My fascination for Central India's forests

A view of Central Indian forests from train, on the Delhi - Bangalore (Bengaluru) journey
As a high school student, in late 80s, I had a keen interest in geography, particularly the different states of India. One state that marvelled me, because of its size and the amount of forests it had, was Madhya Pradesh (MP). During one of those years, I accessed a full spread map of Madhya Pradesh tourism. I don't remember if it was of my father or I got it as a supplement in one of the national dialies. But, I remember going through it keenly and reading its notes on the state's different parks and sanctuaries.

In 1993-94, I bought a TTK book-map on India's wildlife, one of the best ever produced, to date. The book map showed the location of various PAs (protected areas) in MP. The map increased my curiosity of the state further, particularly the cluster of PAs at the junction of south-eastern MP (now Chattisgarh), northern Andhra Pradesh and eastern Maharashtra. The eastern part of MP had some parks that were greater than 1000 Sq. KM (Indravati & Sanjay NPs). Despite the best of my efforts, for the next few years I could not travel to that beautiful part of India, due to lack of financial resources as a student.

In 1996, I made my first trip north of Hubli and Bellary of Karnataka. I travelled to Delhi to attend a one-day seminar on 25 January, on wildlife, organised by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India. I could see the rich and beautiful forests of MP for the first time in my life, on the return train journey by the Bangalore-bound Karnataka express. I enjoyed these forests again, on my train journeys to Delhi in the next few years, in different seasons.

In April 2009, to report to my new job in WWF-India at Delhi, I drove from Bengaluru to Hyderabad and beyond to Nagpur. From Nagpur, I drove diagonally north-east to Bhopal. The journey was through the beautiful forests of the newly constituted Satpura Tiger Reserve. Beyond this, I drove through Narasinghad Sanctuary and up to Gwalior through Guna. But the lack of time meant I had to rush through these forests without breaking my journey (Read more here).

I made my first stop to actually see these forests when I visited Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve to attend WWF-India's landscape coordinators meet in Oct 2009 (Read more here).

Though this completed me seeing much of Madhya Pradesh's forests, I still had not touched the present day Chattisgarh state. I did this, when I flew into Raipur with my colleagues from WWF-Netherlands on 7 Nov 2009. We drove, for three days, through Achanakmar Tiger Reserve (Read more here) and the corridors that connect Kanha Tiger Reserve to it. After that I drove from Kanha's Mukki gate to Kisli gate and then Khatia gate. From there I travelled south through Pench National Park (Madhya Pradesh) and then further south through Pench National Park (Maharashtra), on the drive from Seoni town to Nagpur City.

From the Delhi train-journey in Jan 1996 to the drive through Central India in Apr 2009 to this latest drive from Raipur to Achanakmar to Kanha and then to Nagpur, through the two Pench parks, is a long way for me. It completed my dream of seeing the beautiful forests of MP (well...almost, except for the Bastar and Bijapur districts of Chattisgarh and Panna park in north-east MP).

I thank God...I guess I am more learned now : )
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  1. nice.. Am hoping to visit MP this winter and it will be my first, if it happens. I hope I can see some pretty birds while I am there. Not really looking for tigers, but seeing one is always a good thing :)

  2. A very beautiful post. Hindusthan ka dil dekho. Aao Madhya Pradesh.


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