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PLACE TO VISIT
Pench National Park falls under the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh. It derives its name from the Pench River that flows through its heart and divides it into two, equal western and eastern halves - Chhindwara and Seoni respectively. Declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1977, eventually the place got elevated to the status of a National Park in 1983. Later, its eminence led to its incorporation under the umbrella of 'Project Tiger', as the 19th Project Tiger Reserve, in 1992. Sited on the southern fringes of Madhya Pradesh, the park covers a total area of 757.89 sq. km. Jabalpur and Nagpur serve as convenient airheads and railheads for reaching the park.
Landscape and Flora
The flora of Pench Tiger Reserve comprises mainly of Southern Indian tropical moist deciduous forest and tropical dry deciduous teak. Water bodies are found in the form of streams and 'nallahs'. Most of them are seasonal and meander in full zest during the monsoons. Pench River, which serves as the major water source, desiccates or dries up in April end. Then, water pools known as 'dohs' serve as water suppliers for the fauna of the park, along with Pench Reservoir. Teak is abundant and bamboos are sparse, and restricted to the valleys. White kuku trees are very common and stand out prominently amidst the greenery.
Fauna and Avifauna
Tigers are usually seen around the Pench River, as the density of prey population is higher here. There are 25 tigers recorded in this park. It is also the jungle abode of 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians and over 170 varieties of birds. Major species of fauna include leopards, cheetal, sambar, nilgai, jackals, wild dogs, gaur, sloth bears, langoors, small Indian civets and palm civets. There are also more than 210 species of birds, including a host of migratory species. The most common birds are peafowl, crow pheasant, crimson breasted barbet, red vented bulbul, red jungle fowl, racket tailed drongo, magpie robin and whistling teal.
Pench National Park, nestling in the lower southern reaches of the satpuda hills is named after Pench river, meandering through the park from north to south. It is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara.Pench National Park, comprising 758 Sq km, out of which a core area of 299 sq km of Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park and the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and remaining 464 sq km of pench national park is the buffer area.
The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. A description of its natural wealth and richness occurs in Ain-i-Akbari. Pench Tiger Reserve and its neighbourhood is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling's most famous work, The Jungle Book.
The Pench National Park is located in Southern Madhya Pradesh in India, about 70 km from the city of Nagpur. Spread over an area of 275 km² 90% of area is in the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh rest 10% in Maharashtra.
The vegetation here is typical of the southern tropical deciduous forest. The common animals which can be seen are the gaur, sambhars, blue bulls, macaque, langur, wild boar, bears and wild dogs and the Park is well-known for its deers and leopards. A few tigers and civets can also be spotted sometimes.
The prey concentration is highest along the banks of the river Pench. The Pench national park has a count of 8 tigers (as in 1998) and 7 panthers (as in 1998).this national park is rich with chitals i.e. axis axis or more commonly spotted deer. There are 10 villages in the national park - 1 inside the park (Fulzari) and 9 on the periphery.
As per 2011 Tiger Census ; There are 25 tigers under this umbrella of the Park. 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians. Apart from mammals and other land-based wildlife, the park is also rich in bird life. According to an estimation of the wildlife authorities, the bird population in the park counts to be over 210 species like barbets, bulbul, minivets orioles, wagtails, munias, mynas, waterfowls and blue kingfishers.
Visiting Times & Nearest Station
The best time to visit the park is between February and April. The Park is open to visitors between 6 AM to 10:30AM in the morning and 3 PM to 6 PM in the evening. The park remains closed during the months of July, August and September. It can be accessed by road as well as railway. The nearest rail-head is at Ramtek and a bus can be taken for the next 35 km to the Park. Other important natural forests in Maharashtra like the Nagzira Sanctuary and the Navegaon National Park are also close to Pench.