6 Tiger Reserves in Madhya Pradesh That Are Open To Explore

by Latika Srivastava

Did you know that the ‘Heart of India’ is Madhya Pradesh? Why you ask? It is because, it is located in the central province or geographically in the heart of India.  It is the second-largest state of India (by area) and fifth largest by population. Given its longitudinal and latitudinal stretch, the state has many features that make it rich and resourceful. It has the country’s largest diamond and copper reserves and rich mineral resources. Some of the best temples and historical monuments of India are in MP. India’s major wildlife sanctuaries are also here and more than 30% of the state is covered in forests.

Madhya Pradesh has the largest amount of wildlife in India. There are 10 national parks, 6 Tiger Reserves, and 25 wildlife sanctuaries. More than 20% of India’s tigers reside here. Hence, it is the Tiger State of India. Along with it being the national animal of India, the tiger is also the national animal of Bangladesh, Malaysia, and South Korea. 

 In India, there are about 50 Tiger Reserves, but nothing beats the majestic Madhya Pradesh Wildlife. The six Tiger Reserves in the state are Kanha Tiger Reserve, Pench Tiger Reserve, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Panna Tiger Reserve, Satpura Tiger Reserve, and Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve. Amongst the six, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, and Panna are the best tiger reserves belonging to the Madhya Pradesh Wildlife.

Tigers are the most charismatic breed of cats and spotting them is sheer joy. If you are planning a trip to enjoy wildlife safari or specifically tiger spotting, then read further to learn more about the Tiger Reserves of Madhya Pradesh Wildlife.

6 Tiger Reserves that contribute to Madhya Pradesh’s wildlife

1.Kanha Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh wildlife

Kanha is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India. It was declared a National Park in 1955 and recognized as a Reserve Forest in 1879, . Then in the year 1973, it was declared a Tiger Reserve. It is spread across an area of around 1949 sq. km of wilderness, located in the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh.

Along with the mighty tigers, the reserve also has the barasingha, chital, sambar, barking deer, chousingha, gaur, langur, wild pig, sloth bear, and panthers to name a few. Its flora and fauna are as vast as the wildlife inhabitants and has over 600 different species of flowers. 

With all modern facilities and infrastructure for tourists, the reserve is very well developed. The best time to visit is between November and March, when the days are nice and bright and the nights are crisp.  Both elephant and jeep safari are exciting ways to explore the forest. 

The Dept of Tourism, Govt. of India awarded the Kanha National Park as the Best Tourism Friendly National Park. It is one of the most well maintained parks in Asia.

2. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh wildlife

In 1993, Bandhavgarh forest was declared a Tiger Reserve. Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, this forest had become a National Park in 1968 when the Maharaja of Rewa had surrendered the forest to the state for its formation. This is one forest that has a mention in the Hindu mythology,The Ramayana. Lord Rama gifted the fort of the Vindhya ranges to his brother Lakshmana. Hence the name Bandhavgarh – Bandhav meaning brother and Garh meaning fort.

The best Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh is Bandhavgarh. In fact, the majestic white tiger, Mohan, was found here. Also along with tigers, many other animals also live here including the nilgai and striped hyenas. The best time to visit this forest is winters – October to March.

Tourists visiting the Madhya Pradesh Wildlife reserve can also visit the Khajuraho monuments, which is about 300 km from the forest and is one of the most famous historical monuments of Madhya Pradesh. UNESCO has recognized Khajuraho as a heritage site and lists it among the top seven wonders of India. 

3.Pench Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh wildlife

Pench Tiger Reserve got its name from the River Pench which flows through the forest, dividing it into two parts. The famous story ‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling mentions this park. This made the reserve world-famous and since then has been a favorite amongst tourists, both from India as well as around the world. The famous characters of the book – Akela (the Indian Wolf), Raksha (the female Wolf), Baloo (Sloth Bear), and Sher Khan (Royal Bengal Tiger) are all found here. 

The Pench Tiger Reserve spreads across 758 sq. km of sprawling wilderness. However, since 1965, this forest has been home to various animals, beautiful plants, insects, and other wildlife creatures.

Pench Tiger Reserve is the first park that shares two states;Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The portion that falls in the state of MP is bigger and famous, as compared to the latter.

Trail of Vindhyas

4.Panna Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh wildlife

Panna Tiger Reserve was the fifth reserve of Madhya Pradesh and the 22nd of India. Situated in the Vindhyan Ranges, it spreads over the Panna and Chattarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh.  

Formed in 1981, the Government of India recognized the national park as a Tiger Reserve in 1994. Erstwhile rulers of Panna, Chattarpur, and Bijwar used this sanctuary as their hunting ground. Sadly, this led to the diminishing of the number of tigers from the forest, and later poaching ensured that tigers get extinct from the park. The Ken river flows through the reserve and is home to crocodiles and muggers, amongst many other aquatic creatures and species. It adds immense beauty to the Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh Wildlife sanctuary. 

5.Satpura Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh wildlife

The Satpura Tiger Reserve is located in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. Sprawled across 2133.307 sq. km, this Tiger Reserve is a combination of Bori and Pachmarhi Wildlife Sanctuaries. For the tourists, the reserve offers interesting ways to explore the forest. They can opt for the jeep safari, elephant safari, walking safari, canoeing to name a few. Established in 1981, it is one of the most silent and calm national parks in India.

Satpura National Park received the award for the Most Visitor Friendly wildlife destination by the TOFT Wildlife Tourism Award in 2010.

6. Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh wildlife

This is the smallest Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh Wildlife, spread across an area of 831 sq.km. Situated in the Siddhi district, it is one of the lesser-explored reserves. Sanjay National Park and the Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary together formed the park.

Along with the magnanimous tigers, the reserve is also home to Indian Leopard, Civet, Nilgai and 150+ species of mammals, birds, and aquatic animals. There is also a high density of Sal and Bamboo trees in the forest.

Well, wildlife lovers must waste no time to enjoy all that the Madhya Pradesh wildlife has to offer. To plan that much awaited trip, Hire a Scout and travel confidently.

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