Photo-essay of Pench – World Wildlife Day March 3rd ©Sangeeta Venkatesh

Much has been written about the Pench National Park by other travellers. So I will keep it simple. We travelled from Ramtek to Pench and since we were arriving late evening, we were happy to check in quickly at the Tathasthu Guest House to get some rest before the early morning safari that was scheduled.

We were entering ‘Mowgli Land’ – the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s unforgettable book, ‘The Jungle Book’. I remember watching the film when I was in my teens and I had a childlike excitement to explore this national park. Pench is named after the river Pench that flows through. It was declared a sanctuary in 1965, raised to the status of national park in 1975 and enlisted as a tiger reserve in 1992. In 1983 it was declared as National Park. The national park consists of dry deciduous forests.

We were ready for the Jeep safari, early in the morning, which is the most popular mode for jungle safari in Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve in Seoni District. We were greeted by the genial guide at the Turia Gate, who was indeed a repository of knowledge. Presenting a few pictures from the half day we spent in the forest.

Had to pose with Mowgli!

This tree was so intriguing. Known as ‘Bhutya’ in Marathi or ghost tree, the biological name is Sterculia urens. It is also popularly known as Gum Karaya, as it exudes gum when the bark is damaged. It is tapped for use in the pharmaceutical industry as a laxative and a tablet binder

A red nape Ibis perched on the tree

Sambar Deer foraging

Watering Holes

Spotted Deer or Chital

Spotted deers have curved, three-pronged antlers extend nearly 3 feet and shed each year. A view of a antler that has been shed.

A herd of deer.

Observe the bark that has been scraped off at the base. Thus is supposedly done by the Indian porcupine. We managed to see the Gaur (Bison), barking deer, lots of birds such as the racket tail drongo, common kingfisher, red vented bulbul, munias, waterfowl amongst them, and also understand the flora. However, despite the warning alarms given by animals that the tiger was round, we managed to see only the pugmarks. Maybe we missed the grand denizen by minutes. You also need to go into the forest multiple times to increase the probability of catching a glimpse of the tigers, and due to paucity of time, we were happy we could see what we could.

Breakfast break in the National Park!

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