India


KANHA NATIONAL PARK

Banjaar Tola

   

One of the largest and most scenic wildlife sanctuaries in India, Kanha National Park is an ideal habitat for both tigers and their prey species. The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha shelter a significant population of rare species such as tiger, leopard, sloth bear, barasingha and wild dog.
Kanha’s mixed forests are interspersed with vast meadows known as maidans. These meadows support a high density of herbivores, including chital, barasingha, sambar and gaur, attracting predators such as the tiger, dhole or leopard to the fringes of the clearings. Perennial streams run through a number of such meadows, providing a source of water for the wildlife even in the hot summers. Kanha meadow, with its hundreds of chital grazing on a carpet of green grass against the backdrop of the majestic Sal forest, has been aptly referred to as ‘the Ngorongoro of India”.
The Banjaar River forms the southwestern boundary of Kanha, attracting wildlife to its waters even during the driest periods, when it retains water in large pools. Rising high above the surrounding forests, the plateau of Bamhni Dadar offers a panoramic view of the surrounding jungle. Known as Sunset Point, it offers spectacular views of the sun setting over Kanha’s dense forests. Indian gazelle, or chinkara, and four horned antelope, or chowsingha, graze among the stunted trees and grasses on the plateau.
Kanha is particularly well know for its endangered swamp deer, or hardwater barasingha, which populate the large open tracks of grass amidst the forests of teak and bamboo. Brought back from the brink of extinction, these handsome animals are a remarkable conservation success story for Kanha.

Copy and Images courtesy of &Beyond.

PANNA NATIONAL PARK

Pashan Garh

   

One of India’s smaller but well known reserves, Panna National Park is known for its wild cats, including leopard, tiger and other cat species. Wild dog, wolf, hyena and caracal all wander the park’s large plateau. Sloth bear make their home among the rocky escarpments. The dense forests shelter the large sambar deer, as well as chital and chowsingha. Milgai and chinkara can be seen on the outskirts of the open grasslands.
Panna is situated along the banks of the Ken River, which flows through the reserve from north to south, providing a life line to the park’s wildlife. The mugger crocodile, a freshwater species particular to India, can be found in the river.
Dense mixed forests cover the reserve, interspersed with open grasslands and woodlands. Panna lies in the hills of Vindhya range and, after the monsoon season, the deep ravines are punctuated with cascading waterfalls. Streams and lakes fill up with water, luring flocks of migratory birds. Panna boasts more than 200 bird species, with the magnificent colours of India’s national bird, the peacock, often spotted in the reserve. White necked stork, bareheaded goose and honey buzzard are among the many other birds spotted in the park.
The World Heritage Site of Khajuraho, with its 10th century Hindu temples and intricately carved erotic sculptures, lies within 50 km (31 miles) of Panna, an easy day trip for visitors to the park.

Copy and Images courtesy of &Beyond.

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