Wildlife tourism destinations in Madhya Pradesh
The second largest state in India is a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts. It is also home to India’s national animal, the Royal Bengal Tiger. There are 9 national parks in Madhya Pradesh, the most for any state in India. Of these, 6 are tiger reserves, also the most in any state. It also has 25 wildlife sanctuaries.
Vultures, Bandhavgarh National Park (Photo Credit – Rob Snijders)
Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Park
In Madhya Pradesh, wildlife literally abounds throughout its territory. Among the national parks in Madhya Pradesh Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Park are undoubtedly the most popular. And the Tiger is often spotted. Although a couple of other states have a slightly higher number of these big cats, the relatively sparse vegetation and topography make sightings easier in Madhya Pradesh. Wildlife tours that are focused on tigers follow the eastern border of the state. This is where the tiger reserves are located. These are also some of the best wildlife tourism destinations in Madhya Pradesh. Starting from the central eastern Satpura National Park, you can then travel to Pench, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Sanjay-Dibru, and end the tour at Panna National Park. The beauty of this route is that the famed Khajuraho temples are a mere 40 kms from Panna, making this one of the best tourist circuits in Madhya Pradesh.
If you’re lucky, you’ll chance upon one of these magnificent Tigers at Kanha National Park (Photo Credit – Kandukuru Nagarjun)
Animals you’re likely to spot
Of all wildlife sanctuaries, the National Chambal sanctuary on the border with Uttar Pradesh, is of special note. It is primarily popular for two species, the Gharial and the Indian Skimmer. Two other wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh that are particularly significant are Kuno Palpur and Nauradehi. These have been short-listed for the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lion and the Cheetah. Currently, the wild Asiatic Lion can only be found in Gujarat, while the Cheetah is extinct.
The national parks in Madhya Pradesh that are not designated tiger reserves also have some fascinating offers. The Mandla Plant Fossil National Park is popular for plant fossils. These fossils date back to between 40 and 150 million years. And while tigers continue to be the main draw, Madhya Pradesh wildlife tours have a lot more to offer. This includes a vibrant birdlife, various predators like jackals, foxes, wild dogs and leopards. You will also find mammals like the hard ground barasingha, nilgai, and wild boar, among others. This makes a visit to the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh well worth your while.
A male Baya Weaver Bird preparing his best nest for the marriage proposal (Photo Credit – Mohan Moolepetlu)
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