Earlier Kanha National Park known as Kanha Kisli was a hunting destination since long time back. It was first to be accorded the status of a sanctuary during the Raj.
The two river valleys of Halon and Banzar were provided this sanctuary. Nevertheless, there was a breach and The royal figure did manage to shoot 30 plus tigers in a spate of one month. After this horrendous act, the forests were notified as Kanha National Park in 1955. Greater protection followed with notification as a Kanha tiger reserve under the Project Tiger Program in 1973.
The Kanha National Park was home to thousands of hard ground swamp deer but could not hold due to advancing humanity and the takeover of large tracts of forests and their conversion into agriculture fields and settlements. These areas are now notified as a buffer and the sanctum sanctorum or the critical tiger habitat is notified as to the core.
The Kanha Tiger Reserve Core comprises 940 sq.kms of prime forests and the buffer contains 1067 sq.kms of co-habitable area. In the latter human activities like farming and livestock, rearing is allowed. The buffer comprises the significant canopy where wild animals find refuge. This area is under constant threat from biotic pressure, poaching, trespassing, and urbanization.
The core is devoid of human settlements and any commercial activity except tourism in 20 percent area. Only forest guards and officers stay inside the core and this for protection and fire watch.
With due protection accorded the swamp deer found sanctuary and their numbers have grown to safe levels. All creatures big and small have flourished under the protected area including the tiger which now numbers 100 plus.
During tiger safari, one can see the tiger, leopard, wild dog, jackal and fox which are the carnivores while herbivores like deer, gray monkey, wild boar, and bison are common sites In Kanha Tiger Reserve, antelopes are not as common.
The tourists arrive here in large number from across the globe to see tigers in their natural home. They also yearn to see the leopard and the sloth bear in this wilderness.
Birds abound here in plenty in fact Kanha National Park is one of the finest bird watching hotspots in Central India. There are more than two hundred fifty species check listed here. Some of the targeted species here are the Indian pitta, Malabar pied hornbill, shama, orange headed ground thrush, Jerdon’s baza, crested goshawk, created hawk-eagle, white-eyed buzzard, king vulture, crimson sunbird, Siberian ruby throat, puff throated babbler, emerald pigeon, black lored tit, ashy minivet, scarlet minivet, gadwall, common teal, lesser and many more. Most alluring avian of this tiger reserve is the peacock the male with a long resplendent train is a sight to behold.
Among the reptiles, the python, rat snake, cobra, checkered keelback, bronze back flying snake, wolf snake and pit wipers can be seen with a great bit of luck. There are around twenty-two species of reptiles found in the Kanha National Park.
Among the butterflies and moths commonly seen are the oleander hawk moth, lunar moth, atlas moth, black rajah butterfly, common crow, common emigrant, spot swordtail, peacock pansy, common wanderer, great egg fly, danaid egg fly, evening brown, these are just a few of the mesmerizing winged creatures of the Kanha tiger reserve.
Among the floral elements hardwood Sal dominates hence it is also called Sal forest. Other common trees found here are the saj, bhilma, dhawa, gurar, Indian ghost tree, harra, bahera, bhirra, banyan, peepal, pakur, lendiya, tendu, char, ber, jamun, teak, anjan and palas. There are more than ten species of fruit-bearing ficus in the park and more than twenty species of grass including the ubiquitous bamboo.
Kanha National Park is situated at the juncture of Satpura and Vindhya Ranges at Maikal Hills in Madhya Pradesh in Central India.
The terrain comprises of tabletop mountains, grassy plains, valleys, Mountain Rivers and swampy grasslands as well. The forests are tropical dry deciduous moist type.
Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve are at a distance of four hours from Jabalpur and Raipur Airport/Railhead and about five hours from Nagpur Airport/Railhead and Pench National Park.
Nearest Airport from Kanha
Nagpur – 260 KM 6 Hours Drive
Jabalpur – 100 KM 3 Hours Drive
Raipur – 250 KM 5 Hours Drive
Nearest Railway Station from Kanha
Tourist infrastructure is well established and a permit is required for excursions on jeep safari and canter. Permits are available at MPOnline Site for Sarhi, Mukki, Kisli, and Kanha Zones. Buffer zone permits and night ride permits can be availed at the gates.
There are many hotels and wildlife resorts situated in the buffer zone near Khatia Gate, Mukki Gate, and Sarhi Gate. The accommodation is available in both high end and budget hotels and wildlife resorts at Kanha National Park.