Housed in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the wildlife park got its name from the river Pench, which cuts a path through the forest. The beauty of this wildlife park is so enchanting, that it has sparked one of the best creations of Rudyard Kipling’s – The Jungle Book.
I went to attend one of the function of my recently married sister in Nagpur. As per the plan, post function, we all went for another gathering in Pench National park, which is just a 2 hour drive from Nagpur. There were lot of preparation done (food, travel, safaris etc) for a group of 40 people staying at a farmhouse.
We left early on 26th (republic day morning) in preassigned cars and buses. Post reaching the farmhouse, we were greeted with amazing hot breakfast with chai in the chilli morning. Later, we were told our Safari schedule. Half of us were aligned for a evening safari from Khursapar zone, and remaining for morning safari from Turia gate, which is the most elegant zone. Chances of spotting the big cat is highest in this zone.
I went for the evening safari. The jeep came to our farmhouse to pick us up at 2 in the afternoon. Our safari started and we started spotting animals slowly starting from different species of Monkey’s and Deer – Sambar, Chital (Spotted deer) followed by Nilgai (Blue Bull), Gaur (Indian Bison). Bison is a beautiful and huge animal. I saw it from such a close proximity. The animal was crossing the road in front of our jeep. The size of Bison made me wonder, power which the tiger posses. The big cat can attack so fearlessly such a huge animal.
We also saw a big peacock, and many many different species of birds.
And the moment we reached midway for 5 min break for washroom/water etc, we heard a calling for sighting of the Big cat. Yes, the fearless Tigress named Baras. Our guide immediately asked us to sit in the jeep, and the driver took us to a siting spot. It was treat to watch the tigress for almost half an hour. The Big cat was sitting at a very relaxed position licking and cleaning herself, then rolling around and then finally she slept. Our jeep was at the best view location, exactly in front of the Tigress. All the rest of the jeeps were in the opposite direction. It was 5.30 in the evening, so we had to leave from there. It was the first time i have seen Tiger in a safari. It was such an amazing experience to watch.
The evening was spent with bonfire, live music and mouth watering pav-bhaji.
The next morning, while we relaxed in the farmhouse and went for nearby nature trail, the remaining people went for morning safari which starts at 5.30 AM from Turia gate. Luckily they also spotted Tigress along with her cubs, which she was carrying in her mouth. Although, it was among the rare view of spotting Tiger, but i didn’t had any regrets of not being part of morning safari, as i also saw the Tiger the previous evening.
To summarize, it was a wonderful experience, and would love to explore many more national parks in India and Abroad. Woh kahavat hai na “sher ke muh ko khoon chatana”. Watching wildlife is simply addiction, but definitely a good one.
Few Takers or Tips –
- Turia is the best zone for Spotting Tiger. The chances are very high compared to other zone.
- Booking for this zone gets full very early, so need to book in advance.
- Carry your ID card. They check everybody’s ID card going in the Safari.
- Book the safari only when you plan everything. They don’t allow any changes with respect to anything – from jeep change, person change in lieu of, ID which you mentioned at the time of booking…etc.
- There are only two slots for Safari – Morning (6.00 AM-9.30 AM) and Evening (2.30 PM – 5.30 PM). You can enter anytime in between but exit time is fixed. There are no slot system, which are usually there in other safaris.
- Night Safari is available but not sure about spotting the animal. But one will surely enjoy the Jeep ride in dense jungle at night.