Kanha Tiger Reserve or Kanha National Park, An Inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's unforgettable classic Jungle Book.

The park was created in 1955 by a special law and, since then, it has dedicated itself in preserving a variety of animal species. Many endangered species have indeed been saved here. Today Kanha is among the few most scenic and beautiful wildlife reserves in Asia. This 'Tiger Country' is the ideal home for both predator and prey.

How many of you have seen a tiger before? Most of the answers will be ambiguous because everyone wants to see a tiger. Then where can one spot TIGER? Well, even if there are circuses and zoo's all over India, there's some kind of a thrill you experiences when all of a sudden you came across a TIGER roaming freely in the wilderness of its natural habitat: the fields and forests of India. There are numerous Tiger reserves in India, that are preserving this ferocious beast, but nowhere can you see them as often, and as regularly as in Kanha National Park.

Located in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, Kanha national park cum Tiger reserve extends over an area of over 940-sq-kms. The major feature of this region's interesting topography is the horseshoe shape valley and the whole park area is surrounded by the spurs of the Mekal. The Surpan River meanders through Kanha's central Maidans, grasslands that cover the extensive plateau. Steep rocky escrapments along the edges offer breathtaking views of the valley.

Major Wildlife Attractions Of Kanha

The main wildlife attractions of kanha national park are tiger, bison, gaur, sambhar, chital, barasingha, barking deer, black deer, black buck, chousingha, nilgai, mouse deer, sloth bear, jackal fox, porcupine, hyena, jungle cat, python, pea fowl, hare, monkey, mongoose, and leopard.

The birds species in the park include storks, teals, pintails, pond herons, egrets, peacock, pea fowl, jungle fowl, spur fowl, partridges, quails, ring doves, spotted parakeets, green pigeons, rock pigeons, cuckoos, papihas, rollers, bee-eater, hoopoes, drongos, warblers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, finches, orioles, owls, and fly catchers.

However, if one animal species were to represent Kanha, it would probably be the barasingha, or the swamp deer. The barasinghas at Kanha are unique, being the hard ground variety, which populate the large open tracts of grass amidst the forests of teak and bamboo. Twenty years ago, the barasingha was faced with extinction but some desperate measures including the fencing-off of some animals helped save them and again the air in Kanha bugle with their rutting calls.

The open meadows during the cold winter months are usually teeming with barasinghas and there is plenty of tiger activity around the fringes. A female with two small cubs would circle around at least two or three times during the day and the swamp deer would go berserk, their husky alarm calls ringing through the jungle. Far from being the cunning, smart aleck, portrayed in Disney's adaptation of the Jungle Book, the real “Sher Khan” is true blue-blooded royalty.

There is a museum at Kanha depicting attributes and activities of the park and tribal culture. It is closed every Wednesday.

I'm always astonished by a forest. It makes me realise that the fantasy of nature is much larger than my own fantasy. I still have things to learn.
Gunter Grass