PANNA NATIONAL PARK | WILDLIFE SAFARI & TRAVEL GUIDE TO PANNA
About Panna National Park
#10 of 21 Places to visit in Madhya Pradesh
Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
Nearest City to Panna National Park: Gwalior (287 Kms), Bhopal (381 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Panna National Park: October to June
Peak Season: November to February
At a distance of 21 km from Panna, 26 km from Khajuraho, 51 km from Chhatarpur, 90 km from Satna, 146 km from Tikamgarh, 180 km from Jhansi, 235 km from Jabalpur, 245 km from Allahabad, 257 km from Kanpur, 287 km from Gwalior, 381 km from Bhopal, 513 km from Nagpur, 567 km from Raipur, and 655 km from Patna, Panna National Park is a national park located in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh in India. Situated near Madla village, it is one of the top national parks in India and among the best places to visit as part of Madhya Pradesh tour packages.
Spread over an area of 542.67 sq. km, Panna National Park was once the private hunting reserve of erstwhile rulers of Panna, Chhatarpur & Bijawar states. It was established as a national park by the Government of India in 1981. In 1994, Panna was upgraded into a Tiger Reserve with the inclusion of some other wildlife sanctuaries like Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary, Panna National Park & Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the 22nd Tiger Reserve of India and the 5th in Madhya Pradesh.
Panna National Park was given the Award of Excellence in 2007 as the best maintained national park of India by the Ministry of Tourism of India. Unfortunately, the park lost almost all its tigers in 2009 due to poaching. With the collaboration of WWF and PATA, the park authorities introduced two tigers to Panna, one from Bandhavgarh and the other from Kanha Tiger Reserve with intricate scientific inputs. Now, just a decade later, Panna has over 40 tigers.
The terrain of the reserve is characterized by extensive plateaus and gorges while the vegetation comprises of mainly tall grass and scrubby bushes. The Ken River, a tributary of Yamuna, flows through the Reserve from south to north. It is one of the sixteen perennial rivers of Madhya Pradesh and is truly the lifeline of the Reserve.
Panna National Park represents one of the important Tiger habitats of Central Indian Highlands along with its associated species. Apart from tigers, the park is home to various endangered species including Indian wolf, four-horned antelope, sloth bear, pangolin, gharial, rusty-spotted cat, leopard, and carcal. The reserve is also home to nearly 200 species of birds. Besides, the Park is dotted with ancient rock paintings, which are believed to be around two thousand years old along with stunning waterfalls like Raneh Falls and Pandav Falls.
There are two major entry zones for Panna Tiger Reserve namely Madla and Hinauta which remain open for the tourists from mid-October to mid- June, every year. Jeep Safari is the best option to get inside the dense ambiance of the reserve and encounter the wildest ranges of Panna inhabitants. Most safaris into the park start from the Madla village. Maximum 70 vehicles are allowed to travel into the park -50 from Madla and 20 from Hinauta. The safari is organized only in the forest department approved vehicles. Private vehicles are not allowed inside the forest. One can also go for the Night safari offered by the Ken River Lodge in the buffer zone.
Panna Tiger Reserve has very good tourist accommodation at Jungle cottage Hinauta and Raneh Fall and Madla Forest Rest House. The park has 20 rooms, 6 tents and 15 beds dormitory for tourists at these places. Besides, one can also stay near Khajuraho or Panna and join the safari the next day morning. However, since the area around Panna is remote and there is no proper and regular transport service, it might be possible that you do not get any vehicle in the morning to Panna as the safari begins as early as 6. 30 AM in the morning and one need to be there before 30 minutes as the formalities to enter the park takes around 20 minutes.
Khajuraho Airport is the nearest airport to Panna National Park which is about 22 km from Madla. It is well connected by flight with major Indian cities like Bhopal, Agra, Delhi, and Varanasi. However, Gwalior is the major nearest airport which is about 298 km from Panna. About 20 km from Panna Tiger Reserve, Khajuraho Railway Station is the nearest railhead which has well-connected trains from Delhi, Jhansi, Kanpur, Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Mahoba, Agra, Mathura, Gwalior, Varanasi, and Allahabad. Satna Junction is the nearest railhead which is 90 km from Madla. Khajuraho is the nearest Bus stand to Madla which has regular buses from Jhansi, Bhopal, Chhatarpur, and Satna. One can reach Madla entrance gate of Panna National Park by bus or cab from Khajuraho.
November to March is the best time to visit Panna National Park when the weather is comparatively cooler and more pleasant. The park remains closed from mid- June to mid- October for tourists.
Safari Timings: 6.30 AM - 10.30 AM & 2.30 PM - 5.30 PM
Safari Permit Fee: Rs. 250 for Single Seat in Jeep, Rs. 1500 per Whole Jeep (max 6 Persons). Jeep hiring cost & guide cost extra