Know your park
Originally Panna was a shooting preserve of the ex-rulers of Panna princely state prior to 1947. Gangau sanctuary was expanded on 16th April, 1979 and shooting reserves of Panna, Chhatarpur and Bijawar states were notified as Panna National Park. The National Park covers parts of Panna Tehsil of Panna district, Chhatarpur and Bijawar tehsil of Chhatarpur district. Panna National Park is situated in the Vindhya escarpment natural region of India. A large area of Panna National Park covers the catchment area of river Ken, a tributary to river Yamuna. Panna National Park lies in the Deccan bio-zone of India. The terrain here consists of extensive plateaus and gorges.
Situated in Vindhyan mountain range, Panna National Park and its surrounding territorial area of the north and south Panna forest division is the only large chunk of wildlife habitat remaining in north Madhya Pradesh. National Park is situated at the point where the continuity of the tropical and subtropical dry broad leaf forest belt, which start from Cape Comorin in South India, is broken and beyond this the upper gangetic plains moist deciduous forest of the Indo gangetic plain begins. The forest of Panna National Park along with Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining territorial divisions from a significant part of the catchment area of Ken river, which runs north east for about 72 kms. to the park.
Among the animals found here are the tiger, leopard, wolf, cheetal, chinkara, neelgaai, sambar and sloth bear. Gharial and muggers can also be spotted in river ken. Variety of reptiles including Indian rock python are found here. The park is home to more than 250 species of birds including the bar headed goose, honey buzzard, king vulture, paradise flycatcher and blossom headed parakeet. Panna was declared as one of the tiger reserve in India in 1994-95 and placed under Project Tiger.
Panna National Park offers jeep safaris in the forest. An hour long boat ride offered by the park authorities is a good option to catch a glimpse of water predators and other birds and animals around. Elephant safari is one of your best bets to spot a tiger at the closed quarters. Some of the private lodges offer night safaris in the buffer forest.
Raneh is one of the prominent waterfalls in the Panna reserve area that emerges from the confluence of Ken and Khuddar rivers. This waterfall is being named Raneh after the king Raneh Pratap who was the erstwhile ruler of the region. Raneh waterfall forms the 30 mts deep and 5 kms long canyon to get down into the regions of Ken Gharial Sanctuary. The surrounding of the fall is adorned with crystalline granite which is presenting varying shades ranging from pink, red and grey.
Ken Gharial Sanctuary is one of the prominent sanctuaries in Panna outskirts to be established with an objective to conserve the endangered species of Indian gharial. The sanctuary stretched across an area of 13.5 sqkms and was established in the year 1985. The closest railhead and airport is Khajuraho which is 26 kms from the park.