Pench Madhya Pradesh
Pench Tiger Reserve comprises the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and a buffer. The Park nestles in the Southern slopes of the Satpura ranges of Central India. The river Pench, which splits the National Park into two, forms the lifeline of the Park.
The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. A description of its natural wealth and richness occurs in Ain-i-Akbari. Several natural history books like R. A. Strendale's 'Seonee - Camp life in Satpura Hills,' Forsyth's 'Highlands of Central India' and Dunbar Brander's 'Wild Animals of Central India' explicitly present the detailed panorama of nature's abundance in this tract. Strendale's semi-autobiographical 'Seonee' was the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.
Land of the 'The Jungle Book'
The Pench Tiger Reserve and its neighbourhood is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling's most famous work, The Jungle Book. Kipling borrowed heavily from Robert Armitage Strendale's books 'Seonee', 'Mammalia of India and Ceylon' and 'Denizens of the Jungle' for the topography, wildlife, and its ways. Mowgli was inspired by Sir William Henry Sleeman's pamphlet, 'An Account of Wolves Nurturing Children in Their Dens' which describes a wolf-boy captured in Seoni district near the village of Sant Baori in 1831. Many of The Jungle Book's locations are actual locations in Seoni District, like the Waingunga river with its gorge where Sherkhan was killed, Kanhiwara villlage and the 'Seeonee hills'.
The terrain of the park is undulating with mainly gentle slopes criss-crossed by streams and nullahs. Most of these water courses are seasonal. Many of the hills are flat-topped and allow fine vistas of the forests around. The best known of these is 'Kalapahar' with an altitude of 650 mts. The Pench river flowing through the centre of the Reserve is dry by April but a number of water pools locally known as 'dohs' are found, which serve as waterholes for wild animals. A few perennial springs also exist. Recently a number of earthen ponds and shallow wells have been developed leading to well distributed sources of water all around the reserve.
In the year 1977 an area of 449.39 sq km was declared Pench Sanctuary. Out of this, an area of 292.85 sq km was declared Pench National Park in the year 1983 and 118.31 sq km remained as Pench Sanctuary. In 1992 Government of India declared 757.89 sq km area including the National Park and the sanctuary as the 19th Tiger Reserve of the country. The name of Pench National Park was changed to "Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park" in November 2002 Similarly the name of Pench Sanctuary has been changed to "Mowgli Pench Sanctuary".
The Pench hydroelectric dam straddles the Maharashtra - Madhya Pradesh boundary. The dam, constructed between 1973 and 1988 has resulted in the submergence of about 74 sq km area out of which 54 km is in the Park, the rest being in Maharashtra.