Kanha National Park is a national park and a Tiger Reserve in the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, India. In the 1930s, Kanha area was divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, of 250 and 300 kmē each. Kanha National Park was created on 1 June, 1955. Today it stretches over an area of 940 kmē in the two districts Mandla and Balaghat. Together with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,009 kmē and the neighboring 110 kmē Phen Sanctuary it forms the Kanha Tiger Reserve. The park has a significant population of Royal Bengal Tiger, leopards, the sloth bear, Barasingha and Indian wild dog.
Area: (core) 940 kmē
Terrain: sal and bamboo forests, plateaus, meadows and meandering streams
Best Season: February to June
Morning Visiting Hours: 6:30 pm to 12:00 noon
Evening Visiting Hours: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Closed: 1 July to 15 October
Near Kanha National Park is Bamni Dadar visited by every tourist who comes to the national park. This place is also known as the sunset point. The Kanha National Park is at it scenic best at this point. The sunset from this spot is mesmerizing. The eminent natural splendor of the park comes to the fore here. The grazing sambhar, barking deer, gaurs, and other animals make the ambience magical.
There is a museum at Kanha national park, depicting attributes and activities of the park and the tribal culture of the state of Madhya Pradesh.
By Air: Nagpur, lying about 266 kms from Kanha is the nearest airport for reaching Kanha in Madhya Pradesh. Nagpur airport is well connected with flights to domestic as well as international destinations.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is at Jabalpur, which is at a distance of about 175 kms from Kanha.
By Road: Regular buses ply from Jabalpur to Kanha and from Nagpur to Jabalpur via Khawasa for Pench. Taxis and other vehicles can also be hired from Jabalpur, Nagpur, Bilaspur and Raipur to reach Kanha and Pench.
Flora: The lowland forest is a mixture of sal (Shorea robusta) and other mixed forest trees, interspersed with meadows. The highland forests are tropical moist dry deciduous type and of a completely different nature with bamboo on slopes (Dendrocalamus strictus). A very good looking Indian ghost tree (kullu) can also be seen in the dense.
Kanha Tiger Reserve abounds in meadows or maidans which are basically open grasslands that have sprung up in fields of abundant villages, evacuated to make way for the animals. Kanha meadow is one such example. There are many species of grass recorded at Kanha some of which are important for the survival of Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi). Dense forested zones with good crown cover has abundant species of climbers, shrubs and herbs flourishing in the understory. Aquatic plants in numerous "tal" (lakes) are life line for migratory and wetland species of birds.
Fauna: There is a large tiger population in the park (131 tigers as on June 2006). The park also has a significant population of leopards, the sloth bear and Indian wild dog (Cuon alpinus dukhunensis). The population of leopards is estimated to 80, the wild dogs to 396 and the sloth bears to 111 individuals for the year 2000.
Rare Indian wolf (Canis (lupus) indica) can be found in the far east part of the park.
The most abundant prey species for the large predators is the spotted deer or chital, which number is estimated to about 20,000 in the park. The second largest population of deer is that of Sambar (Cervus Unicolor) which constitutes an important prey base of the tiger. Other commonly observed mammals include the common grey langur (6,668 in 2000), wild boar (8,534 in 2000), gaur (more than thousand in 2000), sambar (3,621 in 2000) and barasingha or swamp deer (this is the hardground swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli branderi), found only in Kanha, barely 1200 survive in the wild). There were only 60 Barasingha left on this planet when measures were taken to prevent extinction. As of June 2006, the count is around 1,200. An attempt to raise the black buck here has failed. The chousingha and the nilgai (blue bull), though rare, can also be found in Kanha.
Other larger mammal species of the park are rhesus macaque, golden jackal, Bengal fox, smooth-coated otter, honey badger, small Indian civet, Indian gray mongoose, ruddy mongoose, striped hyena, jungle cat, leopard cat, Indian spotted chevrotain, Indian pangolin, Indian porcupine and Indian hare. The Indian jungle fowl, which is the ancestor of domestic hens, is common.