Located amidst the sylvan settings of the north central part of Madhya Pradesh, the tiger reserve is spread over an area of 1578.55 sq km within the districts of Panna and Chhatarpur. Once the hunting reserve of the erstwhile rulers of Panna, Chhatarpur and Bijawar States, Panna National Park was constituted in the year 1981 and declared a tiger reserve in 1994. Of the total tiger reserve area of 1578.55 sq km, Panna national park has an area of 542.69 sq km, Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary 87.53 sq km and Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary at a distance of about 30 km from Panna national park, an area of 45.20 sq km. The world famous temple town of Khajuraho is just 25 km and a mere half an hour drive away.

The main forest types found in Panna Tiger Reserve are southern tropical dry teak forest and northern tropical dry deciduous mixed forest. Other types include dry deciduous scrub forest, Salai (Boswellia seratta) forest, dry bamboo brakes and kard hai (Anogeissus pendula) forest. Tendu, Aonla, Ber, Bel, Ghont, Kaitha, Achar etc. make valuable fruit diet of the animals here. Several varieties of grasses are found all over and the reserve is rich in fodder.

The life line of the park, Ken river meanders for about 55 km through the tiger reserve from south to north. Springs and gorges along the course of Ken river offer magnificent sights. Springs (locally called jhirias) are the major water sources available during the months of summer.

Sightings of Tiger is reported. Leopard is more common. One can easily see nilgai and chinkara in most open areas. The wooded areas are dotted with sambhar, chital and chousingha. Sloth bear is mostly found in the rock escarpments. The other animals include jack al, hyena, rhesus monkey, langur and wild pig. More than 200 species of birds including a host of migratory birds have been sighted in the park . The avifauna include paradise flycatcher, pond heron, partridges, quails, pea fowls, parakeets, egrets, mynas, bulbul, cuckoo, jungle crow etc.

Common reptiles comprise lizards, chameleon, Indian python, cobra and kraits. Aquatic animals include crocodile and a variety of fish is found in Ken river. Gharial, a rare & endangered species, can be seen in the Ken Gharial Sanctuary. Madla and Hinouta are the two entry gates to the park. The park is closed between 1st July to 15th October and the best time to visit is between December to March. The management does not provide any transport facility inside the park, but private vehicles can be hired at Panna (7 km from park boundary) and Khajuraho. Jeep/minibus/wagon are also allowed.

How to reach;

Khajuraho is the nearest airport which is just 25 km from Madla gate of the tiger reserve. Khajuraho and Satna (70 km) are the nearest railheads.

Content Courtesy : MP Madhyam.

Source: http://www.mp.gov.in/web/guest/wildlife