The Tiger is the essence of India. Numerous movies and books point to fact that the Tiger is India’s best loved animal. It would perhaps be second only to the elephant, but the tiger is a symbol of India and many organizations have adopted the tiger as their symbol. The Madhya Pradesh government with help from the WWF has created a tiger reserve at Kanha, which is one of the largest tiger reserves in the world. This is part of the national plan to conserve the tiger and save it from becoming extinct.
In case you would like to visit Kanha then the best way is to come down to Jabalpur either by train or air. Jabalpur is connected by air to Delhi and Bhopal and it has direct trains to all important destinations of India.
Jabalpur itself is nice town with a long association with the Indian Army. I made a visit recently and stayed at the Army Club guest house. From Jabalpur Kanha is about 4/5 hours driving timeepending upon the speed you drive at. The road is reasonably fine and if you start early morning you can be at Kanha by about noon. On the way you will pass small hills and traverse winding roads that bring out the fact that India is a beautiful country.
Kanha has a number of resorts and hotels for stay. You can take your pick from the three stars White Chalet Resort and the Kumar resort to the budget hotels like Chandan or the medium priced Mogli resort. The tariffs range from about a 1000 to 7000 per day. Foreign tourists are charged about 40% extra, but mind you the Foreign tourists still find the Kanha resorts cheap, by American standards.
I would say that Kanha can be visited any time of the year, but in the summer months the grass is less abundant and as such it is easier to spot the Tiger. To see the tiger in its natural habitat you will have to join a safari. The safari operates in the morning and evening and the journey takes about 2/3 hours. It’s a beautiful sight. The park itself is spread over 900 sq miles. That is a lot of area and obviously you will not be able to cover the entire park.
The jungle of Kanha is a place that you can’t stop yourself to fall in love with. The scent, the ambience, the sound, the greenery of this place is awesome. There are almost 30,000 spotted deer in Kanha National Park. That’s why you will see them in large numbers. This is the natural prey of the tiger. It is better that you stay at least two days at the park and take the safari at least twice. Only then you will be able to do justice to the tiger. The tiger of Central India is a shade smaller than the famous Bengal tiger, but it is also a lovely animal.
All safaris have a guide who goes along. Most of them are experienced and if you are lucky you will be able to see the tiger. I was lucky to see a tiger as it devoured a deer. It’s a sight that I will never forget. This is the beauty of India and the many foreigners along with us went away in awe of a stupendous experience.