National Park, Madhya Pradesh
amongst the Vindhyas, in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh is a
small national park, but with the highest known density of
tiger population in India. This is also known as White Tiger
territory. These have been found in the old state of Rewa
for many years. The other species found in abundance in Bandhavgarh
are the gaur or Indian bison, the sambar, the barking deer
and the nilgai.
The Park is spread over an area of 437 sq. km.The terrain
is made of rocky hills, sal forests and grazing areas, formerly
agricultural land. The finest of these hills is the Bandhavgarh
hill, and on its highest point stands Bandhavgarh Fort. Though
no records remain to show when the fort was constructed, it
is believed to be about 2000 years old. Several dynasties
have ruled the fort: for example, the Maghas from the 1st
century A.D, the Vakatakas from the 3rd century; the Sengars
from the 5th century, and the Kalachuris from the 10th century.The
oldest signs of habitation, are the caves dug into the sandstone,
near the fort. Several of these contain Brahmi inscriptions
dating from the 1st century B.C. Prior to becoming a National
Park, the forest range around the region had been maintained
as a Shikargarh, or game preserve, of the Maharajahs of Rewa.
It was only in 1968, that the area was declared as a National
Park. Since then, stringent steps have been taken to retain
it as an unspoilt natural habitat.
There are more than 22 species of mammals, and 250 species
of birds. Some of the inhabitants of this park are the rhesus
macaque, the black-faced langur, jungle cats, chinkara, black
buck, munjtac and the chital. The Park attracts many migratory
birds in the winter months, that include the steppe eagle
and a variety of wildfowl. Reptilian fauna include cobra,
krait, python, turtle and a variety of lizards. The Bandhavgarh
National Park has excellent game and bird viewing to offer,
coupled with a fascinating historical element to it, thus
satiating those adventurous at heart, completely.
The park can be explored on elephant back (also, a much preferred
means of tiger-tracking) or in a vehicle. Jeep safaris are
best undertaken, from dawn till about 10a.m, and from 4 p.m
till dusk, as the animals are quite active during these periods.
When To Visit
The ideal time to visit Bandhavgarh is the November to June
period.The park is closed in July for the monsoons.
How To Get There
By air: The most comfortable
route to Bandhavgarh is by air to Khajuraho (210 km), from
where it is a 5 hour drive.
By rail: The nearest railheads are Jabalpur (170 km),
Katni (102km), and Satna (112 km) on the Central Railway and
Umaria (30 km) on theSouth Eastern Railway.
By road: State/private transport
buses ply between Katni and Umaria, and from Satna and Rewa
to Tala (Bandhavgarh).