An oasis settled amid the otherwise rocky terrain of the Vindhyas, Kuno National Park has been associated with legends since time immemorial. Stories of developing this area as a national park trace their way to the early 1900s, when King Madhavrao Scindia made an effort to revive the population of lions in this area. While his dream couldn't be actualised, his trailblazing efforts inspired the ideation of turning this place into a habitat for a myriad of flora and fauna. A 7-hour drive from Indore, let's explore more such chronicles attached to this park, also known as the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary.
Part of Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forest eco-region
An area rich in biodiversity, this region of Madhya Pradesh biogeographically falls under the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forest eco-region. Realising its importance, the state government first established a wildlife sanctuary here in 1981 and later, strengthened wildlife conservation efforts by converting it into a national park.
The importance of the green area, now known as Kuno National Park, is also reflected in the 30,000-year-old cave paintings found nearby, which seem to be inspired by the wildlife found here. The area is believed to be leaf-shaped and the Kuno River (after which this national park is named) flows through it, forming the main spine centre.
Historical significance of Kuno
Kuno's history is intricately woven with its wildlife. Once identified as the most suitable location for the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lion, Kuno National Park has reserved its place in history, for emperors and kings have found prized animals here. One of the gazettes of Gwalior records that the Mughal Emperor Akbar while returning from the Malwa region, captured a big herd of elephants in the forests near Shivpuri in 1564.
Know before you go!
Apart from the majestic aura of this place that you can explore while indulging in a safari, do visit the myriad of forts that dot its landscape. A few such historical destinations to explore here are- Palpur Fort, Amet Fort and Maitoni Fort. Further, there are many lakes and temples that bind the attention of tourists that visit the Kuno National Park.
Among the several trees found here, the most abundant is the Kardhai tree which doesn't need heavy monsoons to start blooming. It turns green even in the presence of humid air. It is widely believed that this aptly reflects the spirit of Kuno- the ability to survive in the toughest of circumstances. So, when the pandemic permits, visit this charming scenery and see if some of this can-do attitude rubs off on you as well!
Location: Kuno Wildlife Division of Sheopur District, Madhya Pradesh