Winter has descended onto us with its usual basket of happiness, and making the best use of winter ought to be a prerogative for the wanderlusts out there. And if you are seriously considering an exciting trip to some exotic part of India this winter, then there could be few better places than the winter capital of Maharashtra – Nagpur, also referred to as ‘The Tiger Capital of India’. Dotted with innumerable tourist destinations, this populous and industrialized city in Central India has attracted travelers from all over the world by virtue of its intrinsic charm, especially in winter. In this article, we shall talk about one of those exotic tourist destinations in Nagpur which have played a significant role in making tourism an integral part of the past and future of the city.
If you have read Rudyard Kipling’s epic work ‘The Jungle Book’, then you would probably need no special introduction to Pench National Park, Nagpur. The place sources its name from the River Pench that flows from north to south within the premises of the National Park and neatly bifurcates the flora and fauna of that region into eastern and western halves.
A short Historical Background
The one word that can be unanimously associated with the history of the Pench National Park is ‘glorious’ – right from the days of Emperor Akbar (the Park finds mention in Ain-i-Akbari) to the much recent works of Rudyard Kipling and his fictional character ‘Mowgli’, the Pench National Park has been entrenched in history in myriad ways. Its historical wealth has been richly supplemented by the development works carried out by the State administration in the post independence era – Pench became a sanctuary in 1977, a National Park in 1983 and was finally allotted the status of a ‘Tiger Reserve’ in 1992. The only National Park in India with the facilities of water rafting, Pench was awarded the ‘Best Management Award’ in 2011.
How to reach the place
Pauni on National Highway 7 is the point from which the Pench National Park, nearly 800 square metres in area, is best accessible. Turya and Karmajhiri are the two well known tourist entrances present in the Park.
Flora and Fauna
Here comes the delicious main course served at Pench – the hilly terrain and magical winter temperatures serve as appetizers to this main course. The one species of animal that is responsible for making Pench a famous tourist destination is the wild cat, better known as the tiger! With 8 tigers,7 panthers, more than170 species of birds and myriad exotic species of animals making the daily rounds in the Park, tourists can surely not ask for a better place in the world to spend a day under the winter sun. The wildlife collection of the Pench National Park includes nilgai, jackal, wild boar, chital, sloth bear, barking dear and many more. Peafowl, red-vented bulbul, magpie robin, pintail and herons form the vanguard of the bird population in the Park.
The fauna, though overwhelmingly dominant over most other aspects of this National Park, is not its only USP – the flora, too, is undoubtedly impressive and richly variegated. Grand teak, dhaora, haldu, salai and amaltus vegetation densely inhabits the length and breadth of its premises. The presence of bamboo and white kulu trees aptly lends an aura of exotic to the entire place.
When to visit
As already mentioned, the best time to visit Nagpur is winter – for its innate radiant beauty is accentuated to unfathomable proportions in this magical season. February, March and April witness the highest number of footfalls in ‘Mowgliland’(the name that Pench has earned for itself by virtue of Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’.), which is open to visitors in two slots in the entire day – from 6 to 10.30 in the morning and from 3 to 6 in the evening. Nearest railway and airport is at Nagpur and Seoni happens to be the nearest city from the National Park, from where are buses are readily available for tourists. So, folks, don’t waste any more time in trying to figure out how to spend this winter in the best possible way – pack your bags and sink into the effulgent glory and beauty of the Pench National Park.