Saturday, June 24, 2023

Kanha Tiger Reserve

Kanha Tiger Reserve UPSC

Kanha Tiger Reserve is a popular national park and tiger reserve located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Kanha Tiger Reserve also known as Kanha–Kisli National Park. It is one of the largest and most well-known tiger reserves in the country. The reserve covers an area of approximately 940 square kilometers (363 square miles) in the Maikal Hills of the Satpura Range.

Established in 1973, Kanha Tiger Reserve is renowned for its rich biodiversity and is home to a significant population of Bengal tigers, which are the main attraction for visitors. The landscape of Kanha Tiger Reserve is characterized by sal forests, bamboo groves, open grasslands known as meadows or maidans, and numerous water bodies.

The forest depicted in the famous novel by Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book is thought by some to be based on jungles including this reserve. It is also the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, “Bhoorsingh the Barasingha”.

Table of Contents

  • Kanha Tiger Reserve Location
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve History
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve Area
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve Hills
    • Maikal Hills
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve River
    • Banjar River
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve Tribe
    • Gond Tribe
    • Baiga Tribe
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve Flora
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptiles
  • Barasingha (Hardground Swamp Deer)
  • Top Things to do in Kanha Tiger Reserve
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve UPSC Questions

Kanha Tiger Reserve Location

Kanha Tiger Reserve is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is situated in the Maikal Hills of the Satpura Range. The reserve is spread across two districts:

Mandla District: The eastern and central parts of Kanha Tiger Reserve are located in Mandla District. The main entrance gate to the reserve, called the Khatia Gate, is located in this district.

Balaghat District: The western part of the reserve falls within Balaghat District. The Mukki Gate, another entrance point to the reserve, is situated in this district.

The distance between the two main entrance gates, Khatia Gate and Mukki Gate, is approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles). Both gates provide access to different zones within the reserve, and visitors can choose the gate based on their preferred safari routes and accommodations.

The nearest major cities to Kanha Tiger Reserve are Jabalpur and Nagpur. Jabalpur is located about 160 kilometers (99 miles) away, while Nagpur is approximately 270 kilometers (167 miles) away. These cities serve as convenient transit points for travelers visiting the reserve, with well-connected airports and railheads.

Kanha Tiger Reserve Nearest Airport:

The Nearest Airport for Kanha National Park are: 

  • Jabalpur 160 Kms
  • Raipur Airport 250 Kms
  • Nagpur Airport 300 Kms.

Kanha Tiger Reserve Nearest Railway Station:

The Nearest Railway Stations for accessing Kanha National Park is Gondia & Jabalpur.

  • Gondia railway station is 145 kms from Kanha Tiger Reserve (Khatia Entrance Gate). 
  • Jabalpur railway station is 160 kms from Kanha Tiger Reserve (Mukki Entrance Gate)

Kanha Tiger Reserve History

Kanha Tiger Reserve has a rich history that dates back several decades. Here is a brief overview of its history:

Reserve Forest: In 1879, the Kanha Tiger Reserve was established as a reserve forest, primarily aimed at safeguarding the region's flora and fauna. The forest area was recognized for its ecological significance and the need to protect the diverse wildlife species found there.

Declared a Wildlife Sanctuary: In 1933, recognizing the importance of providing additional protection to the reserve's wildlife, the reserve forest was declared a wildlife sanctuary. This step ensured further conservation measures and stricter regulations to preserve the rich biodiversity of the area. The sanctuary status aimed to restrict human activities and maintain a safe habitat for the wildlife within its boundaries.

Upgraded to National Park: By 1955, the significance of the Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary was acknowledged, and it was upgraded to the status of a National Park. This elevated recognition reflected the park's importance as a protected area for India's wildlife and its ecological value. The National Park designation brought greater attention to the park's conservation efforts and increased the focus on preserving its natural heritage.

Declared a Tiger Reserve: In 1973, Kanha National Park took a significant step forward in wildlife conservation when it was declared a tiger reserve under Project Tiger. Project Tiger was launched by the Government of India to address the urgent need for tiger conservation. The program aimed to protect the endangered tiger population by establishing tiger reserves and implementing rigorous measures to combat poaching, habitat degradation, and other threats.

Since its establishment as a reserve forest in 1879, Kanha National Park has evolved and grown in status, transitioning from a reserve forest to a wildlife sanctuary, then a national park, and finally a tiger reserve. This progressive development reflects the increasing recognition of the park's ecological importance, its diverse wildlife, and the imperative to protect and conserve them for future generations.

Kanha Tiger Reserve Area

Kanha Tiger Reserve spans an area of approximately 940 square kilometers (363 square miles). It is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh. This expansive region comprises dense forests, grasslands, meadows, and water bodies that form a diverse and thriving ecosystem.

The Kanha Tiger Reserve is divided into two main zones:

Core Zone: The core zone is the primary area of the reserve that offers the highest level of protection to the wildlife. It covers around 940 square kilometers and is predominantly dense forested areas.

Buffer Zone: The buffer zone surrounds the core zone and acts as a transition area between the core zone and human settlements. It covers approximately 1134.361 square kilometers and includes forests, agricultural lands, and human habitations.

These two zones work together to provide a secure habitat for the wildlife while ensuring sustainable development in the surrounding areas.

  • Core: 917.44 Sq Km
  • National Park : 22.57 sq. km.
  • Buffer: 1134.361 Sq Km
  • Total: 2051.791 Sq Km

Kanha Tiger Reserve Hills

Kanha Tiger Reserve is situated in the Maikal Hills, which are part of the larger Satpura Range. The Maikal Hills are located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

The Satpura Range is a series of hills and plateaus that stretch across several states in central India, including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Gujarat. These hills are known for their scenic beauty, rich biodiversity, and important ecosystems.

Within the Maikal Hills, Kanha Tiger Reserve is nestled, offering a picturesque landscape characterized by lush forests, rolling hills, meadows, and water bodies. The hills provide a natural and varied topography, creating diverse habitats for the wildlife within the reserve.

Kanha Tiger Reserve River

Kanha Tiger Reserve is blessed with several rivers and streams that meander through its expansive landscape, providing water sources and adding to the natural beauty of the reserve. The prominent rivers in and around Kanha Tiger Reserve include:

(1) Banjar River: 

The Banjar River flows through the core zone of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, enhancing the scenic beauty of the region. It is one of the significant water bodies within the reserve and contributes to the overall ecosystem by providing water for the wildlife and supporting the vegetation along its banks.

(2) Sulkum and Lata Mendola Streams:

These streams are tributaries of the Banjar River and contribute to the hydrology of the Kanha Tiger Reserve. They add to the diversity of water sources within Kanha Tiger Reserve and play a vital role in sustaining the flora and fauna.

The presence of these rivers and streams in Kanha Tiger Reserve not only provides essential water resources for wildlife but also creates a captivating landscape for visitors. The flowing water and associated riparian habitats support a variety of flora and fauna, attracting a range of bird species and providing opportunities for wildlife sightings and nature appreciation.

Kanha Tiger Reserve Tribe

Kanha Tiger Reserve is located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which is known for its rich cultural diversity and tribal communities. While the reserve itself is not primarily inhabited by any particular tribe, there are tribal communities residing in the surrounding areas who have a historical connection with the region.

(1) Gond Tribe:

The Gond tribe is one of the prominent tribal communities in Madhya Pradesh, including the areas around Kanha Tiger Reserve. The Gonds have a long history in the region and have traditionally been associated with the forests and natural resources of the area. They have a rich cultural heritage, with unique traditions, art forms, and knowledge of the local ecosystem.

(2) Baiga Tribe:

Members of the Baiga tribe that is reliant on the Kanha Tiger Reserve forest, lived in 28 villages that had been within the Kanha National Park until 1968, when they were relocated.

The Baiga tribe is an indigenous community predominantly found in the central Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. They have a significant presence in the areas surrounding Kanha Tiger Reserve.

The Baiga people have a distinct culture and way of life. They have a close connection with the forests and natural resources, often relying on traditional knowledge for their livelihoods. Historically, they have been skilled in gathering forest produce, hunting, and agriculture.

Traditionally, the Baiga tribe practices shifting cultivation or slash-and-burn agriculture, where they clear small areas of forest land for cultivation and move on to new patches after a few years. This practice aligns with their belief in maintaining a balance with nature and allowing the land to regenerate.

The Baiga tribe has its unique language, known as Baiga or Bharia, which belongs to the Austroasiatic language family. Their language is an integral part of their cultural identity.

Art and crafts are important aspects of Baiga culture. They are known for their intricate paintings and art forms depicting nature, animals, and tribal life. These traditional art forms often use natural colors and are created on walls, floors, or other surfaces.

(3) Other Tribe:

Other tribal communities found in and around the region may include Bhil, Kol, and others. Each of these tribes has its distinct culture, language, customs, and social practices.

While these tribes have their settlements and livelihood activities in the vicinity of Kanha Tiger Reserve, it's important to note that the core area of the reserve is primarily dedicated to wildlife conservation and is not inhabited by any specific tribe.

Kanha Tiger Reserve Flora

Kanha Tiger Reserve boasts a diverse range of flora, thanks to its varied topography and favorable climatic conditions. The reserve is known for its rich and lush vegetation, including the following key components:

Sal Forests: Sal (Shorea robusta) forests dominate a significant portion of Kanha Tiger Reserve. Sal trees are known for their tall, straight trunks and broad leaves. They form dense canopies and provide important habitat and food sources for various wildlife species.

Bamboo Groves: Kanha is renowned for its extensive bamboo forests, particularly the species known as Dendrocalamus strictus. Bamboo thickets are essential for several animal species, including the endangered Barasingha (Hardground Swamp Deer), which heavily rely on bamboo shoots as a food source.

Mixed Forests: Apart from sal and bamboo, the reserve also features mixed forests comprising other tree species such as mahua (Madhuca longifolia), tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), amla (Phyllanthus emblica), jamun (Syzygium cumini), and teak (Tectona grandis). These mixed forests contribute to the overall biodiversity and provide a variety of habitats for wildlife.

Grasslands and Meadows: Kanha Tiger Reserve encompasses large expanses of open grasslands, locally known as "maidans." These grassy meadows offer prime grazing areas for herbivores like deer, gaur (Indian Bison), and wild boars. They also provide a contrasting landscape against the forested areas and contribute to the park's scenic beauty.

Aquatic Plants: The numerous water bodies within the reserve, including lakes, streams, and ponds, support a variety of aquatic plants. Floating plants such as water lilies and lotuses can be found in these water bodies, adding beauty and serving as habitat for aquatic fauna.

Flowering Plants: Kanha Tiger Reserve is home to a diverse range of flowering plants. With its varied habitats and favorable climatic conditions, the reserve supports a significant number of plant species. It is estimated that Kanha Tiger Reserve is home to over 1,000 species of flowering plants. Some notable flowering plants found in Kanha Tiger Reserve include:

  • Mahua (Madhuca longifolia)
  • Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma
  • Indian Ghost Tree (Kalanchoe pinnata)
  • Wild Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
  • Indian Coral Tree (Erythrina indica)

Kanha Tiger Reserve Fauna (Kanha Tiger Reserve Animals)

Kanha Tiger Reserve is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife. The reserve is home to a wide range of animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Here are some of the notable fauna found in Kanha Tiger Reserve:


  • Bengal Tiger
  • Barasingha (Swamp Deer)
  • Leopard
  • Dhole
  • Gaur
  • Langur
  • Spotted Deer
  • Sloth Bear
  • Hyena 
  • Bengal Fox
  • Indian Jackal

Note- Kanha Tiger Reserve is the exclusive home to the State animal of Madhya Pradesh - Hard Ground Barasingha


  • Black Ibis
  • Asian Green Bee-eater
  • Cattle Egret
  • Blossom-headed Parakeet
  • Indian Pond Heron
  • Drongo
  • Common Teal
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Indian Grey Hornbill
  • Indian Roller
  • Lesser Adjutant
  • little grebe
  • Lesser Whistling Teal
  • Minivet
  • Malabar Pied Hornbill
  • Woodpeckers
  • Pigeon
  • Paradise Flycatcher
  • Hill Myna
  • Indian Peafowl
  • Red Junglefowl
  • Red-wattled Lapwing
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
  • White-eyed Buzzard
  • White-breasted Kingfisher
  • White-browed Fantail
  • Wood Shrikes
  • Warblers


  • Monitor Lizard
  • Indian Python

Kanha Tiger Reserve Barasingha (Hardground Swamp Deer)

Kanha Tiger Reserve is one of the last remaining strongholds for the Barasingha, also known as the Hardground Swamp Deer. It is an iconic species of the region and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. It is the State animal of Madhya Pradesh.

Barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii) is a type of deer known for its distinctive antlers with twelve or more tines, hence the name "Barasingha" which means "twelve-horned" in Hindi. They are known for their adaptability to wetland habitats, including swampy and marshy areas.

Kanha Tiger Reserve is recognized for its successful conservation efforts in protecting the Barasingha population. The reserve provides a favorable habitat for these deer, and their population has thrived over the years. The Hardground Swamp Deer is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, and Kanha Tiger Reserve is one of the few places where they can be observed in their natural habitat.

The Barasingha is an important prey species for predators like tigers and leopards. Their conservation is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance of the reserve and preserving the overall biodiversity of Kanha Tiger Reserve.

Kanha Tiger Reserve is also the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, Bhoorsingh the Barasingha.

Top Things to do in Kanha Tiger Reserve

When visiting Kanha Tiger Reserve, there are several exciting and engaging activities you can partake in. Here are some of the top things to do in Kanha Tiger Reserve:

  • Wildlife Safari
  • Visit Bamni Dadar (Sunset Point)
  • Nature Walks and Birdwatching
  • Visit Tribal Villages
  • Explore Kanha Museum
  • Photography and Nature Appreciation
  • Attend Nature Interpretation Programs

Kanha Tiger Reserve UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Kanha Tiger Reserve?/Kanha Tiger Reserve is situated in which state?/The Kanha Tiger Reserve (ktr) is located in which state/ut of India?

A. Kanha Tiger Reserve is located in the Mandla and Balaghat Districts of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is situated in the Maikal Hills of the Satpura Range. 

Q. In which year Kanha is declared as the tiger reserve?

A. Kanha is declared as the tiger reserve in 1973.

Q. Which river flows in Kanha Tiger Reserve?

A. Banjar River flows in Kanha Tiger Reserve.

Q. Kanha forest a tiger reserve is an example of which type of conservation?

A. The kanha ecosystem is an example of in-situ conservation.

Q. Which is the largest Tiger Reserve in MP?

A. Kanha is the largest tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh. It covers an core area of approximately  940 square kilometers (363 square miles)

Q. What is the jewel of Kanha?

A. The "Jewel of Kanha" refers to the Barasingha, also known as the Hardground Swamp Deer. The Barasingha is an iconic species and holds significant importance in Kanha Tiger Reserve. It is often considered the pride and jewel of the reserve.

Q. What is Kanha Tiger Reserve famous for?

A. Kanha Tiger Reserve is famous for several reasons, making it a renowned destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Here are some of the key aspects that make Kanha Tiger Reserve famous:

  • Bengal Tigers
  • Barasingha
  • Rich Biodiversity
  • Scenic Landscapes
  • Conservation Efforts
  • Cultural Heritage
Kanha Tiger Reserve

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