With more than 30% of the area being covered by forests, Madhya Pradesh has the most number of national parks in India. Covered with wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and tiger reserves, the state has a rich biodiversity. You’ll receive some of the most memorable sights while visiting the national parks here, and what better time to do it other than winter? So, let's look at some of the best national parks to visit in Madhya Pradesh during winter.
Established on the 1st of June, 1955, Kanha National Park is the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh. Known for its beautiful landscapes, a trip to this national park in winter is sure to be a thrilling experience for you.
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Declared as a tiger reserve in 1973, make sure to take a jeep safari to spot the majestic animal up close. You’ll also get to see leopards and barasingha, the high-legged swamp deer, which is also called the jewel of Kanha. On your trip to the national park, keep an eye out for birds like storks, herons, kites, and eagles.
Apart from the wildlife, you wouldn't want to miss out on the scenic beauty that this place has to offer. Located at a height of 275m, Bamni Dadar is a famous sunset point here. The breathtaking view of the colorful sunset from the height is bound to leave you speechless!
Nearest Airport: Jabalpur Airport (160 km away) and Nagpur Airport (265 km away).
Nearest Railway Station: Jabalpur Railway Station (165 km away).
Named after the ranges, Satpura means ‘seven mountains’ in Sanskrit. Located in the Narmadapuram district of Madhya Pradesh, Satpura National Park was established in 1981. Inhabited by many endangered animals and home to over 1,300 plant species, this national park was declared Madhya Pradesh’s first biosphere reserve in 1999. This national park is a treat for all the adventure junkies out there, with its stunning hills and deep valleys.
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When it comes to activities here, Satpura is sure to offer you some of the best experiences. Apart from jeep safaris, you can visit the Pandav Caves which is a main attraction point here. This national park also boasts some 50 rock shelters with cave paintings that are 15,000 years old. If you are the adventurous type, the park also has zones where you can go on nature walks and overnight camping.
The area is also home to endangered animals like the Indian skimmer, giant squirrel, leaf-nosed bat, and black-bellied tern. You can go on a night patrol safari to spot the animals returning to their resting sites during the twilight hour. To spot the water birds up close, go on a canoe ride on the Denwa River.
Nearest Airport: Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal (150 km).
Nearest Railway Station: Pipariya Railway Station (51.9 km).
Being one of the biggest tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park houses over 200 tigers. The park has both forests and open meadows and at one point, was a natural hub for white tigers. Once a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas, the place was declared a national park in 1968 to prevent the devastation of the forest here.
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The open jeep safari is the best way to explore the wildlife here. It's best to book the jeep safari in advance if you’re planning to visit and spot tigers. Another major highlight of the park is that you can meet with the Baiga community, which is an indigenous tribal community in central India. Spend a day with them and indulge in their food and culture.
The place is also of historical significance since it houses the Bandhavgarh Fort. Unfortunately, access to the fort has been closed by the authorities. However, if you choose to hire a guide, you can get great insights into the place’s culture and history. There’s also a Shesh Shaiya, an 11 ft statue of Lord Vishnu with his seven-hooded serpent Sheshnaga, dating back to the 10th century AD here. A safari will take you to the mysterious caves carved in the mountains in the Tala gate where you’ll discover inscriptions of Brahmi scripts.
Nearest Airport: Dumna Airport, Jabalpur (210 km).
Nearest Railway Station: Umaria Railway Station (23 km).
Located in the Panna district of Madhya Pradesh, this national park was established in 1981. With largely undulated and rocky terrain, this is one of the most beautiful protected forest areas. Due to concentrated efforts by the forest department of Madhya Pradesh, Panna now has over 50 tigers. A major contributor to the flora and fauna found here is the Ken River which flows through the park. It is also the main source of water for the inhabitants. The climate here is generally dry and hot so it makes a much more pleasant visit during winter.
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Visiting the Ken Gharial sanctuary should be on the top of your list. You can go on a boat ride on the river Ken to spot crocodiles and birds. The river also offers the best environment for birdwatching, especially in winter when migratory birds flock here in numbers. If you go on a night safari, you’ll be able to explore the nocturnal life here. Keep a lookout for animals like leopards, hyenas, sloth bears, porcupines, jungle cats, and chitals.
Panna is home to a lot of beautiful cascading waterfalls as well. Your trip to the park will be incomplete without visiting them. Among them, Raneh Falls and Pandav Falls are major attractions. While you are here, don’t miss out on visiting Khajuraho, a World Heritage Site famous for its temples, which is just 25 km away from the park.
Nearest Airport: Khajuraho Airport (40 km).
Nearest Railway Station: Khajuraho Junction (40 km).
Declared a national park in 1979, Van Vihar is located in Bhopal. An interesting thing about this national park is that most animals here are either orphaned or exchanged from zoos in the country. Renowned for its greenery, the road that passes through the park makes it easy to access for tourists. The park has about 200 species of birds and a lot of migratory birds also come here during winter.
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The wildlife here mainly includes spotted deer, blue bulls, black bucks, lions, jackals, hyenas, and bears. gharials, and turtles can also be seen inside enclosures, at the pond banks. If you are keen on birdwatching, this is the best place for you to spot a wide variety of resident as well as migratory birds.
Make sure to visit the rescue-cum-transit center for snakes. Here you can find pythons, rat snakes, common kraits, and Indian cobras. Don’t miss out on visiting Vihar Vithika, the Nature Interpretation Center of the park, where you can learn about wildlife conservation.
Nearest Airport: Raja Bhoj International Airport, Bhopal (15 km).
Nearest Railway Station: Bhopal Bairagarh Railway Station (5.6 km).
Also Read: Top 7 Things To Do In Madhya Pradesh
Previously a hunting ground for the Mughal emperors and Maharaja of Gwalior, it was declared a national park in 1958. A lot of elephants were captured and tigers were hunted in these dense forests, causing a huge disruption in the ecosystem. It was only after dedicated and continuous efforts that the wildlife here bounced back and it’s now a secure habitat for tigers.
The park is also unique in itself because of the amalgamation of history, architectural wonders, and various ecosystems. The lakes here provide the park with a wide variety of aquatic life. They also act as the main source of water for wildlife and wetland habitat for migratory birds.
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The park offers a lot of opportunities for sightseeing with its varied terrains of deciduous forests, grasslands around the lakes, and wooded hills. Madhav National Park is home to leopards, jackals, foxes, porcupines, wild pigs, and wild dogs. Other than these, deer like Sambar, barking deer, and, Chital, and antelopes like Nilgai, Chowsinga, and Chinkara can also be seen. The safaris here will allow you to spot them all!
Apart from the wildlife spotting, don’t miss out on visiting the Sakhya Sagar Lake, which is the center of attraction at the park. You can go speed boating on the lake to witness the beauty of it up close. Created in 1918 to maintain the ecological balance here, it is home to monitor lizards, turtles, Indian pythons, and marsh crocodiles. Another main attraction is the George Castle. Built in 1911, this architectural beauty also has a great view of the Sakhya Sagar. Visit the castle at dusk to witness the changing colors of the water by sunset.
Nearest Airport: Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Air Terminal, Gwalior (125.6 km).
Nearest Railway Station: Jhansi Railway Station (88.8 km).
The national park gets its name from the Pench River that flows through it. Located in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara, it is said that Rudyard Kipling got his inspiration for “The Jungle Book” from this national park. This has resulted in the park being famous all over the world to sight the Bengal tiger, Indian wolf, and sloth bear, all of which are mentioned in the book as characters.
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Like every other national park mentioned here, Pench also offers safaris for wildlife spotting. The wildlife here includes spotted deer, nilgai, jackals, wolves, sambar deer, and several nocturnal and migratory birds. But apart from the wildlife, the park has so much more to offer. Go on a cycling tour and experience the thrill of coming in close contact with the wildlife. There are also trails for nature walks to spot the exotic flora and fauna here.
Don’t miss out on visiting the potter's village where you can interact with the tribal folk and get insights on their lifestyle. Also, try your hand at pottery to make your visit a memorable experience. The villages here also set up weekly Haat bazaars, which you can’t experience anywhere else.
Nearest Airport: Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur (130 km).
Nearest Railway Station: Nagpur Junction (130 km).
Also Read: Madhya Pradesh Travel Guide
Blessed by mother nature, Madhya Pradesh is an animal kingdom in itself. If you are bored of visiting hill stations and other such places during winter, the national parks here are sure to be a treat for you. Since all the parks mentioned here are worth a visit, it might be hard to choose one from the list. So, we leave that up to you!
Which Is The Best Time To Visit National Parks In Madhya Pradesh?
Winters are the best time to visit Madhya Pradesh. The national parks are also open for visitors during this time, unlike monsoon season when most national parks are closed for tourists.
Which National Park Is A Major Tourist Attraction In Madhya Pradesh?
Kanha National Park, the largest national park in the state, is a major tourist attraction in Madhya Pradesh. Panna and Satpura are also quite popular among tourists.
Which Is The Best Tiger Safari In Madhya Pradesh?
Kanha National Park, housing the biggest tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, is known to have the best tiger safari.
How Many Days Are Sufficient To Visit Madhya Pradesh?
You’ll need at least 10 days to visit Madhya Pradesh in order to cover all the major attractions of the state. Plan your trip in advance and make sure to decide on an itinerary after doing your research.
Which Tiger Reserve Is Nearest To Bhopal?
Located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, in Vindhya Range in central India, the Ratapani Tiger Reserve is closest to Bhopal. It is located at a distance of 50 kilometers (31 minutes) from the capital.
What To Buy In Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh is famous for its Maheshwari and Chanderi Saris. You can also buy tribal accessories, pottery, bamboo work, and iron craft.
Which Is The Smallest National Park In Madhya Pradesh?
Satpura National Park is the smallest in Madhya Pradesh.