Pench Tiger Reserve is two national parks in one, spread over the two states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in India. In Madhya Pradesh (MP) it located in Seoni and Chhindwara districts and in Maharashtra it is located in the northern part of Nagpur district. Pench Tiger Reserve in MP comprises of Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and the buffer zone and is considered to be one of the most tourist friendly Tiger Reserves in the country. It gets its name from the river Pench which flows from north to south of the jungle.
Created in 1992-93, Pench Tiger Reserve (MP) is spread over 1179 square kilometres and established in 1999, Pench Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra) is spread over an area of 741 square kilometres.
For the kids within each one of us, Pench makes one turn nostalgic reminding the ever loving Mowgli, Sher Khan and Bagheera of the renowned childhood memory of Jungle Book. It was the jungle of Pench that inspired the author Rudyard Kipling to script his imagination into a lively man-animal saga which is almost an epic in today's world.
Pench Tiger Reserve experiences extreme weathers with temperature ranging from 25°C to 44°C in summers and from 3°C to 25°C in winters. The Madhya Pradesh zones of the park remains closed for tourists from 1st July to 15th October and that in Maharashtra remains closed from 16th June to 30th September every year during monsoons.
The environment and vegetation at Pench Tiger Reserve favours the abundance of wildlife, serving the jungle as a home to a large number of wild animals including the big members of the cat family - the Royal Bengal Tiger and Leopard. Various species of animals including Sloth Bear, Indian Gaur, Wolf, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Blue Bull, Wild Boar, Dhole (Indian Wild Dog), Langur, Monkey, Jackal, Fox, Porcupine, Striped Hyena, Chinkara and Palm Civets are found in large numbers in Pench Tiger Reserve. In all, Pench Tiger Reserve is home to 33 species of mammals, 164 species of birds, 50 species of fishes, 10 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles including 6 endangered species, 15 species of butterflies, 54 species of moths and a number of other insects. Meghdoot Reservoir at Totaladoh and Lower Pench Reservoir at Navegaon Khairi, are two water bodies in Pench Tiger Reserve which adds to the beauty of the park. These along with the river Pench, serve as a lifeline for a large number of aquatic and other animals and birds in and around these water bodies.
Pench National Park is home to 100s of species of flowering plants. It's a dry teak bearing deciduous jungle, predominantly formed of Teak, Sal, Bamboo, Shrubs, Herbs and grasses. Large areas of open grasslands have been developed by relocating the villages from the area and making the jungle suitable for wildlife expansion. Prominent species of trees found in Pench National Park includes Ain, Achar, Amaltas, Anjan, Apta, Aola, Arjun, Bad, Bel, Bamboo, Behada, Dhaoda, Garari, Haldu, Hirda, Kalam, Kulu, Lendia, Mahua, Mowai, Salai, Tendu, Teak and host of other species of medicinal significance. Presence of shrubs and grasses including Kans, Nal, and Chhir help in growth of a large number of insects.
Lush green forest and ample supply of water in the park make Pench a birder's paradise. Over 285 species of resident and migratory birds are found in Pench National Park. Endangered Vulture species including the White-rumped Vulture, Longbilled Vulture, White scavenger and King Vulture are also found in the jungles of Pench. Birds commonly found in Pench Tiger Reserve include Crimson Breasted Barbets, Crested Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Crow Pheasant, Grey headed fishing Eagle, Grey Hornbill, Indian Horn bills, Indian Pitta, Kingfisher, Magpie Robin, Minivets, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Open bill stork, Orioles, Osprey, Peafowl, Racket Tailed Drango, Red Jungle Fowl, Red Vented Bulbul, Wagtails, White eyed buzzard, White Necked Stork, Lesser Whistling Teal etc. Winters at Pench invite migratory waterfowls including the Brahminy duck, Poachards, Barheaded geese, Coots etc. to its huge waterbodies and reservoirs.
For the tourists, Pench Madhya Pradesh is divided into 3 tourist zones - Touria, Jhamtara and Karmajhiri and wildlife Jungle Safari in Pench Madhya Pradesh is allowed in registered open gypsys in pre-set routes. Pench Maharashtra is divided into 5 tourist zones - Chorbahuli, Saleghat, Khursapar, Kolitmaara and Sillari. Though a limited number of private vehicles are allowed in the park, it is advisable to hire a gypsy for the safari for a real jungle experience. Like other Tiger Reserves, Pench Tiger Reserve is also popular for its Jungle Safari in open gypsy for which the park entry tickets need to be booked in advance. For gypsy safari, the park permits entry only after sunrise and exit before sunset and so the timings tend to change with the season. In winters, the morning safari is conducted from around 6.15 am to 10.15 am and the evening safari is from around 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. During summers, the morning safari is conducted from around 5.15 am to 9.15 am and the evening safari is from around 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm. During the jungle safari in the forest, every gypsy is accompanied by a trained naturalist / guide who helps the guest interpret the jungle. Madhya Pradesh zones of the park remains closed for tourists from 1st July to 15th October and that in Maharashtra remains closed from 16th June to 30th September. Other places of tourist interest around Pench Tiger Reserve includes Rukhad forest, Wolf Sanctuary popular for its Night Safari, Pachdhar Potter's Village and Kohka Talab.
Pench National Park is located in Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh and Nagpur district of Maharashtra, India. It is located at a distance of around 96 Kms from Nagpur.
Air: Nagpur (96 Kms) is the closest airport to Pench Tiger Reserve
Rail: Nagpur (96 Kms) is the closest railway station to Pench which being located at the centre of the country, is very well connected to almost all major railway stations in India.
Road: Pench Tiger Reserve is very well connected by road with various locations including: Nagpur - 2 hours (96 Kms) via NH 7 to Khawasa and then left 11kms towards Turia village, Kanha - 4 hours (195 Kms), Jabalpur - 4 hours (205 Kms), Pachmarhi - 5 hours (225 Kms), Bandhavgarh - 6 hours (375 Kms)