Kanha National Park, renowned for being the habitat of the illustrious Royal Bengal Tiger and the Hard Ground Barasingha, captivates visitors with its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity. The park is well-known for its prominent tigers, each distinguished by unique markings and behaviours, making them favourites among wildlife enthusiasts and researchers. Besides its famed tigers, Kanha is home to over 1,000 species of flowering plants. The lowland forests feature a mix of sal trees and various other species, interspersed with meadows, while the highland forests are characterised by tropical moist and dry deciduous trees and bamboo on the slopes. The park is also notable for its Indian ghost trees found within its dense woods. The numerous meadows, which are open grasslands that emerged in areas where villages were relocated to accommodate wildlife, support a diverse array of grasses vital for the barasingha and gaur's survival. One prominent example of such a meadow is Kanha Meadows.

A Brief History - Kanha was once part of the Gondwana region, known as the ‘Land of Gonds’, and was inhabited by two indigenous tribes who practised shifting cultivation and relied on forest resources. Among these tribes, the Baiga are considered one of the most primitive in India. The origin of Kanha National Park's name is subject to various local legends and folktales. Some believe it comes from "Kanhar," a type of clayey soil found in the area, while others attribute it to Kanva, a revered sage who lived there and was the father of Shakuntala, the protagonist in Kalidasa’s renowned play "Abhigyan Shakuntalam.”

The Majestic Striped Legends of Kanha National Park

As of April 2022, the updated population of tigers in Kanha National Park is 105.  Kanha, Kisli, Mukki and Sarhi are the core Safari Zones in Kanha and the tiger spotting in these zones is said to be the most exciting. Jeep safaris are conducted in morning and evening slots to get a glimpse of these majestic creatures, along with the other flora, fauna, and avifauna residing in the national park.


Munna is the most famous resident of Kanha National Park. His fame lies on his forehead. If you take a close look at his photograph, his forehead markings seem to spell the words ‘CAT’ and ‘PM’, which is indeed an interesting fact about Munna. This furious T-17 cat is mostly seen in the Kisli Zone, straying and preying on his own accord. His royal tread on the road and majestic kingly attitude have brought him global recognition and getting a view of Munna in Kanha is no less than that of seeing a celebrity. 


The codename of Neelam Tigress is T-65. She is a proud daughter to Mundi Dadar and Munna and a competent descendant to carry forward the esteemed legacy of her father Munna. Neelam was born in early 2012 and gave birth to litters of cubs in multiple phases. She has also earned glory as the ‘Queen of Kanha’ and is known for her courageous and aggressive nature. She was radio-collared in 2014, while she was a sub-adult and her life was documented for a brief period for research purposes. 

Umarpani Male

Known to be the biggest male tiger in Kanha National Park, Umarpani was born in 2009 along with his brothers and sisters in the same litter. However, the other male cubs, that is the brothers of Umarpani mysteriously disappeared 2 years later, along with a sister. Although Umarpani is the youngest of the brothers, but after their disappearance, Umarpani emerged as the biggest tiger in Kanha. A wide skull with a large circumference adds to its huge appearance. 

Dhawajhandi Female

Dhawajhandi Female, also known as DJ is a star resident of the Mukki Zone. She was born to the first litter of Choti Mada along with her siblings. Code-named as T-27, in early 2015, she and a young male tiger named Bheema became the popular pair of the Mukki Zone. For several years, park visitors and naturalists have been fascinated by her mysterious behavior and her boldness in marking her territory. DJ's numerous offspring have secured the survival of her bloodline and have contributed to the growth of the tiger population in Kanha.