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Old 13th March 2011, 00:30   #1
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Default 'Getz'ing away: Hyderabad - Nagpur - Kanha - Pench

Hello team,

We wouldn’t have planned for the Kanha trip, had it not been for a chance mention by my travel-bug colleague, Mel in Jan this year. He had recently led an adventure club team to Pench, and was planning on another team outing to Kanha. When it hit me that Kanha was within ‘car’ range from Hyderabad, it just had to happen and all we had to do was wait for the first weather-friendly opportunity.

Having been in Hyderabad for close to a year, and always grumbling for the abundant lack of getaways, this drive to almost the heart of India excited both me, and my wife. It would be a different experience for our 6-year old son. The journey began with the research – route, distance, time, stay and food.

For the distance and route part, my major decisions were based on team-BHPians’ experiences – I’d like to quote a few recent ones here:

One way distance being 800 kms, and unfamiliar terrain, we thought against doing a non-stop stretch. After some dillydallying, we figured that there were two options for a pit-stop – either at Nagpur or on the Pench Highway. We chose to delay the choice till we reached Nagpur, so didn’t pay for any accommodation in advance for this leg (but had confirmed availability of rooms by phone). The travel times estimated were as follows:
  • Hyderabad to Nagpur (475 kms) – about 9 hours
  • Nagpur to Kanha (270 kms) – about 5 hours
The idea was to start from Hyderabad at 7 am in the morning, and if we reached Nagpur before 4 pm, we would proceed to a place called Rookhad, near Pench National Park. This way, my next leg of the journey to Kanha would be less than 3 hours. We chose a place recommended by fellow BHPian – downsouth called ‘Bison Highway Treat’ run by MP tourism.

We kicked off our adventure at about 8 am on 3rd Feb 2011. The journey to Nagpur was uneventful, and the 500 kms stretch was covered in less than 8 hours. About 110 kms of it, at different stretches, is still single lane (four-laning in progress), the rest providing a pleasurable driving experience. As we reached Nagpur before 4 pm, we proceeded for another 100 kms to reach Rookhad the same day. Rookhad is so tiny a village; you might miss it if you weren’t looking for it. Even though the place is situated on NH7, one feels the jungle all around, especially at night.

Nice stay at Highway Treat, very hospitable employees, decent food. There are only four cottages there, each one with an independent courtyard and sit-out. No ACs, but with coolers available during summer. Infrequent power supply, but generator backup is available for lighting and fans.

Next morning after breakfast, started around 10 am to Kanha. For those who travel by meter readings, please note the driving directions in the table attached towards the end. The distance from Amajhiriya Bye-pass to Kanha, about 125 kms is one of the best interior roads we have traveled. Notwithstanding that it is a single lane interior road, the fact that you can make the distance at an average of 60 kmph says a lot about it. We made it to Kanha by lunch time, around 2 pm.

The place we chose to stay at Kanha is again one of my best decisions made till date. A property run by MP Tourism again, called Bagheera Log Huts, very close to Kisli gate. It’s the only accommodation located 3 kms deeper into the core area of Kanha NP. Heard that it’s also been asked to move out, but not sure how long they will take to do that. We had booked a room for a couple of nights @ Rs.4500 per night A.P. (breakfast + lunch + dinner for us couple and my kid) from MPTDC office at Hyderabad.

The stay was enchanting by itself – deer, bison, peacocks and foxes abundant around the lodge itself. At night, sitting on the verandah, enjoying the eerie silence was even more amazing. MPTDC had also sold us one ‘park round’ for Rs.3300/- (this includes Park entry fees of Rs.1030/- per vehicle, guide fees of Rs.200/- and Gypsy hire of Rs.2100/-). During our visit, we found that one can book online the entry fees to National Park on the MP forest department site. Read about the rules and regulations on:
Search for the Excursion Availability
With this, we can hire any registered vehicle at the NP gate for just Rs.1000/-

Though we didn’t get to see the much desired wild cats, the park rounds for over 4 hours each trip on an open-top gypsy in the dense deciduous forests of Kanha range was immensely enjoyable. Not to mention that on one of the early morning rides, the temperature being close to 5 degrees, we hadn’t wished for an early sun-rise with more eagerness before.

Our return journey was much swifter, as the roads felt familiar. We decided to stay at the same Highway Retreat. A last minute addition to the plan was to do an evening safari at Pench National Park – in the hope of seeing one of the wild cats. We were unlucky again, but it increased our enjoyment multi-fold. The terrain was different in Pench as compared to Kanha. We also found a very good vehicle, and a well informed guide who gave us lots more insight on the flora and fauna inside the park.

With almost 1600 kms distance traveled, we’d packed lot more fun and frolic in a five-day trip than ever before. Even though we love our car, I am sure it was the excitement in our hearts that carried us to that enchanting land and back – safe and completely relaxed.
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'Getz'ing away: Hyderabad - Nagpur - Kanha - Pench-40.sunset-pench.jpg  

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kcgiri is offline  
Old 13th March 2011, 09:54   #2
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Default Re: 'Getz'ing away: Hyderabad - Nagpur - Kanha - Pench

Nice report Giri. This is one of my favourite trips and I make it a point to go to Kanha and Bandhavgarh atleast once a year. The last time I went was in October 2010.

How are the roads now? The last time I went, the roads were pathetic, especially the Nagpur to Bandhavgarh stretch but road works were ongoing at that time.

Looks like you didnt have too much luck with Sher Khan though. April is the time when the best sightings usually take place. The meadows dry up and the Tigers can be seen near the watering holes close to the trail.
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Old 13th March 2011, 12:41   #3
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Default Re: 'Getz'ing away: Hyderabad - Nagpur - Kanha - Pench

@kcgiri: Good to see another Pench-Kanha travelogue.

What date were you in Pench?

@diesel: next time do contemplate on clubbing Pench along with your two favoured destinations. Whats happening at Pench is unparalled in the history of wildlife: A tigress is moving with 5 cubs. See the details on the other active threads.

@kcgiri: Lets see some more pics and hear some more stories.

OT: Is Mel with GHAC ?

Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 13th March 2011, 13:27   #4
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Default Re: 'Getz'ing away: Hyderabad - Nagpur - Kanha - Pench

Feels great to see new wildlife TL's.
Finally I see more people going to Kanha on TeamBHP
Looking forward to further updates.


Last edited by Coooolcat21 : 13th March 2011 at 13:31.
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Old 13th March 2011, 14:12   #5
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Default Re: 'Getz'ing away: Hyderabad - Nagpur - Kanha - Pench

Originally Posted by Diesel9999 View Post
How are the roads now? The last time I went, the roads were pathetic, especially the Nagpur to Bandhavgarh stretch but road works were ongoing at that time.
4-laning of about 200 kms stretch is still underway between Hyderabad and Nagpur. Even then, most of the way you can drive @ 80 kmph.

Originally Posted by Diesel9999 View Post
Looks like you didnt have too much luck with Sher Khan though. April is the time when the best sightings usually take place. The meadows dry up and the Tigers can be seen near the watering holes close to the trail.
We were aware of the possibility that we may not see the big cats. I think we believed in few fellow BHPians that the adventure is in experiencing the forest, and not just 'expecting' to see the wild cats
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Old 16th June 2011, 13:05   #6
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Default Planning a trip to Pench from Hyderabad

It has been more than 5 years since I had a long trip.
In fact, I never had a long drive in a car. I had lots of long drives in my bike in my bachelor days but somehow long drive in a car never materialized.

Finally, I am all set to take my first long drive in car.

After looking at the various options, I have finalized the venue to be Pench National park. I will be travelling with my wife and 3 year old daughter and hence I want the travel to be as comfortable as possible.

I have a few queries which will help me to plan my trip better -
  • How long will it take from hyderabad to Pench? I will drive at a reasonable pace since I have my family along. I am planning to start in the morning around 6-7 AM and reach there by 4-5 PM. Is that a reasonable assumption?
  • As I understand I have to reach Nagpur through NH-7 and then go to Seoni.
    How are the road conditions? Is there any alternative route so that I can bypass Nagpur and save some time?
  • Places to eat on the way - We will carry stuff for our kid as much as possible. But are there any good places to eat on the way which is clean and hygienic?
  • What about refueling and clean restrooms on the way?
  • Places to stay in Pench - I am looking for a nice place with good creature comforts. I have heard about a few - Tuli Tiger corrdior, Kipling's court etc? Any recommendations? Any idea about the tariff?
  • Duration of the travel - I plan to leave on Friday morning, reach Pench before evening. Saturday and Sunday stay at Pench and enjoy the wildlife. Monday morning start off from Pench after having breakfast. Does the plan seem good? What is the typical duration one should stay in Pench.
  • I was thinking of covering tadoba/Kanha in the same trip but I guess it will be hectic considering I have a small kid. What do you guys think?

Thanks a lot for your help...

- Adi

Last edited by adimicra : 16th June 2011 at 13:06.
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