Panna National Park Khajuraho
Panna National Park
Panna National Park is a Tiger reserve of India, it was declared in 1994 as the 22 Tiger reserve of India and fifth in Madhya Pradesh. The park is situated in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Indian central state Madhya Pradesh, it is known worldwide for its wild cats, including tigers, deer, antelope, vultures, wolf, chinkara, cheetal and lots more. This region is substantially noticing attention for its diamond industry. Being close to Khajuraho that is only 25 km away to the park, a world heritage site which is one of the top most visiting places in India and famous for temples & erotic sculptures, it attracts visitors from Khajuraho if they willing for wildlife excursions. It has an area of 542.67 km2 (209.53 sq mi) which is vast enough to provide better comfort for wild species. The park has got the Award of Excellence in 2007 as the best maintained national park of India by the Ministry of Tourism of India, as it is notable that by 2009, forest department accomplished the aim to kick off poaching to the park. The connectivity of Panna Tiger Reserve with the other places and the condition of the roads are excellent, hence tourists from either abroad or the country feels this place a worth to visit. Though Tiger sightseeing are not very common here, one needs to be patients, getting glimpse of this big wild cat. The vegetation of this region is mixed with uneven terrain with scrubby vegetation and grass, rocky landscape gathered along with hundreds verities of trees and shrubs. One can explore Indian species of crocodiles like mugger and long snout gharial in the Ken River that flows from here toward the north harbors.
In past, Panna National Park was private hunting preserve of erstwhile rulers of Panna, Chhatarpur&Bijawar states. In 1975, Gangau wildlife sanctuary was created by comprising North & South Panna forest division. In year 1978, Gangau sanctuary was extended by inclusion of Chhatarpur Forest Division. Later in year 1981 Panna National Park was declared with inclusion of Gangausanctaury with areas of Chhatarpur division. Panna National Park is a 22nd Tiger reserve of India and fifth in Indian central state of Madhya Pradesh, once this land was a private hunting land of the royal family of Panna until India’s independence, and then the park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1981. 0n 1994 this National park was upgraded into a Tiger Reserve with inclusion of some other wildlife sanctuary liklGangau WLS, Panna National Park & Ken Gharia wildlife sanctuary. Pandav caves in Panna is mentioned in the great epic of Hindus ‘Mahabharata’ that Pandavas spent a long time of their exile in this forest of Panna.
In March 2009 two female tigers were brought here from Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park, however, when last male tiger disappeared, a committee took place to observe the reason of disappearance. Horrible result came out when in June 2009 it was officially announced that the Reserve, where had over 40 tigers six years ago, has no tiger left except to only two tigresses arrived here a while ago. In an instant being worried about of this debacle, Ministry of Environment and Forest taken a decision in June 2009, to relocate two tigers and two tigresses to the reserve. A young tiger male was moved from Pench Tiger Reserve but strayed out of the park shortly thereafter; in November 2009 It was brought back to the park about a month later. A tigress, translocated from Bandhavgarh National Park, gave birth to three cubs in April 2010. However, these cubs were killed by their father, possibly as a result of interventions by a monitoring team. The second tigress, translocated from Kanha National Park gave birth to two cubs several months later. A third tigress was translocated to Panna from Kanha in March 2011.
HOW TO REACH
Reaching Panna National Park is no tough task, there is several ways to get into this place, the conditions of the Roads which connects other major places to this Park, are very good. Here are three common ways to reach Panna National Park :-
By Flight: The nearest airport to Panna National Park is Khajuraho Airport (IATA Code: HJR), which is about 45km (01hrs ride). Khajuraho Airport is a upgraded airport having direct flight connectivity with popular cultural tourist destination Varanasi. Flights from Khajuraho goes to Delhi via Varanasi. Very soon, through air-taxi service, Khajuraho airport will be connected with other important cities of Madhya Pradesh state like Jabalpur, Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior etc. Second best option for reaching Panna Tiger Reserve is Jabalpur Airport which is about 250kms/05:30hrs away. Jabalpur Airport (IATA Code: JLR) has direct flight connectivity with Delhi
By Train: Satna is a nearest railway station from Panna National Park; it has the connectivity from all the major cities of state and country specially connected to many places in central and western India. Daily trains connecting Delhi to Satna include the Mahakoshal Exp. NDLS Rewa Exp. while daily trains from Mumbai are Kamayani Exp., MahanagariExp, RajendraNgr. Exp, Kolkata Mail, LTT RJPB Exp& Gorakhpur Exp. Other important trains include Sanghamitra Exp. from Bangalore & Varanasi Exp. from Chennai.
By Road: The road network is very good to reach Panna National Park, nearest bus stand is in Pannatown which is connected to Khajuraho, Satna and many other places in Madhya Pradesh by a good road network. Madla, at a distance of around 24 km south west of Khajuraho, is a good transport centre. One can get buses and other road transport modes from here to the Panna National Park. To reach by road from Delhi, take the National Highway-2 to Agra, National Highway-3 to Gwalior, National Highway-75 to Panna via Jhansi, Bamitha and Madla. From the months of December to June you will get good road conditions. During monsoon months and later 2 months road conditions becomes poor & damaged which is repaired in later months.
Just like other national parks of Madhya Pradesh, management of Panna National Park is also under Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh so safari rules are almost same as in Kanha national park &Bandhavgarh. Panna National Park is open for visitors from 16-October to 30-June (dates may get changed by Forest Department). Being less crowded, route system and safari zone system is not applicable here. Two rounds of Jungle safaris are offered per day, one in morning & second one in late afternoon till evening. Elephant rides are also offered in morning game drives. On every Wednesday, park remain closed for evening safari round.
Panna National Park safari booking can be done online as well as from booking counter. Park management issues maximum 63 safari tickets or entrance passes for single round of jungle safari. It means maximum 63 vehicles can go inside at a particular safari time which is more than enough. Here only one safari zone prevails called "Panna Zone" where we can enter from any one of 02 entrance gates: "Madla" & "Hinnouta". While doing jungle safari, one can also have a chance to go for boating in Ken river for spotting long snouted gharials (Gavialisgangeticus) and other aquatic species. Jungle safari charges includes Entrance Ticket, Guide Fee & Vehicle Fee. Maximum 06 passengers are allowed to do safari in a single vehicle (excluding guide & driver).
Forest of Panna National Park lies on Vindhya ranges in which Bandhavgarh national park forest area is also covered. Here forest are dense with many scenic waterfalls. But due to consistently remaining in news due to negative reasons Panna National Park wildlife is now underestimated which is not justified. If we leave the tigers one side, then its overall wildlife is no way behind Bandhavgarh. With re-introduction of tigers, Panna tiger reserve in on the track to revive its glory and justification to be called as genuine Tiger Reserve. New generation of Tigers is now flourishing successfully in forest. In addition to forest area, one amazing adventure comes with River Ken which is passes through the Panna National Park; it surrounds along greeneries and bird life also Indian species of crocodiles like mugger and long snout gharial in the Ken River that flows from here toward the north harbors. This river is a lifeline of the park as most of visitors enjoys boat ride along the course of the River, it is a best way to explore some aquatic life while floating over the water in the Park, the chances getting high of spotting Eurasion Eagle Owls who used to nest on river islands, Black Ibises basking, and scary marshy muggers (crocodiles) usually appears at the wet or dry bank of the River, sometimes half submerged. Many varieties of reptiles like pythons, king cobras are also present in the park to have a glance over them. Vultures sighting track record of this park is very good. We can identify almost 06 different species of vultures here. By going through this information, we can confidently say that Panna National Park offer variety in wildlife from mammals, birds to reptiles.
While doing the jungle safari in Panna Tiger Reserve, we can identify more than 22 distinguished mammal species. Tiger (Pantheratigris) is the top carnivore in the reserve with its nearest competitor Leopard (Pantherapardus). If we go by the history of Panna, it was under Bundela rulers and was a princely state. Forest was a private hunting reserve where hunting was taken as a sports with permission to kill 9ft. or more long tigers. Killing of breeding females from carnivore & herbivores are prohibited by the order to State. Here popular forest ranges are Madla&Hinouta where animal distribution is good. After translocation, tiger are mainly seen in Hinouta region where under rocky terrains they have good place to take shelter and survive. Here in Panna although tiger sighting is not good but one can enjoy good sighting of Sloth bear, Leopard(Pantherapardus), Chinkara(Gazellagazella), Nilgai (Blue bull), Hyena, Jackal etc. Hilly terrains and rocky surroundings offers good shelter and conditions for sloth beer. If we travel to Bhaironghat, Sukwahaghat and few more sites, we will find Rhesus monekey (Macacamultta). Wild Cat sighting is good in Bhadar&Badgadi stretch of Hinouta range and other wooden areas of park. Like Kanha National Park Indian Gaurs &Barasingha are not found in this forest areas. Earlier Black bucks are present in Panna forest but not seen since many years. While one can easily find out Indian deers, Chital and Chowsingha and chances even grow to spot dotted Sambar in wooden areas, Nilgai and Chinkara can be seen in most open areas in the grasslands, especially on the periphery. Here population of Nilgai&Sambhar is very good in compare to any other mammal species.
In Panna National Park there is more than 200 species of bird reported so far. This is also a host for a number of migratory birds during the winter season. Vulture sighting in Panna National Park is also great. Here one can notify about 06 rare species of vultures: Long Billed Vulture (Gyps indicus), White Backed Vulture (Gyps africanus), Asian King Vulture (Sarcogypscalvus), Himalayan Griffon Vulture (Gyps himalayensis), Egyptian Vulture (Neophronpercnopterus), Eurasian Vulture (Aegypiusmonachus). Hilly & rocky terrains of Panna forest are more suitable for vultures to make nests. In addition to this, in winters (Nov-Jan) many migratory birds visits Panna forest and spend some times here. Important Panna national park birds are: Paradise Flycatcher, Pond Heron, White-necked Stork, Honey Buzzard, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Night Jar, Peafowls, Spotted Doves, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Bare-headed Goose, Lark, Pipit, Minivets, Partridges, Quails, Crested Serpent Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Lesser Adjutant, Black drongo, Pied Myna, Bulbul, Indian Baya weaver, Crow Pheasants, Cuckoo, Kingfishers, Indian Roller, Brown Fish Owl etc.
The climate of the Panna National Park is tropical and in summer it hikes at the most like 41 °C. In union with shallow Vindhyan soils has given rise to dry Teak and dry mixed forest. The dominating vegetation type is miscellaneous dry deciduous forest inter spread with grassland areas. Other major forest types are reveries, open grasslands, open woodlands with tall grasses and thorny woodlands. The characteristic floral species of this area include tree species such as Tectonagrandis, Diospyrosmelanoxylon, MadhucaIndica (Mahua), Buchnanialatifolia, Anogeissuslatifolia, Anogeissuspendula, Lanneacoromandelica, Bossweliaserrata etc.
In Panna, wildlife is the main tourist attractions. Tourists visitsPanna for sake of wildlife tourism. In addition to wildlife tourism, you can visit to Ken Gharial Reserve, ruins of Ajaygarh fort, Pandav waterfall etc. As per excursion tour, you may visit to Khajuraho temples which are just 50 kms from Panna national park.
CLIMATE & WEATHER
Park can be visited either in winter or in summer and the remaining time during the rainy season park remains closed due to heavy rain and no accessibility in the park.If you wish to visit the Park in the winters, which starts from mid of October and lasts till mid of February, it is recommend that winter can be sever during December to January as mercury dips below 5 °C, so getting a mild experience of the weather one should visit the park between mid of October to mid of December and between February to march. During February to March mercury hang around 32 °C to 35 °C which considered a best temperature time, as there is clear sky, better sighting of wild animals and mild breeze makes you notice it.
If you dare enough to visit Panna National Park in the summers so this can be little unpleasant due to being excessive hot, yet here is more chances to spot wild being and probability goes up to spotting tiger as water sources being dry up and other remaining sources like little ponds, lakes or Ken river attracts tiger, Chital and many other species to vent their thirstiness up. The mercury remains so flared in the month of May and June with the temperature of around 41 °C to 45 °C.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Panna National Park is in Panna&Chhatarpur districts at Northern part of Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. It is just 45kms from World Heritage Site: Khajuraho. In addition to a National Park it is also a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger India. Just like other national parks of Madhya Pradesh, it remains open from 16th October to 30th June for visitors. Here monsoon rain starts from July and lasts till October, during this time river, lakes, small canals show their best flow volume of rainy water and some times over-flow also. During monsoon season, park remain closed as tracks inside park were not good enough to drive. Being close to evergreen site Khajuraho, it can be visited throughout the season when it is open for visitors. Best time to visit Panna National Park is from November to April during which climate remain good so that tourists can enjoy the Panna jungle safaris and boating in Ken river. Pandav cave is another attraction for visitors which remain open throughout the year for visitors and can be visited separately from jungle safari. During summers from April to June, rocky surroundings makes the region hot with severe heat waves which poses challenge but evening boating in Ken river makes a healing effect. Jungle safari with boating makes a good combination for tourists visiting Panna National Park. It can also be taken a excursion tour to Khajuraho or while staying in resort at Panna National Park, one can take excursion tour to Khajuraho.
Being located close to World Heritage Site Khajuraho, Panna National Park can be visited even by staying at hotel in Khajuraho. In Khajuraho you can find all category of hotels at good rates. Still their are resorts & safari lodges located in Panna to provide accommodation to park visitors. Here limited resorts are located like PashanGarh (Taj Safari Lodge), Ken river lodge, Sarai at Toria, Jewel of the Jungle. Panna Tiger Resort, Jungle Camp Madla etc.
NEXT TO PANNA NATIONAL PARK
Panna Tiger Reserve is in North East of Madhya Pradesh in Vindhyan range. Some of the tourist attractions that can be visited next to Panna are as follows:
Khajuraho: It is a World Heritage site about 45Kms North-West from Tiger Reserve. Through out the year, it is open for visitors in day time. Here you can find the sand-stone's artistically sculptured Hindu & Jain temples with some erotic sculpture work which is unique and makes it different from other temples of India.
Bandhavgarh: It is a world famous tiger reserve know for it good tiger sighting records. It is about 230Kms South-East of Panna National Park where you can do jungle safari on jeep, elephant ride. In addition to this their is a small fort on hill-top inside park which is a special tourist attraction for tourists.
Orchha: It is a small town on the bank of Betwa river, about 230Kms North-West from Panna National Park. Here you can find Bundela dynasty historical monuments which includes forts, palace, temples, cenotaphs. Tourists can also enjoy river-rafting on betwa river in season time when river have enough water flow to do so. Very scenic place to visit with perfect combination of heritage with green nature.
Chanderi: Chanderi is a another historical tourist destination in Madhya Pradesh about 260kms West from Panna. It is a hidden treasure with large number of historical monuments, mountains, lakes etc. Chanderi lies in border of Malwa&Bundelkhand regions. It is also popular for handloom industry producing ChanderiSarees, popular all over India.
Chitrakoot: It is a holy town on the border of Madhya Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh states, about 170Kms West of Panna National Park. It is a sacred town for Hindu devotees as its reference comes in famous Hindu epic "Ramayana". It is said that lord Rama with Sita&Laxmana spend long time of their 14 years exile in Chitrakoot. Their are number of tourist spots associated with Lord Rama. Town is on the bank of Mandakiniriver.