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Pench National Park

Pench suffers the disadvantage of having to compete with Kanha and Bandhavgarh among Madhya Pradesh’s tiger reserves, but it does offer a more than pleasant experience for the wildlife enthusiast.
Pench’s core area (299sq km) embraces the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park and the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary, while the remaining 464sq km is the buffer zone. Tigers and leopards are the lords of the terrain here, but Pench is actually better known for having the largest population of prey of any national park in India, besides being home to over 250 species of birds.
Pench figures notably in works of literature many centuries apart. The park area features as the backdrop in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’, as also in the Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th century account of the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar (the third and final part of the Akbarnama) which details the natural glory of the surrounds. Pench also figured heavily as the setting in David Attenborough’s three-part documentary, ‘Tiger: Spy in the Jungle’ (2008). Captain J. Forsyth, a British naturalist, praised the area’s scenic beauty in his ‘The Highlands of Central India’ (1871).
Pench doesn’t get anywhere near the number of visitors as MP’s two big game reserves, making it a relatively quieter destination – and a trip worth making.


An area of 450sq km became Pench Sanctuary, a protected reserve, in 1977, and Pench National Park was set up six years later with the incorporation of 292sq km. The total area was designated a Project Tiger reserve in 1992.


Pench is located towards the south of Madhya Pradesh, in the southern portion of the Satpura Hills (though approximately 10 percent of its area falls in Maharashtra). Its habitat is principally made up of tropical-dry deciduous and dry-mixed deciduous forest – part of a pretty large band of forest that continues on to Nagpur in the south and Balaghat to the east. The tiger reserve is named after the River Pench, which flows through the park from north to south.


Late winter and into spring – between the months of February and April – is the best time of the year to be visiting Pench.

Flora and Fauna

There are estimated to be around 20-25 tigers in Pench, so spotting one of these isn’t too difficult. But besides the tigers, you’ll also come across almost 40 species of mammals, including leopards, jackals, nilgai, deer (chital and sambar), gaur, wild boar, jungle cats, sloth bears, the rhesus macaque and langurs, on top of the many species of avifauna (the little grebe, barbets, minivets, bulbuls, orioles, munias, wagtails, mynas, blue kingfishers, darters, herons, shrikes and migratory waterfowl, among others).
Less commonly sighted are the Indian pangolin (an anteater), flying squirrel and the porcupine. Much of Pench’s prey is concentrated in the vicinity of the river. There are also 13 species of reptiles (among which can be found the Indian python, common Indian monitor and marsh crocodile) and a handful of species of amphibians.

How to reach

From Jabalpur (192km) and Nagpur (92km), regular buses ply to Khawasa, from where shared jeeps to Turia – 2km from the main gates – are available.

Getting Around

Where to go


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