Bandhavgarh National Park
Tala, Madhya Pradesh, India
Bandhavgarh National Park is a strange land. Flowing through a vibrant and luxuriant Sal and bamboo forest, the wind murmurs the [Bandhavgarh Fort, Bandhavgarh National Park] songs of nature in the voice of silence.
It seems to be quiet yet vibrant. Leaves rustle! Water trickles! Grasses stop to move! Even the wind pauses to hold its breath and watch the drama unfold! Then all of a sudden the Jungle springs to life! Langurs groan. Deers call, and you hear approaching crushing of dry leaves by something big, behold the King is here. A one time hunting grounds of Maharaja of Rewa, it is today also a hunting ground for the Tigers who roam fearlessly in this Sal and bamboo forest. A touch of history, a taste of rawness, this park gives much more than you anticipate from it. While Tigers reign supreme here, it is home to over 250 species of birds, Sloth Bears, Indian Gaur, Leopards, Langurs, Deer family, Jackals, and sometimes spotted Dholes, one thing assured is that you will never come back disappointed from Bandhavgarh. A Tiger safari in Bandhavgarh is imperative should you be keen to see Tigers in their natural habitat.
About the Park
This park shot into prominence the year after it became a part of Project Tiger in 1993. It was like a player gets capped to play for his country, and is immediately made the Captain of the team. The two Tigers responsible for the same were, Sita, the most enchanting Tigresses of all times, and Charger, the most aggressive Tiger of all times. Their stardom made Bandhavgarh a celebrity national park. BBC, Discovery, National Geographic, Icon films, they all descended on this park to make documentaries. The hoards of Tiger lovers ensued. Every wild Tiger has a short span for which it remains the dominant Tiger of the park. But Charger was unusally dominant for a long time. He did not allow any other male Tiger to settle down in Bandhavgarh. Towards end of 90s he had some skirmishes with B1, and gradually took the better of him. B1 died in mysterious circumstances, and then his sibling B2 took over the reins as King of Bandhavgarh.
This guy became the poster boy of Indian wildlife in the years to come, and placed Bandhavgarh on a pedestal from where it made all other parks look much smaller in size and image. B2 became a wildlife brand, and Bandhavgarh National Park became the market leader in tourism. Ever since there has been no looking back for this park. The last two decades have seen emergence of Pench and Tadoba. But to displace Bandhavgarh from where it is today will need collateral damage, which in my opinion is not even a distant possibility due to good conservation efforts by the Forest department, local community, and increased awareness due to tourism. Now, imagine yourself in an open Gypsy slowly and silently cruising along a dense forest trail, listening to the alarm calls of a Langur warning the presence of a Tiger. You feel a tingling sensation in the nape of your neck as the forest floor quietens, and you silently watch, through the early morning mist, a faint image of yellow and black stripes crossing the trail ahead.
You move on, as the early rays of the sun make an array of magical shapes through the trees across the forest floor, and your lungs revel in the fresh morning air. Such is 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. Set among the Vindhya hills of Madhya Pradesh with an area of 168sq miles (437sq kms) 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. The last known was captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in 1951. This white Tiger, Mohun is now stuffed and on display in the Palace of Maharaja of Rewa. Prior to becoming a National Park, the forests around Bandhavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargarh, or game preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa. The Maharaja and his guests carried out hunting – otherwise the wildlife was well protected. It was considered a good omen for Maharaja of Rewa to shoot 109 tigers. His Highness Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh shot 111 Tigers by 1914.
- Area: 1161 sq. kms.
- Core: 624 sq kms.
- Buffer: 537 sq. kms.
- Longitude: 80 47’15’’ to 81 11’ 45 E
- Latitude: 23 30’ 12 to 23 45’ 45 N
- Altitude: 440mts to 810mts above sea level.
- Rainfall: 1175mm.
- Temperature: Min. 2 c Max. 44 c
- Monsoon: Mid- June to Sept.
- Winter: Nov. to mid-Feb.
- Summer: Mid -March to mid -June
Park is open from 1st October till 30th June