Kanha National Park

Kanha National park is one of the most famous and largest national parks of India, situated in the heart of the country, Madhya Pradesh. It is famous for Kanha tiger reserve and for housing a good population of Barasingha, the swamp deer. The picturesque Kanha with lush green forests, meadows and beautiful streams was the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, 'The Jungle Book'.

The park was founded in 1955 and its tiger reserve was set up in 1973. It is divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, encompassing areas of 250 sq km and 300 sq km respectively. In total, it occupies an area of 940 sq. km in the two districts Mandla and Balaghat.

Kanha Jungle Safari 

Kanha National Park boasts an exotic variety of flora and fauna and one of the reasons this park is one of the most renowned wildlife sanctuaries is due to its tiger population. 

To catch these majestic beasts in action and enjoy sights of other wild animals and birds, a jungle safari is a must-do activity while visiting the park. You can enjoy jungle safari in open jeeps or on elephant backs.

Kanha Jungle Safari: Jeep Safari
You'll ride in an open jeep and explore the core areas of the jungles and get up close and personal with the animals in its natural habitat. You can also enjoy the sights of the many kinds of flora, avifauna and indulge in a bit of wildlife photography. 

Kanha Jungle Safari: Elephant Safari
The thrill of a jungle safari on an elephant back is unmatched! An elephant safari lets you explore those areas of the jungle inaccessible by jeeps, increasing the probability of spotting a tiger. You’ll discover the true beauty of nature on this safari. 

Buffer zones in Kanha National Park

The park has four main buffer zones: Kanha, Kisli, Sarhi and Mukki. All four are considered popular tiger sighting zones. The park also has the following buffer zones: Khatia, Motinala, Khapa, Sijhora, Samnapur, and Garhi.

What you’ll see

Kanha National Park hosts a plethora of flora and fauna that tourists are welcome to discover, making it a paradise for wildlife and nature lovers. The park is home to about 43 species of mammals, 26 reptile species and 300 species of Birds.

Some common wildlife found in the park are:

Mammals: Tiger, Panther, Barking Deer, Boar, Blackbuck, Langur, Sambar, Jackal, Chousingha, Wild dog, Wild pig, Chital, Sloth Bear, Gaur and the Barasingha, known as “the jewel of Kanha”.

Birds: Blossom-Headed Parakeets, Black Ibis, Lesser Whistling Teal, Lesser Adjutants, Crested Serpent Eagle, Cattle Egret, Paradise Flycatchers, Woodpecker, Common Teal, Pigeon, Mynas, Peafowl, White-breasted Kingfisher, Wood shrikes, Grey Hornbill and many more.

Reptiles: Python, Indian Monitor, Indian Krait, Indian Cobra, Fan Throated Lizard, Common Skink, Indian Garden Lizard, Common Rat Snake, Russell's viper, etc.

Fish: Mud Perches, Green Snakehead, Brown Snakehead, Common Rasbora and Giant Danio.

Kanha tiger reserve is home to more than 600 species of flowering plants. It is best known for its evergreen Sal forests and several bamboo species (mainly Dendrocalamus strictus). Other major flora that can be seen here are Dhawa, Bija, Achar, Tendu, Saja, Aonla, Lendia, Mahua, Palas, aquatic plants like water lilies and many species of grass, forbs and climbers.  

When to go

Plan your travels to Kanha National Park Madhya Pradesh during the winter or summer season. The period between November and June is the best time to go. 

The winter months enjoy fresh and cool weather, thick vegetation and sights of many migratory birds. During the summer season, the weather might be sweltering but you'll get to spot majestic tigers and other beasts of the cat family. 

The monsoon months between July to mid-October sees very heavy rainfall, making the roads to the park inaccessible. Hence, the park remains closed during this season.   

How to get there

Kanha National Park, spread across the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, is an important national park in India, famous for its tiger reserve. It is well-linked to various cities in India by air, rail and road. 

By air: Jabalpur airport, located 160 km away and Nagpur airport, located  265 km away are the important airports closest to the national park. They are well connected to most major Indian cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, etc. 

By rail: The nearest railway head to the national park is Jabalpur railway station, located 165 km away and with a journey time of about 4 hours. You can also travel from Nagpur railway station or Gondia railway station, located 265 km and 145 km, with a travel time of about 5 hours and 3 hours respectively. These railway stations enjoy good railway connectivity with most major Indian cities. 

By road: Many routes connect the park with other Indian cities and towns. The distance between the park and the cities of Jabalpur, Nagpur, Raipur is 165 km, 300 km and 165 km respectively. There are regular private and public buses available from these cities. You can also hire taxis, cabs, private cars or even drive your own. 

Best time to go/Weather

The best time to visit Kanha National Park Madhya Pradesh is during the winter months, between November and February. The monsoon rainfall will have rejuvenated the jungles and the weather is cool and fresh. It is the best time for bird watchers and animal lovers alike. 

The summer months, between March and June, the mercury touches almost 43 degrees Celsius. This is the best time for tiger spotting as they come out for a drink of water from the surrounding water bodies and to bask in the sun. The vegetation is also drier, allowing easier visibility. 

The park remains closed for the general public from July to mid-October on account of heavy rains. 

Being one of the more famous national parks in India, Kanha National Park is easily accessible by rail, road, and air from most parts of India. The park lies in the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh.
By air: The closest airport is Jabalpur airport, located at a distance of 160 km from the park. Nagpur airport, located 265 km away is also another option. It is well connected with major Indian cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and more. 

By rail: Jabalpur is the closest railway station, situated 165 km away. It has strong railway connectivity with major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Jaipur, etc. Nagpur railway station and Gondia railway station, located 265 km and 145 km respectively are also good options and well connected to major cities in India. 

By road: Kanha National Park has good roadway connectivity. There are daily buses available from cities like Jabalpur, Nagpur, Raipur and Bilaspur. You'll also find many taxis and cabs for hire. If you're feeling a little adventurous, you can also enjoy a scenic road trip in your own car. 

Wear comfortable clothes in neutral earth tones like brown, tan, olive, ochre, etc. that blends in with the surroundings. Bright colours might either scare off the animals and birds or attract them to you. Pair your outfit with closed sneakers. Wearing sunglasses and application of sunscreen and insect repellent is a must. Keep a jacket handy during the winters. 

When packing for a safari, you must carry sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant, a refillable water bottle, a jacket and last but not least, a camera with a full battery charge and plenty of memory space.

Jungle safaris in Kanha National Park Madhya Pradesh require no sort of fitness preparation. You'll be seated in your safari vehicle for the most of the day with little to no walking around. 

Kanha National Park - Frequently Asked Questions

You can reach Kanha National park from Mumbai by air, rail or road. 

There are regular flights available to Jabalpur or Nagpur, the two closest airports to the park. From there, you can easily travel to the park by road.

You can also travel by train to Nagpur and from there on, make it to the park by road or catch another train from Nagpur to Gondia to lessen the distance between you and the park. 

You can also choose to drive up to the park from Mumbai, but it is not recommended. 

The easiest way to travel to Kanha from Delhi is to catch a flight or get on a train to Jabalpur and then make your way to the park by road. 

There are four main buffer zones in Kanha National Park. They are Kanha, Kisli, Sarhi and Mukki. These are all popular tiger sighting zones. The park also has the following buffer zones: Khatia, Motinala, Khapa, Sijhora, Samnapur, and Garhi.

The best time to visit Kanha is during the winter and summer seasons, i.e the period from October to June. The park is closed during the monsoon season, from July to September, due to heavy rainfall.

You can keep your cell phones and mobiles with you while on a safari; however, make sure it's on silent mode and refrain from playing loud music, talking loudly or using the flash.

One jeep can accommodate a maximum of six adults, excluding the registered jeep driver and an assigned naturalist. Two children (5-12 years) are also allowed to ride in the jeep.

There are a plethora of accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels and resorts to jungle camps, dorms and cottages. 

The nights in Kanha National Park can get extremely chilly, hence it is wise to arm yourself with jackets, shawls, muffles, gloves and wear woollen clothes. Make sure that your clothes are in neutral colours and don't forget to put on sunscreen and insect repellant before you step out.

During the summer, wear comfortable cotton or linen clothing in earthy tones. Wearing sunscreen, a cap and sunglasses are of utmost importance. 

You’ll get to see many animal species including the Bengal tiger, Panther, Blackbuck, Sloth Bear, Gaur, Barasingha, Indian python, Indian Cobra, etc. 

You’ll also see many bird species like Black Ibis, Lesser Whistling Teal, Cattle Egret, Paradise Flycatchers, Blossom-Headed Parakeets, Crested Serpent Eagle and many more.