Satpura Tiger Reserve is cradled in the rugged hills of the Satpura range in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. The Tiger Reserve is spread over an area of 2133.30 sq km together with wildlife sanctuaries of Pachmarhi and Bori. Rich in biocultural diversity, the Satpura national park was established in 1981 and harbours some of the critically endangered animal and plant species. Pachmarhi, the important hill station of the state is also located within the area of Pachmarhi wildlife sanctuary. Dhoopgarh (1352 m) the highest peak in Madhya Pradesh is also located inside the park. The terrain is generally hilly with precipitous slopes, deep and narrow gorges, ravines, sheltered valleys and dense forests with many water falls.

The area is unique on account of the biological diversity of different forests ranging from dry thorn forests to tropical dry deciduous, moist deciduous and semi evergreen forests. Teak, sal and mixed forests are the major compositions. The Bori Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in Bamboo. Over 1200 varieties of flowering and non-flowering plants are found in this area. Some of them are very rare and endangered species which only grow in Pachmarhi plateau, an area percolated by deep gorges with perennial streams. The park area supports a rich wildlife. The Tiger is found in good number but is confined to dense forest areas. Leopards are found all over the park. Other endangered species found in the reserve include Indian bison (gaur), Indian giant squirrel and the chameleon. Sambhar, chital, chinkara, mouse deer, barking deer are also present. Nilgai, chausingha, langurs, wilddog, jackal, common fox and jungle cat are found throughout the reserve. Sloth bear and wild pig are also frequently seen in the park.

Water bodies of the reserve have crocodiles and are rich in fish fauna. The area has a wide spectrum of bird life. Among the birds represented are jungle fowls, quails, partridges, bee eaters, parakeets, egrets, eagle, myna, bulbul, malabar pied hornbill and vultures. One is also attracted by a large variety of colourful butterflies, moths and other insects. Madai, Churna, Bori, Dhal and Paraspani are some of the areas for viewing wildlife.

Of great archaeological interest are more than 130 rock shelters with rock paintings depicting battles, hunts, animals, ceremonies and routine daily life of the people, found all over the park in the Pachmarhi plateau. Some of these are estimated to be over 10,000 years old. Also present are several ruins of temples and fortifications dating back to 4th and 15th century when the area was inhabited by the Gond tribe. The best time to visit the park is between November and June. The park is closed during the monsoon.

How to reach;

The national park is easily accessible by road from Bhopal (210 km), Jabalpur (240 km), Nagpur (250 km) and Chhindwara (85 km). Pipariya (52 km) is the closest railhead and Itarsi is the closest rail junction. Pachmarhi is the closest bus stand and the gateway to this reserve.

Content Courtesy : MP Madhyam.