Kanha - the ancient sal forests of Central India

October 17, 2017

With the opening of the forest season, I did a five day trip to Kanha National Park. The forests of central India welcome visitors between the first week October and usually until the middle of June. The parks are understandably closed during the monsoons when roads become treacherous. Despite the fact that parts of Madhya Pradesh received very little rainfall this year, Kanha was stunningly beautiful. The tall savannah grasslands intermingled by ancient sal trees, offer visitors a visual delight.
My association with Kanha goes back 20 years, when I first drove their all the way from Delhi, in my then newly acquired Toyota jeep. At that time you could visit the park in your own vehicle-as long as it contained off-road abilities. Since then, I have been travelling a few times each year and now work closely with the forest department on certain social initiatives. The Kanha forest authorities provide the infrastructure to disperse scholarships. A recent, initiative by the forest department caught my attention, specifically the beautiful hand paintings on the wall of a nursery school. The Adit Jain Foundation, sponsors the education of hundreds of children from local tribal communities.
As always, I stayed at Banjaar Tola-a Taj Safaris property on the bank of the Banjaar river. In fact a picture taken from the deck outside my tent explains its remarkable location. Taj Safari properties, across 4 national parks in Madhya Pradesh, set the bench mark in what constitutes hospitality. My naturalist Yajuvendra Upadhya has one of the strongest instinctive senses that such a profession requires. I urge visitors to look for Yaju for a special experience in the wild.

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