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Panna Tiger Reserve

Peacock portrait Panna - © Shutterstock

Happy Photographers -Shivang Mehta

Panna Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

Lush emerald green forests, deep ravines, open plateaus and cascading waterfalls welcome you into their folds. Captivated one forgets that, as with most Indian wildlife reserves, Panna too was originally a hunting reserve owned by the Maharaja of Panna. It was granted National Park status in 1981. The boundary of the 540 square kilometre park is marked by the broad and rocky River Ken which flows through the Vindhya range in Madhya Pradesh towards the Ganges, a river full of life from crocodiles that bask on its sandy banks to white -necked storks and kingfishers that fish in its waters. It’s also a park of epic and well-charted conservation struggles. Diamond and sandstone mining was gravely affecting the park and by the 1990’s it was in deep trouble. Experts turned around its fortunes by the turn of century, but by 2009 tigers were again poached to extinction. Recent relocation efforts have been remarkably successful and tiger numbers grow year on year with over 30 in...dividual adults today, many accustomed to visitors. However leopards still abound, alongside a good population of sambar deer, nilgai and spotted deer to feed this success story. According to legends, the Pandavas of the epic Mahabharata spent a part of their exile in these forests. The Pandava Falls near the park have a beautiful lake and shrines dedicated to these gods in the surrounding cliffs. Entry gates are located at Madla and Hinauta
Apart from safaris in jeeps, boat trips on the Ken River are an excellent way to view birdlife and crocodiles.
This park attracts an excellent variety of resident and migratory bird species and is particularly noted for the high density of paradise flycatchers and a good number of water birds. The park’s dense forest cover provides excellent habitat for nilgai, chinkara, sambar and chital as well as more elusive species such as the sloth bear, wolf, tiger, leopard and lesser cats. The river is home to both of India’s crocodiles, the marsh mugger and the fish eating gharial.
Take a boat along the Ken River and a walk in nearby woodland forests. Night game drives can also be arranged. Visit the local village and the Madla school to meet some of the people that make this place special. You could also perch yourself on a machaan in one of the village fields for a good vantage point to spot wildlife at dawn and dusk. Lastly ensure you plan a visit to the erotic temples of Khajaraho, just an hour away, to know why India is called the land of the Kama Sutra.
This well managed park with its recent conservation successes does not mean that authorities can get complacent. Issues arising from the needs of the people who depend on the forest for both forest products like tendu leaves and mahua fruits for alcoholic beverages as well as livestock grazing in or around the park boundaries are being addressed through awareness programmes. Forest fires cause problems during summers and illegal poaching and mining remains an ever-present threat. Plans to divert the Ken River are a major political issue at the present time. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at

Destination Information

How To Book

Safaris can be booked through your lodge or tour operators or online .

Park Timings

The Park is open for visitors for c.4.5 hours after sunrise and c.2.5 hours in the afternoon before sunset. Please check park opening times with the gate as they vary slightly between summer and winter months depending on sunrise and sunset. The Park is closed from July to October.

Getting Around the Park

The reserve does not have any transport facility for visitors. A four-wheel drive petrol vehicle is best for wildlife watching and is hired at the gate or by your lodge.

Entry Fees

Safari permits are available for Indian and Foreign Nationals at R 1,500. Gypsy (up to 8 people) R 1,500. Guide fee: R 360
By Air: Khajuraho (25 km) By Rail / Road: Jhansi (180 km), Satna (90 km), Katni (150 km) are the nearest towns and railheads.
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Tendu Leaf Jungle Resort

Situated amidst the transcendent serenity of the jungles, Tendu Leaf Jungle Resort serves as a getaway from the relentless monotony of everyday life.

Pashan Garh, A Taj Safari

Pashan Garh is built at the top of a small hill in 200 acres of wilderness adjoining Panna Tiger Reserve with far-reaching views of the tiger forest and a large waterhole that has been host to numerous big cats and antelopes.

Ken River Lodge, Pugdundee Safaris

Spread over 50 acres of woodland, the lodge is built on the banks of the wide crocodile infested Ken river and is home to Shyamendra Singh, grandson of the Maharaja of Nagod

Travel Here with the Best Travel Companies & Agents

Plan you Indian holiday, Nepal adventure, or Bhutan visit using one of a large number of the world’s best known travel companies, or Indian based agents to put your very own itinerary together. Every travel company here has committed to drive their own sustainable travel practices, seek PUG certified accommodation providers wherever possible and support our conservation efforts.

Now you can enjoy a flawless and carefree travel itinerary to many of Indian subcontinent’s greatest wilderness destinations and combine this with its rich cultural and historic heritage.

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