About Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is a small system of protected forest that was once the shikargarh reserve of the maharajas of Rewa. In the previous years, however, it has actually ended up being associated with the tiger as Ranthambhore or Kanha. Bandhavgarh is still teeming with tigers, despite the fact that the erstwhile rulers enthusiastically adhered to the belief that it was fortunate for the monarch to hunt 109 tigers.
For a long time in the 12th century, the Bandhavgarh Fort, in the centre of the reserve, was the seat of power of the Chandela Dynasty. Later, it came under the Baghels, and after that the Rewas, who are believed to be their descendants. About 106 sq km of the reserve functioned as the hunting ground of the Rewas; each Rewa king was expected to shoot at least a 100 tigers. Despite this, the truth that so-called ‘commoners’ were not allowed inside the reserve helped in the conservation of other animals and the forest itself.
After Independence, the territory was taken over by the Madhya Pradesh Government. However, the maharajas retained their hunting rights until 1968, when the location was made a national park. Hunting was stopped, the tiger population increased, and in 1982, the reserve’ s area was extended.
Bandhavgarh is a 446-sq km tract of land with a series of flat-topped hills on its flanks and the high hill of Bandhavgarh fort (811 m) in the centre, dominating the landscape. Large meadows such as Chakradhara and Sehra, and swampy ground like the Sidhababa Meadow, lie below. It is bounded by the Son river in the east, the Johilla river in the south, and drained by the Umrar river in the west. The core of the tiger reserve in 695 sq km, including 105 sq km of the former hunting reserve of the Rewas and 246 sq km of the Panpatha Sanctuary. The core area is surrounded by a buffer zone of 820 sq km. The forest changes from sal and bamboo to grasslands in swamps and sandy patches. With the relocatioof three of the five villages which were within the nationa park area, large new grasslands have been developed in the remoter parts of the park. There are four entrances to the main park: Tala, Bhadrashila, Gohri and Garhpuri, each of which leads into a different zone. Two roadways, the Umaria-Rewa Highway and the Parasi-Katni Roadway via Khitauli, pass through the park.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Bandhavgarh, and the adjacent Panpatha Sanctuary (also made part of the reserve), came under Project Tiger in 1993. In spite of the conservation efforts, Bandhavgarh has its share of problems, including industrial pollution in the Son river and bauxite mining nearby. As the park is surrounded by numerous| villages, poaching and grazing of animals in the forest are common occurrences. The park’ s popularity with tourists is also a reason for concern, as the crowds disturb the animals.
On the upside, the park’ s size, the organized method in which it’ s run and the efficient information| dissemination makes it very likely that you will see at least one tiger over a stay of three or four days. On the downside, this does tend to provide an assembly-line quality to the experience, and needs less of tourists– for instance, the tigers in the park are quite used to jeeps and humans, which suggests that they are, in a sense, not as wild as other tigers might be. And naturally, travelers feel less constrained to modify their city-bred behavior; one of the most distressing things about the Indian jungle is that tourists continue to chatter incessantly whether or not in the presence of an animal. They shout to each other, and eat food within the sanctuary. Fortunately, the tendency to toss the wrappings on the forest floor appears to be declining now.
And, unfortunately, many tourists feel their trip has been wasted if they don’t see a tiger. They miss|miss out on the many other things that make up an incredible forest experience; the smaller animals, like deer and wild boars, the birds, the crisp early morning air and the beautiful verdant forest environment itself. Even the most typical animal sightings can be wonderful– a stag standing stock-still in a clearing in the half-light, a wild boar mother leading her piglets carefully through the brush; and Indian roller taking flight with the sum, flashing its sky-blue wings. There is also the endlessly diverse charm of the forest itself, made different at every moment not just by terrain, but by the state of mind and ambience contributed by a trick of light, weather, or temperature.
It is always a great idea to go on every possible safari, since no sighting is guaranteed, and no sighting is the very same. Alternatives are plentiful, from jeep to elephant rides. If your concept of holiday does not include getting up at the crack of dawn, do at least|a minimum of make use of the afternoon. Either way, there’ s lots of time before and after safaris to unwind around the camp, and consume around the bonfires that the majority of hotels organize.
Do make the most of these twice-daily jeep safaris. Advance booking is required. The majority of hotels, however, will include park-related charges in their prices, so check with your hotel about the safari.
An elephant safari is without a doubt the best way to explore the park, but be sure to book ahead of time. The best elephant experience is to pay for a 2-hour ride in the jungle throughout which your sightings will be dependent on the tracking abilities of your guide.
The Bandhavgarh Gaur
Look for Bandhavgarh’ s new| pride, the gaur. This magnificent species became extinct here in 1998 but was reintroduced in 2011 through translocation of 50 animals from Kanha. The new population is nearly 80 and growing, despite regular predation by tigers.
At the northern location of the park, there are more than 30 sandstone caves bearing Brahmi inscriptions, and drawings dating from the 1st century BCE. You can explore these beautiful caves; however, note that sometimes there is a steel grille across the cave entrance.
The 2,000-year-old Bandhavgarh Fort sits atop the large cliffs and escarpments of the Bandhavgarh Hill, from which the park gets its name. The fort is shrouded in mythology: it is stated to have been built by the same architects who built the bridge to Lanka for Lord Rama. Rama, his brother| Lakshmana and Hanumana are believed to have rested at Bandhavgarh Fort on their journey back from Lanka, and Rama then handed it over to Lakshmana. Hence, the latter got the title of ‘Bandhavdhish’, or Lord of the Fort, appropriated thereafter by the Maharaja of Rewa. The fort is now part of the reserve forest.
It’s the only area inside the park where you are allowed to walk on foot– in reality you have to undertake a difficult half-hour walking. The road will take you up to the Shesh Shaiya, a large statue of Vishnu reclining on a seven-hooded serpent, situated in a green pool of water that is also the source of the Charanganga river. It is believed that Charanganga comes from at the feet of Lord Vishnu, and hence this water source was never disrupted.
Along the way, a little off the main path, you will see statues of the 10 avatars of Vishnu. Likewise keep an eye out for the three stunning, small 12th-century temples. At the top are the ruins of the palaces of the Baghel royals, the last of whom left the fort in 1935. A number of large water tanks, dug into solid sandstone and an enormous peepal tree, still weep for the long-gone royals. The temple adjoining the palace is a living monument; the priest lives there alone and is said to be the only man authorized to walk through the park to get supplies. The views are spectacular, and it overlooks the nesting site of lots of vultures in addition to the flight plans of the rare Malabar and grey hornbills.
A legend here has it that white tigers can still be found in the forest. At the museum, located near Tala Village, you can see Mohan, the white tiger cub captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in 1951, stuffed and mounted, besides royal artefacts of the maharaja’s family.
If you are looking for something different from your regular beach holidays this winter, it’s time you headed out to Bandhavgarh.
The season is just so perfectly ambient for a relaxing holiday in the midst of nature’s green.
Bandhavgarh National Park Safari
Bandhavgarh National Park has been classified into three core zones, as well as, three buffer zones for tourism purposes.
The core zones are :
Tala zone : It is the premium zone & hence is popular for Tiger sightings. Being a premium zone, it is very much sought after.
Magadhi zone : Since last few years, statistically, Magadhi zone recorded the highest number of Tiger sighting. As a rsult of which, it is in extremely high demand from wild life enthusiasts.
Khitauli zone : Apart from tigers, a good population of herbivorous can be seen, which includes the Blue Bull ( Nilgai ) & Chinkaras.
Khitauli zone is a good place for birding, specially to view the State Bird of Madhya Pradesh i.e. Asian Paradise Flycatcher.
The buffer zones are Dhamokhar, Johila & Panpatha.
All the National Parks of Madhya Pradesh reserves half day off on every Wednesday’s.
There are no afternoon safaris on Wednesday.
There are no safari’s on national holidays, as well as, festivals.
For the admirers of the spectacular tigers & those interested to know more about Mohan – the founding father of the white tigers of Rewa – this story is a must read for you.
Known as the first ancestor of Bengal’s white tiger population, Mohan’s narrative begins in being caught in the wild as a cub & thereafter, raised in captivity.
Bandhavgarh Fort is an an hour long trek and worth every bit of your effort. The climb to the fort is a journey back in time as you discover the ancient monuments surrounding it.
Do take a guide with if you want to know all about the history and mythology of Bandhavgarh.
The Forest Department offers accommodation in the forest colony at Tala.
Madhya Pradesh Tourism has a well located resort at Tala namely White Tiger Forest Lodge.
Things to Do Inside the Park
- Bandhavgarh ancient caves
Things to Do outside the Park
- Jwalamukhi Temple
- Baghel Museum
An adrenaline pumping desperate search for the elusive Bengal tiger combines with mixed flora & fauna available in Bandhavgarh.
The calm and peace of nature takes a shift as you ride through the national park to spot the main attraction of Bandhavgarh, that is, the tigers.
Each & every season offers a unique experience.
How to Reach Bandhavgarh National Park
Nearest Airports: Jabalpur 9 200 kms | 4 hrs drive ) and Khajuraho ( 270 kms | 6 hrs drive ).
Railway Stations: Umariya, Katni and Jabalpur
Tour Packages for Bandhavgarh National Park
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