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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kanha or Bandhavgarh tour

Many tiger enthusiasts and wildlife photographers ask me about the best place to see tigers in India?

My straight forward answer is Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench tiger reserves in Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Among others....if these destination are not reachable then Ranthambhore and Corbett National Park are also good tiger havens and wildlife resorts the latter being excellent for elephant safari in India. All three Central Indian parks are accessible from Jabalpur town in MP with air service from Delhi, while Pench and Kanha are also accessible from Nagpur town with flights from many major towns. Trains also ply between these towns from Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta.

Kanha or Bandhavgarh?

It is a difficult question to answer as both excel in tiger sightings. What I can say is that Kanha is larger with more mammalian species to see eg. Bison & Hard ground swamp deer. For those interested only in tiger photography then I would suggest either of the two or both. For those with wider photographic angle they should visit Kanha. But the best season for nature and wild tiger photography is February and after if you can stand the rising heat.

For first time visitors on tiger tour should visit Kanha and then Bandhavgarh since tiger is going to call them back I am sure.

Bandhavgarh National Park is extremely beautiful wildlife paradise with enchanting ancient remains of fort, temples, man made caves and stables etc. The landscape is esoteric and quaint and tigers abound. Bird life is also very interesting here and approximately two hundred and fifty birds have been recorded here which includes winter migrants.
Pench
is again exciting place with rising tiger sightings every year and different floral elements since it is a dry deciduous mix tropical forest. Leopard sightings have been good at Pench and so is the Indian wolf seen sometimes with luck. It is the setting for Kipling's "Jungle Book"- Mowgli the wolf child was discovered here. The birding too is very exciting at Pench tiger reserve and one can see lots of raptors and Malabar pied horn bill with ease. Reptiles and lesser fauna are mostly nocturnal and rare.

All the tiger reserves provide good hotel accommodation facilities from budget to luxury resorts. The only thing is that one should book tiger tours in advance as number of vehicle entries are restricted in these parks hence advance booking of accommodation and park safari is advised. Most of the resorts and jungle camps are well equipped for tiger tourism and arrange tiger safaris for eco tourists while some also provide trained naturalists to help trek tigers and deliver a holistic experience of these magnificent paradises of Earth.

Time to avoid tiger tours if you can is Diwali holidays and Christmas time up to Jan first week. Albeit this year vehicle entry restrictions will somehow manage the rush.