‘Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life’
Let me start by telling you, just like I didn’t have high hopes of seeing much wildlife (especially the tigers) because of going post the monsoons. You might not spot so much of wildlife in this post (I mean you can even see those on Google or a Nat Geo). But today’s post is going to be all about the ‘experience‘ & an overview of Pench. Also, for all of you who haven’t really lived in a jungle you can’t even imagine how amazing an experience this was.
This Diwali was spent with my parents at the Pench National Park where we stayed for 4 days and 3 nights at the Pench Jungle Camp. I am about to tell you all about the experience holiday and how you could also plan an equally amazing experience at Pench-
PS: If you relate more to a video then check out the Safari Vlog (Part Two of the Pench Vlog)
So, Where is Pench? and Why Pench?
Pench National Park is in Madhya Pradesh. It’s about 110 kms from Nagpur which is about a 2-2.5hours drive from the Nagpur Airport.
Pench National Park was announced as a Tiger Reserve in 1992. Its about 700 kms large, out of which 300 kms would be the core area and the remaining 400 kms the buffer zone.
The Pench National Park became quite famous when it was the foreground for BBC’s innovative wildlife series Tiger: Spy in the Jungle.
Pench Tiger Reserve is especially famous for large herds of Gaur (Indian Bison), Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Dog and Wild Pig. The key predator is the Tiger followed by Leopard, Wild Dog and Wolf. Other animals include Sloth Bear, Chousingha, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Jackal, Fox, Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Porcupine etc.
As per many experts, this area is considered as one of the most prime and critical tiger habitat remaining in central India. As of May 2017, the number of tigers in Pench Tiger Reserve has increased up to 44 as compared to 31 in 2016.
I know there are a lot of National parks like Kanha, Tadoba and Bandhavgarh around and it can be really difficult to decide which Tiger Reserve to pick. But if you do your research well you would know which national parks have better sightings! We went purely on a personal recommendation by one of my clients at work (who visited in the summer and had a sighting of the tiger right in front of her jeep for 10mins). So we didn’t bother to do any research beyond that.
Did you know Mowgli was for Real?
When I first saw one of the Pench board’s mentioning Mowgli I laughed it off. And then there was this Mowgli statue at the village stop in the jungle where we would stop for breakfast. Till then I just found it so silly, till I was proved to be the fool. Neither did I know that Mowgli was actually for real. A boy who was raised by a pack of wolves. A story that inspired Rudyard Kipling to write the Jungle Book.
The beautiful stay at Pench Jungle Camp:
If my pictures haven’t yet done justice to the beautiful stay we had at the Pench Jungle Camp then you probably just need to scroll down :p
Right from the time we were welcomed at the Nagpur Airport right to being dropped off at the Airport there was not even a single time we felt like we weren’t a part of the PJC family. even though the property is so wide spread there would never be a time we didn’t have anyone to our assistance. The house keeping staff was always on their toes and did an amazing job with the little maintenance issues here and there.
The food at PJC was really good. Good like fancy home made kind of food. I don’t even remember the last time I had the luxury of having hot hot rotis at home and we were spoilt for the same at PJC. And excuse me for saying it this way but my tummy was also really happy, you know how when you eat out a lot your stomach goes for a toss, nothing of that sort happened!
Insider’s Tip: If you want a cottage with a view then book the Lakeside one and witness the most gorgeous sunrise in your front yard.
Another highlight of our stay was the wine and dine set up at the gazebo in the PJC lawn and also our evening badminton session. But, wait! My favourite has to be having found a new best friend there, Tarzan ❤ such a well behaved dog that I was in absolute awe.
If you want some real feels to the experience we had then check out my Pench Vlog Video from my YT Channel Below. And if you like the video don’t forget to hit the thumbs up and Subscribe!
Things that we didn’t know till we got there:
The fact that we were actually living inside the national park in the ‘Buffer Zone’ area. Not that the wildlife doesn’t come into the buffer zone but they are mostly concentrated in the ‘Core Area’.
- You cannot step out of the Gypsy during your safari at any cost.
- The Night Safari’s are mainly to give you a feel of the jungle in the night and not for sightings.
- Safaris at the Pench Tiger Reserve happen from different gates and there is one gate in fact on the Maharashtra side too. So pick your safari accordingly, although it might be true that the sightings from the Maharashtra side are more at times.
Things you shouldn’t forget to Carry on the trip:
- Mosquito repellent
- Hats/ Caps
- Camera with a good zoom or a Zoom lens for the DSLR.
- Sleeves (the ones you can wear separately, In Case you want to make sure u don’t get tanned at all).
- Patience. Yes! It’s important you really have a lot of patience when on the Safari. You got to really wait for your luck to show you something good.
NOTE: If you are planning to do any amount of work (on the net) you could pretty much forget about doing that on this trip unless you plan to be stuck to the Wi-Fi because the data connections are barely available in the tiger reserve and absolutely no signal once inside the core area (so no calling for help either, freaky right!)
What all we spotted during our safari:
Well, we didn’t get to spot any tigers thanks to our luck and also not going at the most favourable time of the year for spotting!
- Giant Spider
- Wild Boar
- Herd of Deer
- Red Face Monkeys
- Various Birds
Best part about the National Park Experience:
Living in the jungle gave me glimpse of what life could have been like in my parents times or rather grandparents. Remember how they told you they used to play in the evenings. Not have TVs to watch and would sit together in the evenings and sleep early and wakeup early too and walk to school. Well, this was on some levels the same. There was limited(virtual) connection with the outside world (except for photographs) and net was pretty much out of the question.
- Apart from the safari experience that was just something I cant explain, the anxiousness and excitement waiting for one glance of the stripes and spots, Knowing that you are in absolute wilderness and that anything could happen. The Breakfast in the jungle, topped the best experience list from the Safari, it was absolutely unexpected and it was so much fun to eat from the bonnet of a gypsy (while there are also wooden tables on the side where you can sit and eat, but this seemed more like a safari). It obviously felt nothing less than a picnic with other jeeps around & their picnic baskets (the impressive part was the dustbin that they carried along).
- The guides at Pench Tiger Reserve come along with every gypsy. Its not something you have to arrange for and they are allotted by the forest reserves themselves. Having a guide is quite helpful because they can spot wildlife and also keep you filled in on experiences in the jungle as well as about the flora, fauna and animal habits. We even spotted some beautiful birds thanks to the guides. They made the gypsy stop for us to even take a good picture of the same!
- A lot of you who know me would know I love sunsets but this experience in the jungle gave me mesmerizing opportunities to witness sunrises and Im just spell bound. Witnessing twilight not just at PJC but amidst the dense jungle was just beautiful. Watching the golden hour amidst nothing but nature and wildlife and the suns rays play pee-a-boo in between the tall trees, was perfection.
Sad part about the National Park Experience:
Going to the national park in the summers means you are almost guaranteed to spot a Tiger. But at any other time the chances can be very slim (just like we didn’t spot one). Having said that, it’s all about luck too because the same time we went there were some sightings made by other groups.
Before I bid adieu for now, here’s something I have to say! By The Way there have been NO Incidents of natives being killed or eaten by the Tigers or Leopards ( the forest rangers and their families live in the core area). There has been an incident where a man was attacked (was pawed by the tiger not even bitten) because he came right in front of the tiger unannounced but he recovered that. Wildlife is not meant to be captured and neither are they of any harm to humans. Everyone lives in harmony in the jungle (as long as the harmony isn’t disturbed). So next time you here of a leopard coming into the city, don’t think of how it should be killed. Maybe it just lost its way and needs to be sent back to its natural habitat.
Part Two of the Pench Vlog shall be up soon so stay tuned to my YT Channel and turn on notifications while Subscribing- The Style Chair
Thank you all for reading and I hope you could virtually enjoy the Tiger Reserve Experience I had.
Be Yourself & Shine On ❤
The Style Chair
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