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Tourist Places To Visit In Panna National Park
Panna National Park in the Vindhya Hills is spread over an area of 542.6 sq km. It is the fifth tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh and the 22nd such reserve in India. Panna was awarded the title of being the best maintained among the various national parks of India in 2007. The award was given by the Ministry of Tourism of India. There are several tourist places to visit in the vicinity of Panna National Park. These will be discussed below.
Panna National Park
Panna National Park is known all over the world for its diverse wildlife and beautiful birds. Having been presented the Award of Excellence in 2007, the park is well known for its special attractions that include not only the tigers but also other cats such as leopards. There are deer too and antelope in the park which is also the home of more than two hundred species of birds.
It is an exhilarating experience to go on a Jungle Safari in Panna National Park. The jeep will take you through the dense forests of teak. You will also bounce across picturesque gorges while seeing diverse flora and fauna. You will most likely not miss seeing the spotted deer or the Chital as well as the black buck and the Indian gazelle. If you are lucky you may see leopards and the fierce but shy tiger. There are sloth bear too besides the antelope, the nilgai, in the park. Nature is at her finest and you will see it all, the magnificent gorges and the hypnotic waterfalls that will make your trip most memorable.
Pandava Falls and Caves
As has been mentioned in some travel brochures, Pandava Falls is a bit of myth, a bit of history and a lot of nature! This is very true. It is said that the Pandavas stayed in these caves while on their exile. When you go around India you will find several caves and other places where the Pandavas have visited while they were on their exile. Such claims are not questioned. You must admire both the falls and the caves that are inside the area of the Tiger Reserve.
Pandava Falls cannot be called a destination. This is one of the natural sites to be admired when you come to visit the Panna National Park. But, there is no doubt that the falls, about 30 m in height, is not to be missed. Located on the tributary of Ken River which passes through the Reserve, the falls is a result of one small stream breaking off from Ken River and then rejoining the river prior to Raneh Falls. The falls is beautiful during the monsoon but there is more to it than just that.
The falls has given rise to natural limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites and the Pandava caves as a result. What is interesting is that there are five of these caves just as one would expect because of the Pandavas who were five. There is now a historical link. The revered freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad had held a meeting of fellow revolutionaries at this spot on 4 Sep 1929. You will therefore see a bust of Azad near the parking lot.
You will be entranced because there is more. There are clear pools of potable water with lots of fish. Much of the water that you see is from underground sources and not merely from the falls. You will also see the sculptures that were found in this area and these resemble those that you will see in Khajuraho where you will surely go for a visit. Finally, you will find a large number of birds here, both domestic and migratory. Wild life, such as the bear are regular visitors here.
The biggest diamond mine of Asia is located in MP and it is active as well. A tour of the Panna diamond mine is important so that you are not left with any unanswered question on the subject of diamond mines in general. The Majhagaon diamond mine, as it is known, covers an 80 km belt with a width of about 30 km. The diamond mine is located around 55 km from Khajuraho. The mine is being supervised by the Diamond Mining Project of the NMDC under the Government of India. A tour of the diamond mines is an amazing experience and must be taken.
Raneh Falls and Ken crocodile sanctuary
Visitors are advised to take a grand tour of the Raneh Falls either in the morning or the afternoon in an open Jeep from whichever hotel you are staying in. The excursion is the best manner in which you can see not only the Ken River but the canyons and the waterfalls, all from their vantage points, rather than travelling along with a crowd.
The Ken River canyon shows off its granite in varying colours that range from pink to red to grey. There are a number of waterfalls in the canyon both large and small and all these run right through the year. During the monsoon season additional seasonal falls make their appearance. Raneh Falls is right where the park starts and is formed by the Ken River gurgling over rocks before the dawn of history. You may need the services of a guide to familiarise you with the animals and plants found near the falls.
The Ken Crocodile sanctuary is located close to the Raneh Falls. Here you may find chinkaras and gharials besides blue bulls and peacocks. The view all around is absolutely marvellous with the Ken River weaving through a narrow gorge made of igneous rocks that are rich in both granite and dolomite stone. The track is not smooth. You will be comfortable in an SUV class vehicle.
Jugal Kishoreji Temple
The Jugal Kishoreji Temple is perhaps the most important Hindu temple among all the temples in Panna. Inspired by the Bundela temple style, the architecture of the temple is most impressive. A tour of this temple is supposed to be just as important as the Char Dham Tour. The temple was built during the reign of the Bunela King of Panna, Raja Hindupat Singh who ruled for 20 years from 1758.
Mahamati Prannathji Temple
Mahamati Prannathji Temple was built in 1692 in a typical Hindu-Muslim architectural style. This is a popular tourist site which attracts hundreds of devotees all through the year. The crowd is larger during the Sharat Purnima period which celebrates the harvesting season. The shrine has a major attraction in its nine marble domes and the lotus structures that are all around. While the central dome has a golden vessel or kalash, the eight domes symbolise the 8 directions. There is an arati in the evening which is both elaborate and very enjoyable.
Sound and light Show Khajuraho
It is a good idea to combine your trip to Panna National Park with a visit to the famed temples of Khajuraho. When you visit Khajuraho do try and make it for the Sound and Light Show which is just amazing. The popular show is an evening activity and there is an entrance fee. There are two shows, one each in Hindi and English. The timings of the show are different for the period from October to February and March to September. Kindly note that there is an annual dance festival in February each year and this is held in the same area as the Sound and Light Show. Therefore, for the week during which the dance festival is held, naturally the Sound and Light Show is cancelled. The voice in the pre-recorded show is that of Amitabh Bachhan. The show is very enjoyable and must be attended.
Temples of Khajuraho
There was a flurry of activity to build monuments during the reign of the Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD. During the 12th century there were a total of 85 temples built by the Chandelas and these were spread over 20 sq. km. Today, sadly, there are only 25 temples that have survived and these are spread over 6 sq. km. The presence of these 35 Hindu/Jain temples, that are now a World Heritage Site as listed by UNESCO, is most significant. The heritage temples are a viewer’s delight and these must be seen by one and all.