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Panna National Park

Panna, once home to a decent population of tigers, endured a black mark against its reputation when every tiger within the park fell victim to poaching towards the end of the 2000s. Three tigers were then relocated from other parks, but itís better not to be too sanguine about catching a glimpse of the big cat here.
Peaceful and verdant Panna makes for a pleasant day trip from the erotic statuary of the temples of Khajuraho. Less pleasantly, there are diamond mines nearby which threaten to deprive Panna of its rich natural beauty.


Panna features in the Mahabharata, with the Pandavas known to have spent their exile in the areaís forests. Many centuries on, these forests would become the hunting grounds of the Panna, Chattarpur and Bijawar royal families.
Much of the area that constitutes the park today was earlier part of the Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary (1975). Panna became a national park in 1981, and was designated a tiger reserve in 1994.


Situated in the north-central part of Madhya Pradesh along the banks of the River Ken Ė a tributary of the Yamuna which flows from north to south through the sanctuary Ė Panna has thick forest cover (mainly mixed dry deciduous, including teak), alongside deep gorges, cavernous valleys and tumbling waterfalls. The parkís gently rolling hills fall in the Vindhya ranges, while much of the remaining landscape is craggy and covered with scrub.


The dry heat is likely to be off-putting but summers are usually the best time to spot Pannaís wildlife.

Flora and Fauna

Besides the tiger, whose numbers have much (and shockingly) reduced in the recent past, Panna offers plenty of spotting opportunities for the wildlife enthusiast. Here, youíll also come across leopards, hyenas, jackals, wild boar and sloth bears, and more than a fair sprinkling of nilgai, gazelles (chinkara), muntjacs (barking deer), chausingha, sambar and chital.
Thereís plentiful birdlife too, more than 200 species, among which can be sighted the common peafowl and the paradise flycatcher, as well as the bar-headed goose, honey buzzard and blossom-headed parakeet. Panna also gets winter visitors from the cold pastures of Central Asia. Meanwhile, mugger crocodiles and gharials can be found in the River Ken.

How to reach

Panna is a conveniently drivable 37km from Khajuraho. The nearest railhead is Satna, which is connected to Mumbai.

Getting Around

Where to go


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