Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grasslands of Kanha

Much talked about its tigers, Kanha National Park is an ecosystems which harbors vivid diversity of life forms. It is a true biodiversity conservation center. The topography of the park is unique with rising Maikal Hills enveloped by dense forest of Sal and Bamboo at places interspersed with grassy meadows, lakes and small rivers. Unlike Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh have less of mixed forest zones. Sal and Bamboo are prevalent in most of the forested zones of the park.

Kanha is famous for not only tigers but it's magnificent fauna which boasts of twenty two species. The mouse deer was recently sighted here though earlier reporting where not confirmed. The most visible elements of faunal diversity are the herbivores - the main prey base of tiger, leopard and wild dog.

Kanha National Park - Meadows

The grasslands of Kanha are extensive and many in number. They are a habitat for number of grass species like themeda triandra, Sachrum munja and Bothriocloa odrata to name a few. These grass species are crucial to the survival of herbivores especially the Hard Ground Barasinga or the Hard Ground Swamp Deer (Cervus duavcelli branderi).

Most of the grasslands are edaphic, they were in much declined state due human settlements there. The water logging of soil prevented the growth of perennial woody plants but the grasses grew well. There has been miraculous improvement in the health of these grasslands after the villages were relocated out of Kanha National Park.

The most popular grasslands or meadows in Kanha are the Kanha meadow, Saunf which is the breeding ground of Barsinghas, meawdows at Parsa Tola, Kisli, Supkhar, Bamani Dadar and many more. The grasslands bordering Saundhar Taloa and Bisanpura Talao (Wetlands) are habitats favored by the Barasingha. The Chital or spotted deer are ubiquitous, while Sambar deer are nocturnal and shy. The bisons are coarse feeders but climb down the hills to feed in the grasslands in summers.

The meadows are an integral part of Kanha landscape apart from being habitat for many life form including the herbivores - the main prey base of the tigers in India. The grassy meadows add charm and enchantment to Kanha landscape and make it picturesque - as the park is.

The health of grasslands in Kanha is vital for the survival of prey species. Though there is no danger from humans now, the intrusion of lyndia tree is a source of worry for the park managers. The ecotone harbors lots of Lyndia tree which are slowly intruding into the meadows. Should there be human intervention or should nature take it's own course???

Bandhavgarh National Park History

Bandhavgarh is a unique tiger reserve situated in Vindhya's in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. Though small as compared to Kanha National Park in size, it equals it in case of floral biodiversity. The mammal species are less in number at Bandhavgarh Park, but nevertheless the easy sightings of Bengal tigers in the wild and unparalleled beauty makes it a unique destination. The hard ground Barasingha has not been recorded here. The Bisons of Bandhavgarh became extinct few years back. Besides these animals the park has all the mammlia typical to Central India. It is most frequented by wild life lovers, naturalists and photographers in India.

The most enchanting paradise in India Bandhavgarh National Park has undulating terrain with igneous rocks, large marshy grasslands and dense forested hill slopes. It is unique that it holds ruins of ancient civilizations in its folds. Littered all over the park are man made caves, ancient temples, stables and ruins of a once magnificent fort atop the Bandhavgarh Hill at 800 m. The monuments most of them in ruins date two thousand years back. The last dynasty to rule Bandvgarh fort was the Baghel Kings Maharajas of Rewa.

Amidst the ruins and rubble roam wild tigers and other animals. The Sesh Shaiyya, on the way up to the fort is a fairy tale like pond with a reclining Vishnu carved in stone on one side. The statue is carved out of rock and is twenty feet long. It is a magnificent site - quaint and esoteric. The tigers roam in dense vegetation surrounding the place. In summers, whence water is scarce the area is usually the haunt of tigeress with cubs.

Sita the famous tigeress of Bandhavgarh preserve was often sighted at Sesh Shaiyya with her cubs. Charger the famous male tiger, who along with Sita sired many of Bandhavgarh's young tigers, and he once ruled this habitat for years.

Most of the hotels in Bandhavgarh National Park arrange a visit to Sesh Shaiyya. A big respite to hotel guests tired from many a frantic tiger chase. The ambiance is soothing and calm and a tiger passing by adds to the thrill.

For those on tiger safari in Bandhavgarh a visit to this enchanting place will add much to wildlife watching. The hotels and wildlife resorts do arrange for a visit to Sesh Shaiyya and the Fort on prior intimation.