Named after the river Pench, this is the 19th project tiger reserve in India and was declared so in 1992. Nestled in the lower southern region of the Satpura hills, the Pench National Park is located in southern Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara, about 102 km from Nagpur. Pench National Park, comprising of 758 sq km, out of which a core area of 299 sq km of Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park and the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and remaining 464 sq km of Pench national park is the buffer area. The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. A description of its natural wealth and richness occurs in Ain-i-Akbari. Pench Tiger Reserve and its neighbourhood is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, The Jungle Book. Over 1200 species of plants have been recorded from the area including several rare and endangered plants as well as plants of ethno-botanical importance. The area has always been rich in wildlife favouring a high population of Chital and Sambar. Pench tiger reserve has highest density of herbivores in India (90.3 animals per sq km).
The area is especially famous for large herds of Gaur (Indian Bison), Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Dog and Wild Pig. The key predator is the tiger followed by Leopard, Wild Dog and Wolf. Other animals include Sloth Bear, Chousingha, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Jackal, Fox, Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Porcupine etc.
Permits: The Pench National Park is open to the visitors from October 1 to June 30 and is closed during the rainy season. Visiting hours are 6 am to 11 am and 3 pm to 6 pm.
When to visit: There are three distinct seasons. Summer (February to middle of June), monsoon (from mid-June till Octobe) and winter starts in October with low temperatures in December/ January. The best time to visit is from February to April.
Accommodation: Pench Jungle Camp, Tiger Corridor Resort, Jungle Home Pench, Tiger Valley Resort, etc.
How to reach:
Air: Nearest airport to Pench is Sonegaon airport at Nagpur, placed at a distance of 132 km from Pench.
Rail: The nearest railhead is Seoni Railway Station, which is about 30 km from the Pench and Chhindwara railway station.
Road: Nearest bus junction is at Seoni.