Pench National Park is one of the famous tiger reserves and wildlife tourism destinations of Madhya Pradesh. Mostly covered by teak, this place is quite famous for a variety of animals and birds. Pench tiger reserve falls 60% in the state of Madhya Pradesh and rest in Maharashtra. However, the region under the boundary of Madhya Pradesh is the core reserve area to spot tigers and other exotic mammals.
The park gets its beauty and foliage due to the lush Pench River veining through the forest. The park is famous for open-roof jeep safari and boat rides. Apart from the wildlife beauty, the park is also lush with tribe communities living in their nature-touched lifestyle, lush dams, and ancient temples.
The first ever literature description of this forest was in 16th century’s Ain-i-Akbari, a chronical documenting the reign of Akbar, a Mughal emperor. The forest region was recognized in 1977 as a sanctuary. In 1983, it was tagged as national park. Under the Project Tiger, this park was included as a tiger reserve in 1992. Later, in 2002, the park was renamed as Indira Priyadarshini national park. However, the new name did not catch on, and the locals still refer to it as Pench national Park.
In terms of season, the best time to visit Pench National Park is from November to May. The park is closed from July to end of September. This is the monsoon season, which grants the park with abundant rainfall. Thus safaris would be halted. This is also the breeding time for numerous animals in the park and thus, it is quite dangerous to venture through the region.
November to February is the peak tourism season and the winter season. This is the time to spot many migratory and local aviary population like grey-headed fishing eagle, Malabar pied hornbill, Indian pitta, coots, bear-headed geese, and others. Owl breeding is very popular here, but spotting owls during daytime or even the sunset safari is quite rare. Winter is also the best time to spot flourishing flora, which includes 1300+ species of rare medicinal plants, ghost tree (White Kulu), bamboo, teak, and others.
March to May is the summer season and the time for avid wildlife enthusiasts. It is hard to explore the region during summer. Given the rocky terrain of the park, the summers are very hot, humid, and extremely dehydrating. If you visit during summer season, the predatory animals like leopards and royal Bengal tigers can easily be spotted. You can find numerous mammals closer to the Pench River, during summer exploration. However, boat safaris might be stopped, if the water flow is reduced in the river.
Morning safari is the best for birdwatching, spotting deer and other small mammals. Evening safari is the best for spotting a few birds and predatory animals.
The park has three entrances and the most popular one is the Turia Gate, 13 km from NH7 (Khawasa state border). If you are planning to fly to Pench, it is best to reach Maharashtra and reach Pench from Maharashtra. If you are choosing trains or road transportation, reach Madhya Pradesh and travel from there to the park.
The closest airport to the park is in Nagpur. Pench does not have an airport. You can find numerous daily flights connecting Nagpur from surrounding regions. If you are travelling from international locations, Mumbai International airport would be a good choice to enter India and you can find connecting flights to Nagpur. From the airport, you can find road transportation to reach the park. Nagpur airport is just 93 km away from the park.
If you are looking for an economic option, trains would be a good choice. The closest railway station is the Seoni station, which is 30 km away. From the station, you can find road transportation to the park. If you are flying to India via Mumbai, you can find direct trains from Mumbai to Seoni too.
The most commonly opted road transportation to the park is jeep via Nagpur-Jabalpur highway. You can also find buses from surrounding regions to Khwasa. From Khwasa, you need to find taxis to the park.