Kanha- Soaking Into the Wild

Gopal Lahiri

- Gopal Lahiri

Kanha is a small town, known for its famous Tiger Reserve and is located about one hundred eighty kilometres from Raipur. Known for its stunning natural beauty, the picturesque Tiger landscape is the focal point in the ‘Heart of India’, Madhya Pradesh. The widespread forest cover reflects the amazing physiographic features with large semi-natural grass lands crisscrossed by river and streams.

Our resort was, beautifully located in the midst of lush forest on the banks of the Banjar River on the edge of the National Park. It had lovely gardens and an open-air terrace overlooking the grounds and river where if you were lucky enough, you could actually watch the tigers drinking river water. The sunrise was spectacular overlooking the tall trees.

We had two safari drives in the morning and one in the afternoon in specially adapted 10 seat 4x4 vehicles. We entered this national park through Mukti Gate but there are a few other gates also. There was simply nothing to beat that eerie feeling of anticipation and excitement as we entered the national park in the mellow light of the summer dawn, surrounded by the sound of chirping birds singing in chorus.

Anxiety was there since the beginning. Could we able to sight any tiger or any other animal? Whom should we meet first? Perhaps the most exciting thing was Barasingha deer, the signature animal in Kanha forest.

The experienced rangers and the drivers knew the best tracks and waterholes whilst their stories were fascinating to listen. Most have lived here all their lives and their expert comments were invaluable. One minute they could be talking about the paw marks of the tiger and the next about the habitat of the sloth bear. The real moment came when we could sight tiger resting near a bush.

The scenic views of temperate grasslands and the drier savannah beyond were amazing. Deep towering termite formations were a treat to watch and many excellent vantage points offered superb photo opportunities for some of the most breath-taking views in this jungle.

As walking in the forest was prohibited, we glued to our binoculars to have a glimpse of Madhya Pradesh’s biggest woodland area with dry leaves peppering the forest path and the wetland being cacophonous with ducks and geese.

Low Hills at a distance capitalised commendably on its enviable setting. It’s the perfect base for those in search of sighting tiger for an adrenaline rush. The majestic view of the Sal and Teak trees with rolling savannas with various light conditions give way to the different habitats in this sprawling forest.

We could smell the forest green as the road climbing past the highlands at times and we descended through lush green fields and rolling hills interspersed with small waterbodies.

One could see spotted deer especially near water holes to quench their thirst under merciless summer sun. Byson, wild dogs and monkeys were there in numbers but sloth bears and leopards were a rarity. Tiger sighting at Kanha was not elusive at all.

The naturalist accompanied us told the bio-diversity in Kanha forest was awe-inspiring. You could hear strange unnatural sound in this dense forest but the sight of colourful birds and butterflies would most definitely calm your soul in the wilderness. Dancing peacock was always a treat to watch. Time was well-spent.

If you come to Kanha, you can learn how spells are cast. It’s an intimate space and you can’t help but be impressed with how the nature’s bounty is presented. Do visit the souvenir shop at the Mukti gate and collect the memory trails.

Walt Whitman once wrote ‘Happiness…not in another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour’. Perhaps it’s Kanha where happiness lies, where you can listen to nature into the wild.

1 comment :

  1. you really enrich SETU by contributing such a beautiful photo essay. kudos dear poet. love your camera and pen.


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।