Catch the Kanha National Park tigers before they go on vacation

The Kanha of Kipling

We all have grown up listening, watching or reading stories of Mowgli, isn’t it? Well, you would be surprised to know that the Mowgli stories came right out of the Kanha National Park, India.

I have no doubt that Kipling must have visited this jungle, now called the Kanha National Park. Nestling in the valleys of the Satpura Ranges, this forest is a naturalist’s delight.

Today, this park is one of the finest managed wildlife sanctuaries in Southeast Asia. The tiger conservation efforts in this jungle have really paid off well.

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These are wild dogs and they can bring down a fully grown tiger any day.

But, wait…..have you actually heard about Rudyard Kipling?Or did I assume that you actually have read him?

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story teller and novelist, non pareil.Born in Mumbai in 1865, he wrote several books and short stories for children. Kipling is mainly known for his seminal work,’ Jungle Book’ which explores the tales of Mowgli, Bagheera, Balu and many other animal characters. Many people say  that ‘JungleBook’ was inspired by Kipling’s travels in Central India! He won  the Nobel Prize for English literature in 1907.

Did Kipling write ‘Jungle Book’ while he was in India? No, Sir. He wrote this book during his stay in Vermont, United States. Kipling says that he was inspired to write this book by the stories that he heard from the officials of the Indian Forest Service.

The Jungle Book was inspired by the stories of the Royal Bengal Tiger and Mowgli

Kanha National Park – the land of the Gonds

Kanha became a tiger reserve in the  1950s. This forest belt was earlier the habitat of the Gonds, one of the communities which inhabit Central India. Today, the Gonds live a very common life but several hundred years back, they ruled large parts of Central India. The famous Rani Durgawati was married to a Gond ruler from this area.

What’s he looking at?

This magnificent tiger reserve is spread in the districts of Mandla and Balaghat of Madhya Pradesh.

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The Gonds at the Kanha National Park rub shoulders with tigers, wild dogs and bisons


Real Stories of Kanha National Park

                                                       The story of the gaur and the tiger


Did you hear this story of a wounded bison which was attacked by a tiger in this Park? While the bison lay hungry and bleeding, the tiger kept a watch over it, waiting for the gaur to die. But, within minutes, the cries of the gaur attracted its friends which started collecting at that spot. The tiger was forced to flee after a few young bisons attacked the tiger with their horns.

Unfortunately, the wounded bison died a few days later. But for all those days, its friends kept an eye on their fallen colleague. Isn’t this story an amazing example of friendship?

                                                                        He died to save a cheetal

Ravi Singh Thakur was forest guard at the Kanha National Park. He was young, cheerful and deeply committed to his cause. Ravi was a role model to the rest of the Park staff. He would never say no to any duty assigned to him. I am taking about him here because Ravi died saving a cheetal (deer) from drowning in a swamp. How many Ravis can you find today? Very few.

Do you know, that Kanha was notified as a reserve forest in 1878 and was declared a tiger reserve in 1933? A few years later, it was denotified as a wildlife reserve. Taking advantage of the changed conditions, the Raja of Vizianagaram shot dead 33 tigers in 4 years between 1947 and 1951. This led to a national uproar and forced the government to declare this beautiful land as a national park. 

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Can you spot the crocodile?

The Park’s Mascot

Kanha is the only national park in India which has an animal as a mascot. The park authorities have nominated a barasingha. a species of deer as the local mascot. The name of the mascot is Beer Singh. I think this has to do with protecting this species in Kanha National Park from the poachers.

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Beer Singh

Best time to visit Kanha

The best time to visit this amazing tiger reserve is between February and June. After June, the park is shut off to the visitors. The monsoons hit the Indian sub-continent from the end of June, the soil becomes wet and now is the right time to take the census of all the animals in the park. Once the rains are over, and this means September onwards, the Park reopens to its visitors.

So the best place to visit the Kanha National Park is NOW!

Kanha National Park
Tigers come real close to you in Kanha, but here they are resting after a hearty meal.

How to reach Kanha

The closest airport is in Jabalpur, 190 kilometers away. This city is also the nearest railhead to Kanha. From Jabalpur, you will have to take a cab to reach the Park. Be sure to reserve your room in some of the many resorts, hotels located around Kanha. You will also have to book a safari tour before reaching here. Don’t worry, one of my friends runs a safari and he will be happy to host you.

Also, Read- The affairs at the Ranthambore National Park 

If you want to book a government accommodation, click here

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The Indian bison can easily kill a full grown tiger. You can see several of them in this jungle.

Since a lot of my readers are from outside India, here is a ready reckoner to reach Kanha:

  1. Take a flight to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai or Kolkata.
  2. Book a train ticket to Jabalpur using the . You can also book tickets via Cleartrip, Makemytrip or Yatra.
  3. Upon reaching Jabalpur, please contact your registered tour operator.

Ever seen a tiger taking a bath, watch this video,

If you do not want to do all this, please contact me and I will arrange your booking. One of my good friends, Saurabh Bhatnagar runs a jungle safari tour company. He can be reached at

Book your slot by visiting his website

That is it, friends, I hope you enjoy your Kanha trip.


Pics credit- Saurabh Bhatnagar, CEO, Junglewala Safaris






  1. I have never visited a national park yet or even a safari but I always have it on top of my bucket list. I really want to experience how it feels like being literally close to wild life… Seeing those animals upclose could be scary yet I’m sure it could be very rewarding at the same time.

  2. The Kanha National Park, India sounds great. I hadn’t heard about Rudyard Kipling. I would love to visit a national park! It’s really awesome. And I love the pictures. Seeing the tigers must be so impressive.

  3. This is an interesting post! I’m so happy to see wildlife preservation efforts that paid off. When we go to India, I will definitely keep this park in mind. Thank you for sharing this! I think my son will really enjoy seeing the tigers someday.

  4. I have read The Jungle Book from way, way back so I can’t recall much of the small details now. What I do remember is that its setting is indeed reminiscent of Kanha. It really makes my heart glad to read about wildlife preserves like this, even if I am not much of animal-lover in general. But it lifts my spirit a bit knowing that these majestic animals are living their lives the way they’re supposed to, in the wild, and not cloistered in some zoo, languishing while people get entertained. I find that just sad, especially if the zoo is not particularly well-managed.

  5. I’ve seen the animated movie and the live-action movie of The Jungle Book. I could definitely remember Baloo taking care of Mowgli and protecting him from Sheerkan (I don’t know if my spelling is correct). It’s always fascinating to see parks like this one. I think it’s refreshing plus you get to meet and know more animals. I do hope the management could create a way to improve the zoo and the welfare of the animals.

  6. Kanha national park is truly unique. And what I liked most about it is the fact that their mascot is alive. Seeing rare animals and species that are protected is a great thing, especially if you are fond of animals.

  7. Wow, ambling around the jungle and seeing wild animals is really my dream. i wish I could visit this place soon. i haven’t had any close encounter with wild animals and i’m a bit curious what it feels like. Truly, India is blessed to have this kind of jungle Safari, another thing I should do in India if I get there. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and even offering help for your readers if we get to visit this place.

  8. I enjoyed reading this post. First because I love the wildlife. Or at least knowing more about animals that I find too daring, the lions included. Second, though I am not visiting India anytime soon, this gives me an idea when is the most beautiful time to visit it. I would love to make my first visit including this park as again, I am quite fascinated with animals.

  9. I don’t know who or what Mowgli is although the name sounds familiar. I wonder how tourists will be able to see the animals? Are they being taken care of properly? I’d like to know because I’d been reading up on responsible animal tourism practices lately.

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