Kanha National Park

Spanning upward of 750 square miles, Kanha National Park in India is said to have been the basis for the Indian forest in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Kipling traveled here and is said to have found the environment of Sal trees, grasslands, and grazing deer inspiring. Which comes as little surprise, really—almost everyone who comes here testifies to the natural brilliance of Kanha National Park.

Kanha National Park in India is home to many species of animals and birds, including the Royal Bengal tiger and various species of deer, the most common of which is the Chital, or spotted, deer. Kanha National Park is also home to a heady mix of Indian wild dogs, Indian wolves, sloth bears, pangolins, hyenas, otters, and leopards. There are also several species of colorful local birds, with peacocks, spotted owls, white-breasted kingfishers, and golden orioles all in abundance.

Fortunately, the park is divided into a core area and a buffer zone. Most of the wild (in other words, dangerous) animals reside in the core area of the forest, while the buffer zone is home to the tribal people along with hosting those here on vacation. It is in this buffer zone where you'll find tourist facilities such as hotels; they may not be up to the standard of Mumbai hotels or Delhi hotels, but they're comfortable, authentic, and easily affordable.

Although there are many species of animals in Kanha National Park, it is best known as the habitat of the Royal Bengal tigers. There are said to be 31 tigers in the Kanha Tiger Reserve, though this number inevitably fluctuates with every count. While the Bengal tigers are an endangered species, the conservation efforts of local authorities have paid off in recent years, and the numbers of these magnificent beasts in the Kanha Tiger Reserve are now growing. If the opportunity of seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat gets you excited, you'll be pleased to hear the Madhya Pradesh Tourism authorities arrange for trips into the forest, while local forest authorities also arrange special tiger spotting trips, which consist of journeys into the forest atop elephants.

Visitors will be pleased to know the tigers at Kanha National Park mostly hunt deer and sometimes gaurs, a type of wild ox. They are considered slightly less dangerous than their more human-hungry brothers that live in the Sunderbans area, near Kolkata. The tigers also tend to stick to the core area of the Kanha Tiger Reserve when it comes to feeding.

Although Kanha National Park in India is best known for its wildlife, the forests themselves are of breathtaking natural beauty, which is amplified at dusk when the sun sets over the park's lush vegetation. Visitors tend to include an evening excursion to Bahmnidadar, an elevated plateau in the Kanha National Park in India that provides a beautiful bird's eye view of the forest, on their itinerary of things to do in this part of India. It's the highest point in the park, and it affords simply astounding views as the setting sun paints the forest a memorable shade of crimson.

Varanasi, also in Madhya Pradesh, is a popular tourist destination near Kanha. Commonly known as the city of ghats (steps down to the river), Varanasi has roads connecting it with Kanha. It's also possible to take a train from Varanasi to Jabalpur and then travel by car to the Kanha National Park in India. If you want to double up on wildlife in India, meanwhile, a trip to the Kaziranga National Park can easily be arranged using Varanasi's transport connections.

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