Madhya Pradesh – The Central Highland of National Parks and Sanctuaries of India
India is a land of diversity. Natural geography of this country is so contrast in nature in different areas that this country experiences a different kind of landscape, different kind of weather and different kind of habitats within it.
Madhya Pradesh (MP) is a state in India. “Madhya Pradesh” means the central state and it is located in the central India as its name says. The state capital of Madhya Pradesh is Bhopal.
Madhya Pradesh is located in the central highland of India, which is considered as the center of India’s wildlife and national parks. Around 30% area of Madhya Pradesh is occupied by forest. It contains 12% of India’s forest. Due to its wonderful forest nature, Madhya Pradesh has the best national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
Incredible Madhya Pradesh is a popular adventure tourist destination in India for its varied wildlife that is restored by the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh are visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world. Madhya Pradesh wildlife tourism is the main focus of tourism in this state.
National Parks in Madhya Pradesh
Some major national parks in Madhya Pradesh and a brief description of these are given below.
1) Bandhavgarh National Park: This is one of the most popular national parks in MP with an area of 105 square km. Bandhavgarh National Park is well known for the Bengal tigers and the density of the Bengal tiger inhabits here are the largest in India. Also more than 22 species, including leopard and deer and 250 species of birds are the main inhabitants in Bandhavgarh National Park. It is located in the Sahdol district of MP and surrounded by the Vindhya hills. This is a must visit national park in MP for an animal lover or a wildlife photographer. Both jeep and elephant safaris can be enjoyed here with guides while it remains open for the visitors from Mid-November to June.
2) Kanha National Park: Kanha is a national park and a tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh and situated within Mandla and Balaghat district. There are two wildlife sanctuaries in this national park – Hallon and Banjar. This is the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh with an area of 1057 square km including the buffer zone around. 22 species of mammals live here, including the Royal Bengal tiger, leopard, deer, sloth bear, wild dogs and many more. Kanha national park is also a home to almost 200 species of birds and 1000 species of flora. Rudyard Kipling created the famous novel Jungle Book inspired by the perfect Indian wildlife of Kanha National park in MP.
3) Madhav National Park: This forest got the status of a national park in 1959 consisting of 354 square km area. It is in the Shivpuri district in Gwalior state in the northwest of Madhya Pradesh. This was a hunting ground for the Mughal emperors. Madhav national park is very rich in biodiversity in wildlife as well as the landscape. The park has hilly, forested terrain and on the other hand has the flat grassland around lakes. This national park in Madhya Pradesh is also an ideal place for bird watching when the migratory birds gather in the artificial lake Chandpata in winter season.
Some other national parks in Madhya Pradesh are –
- Ghughua Fossil Park
- Mandla Plant Fossils National Park
- Satpura National Park
- Van Vihar National Park
- Pench National Park
- Sanjay National Park
Wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh
Wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh are mostly located within the boundaries of the major national parks. Some of those are mentioned below.
1) Bori Wildlife Sanctuary: It is located in the Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh in the central highland of India and situated within the boundary of the Satpura national park. This is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India that was established in 1865. The area of this sanctuary is about 518 square km. Tiger, Leopard, Sambar, Chital, Gaur, Bear, Wild Boar is the main inhabitant of this reserve forest.
2) Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary: Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve in Anuppur and Dindori districts of Madhya Pradesh. It was established in 1975 and consists of 551 square km. Leopards, Bengal tigers, gaur, chital, striped hyena, nilgai and many others are the main inhabitants of this wildlife sanctuary.
Some other wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh are –
- Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary
- Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve
- Pench Tiger Reserve
- Ratapani Tiger Reserve
- National Chambal Sanctuary
- Karera Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary