Know your park
Satpura is a great mountain range runs parallel to Vindhya in the south of Narmada river. Satpura National Park derived its name from the Satpura range, is possibly one of the most picturesque of all Indian tiger reserves. Flanked by Pachmarhi wildlife sanctuary and adjoining Bori wildlife sanctuary, provides 1427 sq. kms of Central Indian Highland eco systems stuffed with amazing wildlife. Bori is the oldest forest reserve in this area and Pachmarhi is rightly called the queen of Satpura, enjoys the status of only hill station in Central India. Satpura National Park, established in 1981 covers an area of 524 sq.kms.
There is only one tourist entry gate namely Madhai. The terrain of the National Park is extremely rugged and consists of sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, ravines and dense forests. Its remarkable ecological values have bought much needed global attention to these lush biodiversity rich forests. It is a good breeding site for tigers but when young adult tigers try to disperse, it become difficult for them to find and establish the territories of their own. A forest of chhindwara lies north east to Satpura, serves as a connecting link with the Maikal landscape through the Pench-Kanha corridor. The altitude ranges from 300 to 1352 mts. It has Dhoopgarh peak as highest 1350 mts. & almost level plains of Churna. Satpura National Park is very rich in biodiversity. The National Park is also famous for its rock shelter paintings.
The animals reported here are tiger, leopard, sambar, cheetal, barking deer, neel gai, chausingha, chinkara, wild boar, sloth bear, black buck, fox, porcupine, flying squirrel, mouse deer, Indian giant squirrel etc. There are varieties of birds. Hornbills and pea fouls are common birds found here but almost 300 species of birds have been recorded by ornithologists.
The flora consists of mainly saal, teak, tendu, amla, mahua, bel, bamboo etc. Satpura National Park boasts a large number of grasses and plants of medicinal importance.
Sightings of tigers, dholes and barasinghas are recorded, although these are rare. The scenic splendor of Pachmarhi is unmatched and it has been a traveler’s delight since ages. The forest department of Madhya Pradesh was essentially born here when the soldier turned forester Captain James Forsyth constructed the Bison lodge in 1862. His book “The Highlands of Central India” widely describes his journey from Jabalpur to Pachmarhi with attendant adventures.
Satpura is a little visited park in Madhya Pradesh, which offers walking safaris within its boundaries accompanied by local guides. This makes Satpura National Park unique in itself and scores over other parks as the walking safari is not possible in most of the tiger reserves in India. One should not visit Satpura if you are only after tigers; Satpura invites the nature lovers who are interested in overall package of wildlife, birdlife, mountains, water bodies and amazing forests. Satpura offers canoeing in Denwa River to tawa reservoir. Local resorts also arrange night safaris, which actually great for leopard and sloth bear sightings in buffer and private forest lands.
The nearest town to national park is the old raj hill station of Pachmarhi. The nearest railhead is Piparia at a distance of 55 Kms and the state capital Bhopal is situated at a distance of 140 kms which is approximately 3 hrs drive.
Satpura continues to be great for 2-3 hours walking trips where sightings have included leopard, sloth bear, mugger, crocodiles and wild dogs.