Pench National Park is named after the river Pench that runs through the Park, dividing it almost equally in two parts. The Park is well known for its tigers and for supposedly being the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s famous classic—The Jungle Book.
The Park was originally declared a sanctuary in 1977, then upgraded to a National Park in 1983, and finally given the status of a Tiger Reserve in 1992. Pench National Park is home to a stable population of tigers and leopards, two dominant predators. Other mammals found here include the gaur (Indian bison), chital, sambar deer, nilgai, dhol (Indian wild dog), sloth bear, chausingha, and barking deer. Along with this 258 plus resident and migratory birds call Pench home, as do approximately 50 species of fish, an assortment of reptiles, butterflies and insects.
As with any national park in India that is home to tigers, the summer months from March to May are best for visiting, since the watering holes offer many possibilities of good tiger sightings. The park is closed from July to September and you can visit again in the cooler months that follow, from October to February.
Pench National Park is located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, spread across Seoni and Chhindwara districts. The Park, also known as Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, commands an area of approximately 293 sq km, and a buffer zone of another 466 sq km; bringing the total area to approximately 756 sq km. The Park’s landscape comprises several small hills from the lower ranks of the Satpura Range.
Pench National Park is home to 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, and three amphibian species. Amongst the mammals are 25 individual tigers. Other mammals include the gaur, panther, bear, striped hyena, sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara, barking deer, dhole, palm civet, porcupine, macaque, and jungle cat. The concentration of prey is highest along the banks of the river Pench, and hence it is the best site to spot animals. You should also look for many of the 258 plus resident and migratory birds here. This includes the king vulture, Indian pitta, grey headed fishing eagle, coot, osprey, bar headed geese, white-eyed buzzard, and Brahmini duck.