Panna National Park is a national park located in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh in India. It has an area of 542.67 km2 (209.53 sq mi). It was declared in 1994 as the twenty second Tiger reserve of India and the fifth in Madhya Pradesh, Panna was given the Award of Excellence in 2007 as the best maintained national park of India by the Ministry of Tourism of India. Although the reserve went through an ordeal losing almost all of its tigers in 2009 to poaching, a subsequent recovery program touted as one of the most successful big cat population restorations, has resulted in a growth of up to 80 tigers within the park.
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A flawless place to take a walk into the home to some of the biggest predators and cascading waterfalls for a remarkable experience.
Nestled in Central India, Panna National Park lies in the districts of Panna and Chhatarpur of Madhya Pradesh. Managed and best maintained by the Ministry of Tourism of India, the popular Tiger Reserve in MP won the Award of Excellence in the year 2007. Today, the national park has been successful in grabbing the attention of oodles of wildlife buffs and nature lovers travelling from across the globe. When visiting the park tourists can take a walk in the deciduous forest while spotting the species including Sloth Bear Pangolin, Indian Wolf, Four-Horned Antelope, Leopard, Rusty Spotted Cat, Gharial, Chousingha, Indian Fox, Porcupine and a lot more.
Covering an area of approx 542.67 sq km, the Panna National Park not only lets the tourists come across the rich wildlife and nature but also numerous sites that hold the historical importance. In the sense, visiting the park, tourists get the opportunity to witness the stone paintings that date back to the Neolithic era. Declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1981, the national park proffers the tourists a number of things to do that makes holidays in the Panna National Park a memorable one. Tourists will get the opportunity to indulge in the Jungle Safari that lets one experience the dense ambience and encounter the wildest ranges of mammals, reptiles, birds, flora, fauna and avifauna. Other than this, tourist will even be able to get the chance to take the Tiger Safari that will let one spot the tiger species at close quarters.
Panna is the twenty second Tiger Reserve of India and fifth in Madhya Pradesh . The Reserve is situated in the Vindhyan Ranges and spreads over Panna and Chattarpur districts in the north of the state.
Panna National Park was created in 1981. It was declared a Project Tiger Reserve by Government of India in 1994. The National Park consists of areas from the former Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary created in 1975. This sanctuary comprised of territorial forests of the present North and South Panna Forest Division to which a portion of the adjoining Chhatarpur forest division was added later. The reserved forests of the Park in Panna district and some protected forests on Chhatarpur side were the hunting preserves of the erstwhile rulers of Panna, Chhatarpur and Bijawar princely states in the past.
Panna National Reserve was established in the year 1981 by the Government of India. This 22nd tiger reserve of India that was recognized under the project tiger was also declared as a Project Tiger Reserve in the year 1994. The area of Panna also included some of the major parts of the former Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary which was created in the year 1975. The reserved forests of the Reserve in Panna district and some protected forests on Chhatarpur district were the hunting preserves of the erstwhile rulers of Panna, Chhatarpur and Bijawar princely states. Today the area of Ganagu Sanctuary is the part of the territorial forests of the present North Panna Forest division to which a portion of the Chattrapur Forest division was also added later.
It was in the year 2008 that the real story starts when the reserve area of Panna lost all its tigers to poaching leaving only 2-4 tigers left. Gradually, it caused the loss of the morale of the staff of Panna jungle authority and so in the following year, i.e. in 2009 Mr. R. Shreenivasa Murthy, IFS as field director of Panna Tiger Reserve initiated the task of reintroducing tigers into the park. In collaboration with WWF and PATA, Murthy introduced two tigers to Panna, one from Bandhavgarh and the other from Panna Tiger Reserve with intricate scientific inputs.
Under this project Mr. Murthy and his team translocated one male from Pench and a tigress from Kanha with proper monitoring and protection, where they achieved successful breeding to bring four litters to them. Since then, the officials are focusing on the reproduction of more and more cubs in the area to maintain the previous counts of the tigers in Panna.
Panna National Park is a renowned wildlife reserve located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is known for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes. The history of Panna National Park is a fascinating tale of conservation efforts, wildlife restoration, and a commitment to preserving the region's ecological balance.
Early History: The region that now encompasses Panna National Park has a long history of human habitation. It was once home to indigenous tribal communities who coexisted with the diverse flora and fauna of the area for centuries. The region's forests provided livelihoods and sustenance for these communities.
Becoming a Wildlife Sanctuary: Panna's journey as a protected area began in 1975 when it was declared a wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. At this stage, the sanctuary covered an area of approximately 543 square kilometers and aimed to conserve the region's diverse wildlife.
National Park Status: In 1981, Panna Wildlife Sanctuary was granted the status of a national park. This change in status was aimed at providing stronger protection for the park's unique ecosystems and wildlife. Panna National Park now covers an area of around 542.67 square kilometers.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts: Panna National Park is renowned for its efforts in conserving endangered species, particularly the Bengal tiger. The park has played a vital role in the Tiger Conservation Program in India. However, it faced a severe setback when it lost all its tigers due to poaching and other factors in 2009.
Tiger Reintroduction: Panna National Park's recovery story took a positive turn when the Indian government and conservationists initiated a tiger reintroduction project. Between 2009 and 2010, tigers from other reserves were relocated to Panna. This ambitious project aimed to reestablish a stable tiger population in the park.
Biodiversity: Panna National Park is not just about tigers; it is also home to a wide range of other wildlife species, including leopards, sloth bears, various deer species, antelopes, and numerous bird species. The park's flora includes a mix of dry deciduous forests, grasslands, and lush riverine areas.
Recognition and Conservation Efforts: Over the years, Panna National Park has received recognition and support from various national and international conservation organizations. These efforts have helped in improving infrastructure, increasing anti-poaching measures, and enhancing overall wildlife protection.
Today Panna is the most outstanding, well-managed habitat for all those miscellaneous wildlife creatures of India. The national park is an ideal home to variety of flora and fauna including vultures, cheetals, chinkaras, sambhar and sloth bears. Panna is also an ideal home to the king of the jungles- the royal tigers (Panthera tigris) along with his fellow beings leopard (Panthera pardus), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), wolf (Canis lupus), hyaena (Hyaena hyaena), caracal (Felus caracal) and other smaller cats.
The wooded areas are dotted with sambar, the largest of Indian deers, chital and chowsingha. One can easily see nilgai and chinkara in most open areas in the grasslands, especially on the periphery.
The number of bird species found in Panna is 200 that include the migratory counts. One can find the species like white necked stork, bareheaded goose, honey Buuzzard, King vulture, Blossom headed Parakeet, Paradise flycatcher, Slaty headed Scimitar babbler for the most chirping and wildering effects in Panna.
Panna also boasts variety of snakes, including the python and other reptiles in the vicinity.
Flora & Fauna
Tiger the king of the jungle, roams freely in this secure, though a bit small habitat alongwith his fellow beings leopard , wild dog , wolf , hyaena and smaller cats. Sloth bear has his most favourite home in the rock escarpments and undisturbed vales. The wooded areas are dotted with sambar the largest of Indian deers, chital and chowsingha . One can easily see Blue Bull and chinkara in most open areas in the grasslands, specially on the periphery. The avifauna comprises more than 200 species including a host of migratory birds. One can see White necked stork, Barheaded goose, Honey Buuzzard, Blossom headed Parakeet, Paradise flycatcher, Slaty headed Scimitar babbler including 5 species of Vultures. Dry and hot climate, in union with shallow Vindhyan soils has given rise to dry Teak and dry mixed forest. The dominating vegetation type is Miscellaneous Dry Deciduous forest interspread with grassland areas. Other major forest types are riverines, open grasslands, open woodlands with tall grasses and thorny woodlands. The characteristic floral species of this area include tree species such as Tectona grandis, Diospyros melanoxylon, Madhuca indica, Buchnania latifolia, Anogeissus latifolia, Anogeissus pendula, Lanneacoro mandelica, Bosswelia serrata etc. Major shrub species includes Lantana camera, Grewia sp., Nyctanthusarbortristis, Ixora sp., Zyziphusmauritiana, Zyziphusoenoplea, etc. The dominant grass species are Apludamutica, Themedaquadrivalvis, Meteropogoncontortus, Arishtida sp. etc.
By Air : The nearest airport is Khajuraho (25 km) which is well connected to the capital city Delhi & the city of Taj Mahal-Agra.
By Bus : Four wheel drive petrol vehicles can be perfect for the wildlife enthusiasts watching and going around the reserve. Rough terrain, un- medaled roads; steep inclines are difficult for other vehicles. Private vehicles can be hired at Khajuraho/ Panna.
By Train : Jhansi (180 km) for those travelling from Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai; Satna (90 km) for those travelling from Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi; Katni (150 km) for those travelling from Mumbai, Chennai and Nagpur.
Madla : Madla is a picturesque village on the banks of the River Ken in Panna District. Located simply about 20 km away from Panna, this village is the true highlight of the densest jungle patterns of the area with traditional attractions of the area. The nearest airport to Madla is Civil Airport Khajuraho (30 km). Satna Railway Station (91 km) is the closest railhead. State Highway 6 connects this village with the airport and the park. The Jugal Kishore temple and the Pran nath Temple are the attractions a visitor should not miss out around Madla.
Ajaygarh Fort : This is an old fort elevated at a height of 688 meters and was the capital of the Chandelas during their decline. Chhatrasal presented this grand fort to his son Shri Jagat Raj in 1731. The Ajaygarh Fort is 36 km from Panna National Park.
Nachna : Nachna was an ancient famous city of the Nagvakataka and Gupta Empire which is stretched across 40 kms from Panna. It is also known for the Chaturmukha Mahadev temple named after the colossal four faced lingam which is still enshrined inside.
Raneh Falls : one of the prominent waterfalls in the Panna Reserve area that emerges from the confluence of Ken and Khuddar rivers. This waterfall is being named after King Rane Pratap who was the erstwhile ruler of the region. Raneh Falls forms the 30 m deep and 5 km long canyon to get down into the regions of the Ken Gharial Sanctuary. The surroundings of the falls are adorned with crystalline granite, which is present in varying shades ranging from pink, red and grey. Apart from the large and small falls that are formed at the confluence, some seasonal falls also appear during monsoon season which is really worth-watching.
Ken Gharial Sanctuary : one of the prominent sanctuaries in Panna outskirts to be established with an objective to conserve the endangered species of Indian Gharials. Ken Gharial Sanctuary is being placed at the assemblage of Khuddar and Ken rivers in Panna, Chattrapur district. The sanctuary is stretched across an area of 13.5 sq km and was established in the year 1985.
Open for the tourists from sunrise to sunset, the sanctuary serves as a natural habitat to various other species of reptiles including 6 m long fish-eating gharial. Surrounded by dense forests, the sanctuary is also being flourished with 45 km of river stretch with sand banks and offers shelter to wild boar, chinkara, blue bull, peacock and chitals.
Mahamati Prannathji Temple : Mahamati Prannathji Temple is an important pilgrimage of Pranamis and attracts number of devotees during Sharada Purnima. The legendary story tells that Mahamati Prannathji lived at this site for 11 years after which he took samadhi inside one of the domes of this temple. The temple was built in the year 1692 with unique Muslim and Hindu architectural styles in its domes and the lotus formations. The temple is divided into six parts namely Shri Gummatji, Shri Bangalaji, Shri Sadguru Mandir, Shri Baijurajji Mandir, Shri Chopada Mandir and Shri Khijada Mandir.
The premier attraction of this pilgrimage site is Shri Gummatji, which is a circular building with nine marble domes. Eight of these domes represent the eight directions and central dome has a divine golden Kalasha. Apart from this, Kaman Darwaza is a famous temple gate, which is constructed in silver metal.
The best time to visit the Reserve is 15 October to 15 June.