On the north eastern border of India
’s Madhya Pradesh
state, lies the famous Bandhavgarh National park. Although by comparison, Bandhavgarh is considered to be a small forest reserve, recent years have seen it acquire a great deal of fame, not only in India
, but throughout the world. This breathtaking forest of Sal and Bamboo, with its abundance of water and game, is home to the world’s most dense tiger population. So plentiful are the tigers in Bandhavgarh, that it is said, one would be lucky not to see a tiger when visiting.
Declared a National Park in 1968, Bandhavgarh spans an area of 105 sq kms and is open to the public from October to June after which it closes for the arrival of the monsoons. Visitors can choose to explore the park from the comfort of closed vehicles, open jeeps or even elephant back. Exploring the wildlife reserve of this beautiful park, seated on top of a mighty elephant will undoubtedly prove to be the most memorable means of viewing game such as sambar, chital, barking deer, wild boar, various monkeys and of course the elusive leopard and panther, to name just a few. A total of 22 species of mammals can be seen at the park including approximately 250 species of birds. With such an impressive and diverse collection of birds, Bandhavgarh is a bird watchers’ paradise.
Here in the same area as the park, one can find the ancient Bandhavgarh fort, known to be about 2000 years old. During its long history the fort has been ruled by many dynasties and today is privately owned by the Maharaja of Rewa, requiring special permission to enter. Just near the fort one can also visit the caves which were dug into the sandstone. Ancient Brahmi scripts dating as far back as the 1st century BC, bear testimony to the earliest inhabitants of this region. A one hour trek to the edge of the fort will see you crossing beautiful mountain streams while you periodically stop to explore one of the many ancient 12th century temples, yet another reminder of generations long gone.
In and around Bandhavgarh
For an authentic experience, visit Tala village, the closest such village to the park. Hikers and those who would like a little exercise will also find places such as Climbers Point, Rampur Pahari and Sita mandap to be an interesting and pleasant outing.
Adjoining Panpatha Sanctuary, home to many species of water birds, one can find the Bhamera Dam and Gharpuri Dam. Another very worthwhile attraction in the vicinity is the Chenchpur waterfall.
The ideal time to visit
October to June
Getting there :
By train: - There is a direct train from Delhi to Umaria (32km from the Bandhavgarh national park)
Trains from various other parts of the country also operate to: Katni (92km), Satna (120km), Jabalpur (164km)
By air: - The nearest airport is Khajuraho ((237km)
By road: - The park is connected by road to most cities.