari, after negotiating the rapids, moves to Shiv Ghat, 3 km downstream of Kanchan Ghat.

When not riding the rapids, tourists will see gigantic architectures and statues from the rich history of India, positioned on the edges of the Betwa River. Now, don’t wait further and go with the flow. It’s simple and relaxing and the waves are good.

The more intrepid can carry on for the second leg of the safari, which covers another 5 km up to Note Ghat. Soon the Betwa is joined by the Jamuni River, resulting in more water volume, faster speed and thrilling rapids. 

Best Place for Rafting

Rock Climbing

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Rock climbing is one of those experiences that is gaining momentum in Madhya Pradesh. The sedimentary nature of Lanjee Giri in Panchmarhi serves as the perfect place for adventurers  to

experience climbing in Madhya Pradesh.

Panchmarhi’s beauty is breathtaking, and the experience of climbing in such vibrant topography is something that an avid enthusiast shouldn’t miss out on. Here, the rock formations are unique and those who are new to the activity can also experience the novelty of climbing.

There are a number of multi-pitch climbs possible on good sandstone in the area. Many cliffs here still await a first ascent. There are also some locations in Orchha, Gwalior,Chanderi and Jabalpur
which host ideal spots for Rock Climbers. So what are you waiting for? Pack your gear and get going!!

Best Places for Rock Climbing


Want to fly free like a bird in the sky? Parasailing as fun as its sounds, is safe as well. It makes one feel like a bird, soaring up above the landscapes.

Parasailing in Madhya Pradesh fills every heart with thrill, vigour and excitement. It is perhaps the most endearing activity that can be best
experienced in MP.

Just imagine,flying like a bird over the historical monuments, waterfalls and lush green scenery around. The sport lets one explore a different side of MP.

This exhilarating air sport is widely practiced in the Panchmarhi region in Madhya Pradesh. Parasailing in Madhya Pradesh is must to try for all at least once in their lifetime. The activity is great fun for all.

Best Places for parasailing

 Hanuwantiya Island

Picturesque Hanuwantiya Island

The Backwaters of the Indira Sagar Dam form a huge lake on the river Narmada, creating  an enormous potential for tourism development. Realizing this fact, the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department took up an initiative to develop the island of Hanumantiya or Hanuwantiya to attract adventure seeking tourists to this region.

Jal Mahotsav – A festival of tourism, a unique  Initiative of the  Department of Tourism, Govt. of MP, occurs annually in the lap of picturesque Hanuwantiya Island. The vivid beauty of the place complements the joy that lies in experiencing the spirit of adventure in its totality.

Flying above the sparkling waters or speeding through it, India’s one of its kind water festival has an array of land, water and air adventure activities all set on one canvas called Jal Mahotsav. The festival is also a cultural representation of Madhya Pradesh – a culture that represents vibrancy, rich heritage and not to miss out, sumptuous food!

An unexplored and potential adventure tourism hub and spread over an expanse of over 61,600 sq. km, The Indira Sagar Lake has over 100 islands featuring wildlife. All islands are accessible
by a speed boat, which takes over 45 minutes one way. Island of Hanuwantiya is a unique combination where all land, air and water-based adventure sports can be conducted.

To the adventurous spirit, Hanuwantiya Island offers vivid choices ranging from High adrenalin Pumping activities to the more relaxing and tranquil pastimes, Getting a Bird’s eye view of the serene vistas by taking a trip in a Hot air Balloon, Para-rotoring, Para-sailing, from both land as well as the waters, Jet skiing in the Sparkling waters of the Narmada,  feeling the thrill of Powered paragliding, Bouncing along on the Banana boat ride, Zorbing in the water, Trekking in the Woods of the islands spread out over the backwaters,  Speed boat rides. Staying in tents, Houseboats, exploring culture of surrounding villages. cycling, kite-flying, camping, wind surfing, bird watching, trekking, Yoga, night camping, to even scuba Diving and a sea plane!

Exploring the multihued allures of Madhya Pradesh is a fascinating experience. So, take a trip to Madhya Pradesh and enjoy the trip with a difference.



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