Bandhavgarh National Park


Bandhavgarh National Park is situated at Rewa-Umaria Road under district Umaria of Madhya Pradesh in India. Nearest possible railway station for Bandhavgarh is Umaria (small-town) about 37km away. Bandhavgarh is about 100km. away from Katni city, 275 km. away from Khajuraho and 250 km. away from Kanha (Kisli-gate) National Park.

Generally park remains open from 1st of Oct. to 30th of June, every year. In special conditions these dates may vary like park roads are under repair.

Visit to the Bandhavgarh National Park is a must to all animal lovers. Those interested in wildlife photography will surely get a chance to capture many things on camera. No adventure lover should miss out on any opportunity to explore the mysteries of this splendid wilderness.

Bandhavgarh is Tiger reserve spread at Vindhyachal hill in state of Madhya Pradesh with a declared area of 448.55 sq.km.. As it is a Tiger Reserve (under Project Tiger), it is based of core-buffer strategy: core area of 105sq. km. (Tala range) and buffer area of approximately 400 sq. km.

Park ride is conducted in core zone area and most of the resorts and villages are situated in buffer-zone area. The density of the Tiger population at Bandhavgarh is the highest known in India. Bandhavgarh is a National Park since 1968 and is included in Project Tiger Network in 1993.

More than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds found in Bandhavgarh National Park. Common Langurs and Rhesus Macaque represent the primate group. Carnivores include the Asiatic Jackal, Bengal Fox, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Gray Mongoose, Striped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Leopard and Tiger. The artiodactyls frequently sighted are Wild Pigs, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Chausingha, Nilgai (Blue-bull), Chinkara. Mammals such as Dhole, the small Indian Civet, Palm Squirrel and Lesser Bandicoot Rat are seen occasionally. Gaur (Indian Bison) was found here before 1998 and now forest dept. is trying to reinstate them.

Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968. It was the former hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa. This is also White Tiger country. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. The last known was captured by Maharajah Martand Singh in 1951. This White Tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajahs of Rewa. The last known White Tiger was captured by Maharajah Martand Singh in 1951.

At the center of the park is the bandhavgarh hill; rising 811 meters above sea level and surrounding it are a sloping valleys. At the top of the bandhavgarh hill, we can see Bandhavgarh Fort. There is no records remain to show when Bandhavgarh Fort was constructed. It is thought, however, to be some 2,000 years old, and there are references to it in the ancient books. the Narad-Panch Ratra and the Siva Purana. Various dynasties have ruled this fort: for example, the Maghas from the 1st century AD, the Vakatakas from the 3rd century; the Sengars from the 5th century and the Kalchuris from the 10th century. In the 13th century AD, the Baghels took over, ruling from Bandhavgarh until 1617, when Maharajah Vikramaditya Singh moved his capital to Rewa. The last inhabitants deserted the fort in 1935. About 39 ancient caves are also present in park territory.

The experience at Bandhavgarh National Park; one of the few remaining havens for the pride of Indian Wildlife - the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Bandhavgarh is a new National Park with a very long history. It contains a wide variety of habitats and a high density of game, including a large number of Tigers. This is also the White tiger country. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years.

History
Bandhavgarh has been a center of human activity and settlement for over 2000 years, and there are references to it in the ancient books, the Narad-Panch Ratra and the Shiva Purana. Legend has it that Lord Rama, hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, stopped at Bandhavgarh on his way back to his homeland after defeating the demon King Ravana of Lanka. Two monkey architects, who had engineered a bridge between the isles of Lanka and the mainland, are said to have built Bandhavgarh's fort. Later Rama handed it over to his brother Lakshmana who became known as Bandhavdhish "The Lord of the Fort". Lakshmana is the particular God of the fort and is regularly worshipped in a temple there. The oldest sign of habitation in the park are caves dug into the sandstone to the north of the fort. Several contain Brahmi inscriptions dating from the 1st century B.C. Various dynasties have ruled the fort, for example, the Maghas from the 1st century A.D., the Vakatakas from the 3rd century A.D., From that time onwards Bandhavgarh was ruled by a succession of dynasties including the Chandela Kings of Bundelkhand who built the famous temples at Khajuraho. The Baghel Kings, the direct ancestors of the present Royal family of Rewa, established their dynasty at Bandhavgarh in the 12th century. It remained their capital till 1617 when the center of court life moved to Rewa, 75 miles (120Kms) to the north. Without royal patronage Bandhavgarh became more and more deserted until forest overran the area band it became the royal hunting reserve. This helped to preserve the forest and its wildlife, although the Maharajas made full use of their rights. Each set out to kill the auspicious number of 109 Tigers.

At independence Bandhavgarh remained the private property of the Maharaja until he gave it to the state for the formation of the National Park in 1968. After the park was created poaching was brought under control and the number of animals rose dramatically. Small dams and water holes were built to solve the problem of water shortage. Grazing by local cattle was stopped and the village within the park boundaries was relocated. The Tigers in particular prospered and the 1986 extension provided much needed forest to accommodate them.

The fort still belongs to the Maharaja of Rewa and permission is required to visit it. However permission is available locally and no trip to Bandhavgarh is complete without making an effort to climb up the fort.

There are two ways up on the plateau, a jeep track and a footpath-both steep. It is far easier to see the fort by the jeep but much more rewarding to make the journey on foot. There is a convenient place to park vehicles on the southern side of the fort in the lush jungle which surrounds its base. This point is known as Shesh Saaiya, named after a unique 35 foot (11 meters) long statue of reclining Vishnu carved around the 10th century, from whose feet the Charanganga is said to flow. A rectangular pool of spring water lies just beneath the statue and the path to the main gate of the fort. On the other side of this imposing gateway lie 560 acres (227 hectares) of grassland, over which are scattered turtle-filled tanks and the many remains of the human inhabitants of the fort- from ancient statues to the barracks occupied by Rewa's troops upto independence. At a brisk pace the walk from the Shesh Saaiya to the southern side of the fort need only take an hour, but if you stop to see the statues and temples on the way it can easily take much longer. As you follow the path southwards, the most remarkable sights are the 10th century rock images of the incarnations of Vishnu. A statue of Narsimhan ( half man half lion) towers almost 22 feet above the grass. There is a carving of Barah Bhagwan (the boar incarnation), and a small temple enshrining a large image of Vishnu in his fish avtaar. The tortoise incarnation stands unenclosed and flanked by later carvings of Ganesh, the elephant God, and other deities. The charm of this walk lies in discovering these monuments in the jungle, unspoilt and unexploited. Some of the statues lie off the main path and so it is best to take a guide. Apart from the avatars, well worth seeing are three small temples of around the 12th century. These temples are deserted but the fort is still used as a place of worship. Kabir Das, the celebrated 16th century saint, once lived and preached here.

The natural ramparts of the fort give breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. Vultures wheel around the precipice, which also attracts blue rock thrushes and crag martins. The fort has a small population of Blackbuck, which have been reintroduced and to some extent protected from Tigers in the park below by repairs to the masonry walls at the edges of the fort.

Thus Bandhavgarh offers excellent game and bird viewing and a historical interest which most other parks lack.

Geography Flora & Fauna
There are 32 hills in this part of the park, which has a large natural fort at its center. The fort's cliffs are 2625 feet (800 meters) high, 1000 feet (300 meters) above the surrounding countryside. Over half the area is covered by Sal forest although on the upper slope it is replaced by mixed forest of sal, saj, dhobin, and saja. Winter temperatures (Nov-mid-February) vary from almost freezing at night to around 68 degree Fahrenheit in the daytime. Summer nights are also cooler than the daytime temperature, which rises to 104 degree Fahrenheit. This park is closed during the breeding season, which coincides with the monsoon (July-October). Rainfall in the park averages 50 inches (120cm) per year.

Within The Park
Bandhavgarh is justifiably famous for its Tigers, but it has a wide range of other game. The undergrowth is not as dense as in some northern terai forests, but the best time to see the park inhabitants is still the summer months when water becomes scarcer and the undergrowth dies back.

The most effective way to search for Tigers is on elephant back. It's advisable to book your elephant in advance and to wear plenty of warm clothing’s if going for an early morning ride in winter. The mahouts are kept well informed of the whereabouts of the nearest Tigers. However there are many tigers in the park and the elephants are able to take you up steep, rocky hillsides and down marshy riverbeds, which are impassable to vehicles.

There are several good weather roads in the park. Jeeps are definitely recommended over other vehicles and can be hired from the Tiger's Den resort. A forest guide must accompany all visitors into the park. Entry in to the park is allowed only during daylight hours. For both elephants and jeep rides the hours immediately after dawn and before sunset are best.

Chinkara, still rather shy, can be sighted on the grassland areas of the park, particularly on the formerly cultivated land in the southern extension area, on the edges of the main viewing area. Also to be seen in the grasslands are nilgai, chausingha, and sounders of wild boar, as well as the occasional jackal or fox. Muntjac and sambhar prefer denser vegetation. The main prey animal, however for the Tigers and the park's rarely sighted leopards are the chital, which now number a few thousand.

There are two types of monkeys common in the park, the rhesus macaque and the black-faced langur. Drives can also reveal jungle cats, hyenas, porcupines, ratels, and a variety of other mammals. Bandhavgarh attracts many migratory birds in the winter months, including the birds of prey like the steppe eagle and a variety of wildfowl.

If the early morning Safari is a thriller then the late afternoon rendezvous to get another glimpse of the Tiger, and watch the shadows grow taller as dusk approaches and the cacophony of birds grows louder in the trees, is not to be missed experience.

The nights in Bandhavgarh are an enigma- the twigs of the bonfire crackling in the resort lawn, combined with the calling of the jackal, the silhouettes of the trees against a starlit sky and perhaps, a distant rumbling roar deep in the heart of the forest.

It's an experience of elation and sadness. Elation; to have experienced a part of our rich bio-diversity. Sadness; considering the state of the dwindling Tiger population and our depleting forest reserve …will our children ever be able to witness nature in all its pristine glory? I wonder….

Geographical Detail
Bandhavgarh is Tiger reserve spread at Vindhyachal hill in state of Madhya Pradesh with a declared area of 448.55 km2. The main hill of Bandhavgarh is surrounded by 32 other small hills. Prominent ones are : Bandhaini, Badi Dogari, Hanuman-Manch, Bamniya, Ganesh Hill, Mahamaya, Baluhai Dongari and Seeta Mandap.

Places to visit in Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh is indeed an example of natural beauty. There are many hills and very dense forest, even sun rays could not reach the surface of earth. Bandhav Bandhaini are very famous hills. Many tanks, springs and waterfalls are present here. Atleast 39 caves are found within 5 km. surrounding of Bandhavgarh. After visiting following unmatched Tourist spots of Bandhavgarh, every visitor, whether it is Indian or Foreigner tourist, concludes its visit: cost-efficient, memorable and suggestive.