Panna National Park
Situated just 31 kilometres from the world-famous town of Khajuraho, Panna National Park is located on the banks of the River Ken in the Vindhya Hills. Panna National Park is the most important protected area in the north-central highlands of India as it links the eastern and western populations of wild animals through the Vindhya Ranges.
Tigers in particular are making a resurgence in this area due to a breeding program which saw tigers re-introduced here from nearby reserve Madhya Pradesh. Due to illegal poaching, the population had sadly dwindled but now there are over 35 tigers that live in Panna, so the chances of spotting one of India’s famed stripy cats are fairly high.
Panna National Park is an attractive expanse of nature, spread predominantly over a plateau with deep ravines, thick teak forests as well as mixed dry deciduous forests, grasslands and open woods. Lower altitudes are characterised by taller grasses and closed woodlands. In addition to spotting tiger, visitors may also see leopard, wolf, hyena, jackal and the sloth bear. The reserve is also well known for sightings of nilgai, sambar, chital, wild boar and Indian crocodile.
Aside from animal spotting the park contains some impressive waterfalls. The River Ken, flowing through the park, collides with the River Khudda and produces Raneh Falls – a 30 metre deep cascade of water backed by pink-hued crystalline granite. Visitors might also be interested to see the Ken Gharial Sanctuary and learn about the animal conservation work they do here which helps protect the park. In this natural habitat, visitors can often see reptiles resting on the sand banks including the native Gharial crocodilian which grows up to six metres long and has a diet of fish.
Most visitors take the traditional route of a jeep safari through the wilderness of Panna National Park, but boat safaris are also available where aquatic life and birds can be viewed on Tadoba lake. Boat safaris also give the opportunity to spot wildlife who come to the shore to drink.
The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
G. K. Chesterton
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