Time stands still here in the grassy meadows of Kanha. Male Barasingha are busy adorning their antlers with choicest of grasses and fallen leafs. Flocks of Rose Finches and other munias fleet across the grasslands. The charm of this picturesque and palpably alive landscape is unparalleled. And while all creatures are busy doing their routine, they are all ever alert for the slightest indication of tiger on a prowl. Needless to say, the Kanha Tiger Reserve is the jewel in India’s tiger forests and is arguably the best managed wildlife park in the country today.
This fabled Central Indian landscape and its creatures are also the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’. If legends are to be believed, then King Dashrath of Ayodhya (Lord Ram’s father) was out hunting in these woods and during the hunt Dashrath mistakenly shot at a young boy ‘Shravan’ who was carrying his old, blind parents to a pilgrimage. The boy died on the banks of a lake and his old, helpless parents could also not survive the shocking news. Before dying, Shravan’s parents cursed King Dashrath that he too will die in grief and pain of his son who will leave him. The lake called ‘Shravan Taal’ exists in Kanha today and the great Indian epic of Ramayana bears its origins to the emerald forests of Kanha.
Kanha Tiger Reserve is not only well known for its hugely rewarding and the best tiger safari in India but this forest has also been the initiator of pioneering scientific investigations into the lives of tigers and other flora and fauna. These green expanses attracted eminent scientist Dr. George Schaller to study tigers here and his book ‘The Deer and The Tiger’ is a landmark publication about the life of tigers. Spread over a staggering 1900 plus square kilometers of the Satpura-Maikal hill range, the park itself is characterized as a highland plateau. The verdant expanse is a fortress of biodiversity which ranges over 1000+ species of plants, 140+ species of butterflies to some 300 species of birds. Not to forget that this jungle is amongst the last remaining strong holds for wild tigers and is crucial for the long-term survival of this magnificent big cat. The thickly forested hills bear extensive growth of the ‘Sal’ tree and together with the expansive grassy meadows the Kanha national park landscape is simply breathtaking. The frequent sightings of tigers, leopards, bears and other reclusive forest denizens just makes Kanha an irresistible wildlife destination to tourists world over. In the contemporary context, forests like Kanha are not only important for protecting tigers and barasingha, but all the more important because they feed water to the mighty Narmada river. The river in turn ensures that the life-giving water reaches to human beings living 100s of kilometers away from Kanha.
Given all this, Kanha is a well serviced tourist destination with numerous hotels and lodges dotting on the periphery. Located near the Mukki Gate of Kanha Tiger Reserve, the Singinawa Jungle Lodge is amongst the most popular properties with tourists visiting Kanha. Spread over 100 acres of wilderness along the banks of the Banjar river, Singinawa offers world class amenities and facilities for guests. The lodge stresses on communicating the very essence of Kanha wildlife, natural history and its indigenous people and their art and culture. Apart from the well-designed, all comforts providing individual cottages and bungalows, the prime attraction of Singinawa Jungle Lodge is its own slice of wilderness and the stunning displays of indigenous art works and artifacts at the in-house ‘Kanha Museum of Art and Life’.
Kanha Tiger Reserve affords a world class tiger safari experience and the forest department is doing a great job in making sure a hassle free, stream lined and well-disciplined tourism setup that is basis of the unparalleled jungle experience. Kanha is the pride of Madhya Pradesh and receives thousands of tourists every year and it would not be an exaggeration to say that people visit Kanha as tourists but go back as tiger defenders.