India is a land of wonders and it is ineffable to describe its beauty in words. The Kashmir valley along with the snow-capped Himalayan mountain range in the North mesmerizes the visitors and needs no mention that they attract a lot of tourists from various parts of the country and the world. On the other hand, peninsular India is home to many old temples and grand palaces redolent of the ancient civilization and culture, along with a long coastline on both sides not only makes them attractive tourist destinations but also gives India a strategic position in the world economy encouraging massive exports and imports. The eastern part (including the northeastern part) of India has mountains with the plains, the Gangetic plains. The Sunderban Delta is the largest mangrove island and delta in the world. The palaces and desert of Rajasthan, small hill stations of Maharashtra, and the gulf of Gujarat on the western end of the country are true delights.
Even the central part of India doesn’t lag behind in exhibiting its beauty and claiming its share of praise. Tall rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, and of course the deciduous forests which provide shelter to a wide variety of flora and fauna make up the heart of this nation. This piece of writing is an endeavor to bring forth one such spot in the central region, Pench National Park.
Our everyday chores and stressful city lives leave us exhausted and stressed almost every day. So the weekends provide us with an escape from our everyday lives by giving us the opportunity to travel to far and near destinations. For solitary seekers, animal lovers, bird watchers, ornithologists, or for people who want to enjoy in the lap of nature, what could be better than the Pench National Park!
Located in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh, it encompasses an area of 292 sq. km. This park comprises the Indira Priyadarshani Pench National park, Mowgli Pench Sanctuary, and buffer. It houses innumerable species of both flora and fauna including tigers, deer, reptiles, birds, and many more. The national park derived its name from the Pench River which flows from North to South through the forest and divides the forest into its eastern and western parts. This river is the only source of water for the forest creatures and adjacent villages. Albeit the water of the river recedes during the summer (April- June) but few water pools along the channel of the river serve as waterholes for wild animals. The placid water of the Pench, its banks lined by tall and short trees, bushy and scraggy, dry and verdant with their reflections in the placid water of the river provide a resplendent view and is sure to enchant every single being and prolong the joy it brings to them.
The jungle safari makes your experience a tad comfortable and thrilling. As mentioned earlier it hosts a large number of flora and fauna but the main attraction of the jungle is its king! Your expedition would be incomplete if you don’t see the Bengal Tiger exuding pride and confidence. This sanctuary is currently home to many tigers along with other animals such as leopards, wolves, barking deer, four-horned antelope, sloth bear, jackals, chitals, sambhar, and many more. Some of these are endangered species. In case you are visiting the park during summers, you would witness that the summer sun has taken away much of the color from the leaves and has left the forest almost dry and arid. During the summer, you may get to see the canine creatures lying on the forest bed languidly and at times other creatures camouflaging perfectly in order to shun an encounter with its enemies and of course, trying to hide from the visitors. It is said that the park is home to 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, and 3 species of amphibians. It is definitely an extraordinary experience to see these predators and the prey in their natural habitat. It is worth to be noted that Pench also has a considerable variety of birds (more than 210 species) both migratory and local. The chirping of the birds, occasional chattering of the monkeys, colorful butterflies, herds of herbivores, relentless efforts to spot the big striped cats and everything amalgamated would make your heart go aflutter. Pench also has a rich diversity of flora- Teak, Axle wood, Malabar, and many more, some identifiable and some not. The forest bed is covered with various kinds of bushes, grass, wild shrubs, and wildflowers that grow on their own, fresh and colorful, pure and pristine will bring a smile to your face. At every step, you will be able to rejoice and won’t languish to praise the beauty of creation.
The enchanting view of the forest will surely inspire artists to paint it, inspirit poetry as it inspired Rudyard Kipling to write the ‘Jungle Book’ in 1894. It is unknown to many of us that the entire script of the book hovered in and around Pench. Moreover, the beauty of this region has also seized the attention of naturalists like Captain J Forsyth in ‘Highlands of Central India’ and Abul Fazlto in Ain-i-Akbari.
With the fading sunlight, darkness descends and one can also enjoy an adventurous night safari. The glittering and glowing eyes of the forest animals, the sound of the crickets will make your jungle safari increasingly spunky.
To sum up, Pench is the source to get back to nature, away from the concrete and cement and cacophonous urban lives. A lazy river, overgrown trees, predators and prey, trodden snaky and digressive aisles, nature has placed everything impeccably. At a time where we only read and hear cases of illegal poaching and cutting down trees, Pench with its beauty will leave you awestruck. Where we travel for days to reach a sought after and tad expensive destination, a silent yet captivating forest closer home remains unexplored. Just a day or two at the sequestered wild spot with friends or family and make no mistake; Pench will be etched in your heart forever.