Panna National Park is located in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, at a distance of 57 km from Khajuraho. It was created in 1981 and was announced as a Project Tiger reserve in 1994. Situated in the ranges of Vindhya and spreading over Panna and Chhatarpur districts, Panna National Park, though a Tiger reserve, is also known for wild cats, deers, antelopes, vultures, wolves, chinkaras, cheetahs, etc.
This park was awarded the 'Award of Excellence' in 2007 for being the best-maintained national park of India. Panna National Park is situated at a point where a forest belt, which starts from Cape Comorin in South India, is broken and where the upper Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests start.
Historically, Panna was deemed a private hunting reserve for the rulers of Panna, Chhattarpur and Bijawar states. It is believed that the Pandavas spent a huge portion of their exile in Panna and a mention of the same has been made in Mahabharata.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Panna National Park?
PC: Prashant Ram
Monsoons in Panna start from July and last until October. The park remains closed to the public during monsoons as the tracks are difficult to navigate. The park is open from 16th October to 30th June for visitors. However, the best time to visit this park would be from November to April - the winter season.
The weather remains cool and not very sultry, like during the summers, which makes the visit a pleasant one. Summers are scorching hot and dry, with temperatures touching 41 degrees sometimes. This might prove to be to an advantage as you might spot a few animals that stop by in search of water.
How To Reach Panna National Park?
By Air: Khajuraho airport is the closest airport to Panna. However, Jabalpur Airport has better connectivity of flights.
By Train: Satna railway station is the closest railway station to Panna. It is well connected with the rest of the country.
By Road: Panna town is very well connected to other parts of Madhya Pradesh by road. The roads are in pretty good shape too.
Panna National Park
Tigers are the main attraction of Panna National Park. However, there are many other animals and birds that make your visit a memorable one. The park has a rich and thriving aquatic life too, because river Ken flows right through the park.
Eurasian eagle-owls, black ibis, mugger crocodiles and gharials are visible in the water area. Many reptiles, like pythons and king cobras are sighted here pretty often. More than 22 different species of mammals are identified. Leopard, sloth bear, chinkara, nilgai, hyena, sambar, jackal, wild cat and black buck are some of the mammals that are spotted here.
There are 200 species of birds in Panna National Forest. Vultures are the most commonly seen; six rare species of vultures are spotted here-long-billed vulture, white-backed vulture, Asian king vulture, Himalayan griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture and Eurasian vulture.
Winter brings many migratory birds to Panna National Park. Paradise flycatcher, pond heron, white-necked stork, honey buzzard, quail, nightjar, peafowl, spotted dove, pied myna, cuckoo, crow pheasant, brown fish owl, kingfisher, bulbul, crested serpent eagle, Indian baya weaver, etc. are some of the beautiful migratory birds at Panna.
The flora at Panna follows the vegetation that is a characteristic of dry deciduous forests with grassland areas. Some of the native species of this area are, Tectona grandis, mahua, Lannea coromandelica, Boswellia serrata, Anogeissus pendula and Buchnania latifolia.
Raneh Falls is a waterfall that stems from the union of Ken and Khuddar rivers. Named after the erstwhile famous ruler Rana Pratap Singh, Raneh Falls forms a 30-metre-deep canyon.
Apart from these, there's a sanctuary for gharials called Ken Gharial Sanctuary. This sanctuary is placed at the confluence to Khuddar and Ken rivers and has many reptiles, other than fish-eating gharials.
Do not miss out on boating and the elephant safari at Panna National Park!