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Pench Tiger Reserve

Wild dogs hunting in Pench © Meethil Momaya

© TOFTigers library

© Karan Verma

© Ajay Bhavre

Pench Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

The evidence is undeniable, the feeling palpable, as you drive down the dusty dirt tracks, that around every corner a drama will unfold, a glimpse caught, a movement spotted. The sun-dappled forest floor is alive with spotted deer. Vast herds also gather on the shorelines of the park’s reservoir, offering a smorgasbord of food for Pench’s hungry carnivores that include leopards, wild dogs and tigers (thought to be close to 65). The remarkably unshy tigress, Collarwali, who has nurtured 20 cubs in five litters and whose mother was featured in the BBC’s Spy in the Jungle series is a treat to spot. It was here that Rudyard Kipling chose to base his story of the wolf boy Mowgli. However, it wasn’t until 1992 that Pench was included under the umbrella of Project Tiger. Today, the Reserve covers districts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The park is predominantly a teak forest, but other hardwoods and flowering trees support a rich and diverse array of birdlife too. ... Local villagers, mostly Gonds, will tell you about their local god, Mansingh Deo. He was a legendary figure who was believed to have supernatural healing powers and would ride into the local bazaar on his tiger. There are two temples dedicated to him, the Chhota Mansingh and Bada Mansingh temples which are worth a visit. The park has three tourism zones: Touria, Karmajhiri and Jhamtara.
Seeking a tiger doggedly can cause you to miss the whine of the cicada, the sight of the common butterfly or the shrill call of a crested serpent eagle. It’s India’s densest population of prey species, nearly 25,000 of them, including spotted deer, wild pig and sambar deer. In April when the Pench River dries out, the animals use dohs or perennial springs as waterholes, or crowd the shoreline and tender grasses of a receding reservoir. It acts as an artificial wetland where you can see hordes of water birds sitting on what were the tree stumps of flooded woodlands
Tiger is the main cat species but commonly seen wildlife includes chital, sambar, nilgai, wild boar and jackal. Other wild animals found are leopard, sloth bear, wild dog, porcupine, jungle cat, fox, striped hyena, herds of gaur, four- horned chowsingha and barking deer. There are more than 170 species of birds including several migratory ones. Some of them are crimson- breasted barbet, red-vented bulbul, racket-tailed drongo and magpie robin with lesser whistling teal, pintails, river terns and northern shovellers on or near water bodies.
You could visit the Kandadev, Bagdev and Kumbhababa temples that attract thousands of pilgrims every year. They give you an insight into the lives of the local people. Ramtek, about an hour away, also has temples that are over 600 years old. The old British cantonment, Kemtee and the Kalidasa memorial are other points you may want to visit at Ramtek.
Pench is a well managed park but threats include the National Highways carriageway cutting corridors to Kanha. An irrigation colony within the core area has been finally handed back to the forest authorities. This ruling by the Bombay High Court came twelve years after the first order in 2002 that said that no human settlements are permissible in the Tiger Reserve. Poaching, overgrazing and sprawling tourism present ongoing concerns. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at admin@toftindia.org. You can support: Corbett Foundation

Destination Information

How To Book

Safaris can be booked through your lodge or tour operator 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 remains open to visitors from 1st October to 15th June and is closed on Wednesdays for afternoon safaris.

Getting Around the Park

Game viewing is done in Gypsy jeeps along the reserve’s dirt roads which can be hired at the entrance or arranged by the lodge. Private vehicles are not allowed inside.

Entry Fees

Safari permit: R 250 single seat for Indian and Foreign Nationals | R 1,500 for full vehicle permit. Maximum 6 guests per vehicles. Gypsy safari: R 2,000 Guide hire: R 360
By Air:Sonegaon (70 km) By Rail / Road:Seoni (30 km) and Nagpur (70 km) are the nearest towns and railheads from where you may hire transportation
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Baghvan, A Taj Safari

Located on the edge of the Pench Tiger Reserve, Baghvan is aptly named after India’s iconic Royal Bengal Tiger.

Other Destinations To Combine

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

West India

The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is arguably one of India’s most exciting Tiger reserves,

Nagzira Tiger Reserve

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This small wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 152 sq km in the north east corner of Maharashtra

Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary

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This small wildlife sanctuary covering an area of 245 sq km in the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh

Satpura Tiger Reserve

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Satpura National Park is one of India’s finest Tiger reserves, and was the winner in 2010

Pench Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

Since 1992 Pench has been included under the umbrella of Project Tiger as the 19th Project

Kanha Tiger Reserve

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Kanha is considered by some as the India’s greatest park, an excellent habitat for many mammals

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

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Bandhavgarh is set amongst the Vindya Hills of Madhya Pradesh and consists of a core area of

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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