The drive to Kanha National Park takes you back in time, to an era when man and beast co-existed in a harmonious balance, so intended by the creator, the creator and his handiwork is omnipresent throughout the drive as your ears ring with Kipling’s observation “Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade”.
Kanha is Kipling country and it’s most famous son Mowgli is but a figment of the author’s imagination, it is said that the Kanha jungle was the inspiration behind the India born Kipling’s timeless masterpiece “The Jungle Book”.
Declared a national park in 1955 the sanctuary stretches
across 940 km² of Sal and mixed deciduous forests that acquire a contrasting nature along the slopes and
seamlessly fade into expansive grasslands and meadows, it is said that the various species of grass found here is critical to the survival of the near extinct barasingha.
Apart from its large tiger population the Kanha inhabitants include leopards, wild dogs, sloth bear and rare but visible are the wolves that live in the far east of the park, they normally choose to prowl after dark, a time when the jungles are not the most hospitable of places.
A large population of Chital and Sambhar constitute an important prey base for the big cats, the chousingha and the nilgai, though rare, can also be found in Kanha.
As the night envelopes Kanha, a beautiful world, far removed from my own, wakes up and comes alive in the highlands, on the slopes and across the meadows, playfully yet unknowingly creating a balance so important to the survival of nature’s “finest” creation-man.