Wednesday, May 3, 2023

 Pench - Land of Rudyard Kipling - 2023 (Diary in brief )

28.4.23   CCU (21 40 hrs >Nagpur (23 30 hours) [Airbnb ]

29.4.23  Nagpur > Pench (Seoni District)>Banyan Tree Camp

30.4.23  Banyan Tree Camp

01.05.23 Banyan Tree Camp

02.05.23 Banyan Tree Camp (02 15 hrs)>Nagpur (07 40 hrs)>CCU (0915 hrs) >Office


Sovon, Indranil, Mohua and I took the flight from CCU at 2140 hours. Since Subir da and Amit da are retired , they took the afternoon train.We reached Nagpur at around 2330 hours and left for our Airbnb at Koradi Road,Byramji Town, near Train Station - for which we paid Rs 2774 for 4 persons. The owner, Mr Nikhil George, is a musician and sings in Bollywood. Almost 6 people can stay in the apartment for the same price.


Get In

By air: Nagpur Airport, at a distance of 93 km, is the closest airport to Pench National Park. Private vehicles are available to form the airport to the national park area.

By rail: Seoni Railway Station, at a distance of 30 km, is the nearest railhead to Pench. Seoni is well connected with cities like Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra.

By Road: Pench Tiger Reserve is located on the Nagpur-Jabalpur Highway. You can go by road from Jabalpur or Nagpur and reach Pench . Nearest bus stand to Pench is Khawasa or Seoni and hourly buses are available from Nagpur. Khawasa is 12 km from Pench and you can avail the pick and drop service organized by the resorts. Khawasa gives access to Turia gate side of Pench. For Karmh-jiri side, its best to get dropped at Suktara.

Subirda's train reached Nagpur quite late at 1200 hours (instead of 0730 hours). We hired an SUV - Ertiga for Rs 4,000 (Driver - Montu aka Nadeem : 70005 33626. He stays at Khawasa, Pench), arranged by our Resort owner Suman Manna - 73894 67311 , to reach our Resort - Banyan Tree Camp ( The car (SUV) hiring charge, is bit expensive considering the fact that it is only 90 Km. If you are only 3, you can contact Swapnil  who has a car hiring agency at Nagpur at  80550 70168. He charged Rs 3,000 for a couple (who also came from Nagpur), who staying at our resort.  The resort is owned by a Bengali from Medinipur. He is a butterfly expert and his wife is a spider expert. He is in MP for last 25 years. He used to run a caravan service. He can arrange tours in any forest in India and has good contacts. Banyan Tree is aptly named since there is a huge Banyan Tree here. You can enjoy swings under the banyan tree as well.

You can take their bicycles for a spin around the village and enjoy the village life. 
The tariffs of theresort are reasonable @ Rs 2500 for 2 person with breakfast. There is a wonderful lake just beside the cottage. You will find some resident birds there. You should stay at either Room no. 102 or 101 - there is a very nice balcony in these rooms, from where you enjoy the Lake and birds. We quickly had our lunch and left for Safari.

Pench Tiger Reserve is spread over Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh and Nagpur district of Maharashtra. The Pench Tiger Reserve is spread across 758 square km, out of which 299 sq km is considered a core area in the park. Hugely dominated by the Teak and Mahua wood forest, it becomes an extremely dry forest during the summer season.

Pench National Park like all the other parks of Madhya Pradesh, remains open for visitors from 1st October till the 30th June. But in winter it is very cold and sightings were not at all good - at least that is what my sister experienced. 

Turia Gate is the most popular. Turia gate has got congested due to innumerable resorts and hotels. Karmajhiri and Jamtara gate are Core Zones, but are quiet, closer to nature but have limited jeep entry.

Night Drive & Night Safari ( 6 pm to 9 pm).  Deers, hyenas, wild dogs, a few exotic birds can be seen at the day end in the national park premises. Make sure that you have a proper plan in advance, since evening tour ends at 6.45 pm.

Jungle Walk And Treks In The ParkJungle trek is another prominent attraction of the Pench. Explore the jungles of Satpura while walking through the dense forests in the able guidance of the guides. The jungle treks can be organized after seeking special permission from the forest officials. 

The couple we met in our resort , went to a walking tour at Teliya gate.

Unlike others, this park seems to be easier to book. You can actually see how many seats are avalialbe in which area. Unlike Corbett, it seems to be scam free. However, I did the booking through my friend Avijit - 89101 11675 , who is doing it semi - professionally. He is very reliable and stays near my house. He has always the latest knowledge of all the Parks in India.

You can book from this website (part of the Park falls in MP, part of it falls in Maharashtra):

For MP part -

For Maharashtra part -

Like all the other parks of M.P., Pench too allows a total number of 8 people in a jeep, out of which 6 are tourists and the other 2 are the guide and the driver.

There is also Canter service available - we saw one during our safari. So it is possible to book even one seat for few zones.

The forest is apparently closed on Tuesday, we were told. I did not verify it independently. 

The vast jungles of Satpura are so enchanting that it enabled the literary legends like Rudyard Kipling to pen down the classic Jungle Book . This reserve is famously known as ‘Mowgli’s Land’ as it is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most acclaimed work.

The leafless trees miles after miles give you a mysterious feeling when you are amidst the jungle. The park flaunts a wide variety of flora and fauna and is especially famous for wild dogs and leopards. The latest count of the leopards in Pench Tiger Reserve is about 80-100, though the exact number of wild dogs is not known. The national park area majorly comprises of the canopy, mixed forest and wide stretch of grassy patches. Pench is also known as a birders paradise with over 285 bird species of residents and migratory birds found in the park. These birds are one of the major attractions of the national park. 

Jungle Attractions

The commonly found birds are Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, White-eyed Buzzard, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Osprey, Black-Hooded Oriole, Sirkeer Malkoha, Grey Nightjar, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Jungle Owlet, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Brown Fish Owl, Short Toed Snake Eagle, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Racket Tailed Drongo, Jungle Babbler, varieties of Parakeet.

A variety of other migratory birds such as Brahminy duck, Pochard, Bar headed Geese, Common Coot etc visit the lake, filling the atmosphere with their flights and chittering. In addition to these other migratory forest birds are Indian Pitta, Red Throated Fly Catcher, Orange Headed Ground Thrush, Jacobin Cuckoo, Grey Headed Canary Fly Catcher.

Animals such as the Tiger, Leopards, Common Giant Flying Squirrel, Dhole, Gaur, Barking Deer, Monitor Lizard, Rusty-spotted Cat, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Asian Palm Civet, Porcupine, Bengal Fox, Indian Jackal, Sambhar Deer, Striped Hyena, Sloth Bear are the treasure of Pench National Park.

Pench is also enriched with vibrant butterflies such as Blue Pansy, Common Leopard, Common Pierrot, Common Jezebel, Striped Tiger, Common Evening Brown and many more.

Other Attractions:

Pachdhar Potter’s Village is 18 km from Turia Gate and a small village famous for its pots. You can visit there and even try your hand at making pots besides buying.


The First (evening) safari was at Khawasa gate - It starts at 1600 hours and ends at 1915 hours.You have to carry the hardcopy of the online booking. It is a a buffer Zone. It is in MP. It started raining after some time. So we could not see much, except Thick Knee and Brahminy Starling. After Safari we went to have some snacks and tea near the Khawasa gate. The guide is also new, with only 1.5 years experience. He cannot recognize bird calls.

We had our dinner and went to sleep early, since we have to get up early.


The morning safari was at Khursapar gate.It starts at 600 hours (and not 0530 hours as was mentioned in the ticket) and ends at 1100 hours. It is in Maharashtra. They are less tourist friendly. They charge Rs 200/400 for camera (point and shoot or DSLR !). You have to carry the hardcopy of the online booking. It again started raining after some time. But it was for a shorter duration, unlike the one on 29.4.23. There is a breakfast break for the morning safari. Our resort arranged for that. 

The sighting was good. We saw Oriental Honey Buzzard and Sambar.

After returning from safari we had an chit chat session.

The evening safari was at famous Turia gateIt is in MP. It starts at 1600 hours and ends at 1845 hours. It is a a core Zone and number of cars were much more. I must add that our experience was better immeasurably due to presence of famous guide Subhas Barve (he is available only for Turia ) - 70009 74062. He is a good spotter too , apart from being  a knowledgeable guide. He is a very nice and jovial person and has experience of 20 years.

There is another famous guide Monu Dubey +91 94070 53555 / +91 96857 70170. But he was busy during our visit. He also owns a resort.

The sighting was good. We saw Indian Pitta , Greater Racket Tailed Drongo.

We had our dinner and went to sleep early since we have to get up early.


The morning safari was again at Khursapar gate. 

The sighting was good. We saw Dhole and Malabar Hornbill.

After returning from safari, I went to explore the area. I saw people angling in the lake beside our resort.I saw Ducks, Coots, Pied Kingfisher.

The evening safari was again at the famous Turia gate. The sighting was good. We saw Leopard.

We purchased some souvenirs from the Forest Deptt counter inside the gate, beside the Urinal. The caps were sold for Rs 130 and key rings for Rs 25, the same cap outside is sold for Rs 150 !

We had our dinner and went to sleep early since we have to leave for the airport.


Our car (Montu) came at 02 00 hours and left at 02 15 hours for Nagpur. We reached Nagpur airport within 2 hours. Our morning flight was at 0740 hours and we reached Kolkata at 0915 hours. However Subirda's train which was supposed to come at 0130 hours finally came at 1200 hours.



No comments:

Chronological order