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The Pench-The Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru National Park and Tiger Reserve (Nagpur)

There is no greater thrill than spotting a tiger in its natural surroundings. And this can become a real life experience when you go to the Pench Tiger Reserve which shares its borders with both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. And the tiger apart, you can also have a wonderful time exploring the other flora and fauna while going on long treks through the woods.

The Pench Tiger Reserve comprises the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and a buffer zone. It nestles in the southern slopes of the Satpura ranges of Central India. The river Pench, which splits the park into two, forms its lifeline. Interestingly, author Rudyard Kipling’s globally popular work of fiction, ‘The Jungle Book’ and the creation of such lovable characters as Sher Khan, Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera derived inspiration from Pench, more specifically from R. A. Strendale’s semi-autobiographical account of his adventures in this region as described in his book ‘Seonee - Camp Life in Satpura Hills’.

The area of the present tiger reserve also has a glorious history. A description of its natural wealth and richness occurs in ‘Ain-i-Akbari’. Several natural history books like Dunbar Brander’s ‘Wild Animals of Central India’ have detailed accounts of nature’s abundance in this reserve. These forests continue to attract a large number of nature lovers, birdwatchers, photographers and holiday makers to travel the short distance of 70 kilometers from Nagpur. The bio-diverse habitat of Pench was officially recognised as a national park by the Government of Maharashtra in 1975 and received an elevation in its status as India’s 25th tiger reserve in 1999.

Pench provides a great opportunity of coming close to carnivores like the tiger, leopard, jungle cat, wild dog, hyena, jackal and the civet. During the safaris, visitors often come across pugmarks, strong smells of territory markings, and even direct sightings of these majestic beasts. The park is also the home ground of a large number of herbivores, including the sambar, spotted deer, Indian gaur, neelgai, four-horned antelope, barking deer, wild boar and the absolutely elusive ratel, not to forget the lumbering sloth bear.

You will also find here birds of prey including the Serpent Eagle, Hawk Eagle, Grey-Headed Fish Eagle, White-Eyed Buzzard and Honey Buzzard. Barred Jungle Owlet, Collared Scops Owl and the rather weird looking Mottled Wood Owl keep watch during the nights. Malabar Pied Hornbill, Scarlet Minivet, Painted Francolin, Oriole, Barbets, Kingfisher and other colourful feathered bipeds bring up the bird list to over 225 species. The forest is also rich in its variety of flora and the eco-system is a mix of dry and moist tropical deciduous forest with teak and bamboo being the dominant species.

Distance from Mumbai: 1000 Kms