Pench National Park is located in the magical land of Madhya Pradesh which falls in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara bordering Maharashtra. Rose from the status of sanctuary to national park, it snuggled in the lower southern region guarded with the hilly topography and with assorted teak forested area widely found in this region, it reaches Satpura hills which are named after the River Pench, flowing through the centre park from North to South direction and is a lifeline of Pench Tigers. Being one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in India which attracts flocks of wildlife enthusiasts every year, it possesses a rich biodiversity along with the buffer area and offers the visitor to splurge in one of the splendid adventures in India.
Central India boasts of the Pench tiger reserve that lies nestled among the serene mountains of the Satpura range. Though not as famous as Bandhavgarh or Kanha, the other national parks in M.P., Pench tiger reserve has a loyal fan following. The Pench river that flows in the region has the Meghdoot dam built over it at Totladoh. This dam is responsible for the creation of 72 sq. km. water body, shared by the two bordering states, M.P. (54 sq. km.) and Maharashtra (18 sq. km.).
Royal Bengal Tigers are the major attractions of the Pench tiger reserve. As per the last census report, the tiger population in reserve ranges between 53 to 75, with around 80 more tigers dwelling in the reserve area. So, it is no wonder that the enchanting and engaging tale of Mowgli and his adversary Sher Khan was inspired by this magnificent forest. Thanks to the forest officials' excellent and consistent conservation efforts, Pench has earned the reputation of one of the well-managed parks in M.P. With BBC’s documentary “Tiger - Spy in The Jungle” on the Pench tiger reserve, the reserve gained more popularity. Captain J. Forsyth, a naturalist, also wrote extensively about the Satpura region's nature reserves, attracting the attention of several wildlife enthusiasts.
Pench National Park has a rich and vivid historical past. It finds mention in the 16th-century document (Ain-i-Akbari) written by Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak. “The Jungle Book,” an immensely popular and much-loved wildlife novel by Rudyard Kipling, is based on Pench. The story of Mowgli was inspired by a real story prevalent in the region. In 1831, a child who had grown up with wolves in Satbavadi village near Seoni was arrested. This led Sir William Henry Sliman to write “An account of wolves’ nurturing children in their dens,” which probably led to the inception of “The Jungle Book.” All your beloved characters from the book can be seen alive in the vast expanse of Pench national park.
Located in the heart of India, Pench national park covers the Chhindwara and Seoni districts of M.P., with some parts falling in the neighboring state, Maharashtra. The tribal forest area was initially declared a sanctuary, and a decade later, it was acknowledged as a national park. Since the tiger population in the forest was in good numbers, itbecame a part of the Project Tiger and has been known as Pench tiger reserve since then. Covering approximately 758 sq. km., the Pench national park comprises a core Tiger reserve zone covering around 293 sq. km. and 118 sq. km. Mowgli Pench wildlife sanctuary. The Pench river divides the park into roughly equal eastern and western zones. The sanctuary is home to various wild animals, including several endangered species. It has around 10 villages, 1 within and 9 bordering the park.
Forests & Wildlife
Though Pench National Park looks very similar to the classic tale, it actually is more than that. The national park is home to flora species like Mahua, White Kulu, Salai, Saja, Bijiyasal, Dhaora, Amaltas and many other. Apart from trees, the park is filled with grasslands, plants and saplings.
Pench National Park is a residence of a great variety of wildlife. The place is an abode of real Sher Khans (Bengal Tigers) accompanied by Chital, Jungle Cat, Wolf, Indian Leopard, Gaur, Four-horned Antelope, Sloth Bear and many other wildlife. Also a great variety of birds like Crow Pheasant, Peafowl, Pintail, Lesser Whistling Teal, Indian Roller, Wagtail, Munia, Waterfowl, Blue Kingfisher, Crimson-Breasted Barbet, Red-Vented Bulbul are found here.
The Pench National Park is open from 1st October to 30th June every year. Safari at Pench is conducted in both morning and evening. The safari timings depend on the zone you have chosen, and the season you are going in. Here is a concise view of the timings, including the entry and exit timings:
Normal safari :
Jeep safari accommodating a maximum of 6 people is available in morning and evening shifts. Though usually, entire jeeps are booked, sometimes, single-seat booking is also available. However, in the latter case, you will not be picked from your resort but need to reach the safari gate on your own. If the total number of passengers in the single-seat booking is less than six, the cost for jeep safari will be divided among the tourists equally.
Tatkal safari :
These safaris are available in premium zones. Since this safari is available only against the cancellation of pre-booked safaris, there is no fixed number of vehicles. The quota opens at 17:00 hours every day for the next day morning and evening safaris. The cost of this safari is more than normal or prebooked safaris. Your last minute plan to travel is no more disappointing as you have the way in the form of Tatkal. Tatkal safari booking is an instant solution for travelers. It has limited windows for booking. Despite the high price, here you are surefire a safari drive even if you book at the last minute.
Premium safari :
This safari is available for the entire day, allowing you to explore all zones of Pench National Park in a day. However, the cost of the premium safari is high as these are not restricted to a specific zone. Premium safari will give you full privilege to visit in your desirable zones. Premium Safari is mostly in demand for the hardcore wanderlusts and perfect and better organized. Premium safari facilities are wide so price is a bit higher than normal safari which is value for money. This form of safari is personal setting tour for you.
Elephant safari :
This safari is permitted only on the Maharashtra side of Pench. The ticket costs INR 1,000 per person. The total capacity of an elephant safari is 4 members apart from a Mahout and a guide. The guide charges are separate. The duration of this safari is for an hour and can be best enjoyed from October to February. This mode of safari is one of the best and few tourist’s first choice. (Pench Elephant Safari currently is not available).
Night safari :
This safari is available from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (time varies) only in the Wolf Sanctuary zone (Rukhad & Khawasa). Since it is a buffer zone, it is open throughout the year. With two water bodies, sighting leopard, jackal, wolves, tigers, or nocturnal birds is more. The approximate entry fee is INR 9500 for jeep entry (maximum six people) for the vehicle, permit and guide. Only three vehicles are allowed to enter the zone for night safari. Tourists has to reach safari gate by own.
Safari Timing : -
Morning Jeep: 6.00 A.M to 11.00 A.M. (entry allowed until 8.00 a.m.)
Afternoon Jeep: 3.00 P.M. until 6.00 P.M (entry allowed until 4.30 p.m.)
Safari Gates & Zones-
There are 04 different zones at Pench Turia Zone, Karmajhiri Zone, Wolf Sanctuary, Rukhad Zone, Jamtara Zone National Park for doing the Jeep Safari rides. Limited Jeeps are permitted to enter the National Park in each shift. This has been done to avoid overcrowding inside the national Park. Therefore it is advisable to book safari rides in advance to avoid any chance of unavailability.
Receiving heavy rainfall, Pench National Park is lined with beautiful Sal trees throughout. The leaves of Sal are good quality fodder, while the fruits are heavy on the nutritional value. Besides Sal, the park is home to the rare Crocodile Bark, also known as Saja or Ain.
Terminalia Arjun can also be found here in large numbers near water sources and is distinguished by the thick girth. Numerous other species like Terminalia Chibula, Billerica, and Axle Wood or Dhaoda are also shaded within the bounds of the park.
Find stunning, vibrant flowers like Amaltas and Flame of The Forest (Butea frondosa), while the trees of Baja, Haldu, and Jamun (Black plum) stand guard.
The park is home to a large variety of fascinating animals like Bison, Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Dog, and Wild Pig. Other animals that the park shelters are predators like Leopard and Wolf, while species like Barking Deer, Chinkara, Hyena, Porcupine, Jungle Cat, Palm Civet, Fox and countless more can be spotted here.
If that sounds impressive, have a look at the species of various birds that grace the interiors of the park- Malabar Pied Hornbill, White-eyed Buzzard, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, and Indian Pitta. It is a true paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers alike.
Migratory birds like the Brahmini Duck, Coots, and Bar-headed Geese, and endangered species of vultures greet you. There are more than 50 species of fishes, 30 reptiles, numerous kinds of butterflies, moths and amphibians in the park.
Rukhad Cycling Excursion :
Another attraction is the cycling excursion from Rukhad sanctuary that is situated in the buffer zone of Pench National Park. It is a thrilling adventure of spotting wildlife and enjoying the natural beauty. Rukhad was one of the most popular forests for sighting wild animals. Being a part of the famous Kanha-Pench Tiger Corridor, Rukhad, though not a national park, still boasts of magnificent teak and bamboo forests and has a large number of gaurs, tigers, leopards, bears and other animals.The cycling expedition starts at around 8 A.M. and covers a distance of 22 kms finishing at Sakata Forest Rest House.
RuniJhuni Walking Trail :
RuniJhuni walking trail inside the Pench National Park, from Karmajhiri gate, is a 3-4 kms nature trail.Itprovides a perfect opportunity to tourists to experience nature and wild life from very close quarters. Accompanied by experienced naturalists, this walking trail ensures a detailed understanding of nature and the various flora and fauna. Alarm calls, fresh animal tracks, including tiger pug marks, can be sightedduring the jungle walk. Langurs, deers, wild boars, jungle fowls, a variety of birds are the main attractions of this walking trail.
Boating Near the Pench Dam :
The Kamthikhairy Dam or the Pench Dam is an earth-fill dam on the Pench River. It is situated inside the Pench National Park and most of the wildlife is found around this water-body as the animals come near the dam to drink water. In the summer season, the Pench River dries out leaving behind small pools of water that are locally known as ‘doh’ or ‘khassa’. The Pench Reservoir which is at the center of this park is the only major water source here. Tourists have the opportunity to view several species of waterbirds while enjoying a ride in their pedal-boats, row-boats and motor-boats. This place is a must visit place for every bird lover who must not forget to carry their binoculars for a memorable experience.
Visiting Kohka Lake :
Kohka Lake is one of the less explored beautiful landmarks near the Pench National Park. From Turia or Kohka, one can easily reach to this lake via cycle, jeep or even by foot. Having a look at the beautiful sunset and a view of the lush green fields the lake is home to several species of colorful birds. Blended with nature it gives you an opportunity to explore the great outdoors at popular Kokha Lake during your vacation in Avarghani Pench. Please add it to your itinerary and make some time to see the monuments while you are in the area. It is really a heartfelt place to be discovered once while visiting Pench National Park.
Tribal Bazaar and Haat
Tourists can go on a shopping spree by taking a guided tour by foot or a bicycle ride to the local villages and weekly haats (bazaars). Bazaars are organized on various days at different locations. Beautifully designed handicrafts and local products can be purchased. Sellers oblige the tourists with a cup of piping hot tea. These Haats are away from the hustle and bustle of the city the local villages of Pench Such as Vijaypani, Badalpar, Khamba and Belpath and weekly Haat bazaars offer unique experiences to the tourists which can never be found anywhere else for sure. Village tour and Haat exploration is one of the must do tourist activities.
Best Time to Visit
The Pench National Park, geographically located in the Central part of India, faces extreme and tropical weather.Therefore, the sanctuary is open from October to June every year. However, during the monsoon season, a few buffer zones in the Maharashtra side of the park remain open.As with most parks in central India, the best time to visit Pench National Park is during the winter season.
The Park is open from mid-October and can be visited at this time as the number of visitors is less.The peak visitor season is between November and February,when the weather is most pleasant. The temperature during this time remainsbetween 14º C to 30º C. However, the early mornings and evenings,especially in the months of December & January,might be cold. There are chances of temperatures going extremely low and frost setting in, so traveling with a little bit of warm clothing might be required. The dense vegetation is comparatively sparse and makes wildlife spotting much easier. More than 200 species of beautiful birds have been spotted in Pench.
January to April is the time to spot many migratory and local aviary populations like the grey-headed fishing eagle, Malabar pied hornbill, Indian pitta, coots, bear-headed geese, peafowl, kingfishers, crimson-breasted barbets,to name a few. Owl breeding is very popular here, but sighting owls during the day or even during the sunset safari is a rare sight. Winter is also the best time to view flourishing flora, includingmore than 1300 species of rare medicinal plants, ghost treesor White Kulu, bamboo, teak, and several other varieties.
From March, the vegetation starts to lose its natural color. However, the chance of spotting tigers increases multifold from March to May.This is because in the scorching heat,the grass dries up, and there islesswater availability. The likelihood of seeing these animals around remaining water sources therefore increases. However, the temperature at this time may reach 42ºC, and safaris can be hot and uncomfortable.Therefore, while visiting Pench during the summer season, wear light-colored clothes in cotton or linen. Carrying a water bottle to prevent dehydration is also important. Though the weather starts improving in June, the heat can still be grueling, and not many tourists visit at this time. Moreover, the monsoon season is about to set in by this time, and safari becomes difficult.
The monsoon season starts in this area around the second week of June. The sanctuary receives moderate to heavy rainfall, and this is the breeding season for animals. However, soft rain showers can turn into heavy storms easily. Thus, the park area that falls in the state of Madhya Pradesh is closed during the rainy season (July-September). The park's beauty is at its epitome, and after the monsoonseason, the sanctuary becomes lush green to welcome visitors again from October.
How To Reach
By Air :
The nearest Airport for Pench National Park is in Nagapur which is 78Kms from Pench. One can get regular flights for Nagpur from all major airports of India.
By Rail :
The nearest railway stations for Pench National Park in Seoni which is 72 km (1-hour drive) from Pench.
By Road :
Pench National Park is well connected from the nearby towns & cities like Nagapur & Seoni.
Hotels In Pench National Park
The moment you choose Pench National Park as your next travel destination, you become entitled for an amazing luxurious stay in the wild. There are numerous resorts and hotels in Pench that are located nearby the park. As per you safari zone, you can choose your choice of accommodation in Pench National Park. Pench Jungle Camp, Tiger Corridor Resort, Village Resort, Pench Tree Lodge, Nagzira Nature Camp, Jungle Home Pench, and Tiger Valley Resort are few popular names in the list of hotels and resorts in Pench National Park. However, with your wildlife tour package, you can also consider us book your accommodation and that too at great deals and discounts.