Panna Tiger Reserve > Satpura NP


Satpura national pari is part of Satpura tiger reserve. It is spread over Satpura ranges, passing through Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. It was dense forest area, inhabitated by tribal peoples till 19th century. It was introduced to rest of the world by British India officer Captain Jamesh Forsyth in 1862. In his book "The Highlands of Central India", he described his experience in details, along with wildlife and other information. James Forsyth reached Pachmarhi plateau and established cantonment  in Pachmarhi which is part of Satpura tiger reserve. Today Satpura national  park means Madhai entrance gate which is first and most popular place for jungle safaris & stay in this forest. Later Bheemkund gate (Churna) was opened from Bori wildlife sanctuary side and Panaarpani gate from opened from Pachmarhi side to accommodate more tourists for wildlife trips to Satpura national park. It is indeed a magnificent wildlife safari destination for real wildlife lovers. This national park takes us to experience wildlife, beyond routine jeep safaris. Here walking safari, night safari, canoe ride, boating, night safari are some wonderful safari activities that makes tourists to stay long and experience the amazing bio-diversity of this forest. Presence of Denwa river and Tawa river with dam on it ensures presence of backwater  ensures scenic view in which we can photography both backwater and Satpura hills in backdrop. It has great impact on overall wildlife of this forest. 


Satpura range has its name derived from two words "Sat" and "Pura". Here Sat means Seven and Pura means Hill. This region  is mainly hilly with dense forest and rich in wildlife, due to which main-stream human civilization stayed away from this region and thus tribal people maintained their rule in these forests. It was under control of Korku tribe whose main population settlement is on north-east of Madhya Pradesh. British officer Captain James Forsyth introduced this region to the world. Their are two versions on its visit. One story says that while following freedom fighter Tatya Tope, he reached this place. If this story is true then his visit must be before 1859 in which Tatya Tope was killed by British India government. At the same time other story says that he reached in 1862 to explore this region. After his visit, cantonment was established in Pachmarhi plateau to have better control over this hilly region. In year 1864, Colonel Pearson implemented fire protection in this forest. In 1903, his Royal Highness the Duke and Duchess of Connaught visited Satpura national park, after Delhi Durbar. They established their camp in Sarangpur village, near today's Madhai entrance gate. Here they successfully attending hunting expeditions in this forest and killed 6 tigers and other animals in their 6-day camping. Later in 1916, D O Witt prepared checklist of plants, trees and shrubs, In 1975, Bori wildlife sanctuary was declared. This initiated some intensive wildlife conservation efforts on this forest. Later in 1981, Satpura national park was declared. Satpura tiger reserve was notified in year 2000. 


Satpura national park is least explored national park. Due to presence of some very popular tiger reserves in Central India like Pench national park, Kanha national park, Bandhavgarh, Tadoba national park, tourism world had put it in second priority. Here tiger density is less thus this national park is not for those tourists who have tiger safari or photography in their priority list. So do not visit Satpura national park for tigers. Tigers are present here but their sighting is challenging. It is special wildlife safari destination for those wildlife lovers who want to enjoy complete wildlife like want to do birding, interested in water activities, want to explore nocturnal species, interested in bio-diversity, unique vegetation, hilly terrains, butterflies, want to experience the thrill of walking in dense forest, want to do full-day jungle safari at low cost, spend time in solace while obeserving prestine water body. It means Satpura national park is for those who wish to explore, understand enjoy the wildlife without judging the success of jungle safari by the criteria of tiger sighting. This the reason why tourists want to spend more time in Satpura national park in compare to other tiger safari destinations.

Safari Timing


Jungle Safari

Here safari season is from October to June month. Jungle safaris in Satpura national park are very tourism friendly. Here we can enjoy the expected flexibility in safaris that lacks in other popular national parks of Madhya Pradesh like Bandhavgarh, Kanha national park, Pench national park etc. Here we can do jungle safari on safari jeeps by using 3 different entrance gates i.e. Madhai gate, Bheemkund gate (Churna) and Panaarpani gate (Pachmarhi side). Like other national parks, as if now Canter (open bus) safari option is unavailable. Elephant safari is also not available for normal tourists. Most popular entry gate is Madhai gate, near Sarangpur village. Jungle safaris are operated in morning round and afternoon round. Here evening core zone safaris remain closed on every Wednesday, just like other national parks of Madhya Pradesh. From Madhai entrance gate, tourists have option to opt for jungle safaris on different safari routes which is unique feature, not seen on other national parks. These routes varies in distance and duration. Here full-day safari is comparatively easily available for tourists at comparatively very low cost which makes it different from other national parks. Similarly walking safari is another unique feature in which we can do walking safari in core zone which is not available in other national parks of Madhya Pradesh.   


Satpura national park is home of more than 40 mammal species. Due to its unique bio-diversity and landscapes, its mammal checklist is comparatively long in compare to nearby Pench national park. Special attractions of Satpura tiger reserve are flying Squirrel, Indian Giant Squirrel, Leaf nosed bats, Eurasian Otter, Black bucks. Here record of Leopards and Sloth Bear sighting is quiet impressive. Herds of Gaur, Sambar, Wild Dogs, Spotted Deer are large and very healthy.

How to reach

For reaching Satpura national park, variety of transport options are available. Let us check how to reach Satpura national park by various means of transport like flight, train, cab. 

Destinations Madhai Gate
(in Kms)
Panaarpani Gate
(in Kms)
Bheemkund Gate
(in Kms)
Bhopal Airport 150 210 155
Itarsi Railway Station 70 130 80
Jabalpur Airport 260 240 350
Nagpur Airport 240 290 240
Indore Airport 320 390 310
Pachmarhi 100 13 180
Pipariya Railway Station 50 40 130
Pench National Park (Touria Gate) 310 260 290
Pench National Park (Karmajhiri Gate) 290 220 270
Kanha National Park (Khatia Gate) 330 340 390

Above distance chart information is as per the surrounding destinations, mostly used by tourists visiting Satpura national park. Here destinations list contains near by airports, railway stations and tourists destinations. After reaching nearest airport or railway station, further journey is possible by cab only. Thus arrange your cab transfers in advance. Many resorts are remotely located where public transports are not going thus cab transfer will be very helpful. 

Best time to visit

Satpura national park is amazing destination for overall wildlife lovers. Here Tawa dam backwater is major tourist attraction, which enhances the wild beauty of this destination. This backwater is also a good source for bird-watching, canoe ride, crocodile sighting in this destination. During summers, water level begins declining and with peak summers (Apr-May-Jun) it disappears thus all the activities, related to backwater will not be enjoyed. Thus we recommends our guest to visit Satpura national park through Madhai entrance gate, from October to February months. Other two entrance gates i.e. Panaarpani gate and Bheemkund gate do not offer backwater advantage thus they can be visited in any season. Bheemkund gate (Churna) is offers more jungle safari on plains which offers good habitat for tigers and thus chances of tiger sighting is more through this gate. Thus best time to visit Satpura national park, through Bheemkund gate is from November to May. 

How to Plan

Always plan for wildlife trips in 3-4 months advance. For any safari tour, it is important to do jungle safaris in planned safari zones which are most of the time are the popular safari zones. Due to their popularity, they always remain in demand. As we all know that only limited safari permits are issued to tourists thus it is important to book safari permits in advance to get best out of your trip. Here in Satpura national park, Madhai zone and Bheemkund safari zones are more popular. As majority of resorts are located in older gate and backwater can also be seen in region thus tourists love to do jungle safari in  Madhai zone. Its permit quota is also more than other entry gates or zones. If your choice is Madhai zone then plan in between November to March to get advantage of backwater activities. Later on water activities can't be experienced. If you are planning for summers period i.e. Feb to June period, then consider Bheemkund gate, close to Betul city. Here summer safaris will be good as this region is popular tiger habitat with some archeological sites. Its safari permit quota is less, at present thus first check the permits availability then finalize the plan. If you are visiting Pachmarhi hill station and while staying there, want to enjoy jungle safaris then consider Panaarpani zone. It is a hilly terrain thus animals sighting is challenging but it is popular for rare plants and trees. This zone is special for those who are more interested in butterflies, plants, flowers, trees etc.


If you are looking for hotels in Satpura national park then choose it carefully as per the safari zones you have booked. Their is long distance between entrance gates like Panaarpani to Madhai or Madhai to Bheemkund (Churna). It means while staying at Madhai gate hotel, it is difficult to do safari through Bheemkund zone or Panaarpani zone. Here we can find mainly standard category hotels and deluxe category resorts. Quality resorts with eco-friendly theme are very limited. Majority of hotels are either over-priced or lacks in providing quality service thus rely only on those resorts which are either from established brands or have good reviews & ratings. 


After visiting Satpura national park, we have option to visit Pachmarhi hill station, Pench national park, Sanchi Stupas, Bhimbetka rock shelters, Tawa dam site. In addition to this, we may take long drive to visit destinations like Ujjain, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Kanha national park, Bhedaghat etc.

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