If you want to visit a serene forest, as forests should be, you must visit Pench National Park, Maharashtra.
Pench is a beautiful jungle, and the poet Kalidas wrote about the scenic beauty of these forests in his epics ‘Meghdootam’ and ‘Shakuntalam’. “R.A. Strendale’s ‘Camp in the Satpura Hills’ draws a vivid pen picture of this idyllic paradise – as does Forsyth’s ‘Highlands of Central India’.
Pench National Park is divided between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. We visited the Maharashtra side, and were delighted by the quaintness, and low commercialisation. There weren’t many resorts (thankfully, at least when we visited in 2010), and tourists were also few. The forest department ran only about 21 Jeep Safaris at a time. Although we didn’t have a tiger sighting, we did enjoy the forest drives, and we managed to see the Jackal, the Fox and the Wolf, apart from many birds, mammals and ungulates. From the Maharashtra side, the entry to Pench is through the Sillari Gate.
We had an extremely basic stay at the Forest Rest House. The canteen was a few meters away from the rooms, and there was no room service. At night, the walk from the rooms to the canteen was in pitch darkness. There was a Tiger Interpretation Centre which was a very commendable attempt at telling us about the secret life of a Tiger.