The offbeat Satpura National Park offers peace, solace and a close encounter with the unique flora and fauna of Madhya Pradesh
Satpura National Park is the right solution for nature & wildlife lovers to appreciate the peaceful jungle, beautiful hilly terrains, deep gorges, rivulets and virgin forest locations, away from hustle & bustle of city life. Nurtured in the Satpura Ranges of Hoshangabad district in center Madhya Pradesh, this is an ideal place for wildlife conservation. As mananimal conflict is on rise in wildlife parks across India and beyond, such secluded wildlife havens are the need of the hour.
A DAY IN THE JUNGLE
The access to the Satpura reserve through Madhai gate is scenic. Denwa river separates the forest from human settlements. It can only be accessed via a boat which runs across the voluptuous Denwa river. This wildlife reserve is known for the most dramatic and scenic entry. As we entered the forest, we were greeted with vast grassland. Large group of spotted deers dominated either sides of the track. Langurs fooled around in the knee-length grass. A little ahead, we spotted a crocodile baby’s snout camouflaged by abundance of white lotus in the pond. Birds of many varieties made music with their chirps.
Here, it is easy to spot gaur, Malabar squirrel, leopard and sloth bear apart from the ubiquitous deer species. However, the immense beauty of the forest will easily high-jack your desire to spot wildlife. The crisp, fresh air, silence and solitude of this place are therapeutic to body and mind. As we moved ahead, the path got narrow, flanked with tall trees on either sides. Suddenly we saw a big ball of unkempt fur moving across the green grass. It was a sloth bear who was foraging alone near a larger pond. Shy and unwilling to show us the face, the bear went about his/ her business ignoring our presence. We watched silently from a distance as the bear disappeared in the bushes. It’s easy to see a black sloth bear in Satpura. We moved on to find a large group of gaur robbing trees of its leaves. It is the largest bovine species of the world. Flying fox, dhole, fox, leopard, wild boar, tiger, porcupine, crocodile, black buck, chinkara, nilgai, chital, barasingha, Indian muntjac, mousedeer, hornbill and peacock are also found here.
Satpura is a deciduous forest. Ponds, narrow gorges and ravines dot its landscape. Satpura hills lend it added beauty. A large variety of trees, plants and shrubs are found here in abundance. The forest is moist and dense. There is an interesting tree known as the Ghost Tree. Locally named as kulu, it is called so due to its shiny white bark which glows on full moon and starlit nights. Saaj is another tree dominant here. Thanks to its bark which resembles a crocodile’s back, it is also known as Crocodile Bark Tree. The other trees found here are mahua, bel, sal, teak, tendu, etc.
When you go for a safari in Satpura National Park, don’t keep tiger-spotting on your agenda. By doing this, we often miss appreciating and observing the jungle and other majestic wildlife minutely in our quest to spot tigers. Though, it is always exciting to spot a tiger in wild, stressing over sighting one takes the fun out of a jungle safari. What makes Satpura special is that it is not commercialised like other wildlife parks of North India. It is easy to lose yourself in the tranquility of the place.
Text & Photos: Abhinav Singh