Brief History of Kanha National Park
Before the british took over the land in 1818, it was ruled by the Gond Kings and prior to them by the Rajput dynasties. The land accommodated the nomadic or ‘baiga’ tribes for several years-while they practiced shifting cultivation (dhya) until the 1868 when the act was prohibited by the Land Settlement Act.
This area came to be known as the reserve forest in the year 1879; it was upgraded as ‘The Banjar Valley Reserve’ in 1933 considering the plight of forest land restoration. The years 1947 to 1951 witnessed a great uproar from the native community and governance as the Raja of Vijayanagaram shot 30 tigers in Kanha. In 1955 ultimately the region was declared as National park. Later the park was fragmented into 2 sanctuaries Banjar and Hallon. In 1973, the park became the first in the league of Tiger reserves in the country. Presently, the reserve encompasses 1949 sq kilometers of serene forestland.
The kanha national park is located in the Maikal ranges in the womb of Satpura. The term ‘highland’ was given to these land forms by Captain J. Forsyth who was a chief conservator on the subcontinent. His works majorly comprise of the areas between 22nd parallel of north latitude and between the 76th and 82nd of east longitude-which is the source for several central Indian rivers and “the central and culminating ridge of an elevated country”.
The alpine upsurges from 1000 ft to 3000 ft with rippling speed and is spread out to the plateaus and river valleys, dry nullahs and grassy meadows. The craggy mountain is full of granite at the peak areas and sedimentary at the base levels. The undulating topography with grasslands that is home to several wild predators as it facilitates their hunting activity. The soil of the area is generously supplied with mica schist, quartz, manganese, dolomite and iron. The environment is home to varied bio diversity from rarely seen butterflies to wild jungle cats.
The positioning of this park in the Maikal ranges of Satpura in the heart of the Indian Peninsula, i.e. Madhya Pradesh alone makes it a worthwhile tourism spot. Forests of Kanha can be called as largely tropical moist deciduous forest, however there are other varieties of forest groups in smaller expanses, like, Slightly Moist Teak Forest, Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest, Moist Sal Forest, Dry Peninsular Sal Forest, Southern Dry Deciduous Forest, Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forest, Dry Grassland, Butea Forest, & Dry Bamboo Break.
What To See?
- Main Mammals: You can expect a lot of rare and extinct species like, the Royal Bengal Tiger, Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Leopard, Indian Wild Dog, Hard Ground Swamp Deer or Barasinga, Sloth Bear, Indian Bison or Gaur, Jungle Cat. Asian Palm Civet, Honey Badger, Indian Porcupine, Smooth Coated Otter, Greater False Vampire Bat, Indian Pangolin, Mouse Deer & Leopard Cat.
- Main Birds: The environment is viable to nurture a wide variety of wild species of birds like, Red Jungle Fowl, Red Spurfowl, Crested Hawk Eagle, Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, Puff Throated Babbler, Indian Nuthatch, Scarlet Minivet, Mottled Wood Owl, Forest Eagle Owl, Streak Throated Woodpecker, Greater Painted Snipe, Siberian Rubythroat.
- Rare Birds:The reserve fathoms the love for birds for most of the bird enthusiasts. The rare birds to expect in the area are, Jerdon’s Baza, Brown Wood Owl, Yellow Legged Button Quail, Lesser Florican, Large Billed Reed Warbler, Blue Headed Rock Thrush, Rufous Bellied Eagle, Forest Wagtail, Himalayan or White Tailed Rubythroat and Siberian Rubythroat.
- Butterflies: The national park has a rich population of butterflies in Kanha and in its vicinity. Some of these gorgeous flying insects are Common rose, crimson rose, common Jezebel, four spot swordtail, danaid eggfly, grey count, baronet, commander and common map.
- Main Plants: Wild is an umbrella that shelters to over thousand species of flora and fauna in Kanha National Park. Some of them are, Sal, Terminalia ssp. – Saja, Arjun, Dhawan, Teak, Flame of The Forest, Jamun, Bija, Red Silk Cotton, Tamarind, Haldu, Tendu or Indian Ebony Tree, Kusum or Indian Oak Tree, Bauhenia ssp. – B. purpureia, B. Variegta, Banyan, Ficus ssp. – F. benjamina, F. hispida, F. glomureta, Peepal.
- Grass Flowers: Some of the distinct variety of wild grass flowers include, Blues – Dwarf Morning Glory, Chickweed Lobelia, Goatweed, Marsh Barbel, Pinks – Water Lily, Common Balsam, Checkered Vanda, Hill Turmeric, Wild Turmeric, Hedge Glory, Lotus. Reds – Fire Flame, Cypress Vine, Glory Lily, Lion’s Ear, Spiral Ginger. Whites – Common Water Lily, Common Cough Cure, Malabar Jasmine, Indian Squirrel Tail, Wild Eggplant. Yellows – Common Dodder, Bitter Cucumber, Hairy Okra, Common Cassia, Lollipop Vine.