Next stop is the beautiful Pench National Park in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh. Deriving its name from the magnificent Pench River that divides the park into almost equal halves, the park won the Best Management Award from the government of India in 2011.
Once you enter the vicinity of Pench, you can't help but realise that it seems straight out of Kipling's iconic The Jungle Book with tigers, leopards, jackals and other animals, in the same proximity as you. Well, that's because the author actually did base Mowgli's adventures in this park. This isn't the only impressive thing about Pench though; the park is home to the great royal bengal tiger which, unlike in other parks, is sighted here almost everyday. Besides the royal bengal tiger, there are 39 other species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, three species of amphibians, and 285 species of resident plus migratory birds here. Phew. Commonly seen animals are chital, sambar, nilgai, wild boar, jackal, Indian leopard, sloth bear, indian wolf, wild dog, porcupine, monkey, jungle cat, fox, striped hyena, gaur, four-horned antelope and barking deer. There's plenty on offer for a bird-watcher also here; some of them are peafowl, junglefowl, crow pheasant, crimson-breasted barbet, red-vented bulbul, racket-tailed drongo, Indian roller, magpie robin, lesser whistling teal, pintail, shoveller, egret and herons, minivet, oriole, wagtail, munia, myna, waterfowl and blue kingfisher. The park also protects four species of the now endangered vultures.
Points of interest in & around: Visitors can check out attractions such as Avian Capital, Baghin Nala, Piyorthadi and Sitaghat while here. You can also drive to the Pristine Tamia forest, which is four hours away or spot more wildlife at the Kanha National Park, located four hours away as well.
Where to stay: There are two great options to stay at near Pench National Park depending on your budget and the number of people with you. First is the Kipling Court Jungle Lodge which has air-conditioned rooms starting at ₹1,000 per night. The other, more luxurious option is the breathtaking Pench Tree Lodge, located inside the jungle. The whole lodge can be booked at ₹18,000 onwards. Click here to know more.
By Air: The airport nearest to Pench is in Nagpur, at 110km away. From here, you can take direct flights to Delhi or Mumbai.
By Road: We don't recommend a road journey to either Delhi or Mumbai, because it'll be very tiring even with break journeys.
By Train: The nearest railway stations are in Nagpur city (105km away) and in Jabalpur (200km away). You can catch trains to both, Mumbai and Delhi, from both of these stations based on availability.
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