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Kanha National Park

One of three sanctuaries in India's "tiger territory", on the eastern flank of Madhya Pradesh, 945-square-kilometre Kanha (with additional 1,000-square-kilometre buffer zone) started life as a wilderness used by the British for shooting tiger and other game. The country is rolling and varied, with dense forests of sal, wide meadows and clumps of bamboo.

Best known for its enchanting scenery, Kanha represents nature at its finest and those who visit will most likely return having fallen in love with this stunning region. Once a hunter's paradise, the park was created in 1955, since when rigorous conservation programs to protect its fauna & flora and wildlife have made Kanha one of the most well maintained national parks in Asia. This is prime tiger land and the epitome of Kipling country, thick with tall sal jungles, rivers and large open grass meadows. Kahna is also home to the world’s most endangered deer, the ‘hardground barasingha’, which are only found in the wild in Kanha.

The population of wild Bengal tigers is reasonably healthy, attracted by the large numbers of deer grazing in the river valleys, and with luck and patience it is possible to see leopards and sloth bears (Baloo!). More common sights are gaur, or Indian bison, blue cows and swamp, mouse and spotted deer, and dhole or Indian wild dogs, hunting in packs. The Banjar River is a haven for paradise flycatchers, kingfishers, golden orioles, bee-eaters and numerous water birds.

As well as 4x4 jeep safaris, walking safaris are also available at Kanha, ideal for adventurers looking for a closer communion with nature and a good opportunity to get acquainted with the park’s smaller creatures. A breakfast trip to the old airstrip used by the Maharajas and their guests, at the highest point in the park is a must for stunning views over the vast expanse of this stunning region.

You can also visit a tribal village on the periphery of Kanha National park, which is like taking a step back in time. Gond and Baiga are the two prominent tribes of the area – hunter–gatherer, forest-dwelling communities coexisting with nature in harmony.

Kanha can be reached from Raipur (250 kms) and Nagpur airports (300 kms) but combining your trip with the more accessible Bandhavgarh or Pench reduces journey times and lets you to experience the unique qualities and contrasts of each park.

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