Adventure, India, Madhya Pradesh, Offbeat, Photo Essays, Responsible Travel
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Panna National Park Near Khajuraho: India’s Most Beautiful Forest?

On why I fell in love with Panna National Park – often called Khajuraho National Park due to its proximity to the Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh.

Old forests of teak and acacia lay bathed in the warm glow of the morning sun. We drove along the vast expanse of the Ken River strewn with little islands, climbed up a plateau dotted with colorful igneous rocks, crossed bubbling streams and grasslands in shades of autumn, and arrived at the most picturesque sight – a 200 meter high gorge, with two majestic waterfalls, surrounded by dense greenery, and a stream winding in the valley below. Sitting on the rocks, we had tea and biscuits while watching vultures fly around the steep gorge!

Panna Tiger Reserve (aka Khajuraho National Park) has broken my association of wildlife parks with wildlife alone. I hope these pictures, taken with my Sony Cybershot, will do the same for you!

FOREST RIVER ISLANDS IN PANNA NATIONAL PARK 

which look particularly lush just when the park opens on October 15th, after the monsoon season.

Panna madhya pradesh, panna tiger reserve, panna

CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH A FEMALE SAMBAR DEER

These solo wanderers are aplenty in the forests of Panna.

female sambar deer, madhya pradesh forest, panna tiger reserve

DHUNDHUA, THE GORGE AT PANNA

with monsoon waterfalls, vulture nestings, caves for tiger cubs, and a majestic valley below. Dhund (mist) and Dhua (smoke), literally describes the look of the gorge in the monsoons.

panna dhundua, panna waterfall, panna national park

 LIFE IN THE FORESTS OF PANNA

often referred to as Khajuraho National Park – is fascinating to observe, as it is in any wildlife sanctuary. Spotted this langur drinking water right before our jeep on the trail.

panna wildlife, madhya pradesh wildlife, panna, langur

 SOAKING IN THE SERENITY OF RIVER KEN IN THE FORESTS OF PANNA


National Park; The river was originally called Karnavati, but anglicised by the British to Ken; the locals now refer it to as Kian.

Ken river, panna madhya pradesh, panna national park

 AND AT KEN RIVER LODGE BY PUGDUNDEE SAFARIS

A rustic eco-lodge, first built in 1986, and washed away twice by the river floods! From the lounging area, we spotted a crocodile and kingfishers in the river. You can take a rowboat on the river from Ken River Lodge; unfortunately the water level was too high for us to try it.

ken river lodge, panna hotels, panna national park

INSPIRED TO WRITE

at the rooftop area of Ken River Lodge, with a view of Ken River and the forests all around.

ken river lodge, panna hotels, panna national park

A HERD OF DEER GREETING US

at Panna / Khajuraho National Park; love how shy, curious and confused they always appear. Ken River Lodge plays an active role in conservation efforts at the Panna National Park, by regularly engaging with the local community on conservation initiatives.

deer herd, panna forest, panna national park

SMALLER LIFE IN THE JUNGLE

Massive spider webs were everywhere in the jungle, and will remain there for another month, after which they’ll be eaten by the birds.

Panna, Panna photos

 CATCHING TWO WILD BOARS IN ACTION

digging into the ground for food, aka the roots of plants.

wild boar, panna tiger reserve

 DRIVING INTO THE SUNSET

amid the grasslands of Panna National Park, in the backdrop of the Vindhyas range.

Panna national park, Panna madhya pradesh

A SUNSET TO REMEMBER

over Ken River and the plateaus of Panna.

Madhya pradesh sunset, panna sunset, panna national park

What are your impressions of Panna / Khajuraho National Park in Madhya Pradesh?

What’s the most beautiful national park you’ve been to in India?

Note: I was hosted at Ken River Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris. Couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to national parks in Madhya Pradesh!

ALSO READ:

Why Satpura National Park is the Most Unique in India

The Secrets Lives of Jim Corbett Animals

Wildlife Tourism: Are We Saving the Tiger?

panna national park, khajuraho national park, national park near khajuraho
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27 Comments

  1. mahabore says

    Wow, those are some awesome pics, looks like you had a nice peaceful green vacation with lots of wildlife to give you company…

    • Thanks! It was like being in a whole other world indeed; feels surreal to be back in civilization.

  2. Kanya says

    Superb write up & Great Photography. Which camera did you use to capture photographs for your blog?

    • Thanks Kanya; glad you liked both 🙂 I use a Sony Cybershot to capture all my pictures, and love it.

      • Kanya says

        Oh Great! If you don’t mind, can you please let me know the model no. Thanks

  3. ripple4it says

    As usual a great Travel-log, but it’s special for me due to two three reasons – Lovely pics, Wildlife & Madhya Pradesh ! Keep Travelling and Keep Sharing your awesome captures.

  4. I loved the lantern shot the most! The only national park I have been to in India was Jim Corbett, but that was in the scorching month of May. We couldn’t see its green side. I hope to visit some nice national parks (maybe Panna) in the days to come.

    • Thanks Renuka, that was one of my favorite places to hang out at Ken River Lodge too! I’ve been to Corbett too, but found Panna exceptional in terms of natural beauty. Hope you visit it soon.

  5. VInayak says

    Panna seems great but without tigers its not as much fun.

    Most beautiful national park I have been to : Ranthambore

    • That’s exactly the point; it’s so beautiful that you feel satisfied even without a sighting! Give it a shot next time please. Can’t wait to go to Ranthambore.

  6. I am absolutely awe-struck by your pics, Shivya. This looks my kinda place all the way! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Thanks Sangeeta, plan a trip soon. The pictures hardly do justice to all those hours of driving around the park 🙂

  7. I’ve been to the Ranthambore Lion reserve and the Pench Tiger reserve – the sad part on both trips is, I wasn’t fortunate enough for a sighting in either.
    A lot of people think the Ranthambore reserve is one of the prettiest. That’s probably because it is different than most other reserves in India – most Indian National Parks, I guess you can classify as tropical rainforest reserves, whereas Ranthambore is more on the lines of a savannah reserve. That being said, every wildlife reserve has a different feel to it. You should try some of the Kanchenjunga valley reserves some time. Heard a lot about them.

  8. Woww… so beautiful!! Especially the picture of the monkey drinking water. Reminded me of my time in Masai Mara… 🙂

  9. uday:D says

    Driving into the sunset is an unreal shot. Seems like you were there at the perfect hour. I just can’t visualize this particular place in a more beautiful image. Looking forward to ur book(s) expecting a visual treat as well. Great going Shivya

  10. Great Photography and also the writing which makes this article so interesting and incredible.Thanks to sharing with us.

  11. Dr. R.K.Kapoor says

    we are heading for this on 04 november 2013…driving down from Secunderabad, A.P…looking forward eagarly….

  12. Beautiful, beautiful pictures and a lovely post!

    We didn’t go to Panna; we just went to Kanha. It was my first tryst with a proper wildlife safari, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to it, either. 🙂

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  16. ram pandey says

    hey …nice pics yr really awesome..
    i am also wants to be wildlife photographer and want to travel along the whole countries bt i dont know how can i do this with whom i join who can manage travelling budgets and all..please if u know plz guide me…:-)
    i can send u my pics which i have taken at bor wildlife sanctuary wardha Nagpur

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