Monday, November 18, 2019

Kanha Diary in brief

Itinerary

8.11.19. Kolkata (1800 hrs) -Jabalpur (20 00 hrs) by Spice Jet airlines - stay at Jabalpur at Rajul Township (Airbnb)

9.11.19. Jabalpur (830 hrs) -Kanha (Sterling Resort - 1330) - 1st Safari in the afternoon

10.11.19. Kanha - 2nd Safari and 3rd Safari

11.11.19. Kanha - 4th Safari (morning)

12.11.19. Kanha - 5th Safari (morning)

12.11.19.  Kanha (1230) - Jabalpur Airport (1730 hrs)- Indigo airlines (1925 hrs) Kolkata (2125 hrs)


Kanha Diary in brief


8.11.19. 


Kolkata (1800 hrs) - Jabalpur (20 00 hrs) by Spice Jet (the fare was Rs 11,000 to and fro) - stay at Jabalpur at "Rajul Township" - Airbnb of Akash Yadav ( "fixed rate" Taxi - Rs 600 from airport to his house). His brother Vikas Yadav manages the property in his absence. They also arrange safaris.


Makin' Memories - Entire Bungalow (Airbnb)
Mob 7773 02 09 92

H9, Swarn bhumi, Chaggar farm, Tilahri Mandla road, Jabalpur

Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh 482020


We paid Rs 4359 for 4 rooms in 2 floors (4 toilets). We are 6 people. The flat is modern with all the facilities one can expect - mircowave, coffee maker, fridge, sugar etc

It is in a location which is absolutely calm and quiet.You can see birds from the balcony ! You can go to Marble rocks ( Bhedaghat) easily from here.
We got our food home delivered for the dinner. They can help you to deliver the food in their home (you can tell them from the airport) from the nearby restaurant. Zomato was not working when we arrived in Jabalpur.



9.11.19.  

Jabalpur (830 hrs) - Kanha (Sterling Resort - 1330)  - 1st safari


We were picked up from our Airbnb at 8.30 pm. We paid Rs 12,000 from Jabalpur to Kanha and back (with a de-tour to Marble rocks on our way back).
We had our brunch at a local Dhaba at around 10 pm. It is around 1.30 hour from Jabalpur.Their Aloo Paratha was quite good. We reached our resort at around 1.30 pm. Distance is 161 Km. Google Maps shows that this distance can be covered in 4 hours but it took us 5 hours to reach. The roads are generally good and picturesque.

There is another option - you can come to Kanha from Nagpur, but it will take more time and cars will be more expensive. But plane fares to Nagpur is often much, much cheaper. Last time it was only 7000 to and fro !


Know Kanha


The Kanha National Park was originally a part of the Gondwanas or the “land of the Gonds”. The term Gondwana has evolved from Gonds. The forest of the Kanha Tiger Reserve was inhibited by two indigenous tribes of Central India, the Gonds and the Baigas. The vicinity of the reserve is still occupied with the villagers of these tribes.


It is said that the inspiration for writing The Jungle Book for Rudyard Kipling, came from Pench and Kanha National Park. The beautiful terrain of the Park with its lush bamboo forests, grasslands, ravines and the thriving wildlife is said to have added fuel to Rudyard Kipling’s imagination. This finally culminated in the birth of one of the world’s best classics, “The Jungle Book”.

At 940 square kilometres in the core zone, and 1,009 square kilometres including the buffer zone, Kanha is the largest park in Central India. The park occupies a large forested area in the southern part of Madhya Pradesh. Kanha is located in the Satpura range of the Maikal hills. It is quite near the very centre of India and is within driving distance of three other major tiger reserves: Satpura, Pench, and Bandhavgarh. 

Located in Mandla and Balaghat districts, the forests of Banjar and Halon valley collectively form Kanha National Park.

Kanha has two major gates/entrances, one is in Mandla district (Khatiya) and the other is in Balaghat district (Mukki) , apart from Sarhi (which is the 3rd gate- not too many people use it). But Mukki region can be seen even from Khatiya gate also : we did that only. Kanha is one of the most picturesque parks of Madhya Pradesh and India. Kanha continues to top the list of National Parks in India. While as per government guidelines, only 20% area is open for tourism. Kanha National Park is divided in 4 tourism areas:

  • Northern zone (Sarhi)
  • Southern zone (Mukki)
  • Central zone (Kanha)
  • Western zone (Kisli)
Kanha is divided into 4 zones – Kanha (Khatiya Gate entry), Kisli (Khatiya Gate entry), Sarhi  and Mukki (Mukki or Khatiya gate entry). All the zones are equally good but the tigers in Kanha and Kisli zones are better accustomed to seeing humans around them and so it is believed that the chances of spotting tigers in these zones are better.

The 3 entry gates of Kanha National Park – Khatiya and Mukki (and Sarhi )are far away from each other, so please keep this in mind before you plan your transport.

Khatiya is the main entrance and it leads to Kanha zone, Kisli Zone, Sarhi zone and also  to Mukki zone. Khatia entrance is usually preferred . Mukki entrance covers the Mukki zone.

There are 4 main types of vegetation: moist deciduous ( those that lose all of their leaves for part of the year) forest, dry deciduous forest, valley meadow (vegetated by grass and other non-woody plants. ) . Sal trees dominate the moist deciduous forest, giving Kanha its special character.

As per Madhya Pradesh Tourism website: “The winter months (November to early March) are cool and dry, with the day temperature rarely going above a comfortable 32°C, and the night temperature dipping as low as 2°C with occasional frost.

It was surprisingly chilly in the morning. 

The summer months (March to mid-June) are hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 42°C in the day to 20°C at night.

The park is closed to visitors once the monsoon breaks in mid to late June. The Park reopens again on 16th October.”

Safari Timings in winter:

6.15-11.30 am
3-5.45 pm

Kanha National Park remain open for visitors from 16th October to 30th June.


If you’re planning on doing the morning shift, you will have to wake up at 4.30 am or even earlier.

Some important places to see inside Kanha National Park are Bamni Dadar (sunset point), Kanha Museum (you will most likely stop for a toilet break here) and Medicinal Plan Conservation Area.

One really good thing about the afternoon shift is that it will give you a chance to see Bamni Dadar – the sunset point inside Kanha.

Only 6 people are allowed to sit in one jeep along with one driver and naturalist. All the vehicles are allowed to follow a fixed route as per permit ticket.

Best time to visit Kanha National Park

Weather-wise, the best months to visit Kanha National Park are from October to March, which are winter months in India. Tiger sighting is easier when the forest dries up from late March to May, however, the heat can be unbearable at this time. This is when most of the wildlife photographers visit the park.

Nature lovers will love the months from November to February because the rainfall before these months revives the vegetation in the forest.

Recent surveys indicate that Kanha's sal forests and meadows contain a growing population of around 130 tigers. There are also around 100 leopards and huge populations of deer and antelopes, including some 600 southern swamp deer (bara-singha) which exist nowhere else in the world. The park’s captive breeding program brought them back from the brink of extinction.  It is the only subspecies of swamp deer in India, except the great swamp deer of Sundarbans. You’ll see plenty of langurs, the odd gaur (Indian bison), wild boar and silver backed jackal . 

Over 260 bird species have been recorded here too. Approximately 120 butterfly species are there in Kanha. We were told there is wild dog at the moment. 

The animals which you will find here easily are :

• Barasingha
Barking Deer (Muntjak)
Chital or Spotted deer
Gaur
Hyena - we did not see
Jackal
Jungle Cat - we did not see
Langur
Leopard - we did not see
Sambar
Sloth Bear
Tiger
Wild Boar
Common Palm Civet - we did not see
Ruddy Mongoose - we did not see
Common Mongoose
Indian Fox - we did not see
Flying Squirrel - we did not see
Indian Porcupine - we did not see
Indian Hare - we did not see
Nilgai
Chowsingha - we did not see
Indian Pangolin - we did not see
Fulvous Fruit Bat
• Blackbuck

Nocturnal animals like fox, hyena, jungle cat, civets, porcupine, ratel or honey badger, and hares can be seen outside the park confines.

Reptiles such as Indian pythons, Indian cobras, krait, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks, and grass snakes are nocturnal animals, so rarely are seen.


Birders especially love Kanha.

The birds you can find easily are :

Indian peafowl
Lesser whistling duck - we did not see
Cotton pygmy goose - we did not see
Rufous woodpecker
Great egret
Brown-headed barbet - we did not see
Malabar pied hornbill
Indian roller
White-throated kingfisher
Green bee-eater
Jungle owlet
Little grebe - we did not see
Black stork - we did not see
Oriental turtle dove
Yellow-wattled lapwing
Oriental honey buzzard - we did not see
Grey headed fish eagle - we did not see
Red-headed vulture
Crested serpent eagle
Rufous treepie
Greater racket-tailed drongo
Red junglefowl
Parakeets
Paradise flycatchers - we did not see
Babbler
Hawk Eagle
Shrike


There are many people who keep a close eye on the tigers, and know them by sight, and you can follow along and learn all about them from several resources.

On Facebook, you can search for groups like Tigers of Kanha and Tigers of Central India, which are updated almost daily with tiger activity.

Kanha stars

Tigers of Kanha National Park are famous for its awesome population of 130+ thanks so superb habitat and a large prey base owing to its deer population. Here are some of the most valued and loved tigers of Kanha National Park.

Munna (Tiger)

Kanha’s most loved tiger, this tiger is famously recognized with the letters C-A-T spelt on its forehead from the formation of black stripes. Bold and brash with not a care in the world for his onlookers, he is responsible for the famous Kanha adage ‘Road hi Road’ ..which indicates his preference to walk along the dirt tracks owing to his comfort with the scores of gypsies that follow him. This bold demeanor has led to this tiger giving wildlife enthusiasts the best of tiger sightings, sometime for hours at an end!

Nak-kata (Tiger)

One of the largest and more mature tigers in the range, Nak Kata is known to be aloof and wary of of vehicles. He prefers secluded areas of his territory, a very large one indeed surpassing those of which Kanhari Camp, Digdola, Sarhi, Bihlwani, Neelamullah and Link 7. His name means ‘cut nose’ and he is easily distinguishable by the large scar he carries on his nose.


Bheema (Tiger)

Known to be one of the dominant males, in recent times territorial rivalries with the upcoming Link 7 has resulted in his being thrown out to the periphery of Mukki i.e. Babathenga area. Known for his size, Bheema still remains a popular amongst other tigers of Kanha.


Mahavir Male (Tiger)

Mahavir Male is known to be a good hunter, especially for such a young age of 7 years, but has been known to take cattle. He is yet to establish a full territory and roams the buffer areas where villages and hence cattle are in abundance. His growing resemblance to Gaur Singh is shown mostly by his rapidly increasing size. Son of Mahavir female and Chain male, he was part of a litter of three, the other 2 being his sisters.

Mahavir Female (Tigress)

Fondly called as the princess of Kanha, this gorgeous female recently gave birth to a litter of four. However she was unfortunate to lose two of them to the Kingfisher Male tiger. Known to be a very calm and composed individual, she is famous for her willingness to pose for the camera – she is truly the showgirl of Mukki!


Neelam (Tigress)

Moody tigress currently ruling the Kanha meadows with her litter (first litter of two cubs) , she is known to be wary of tourist vehicles, sometimes feigning a mock charge at the prying gypsies. Not the one who enjoys the limelight, her unpredictable behaviour entices the mind for one glimpse of her breath-taking beauty.


Red Eye (Tiger)

The Red Eye tiger is the recent rival of beloved Munna, owing to the fact that he seems to be in his prime and is seen swiftly capturing more area for himself. Currently he seems to have established his territory in the abundant Kanha zone.

We had our 1st Safari in the afternoon. The gate opens at 3 pm. After keeping our luggage at the resort , we left for Khatiya gate at around 2.20 pm. We were staying at Sterling Resort (it is at Mocha) and Khatiya gate is around 6 km from our resort. One of our group members, is a  a member of Sterling Resort. 

There are many good resorts on Chiraidongri Kanha road - it can be found in google map; e.g. Mogli Resort, Windsor Tiger Resort, MPTDC Baghira, Tribal woods, Tiger's habitat, Kanha Resort,Kipling camp,Pugmark Resort, Vanya Resort on this road. You can get their phone number in google map itself.


Today our permit is to Mukki Zone. We entered through Khatiya Gate. However there is another gate to enter Mukki zone. Permit fee is Rs 1550. Car hiring charge is around Rs 3500 per safari.


Since I was busy with two major tours (of Rajasthan and France) during that time, I had to partly outsource the job of booking the permit (and also arranging the car , Innova, from Jabalpur and back, safari car - gypsy, safari driver) to my trusted and very knowledgeable friend Avijit Ganguly who runs a wildlife magazine Aranyok and a "Company" for Wild life safaris (only). The rates have been very reasonable (later I found out, on my independent research) .

              avijitwildlife@gmail.com  

+91 94330 67783  • Mobile
+91 98319 18004  • Mobile




We did our 1st Safari in the afternoon. The gate opens at 3 pm. After keeping our luggage at the resort , we left for Khatiya gate at around 2.30 pm. We were staying at Sterling Resort (it is in Mocha) and Khatiya gate is around 6 km from our resort. One of our group members, is a  a member of Sterling Resort. 


Today our permit is to Mukki Zone. We entered through Khatiya Gate. However there is another gate to enter Mukki zone (Mukki gate).

We were very lucky to see tiger - Dhawajhandi Female.






We saw numerous Chital or Spotted deer, Gaur and sloth Bear.


Gaur

Spotted deer or chital

Sloth bear

10.11.19.  - 2nd Safari and 3rd Safari


Today our morning safari permit is to Kisli zoneThe gate opens at 6.15 am. We left for Khatiya gate at around 5.45 am. In the morning safari, I forgot to take my camera battery - interestingly we hardly saw anything in the morning safari ! 


After morning safari we had our lunch at the resort and quickly took a short nap, and left for afternoon safari.


Today our afternoon permit is to Kanha zoneIn the afternoon safari we saw Sambar, monitor lizard, famous bara-singa (or 12 horns), spotted deer, black buck and vulture. Black buck is an antelope.The most prominent difference between antelopes and deer is that male deer have antlers which they shed and grow every year, while antelopes have horns that are permanent. Another difference is that deer antlers are branched and antelope horns are not. So Bara-singha is also a deer.


Bara-singha

monitor lizard

Bara-singha

Sambar
Black buck

After the afternoon safari we had some snacks (onion Pakora, Dal Pakora and Chilli Pakora) from the last stall (after exiting) near Khatiya gate. It was really good.


After some chit chat at the resort, we left for dinner.


11.11.19. - 4th Safari 


We left for Khatiya gate at around 5.45 am. Today our morning safari permit is to Kisli zone. Today we spotted  rare tiger - Sonder male, Wagtail , Hawk eagle. One naturalists took picture of our tiger (from the camera !) and identified it on closer look. When we spotted the tiger,both the times, we were the only one present there !
Sonder Male
Hawk eagle

In the evening we were planning to go for night safari. But we later dropped the plan. The cost would have been around Rs 5,000 with guide charges.


Today is my birthday. So we celebrated it in the resort with  Kebabs and some alcohol at the verandah of our resort. 



12.11.19.  - 5th Safari 

Today our morning safari permit is to Kanha zoneToday we spotted silver backed jackal, Coomon Hoope, Vulture, Indian Roller Bird, Green bee eater.


Silver backed jackal

Vulture

Indian Roller bird

Our plan was to leave for marble rocks at 11.30 hours , but we left at 12.30 hours and therefore we had to skip going to Marble rocks.


source: https://www.google.com
It takes almost 1 hour to reach Marble Rocks (or Bhedaghat) from Jabalpur. Our plane (Indigo is at 19.25 hrs. When we reached the airport - it is around 1745 hours. On the way to the airport we had our lunch at the same Dhaba.

We reached Kolkata safely at 9.30 pm.

What to pack for your wildlife safari


From November to February, it can be very cold – in the park, especially for the morning drive. You will need to wear layers of clothing, and take it off as the day heats up.


Light coloured, neutral clothing – in shades of white, beige, khaki, pale green – are the best, as they don’t distract the animals. Animals gets aggressive with red/yellow coloured dress.

Do not put perfume, since you can misguide the bees and can even be attacked.


A sun hat is always recommended. It can be very dusty, and you may want to cover your mouth and nose with the bandana. I also recommend taking a water bottle, tissue paper, and hand disinfectant. Toilet facilities are not always up to par, though they are better at Kanha than any other park I’ve seen.



Tips:

Do not go to Mukki zone in evening time from Kisli gate. Select Mukki zone for morning as morning slot is of around 4 hours. From Kanha-Kisli zone it required 40-45 min to reach at Mukki zone

Park is closed on Wednesday evening .

Nature walk is allowed inside the park with a guide and guard. Check at Ticket counter for more details.

• Night safari start at 1930 hrs. We skipped this tour at the last moment.

• If possibe keep the same driver for all safaris. For that we paid Rs 2000 extra to our driver.




Source


Wikipedia

https://breathedreamgo.com/kanha-national-park-tiger-reserve/
https://drifterplanet.com/tiger-safari-kanha-national-park/
https://www.kanha-national-park.com/places-next-to-kanha.html#pench
https://www.facebook.com/groups/tigerofkanha/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanha_Tiger_Reserve
http://pritskulkarni.blogspot.com/2015/05/wildlife-photography-trip-to-kanha.html
https://naturesafariindia.com/post-detail/kanha-national-park-a-summary-of-season-2017-2018-by-naren-malik

The italics part has been copied/edited from other blogs.

Chronological order

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