Explore Kanha Tiger Reserve: Best Routes & Wildlife Treasures

Kanha Tiger Reserve can be reached via road only from nearby cities. The three nearest big cities are

Kanha Tiger Reserve is spread over two districts – Mandla and Balaghat – in the state of Madhya Pradesh. KTR covers a total area of about 2117 sq km that covers the Kanha National Park, its buffer zone and the Phen Sanctuary. KTR is most popular for the Royal Bengal Tigers, the Barasingha, the Indian wild dog and the gaur. [Alternative Tourism & Activities for Tourists @ Surwahi]

  • Kanha from Raipur, Chhattisgarh to
  • Kanha from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and
  • Kanha from Nagpur, Maharashtra.

It is best to reach either of the above three cities in order to reach KTR near Surwahi conveniently. This write-up is an attempt at detailing out different ways in reaching KTR and compare the best way to reach here via these three cities based on various analogous factors.

Proximity to Entry Gates

KTR has three entry gates – the Khatia gate, the Mukki gate and the Sarhi gate.

City Khatia Gate Mukki Gate Sarhi Gate
Jabalpur 165 km 205 km 150 km
Raipur 250 km 210 km 220 km
Nagpur 220 km 260 km Not applicable

Looking at the table above, it is evident that all the three cities are located approximately 150 to 260 km, which is quite comparable.

Accessibility from other metro and major cities of India

Look at the below table to reach Kanha Tiger reserve by Rail, Road & by Air to better decide the mode of travel…

City By Air By Road By Rail
Jabalpur Yes via Jabalpur or Dumna Airport. Daily services of major airliners from   ·        New Delhi ·        Mumbai ·        Hyderabad ·        Kolkata ·        Ahmedabad.   Well-connected with other smaller cities within the state and with neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.     ·        India’s longest National Highway NH 7 that runs through cities like Varanasi, Nagpur, Bhopal, Jaipur, Raipur, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Bilaspur and Bangalore. ·         NH 12 to Jaipur Yes. Jabalpur Junction railway station is connected to the four metros and major cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Surat, Pune, Patna, Ludhiana, Jammu, Lucknow, Guwahati, Trivandrum, Bhopal, Agra, and Bhubaneshwar.   Jabalpur is also the headquarters of Western Central Railways.

Jabalpur Junction image taken by https://indiarailinfo.com

City By Air By Road By Rail
Raipur Yes. The Mana or Swami Vivekananda Airport.   Major airlines fly to the city from metro cities daily. Yes. It is interconnected from cities in nearby states of Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. Yes. Raipur Junction Railway station. It is located on the Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line.

City By Air By Road By Rail
Nagpur Yes. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Aiport is also an international airport. Nagpur is very well-connected to all major cities of the country. Yes. It is connected by road to nearby cities like Indore, Bhopal, Pune and also all major cities and metros.   A couple of national highways across the city. Nagpur is an important railway juncture between central railways and South-Eastern railways. It is not only aptly connected to the four metros but also other main cities of the country.   There are about 242 trains that cross the rail junction on a daily basis.

How to Reach Each Zone and the closest city to each gate

Zone Gate to enter the zone Nearest city
KANHA Khatia  and Mukki Jabalpur
KISLI Khatia Jabalpur
SARHI Khatia and Sarhi Jabalpur
MUKKI Mukki and Khatia Jabalpur

On the face of all these facts, it seems that Jabalpur is the best way to reach Kanha Tiger Reserve. But two very important considerations that tourists need to look into before deciding to go ahead and book their wildlife safari booking are –

  1. As a wildlife enthusiast what is that you wish to see at KTR?
  2. Which city is the best in terms of affordability and least travel time?

Here is a brief description of how to go about planning a trip to the Kanha Reserve based on what you want to see here and comparing the cost and time of travel. [Shortest Route to Reach Kanha National Park Gate]

The different Zones and what can be famously sighted here –

As a wildlife enthusiast, you would have varying reasons to visit the KTR. While some may be impatient to catch a glimpse of the stealthy walk of the Royal Bengal Tiger, some others might want to observe the Barasingha or other famous species residing in the park. Here is a brief description of the different zones in KTR and which zone is predominantly famous for sighting of which animal.

  1. Kanha Zone – Tiger sightings are considerably less in this zone. However, tourists can catch the Indian Gaur and Barasingha in action here.
  2. Kisli Zone – the second-best region to watch the Tiger. One can also see the wild dog, Indian Gaur, Barasingha in this zone.
  3. Sarhi Zone – the third-best zone to see the Royal Bengal tiger (as per Forest records of 2015).
  4. Mukki Zone – best place to catch a glimpse of the majestic beast – the tiger (as per Forest records of 2015).

Travel time versus average expenditure per person of the three cities

A city-wise comparison of the cost versus time elements should be done in details before choosing your destination city to embark on a safari inside the Kanha Tiger Reserve.

Here we present a quick comparison of all the three cities in terms of reachability from New Delhi.

City No. Of flights from New Delhi No. Of trains from New Delhi
Jabalpur 5 flights daily. There are 6 daily trains of which the fastest train is MP Sampark Kranti.
Raipur There are two flights every day. There are 8 trains that cross Raipur daily. The BSP New Delhi Raj Express that is the fastest.
Nagpur 3-4 flights daily There are about 35 trains that touch Nagpur Railway station from across the country. The fastest train is Nizamuddin Duronto Express.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport of Nagpur
image taken from https://www.justdial.com

City Air   Road   Rail   Distance
  Travel Time* Average Cost per person* Travel Time* Average Cost per person* Travel Time* Average Cost per person*  
Jabalpur 1 hr 50 mins Rs. 6000 – 15000/- 12 hrs 46 mins Rs. 10000 – 15000/- 14 – 15 hrs Rs. 1900 (2 AC) 837 km
Raipur 1 hr 45 mins Rs. 6000 – 15000/- 22 hrs Rs. 15000 – 17000 22 – 30 hrs Rs. 2275 (2 AC) 1195 km
Nagpur 1 hr 40 mins Rs. 4000 – 5000/- 18 hrs Rs. 13000 – Rs. 14000 15 – 17 hrs Rs. 2500 (2 AC) 1057 km

* The calculations have been given from New Delhi, the capital of India. These are approximate figures and should be used for estimation purpose only.

Conclusions from the table above –

  • Distance-wise Jabalpur is the shortest distance from New Delhi.
  • Jabalpur and Nagpur have a similar number of flights reaching from Delhi
  • But when it comes to travel by train, Nagpur is the clear winner.

  • Rates

  1. Nagpur is cheaper via air comparatively.
  2. By road, all cities are more or less equivalently priced.
  3. By rail, Jabalpur is the cheapest.

  • Time

  1. By Air – it takes almost the same time to reach all the three cities from New Delhi
  2. By Train – Jabalpur and Nagpur take the least time.
  3. By Road – Jabalpur takes the shortest time.

A visit to the Kanha Tiger Reserve needs to be well-planned on a number of factors. With its close proximity to three big cities of central India, not only has the mode of transportation and the destination be decided carefully, but you also need to book as per your wish-list of flora and fauna that you wish to see at KTR. The snapshot presented here can be used as an aid to help you plan your trip effectively.