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bandhavgarh national park

Bandhavgarh National Park

Location: Madhya Pradesh

Main Wildlife Attractions: Royal Bengal Tigers, Panther, Deer

Coverage Area: 446 sq.kms

Established: 1968

Best Time to Visit: November to February

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Located in the heart of Umaria district of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park is flocked by nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, every year, in decent numbers. Covering a buffer area of around 448 sq km and a core area of around 105 sq km, this national park lies in the foothills of Vindhyas. Former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Rewa, it is now famed for being the natural habitat for the White Tigers.

How to reach Bandhavgarh National Park

By Air

The nearest airport is in Jabalpur that is around 164 km away from Bandhavgarh. From the airport, you can rent a taxi to the park.

By Rail

The national park is easily connected to Jabalpur by road. Private and State-run buses and taxis are available between Umaria and Katni and from Satna as well as Rewa to Tala. Cabs are also available from Jabalpur, Bilaspur and Khajuraho.

By Road

Some of the railway stations close to Bandhavgarh are Katni (102 km), Jabalpur (164 km), Satna (120 km) and Umaria (35 km).

  • Famous for:  High Tiger Density, Eco Tourism, Bandhavgarh Fort, 250 Bird, Tiger sighting & photography
  • Area: 450 sq. km (Core area: 105 sq. km)
  • Altitude: 800 m above sea level
  • Geographical Coordinates: 80 47’15’’ to 81 11’ 45 E Longitude and 23 30’ 12 to 23 45’ 45 N Latitude
  • Annual Rainfall: 1173 mm (46.18 in.)
  • Temperature:  Min 2, Max 42 (deg. Cen.)
  • Best Time to Visit: February-June (Closed 1 July-15 October)

Wildlife Safari in Bandhavgarh

In Bandhavgarh, wildlife enthusiasts and photographers can partake in wildlife safari in mainly two ways. Each safari is supervised by a Forest Department guide or a Naturalist. At a given point of time, certain numbers of vehicles are allowed inside the park:

  • Tala Zone- 40 (25 in Morning, 15 in Afternoon)
  • Khitauli Zone- 31 (20 in Morning, 11 in Afternoon)
  • Maghadhi Zone- 40 (25 in Morning, 15 in Afternoon)
  • Timing: Winter: 0730 hrs to 1030 hrs and 1500 hrs to1730 hrs
  • Summer:0630 hrs to 0930 hrs and 1600 hrs to1830 hrs
  • Safari: Jeep/Car Safari and Elephant Safari
  • Safari Zones: Tala Zone (Gate-1), Magdhi Zone (Gate-2), Khitauli Zone (Gate-3)

Fee & Charges:

  • Jeep Safari Charges for Indians Nationals - INR 6000 for Tala Zone
    • INR 5000 for other Zones
  • For Foreigners Nationals- INR 8500 for Tala Zone
    • INR 6500 for other Zones
    • Elephant Safari for Whole Day– INR 8,000 per elephant for 1 day for 4 people.

*Note- The aforementioned charges are subject to change without prior notice

One of the most popular national parks in the country, Bandhavgarh boasts of a rich diversity with a broken terrain that includes of grassy swamps, rocky hill ranges and forested valleys and topography of deciduous forest, sharp ridges and open meadows.
Bandhavgarh gets its name from the Bandhavgarh hill that is placed right in the center of the park. Also one of India’s Tiger reserves, this national park is encircled by a group of 32 hills.

Apart from the wildlife, another prime attraction within the forest is Bandhavgarh Fort, built during the 14th century.  Bandhavgarh National Park is not only known for having a high tiger population density but it is also has a huge breeding population of leopards and a number of deer species.

The park is divided into 4 prime zones, Magdhi, Tala, Panpatta and Khitauli wherein Tala is known for being the richest biodiversity zone.

History of Bandhavgarh National Park:

It is believed that Bandhavgarh has been inhabited from around 2000 years and it even finds its reference in ancient holy books like Shiv Purana and Narad-Panch Ratra. If legends are to be believed Lord Rama from Ramayana, the great Hindu epic had taken a halt here, while he was returning to Ayodhya, after killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.

It is said that his monkey architects built the now known Bandhavgarh Fort, which Rama handed over to Laxman, his brother. Even today, there is a temple of Laxman, within the fort.

There are several sandstone caves northwards of the fort, which contain Brahmi inscriptions, which date back to around 1st century BC. The fort was ruled by several dynasties including the Vakatakas, The Chandelas and the Maghas. The ancestors of the present-time royal family of Rewas founded their hold here during the 12th century and ruled up till 1617. They later shifted their capital towards the north and Bandhavgarh became deserted and slowly became the hunting grounds of the Maharajas.

Even after independence Bandhagarh was the private property of the ruler till 1968 when he gave it to the state government for the establishment of the national park. Steps were taken to stop poaching which brought a rise into the number of animals. Water holes and small dams have also been made to deal with the problem of water shortage. Slowly, the villages within the boundaries of the park were also relocated. Finally in 1993, Bandhavgarh was declared Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Attractions in and around Bandhavgarh:

Tiger Sightings-Bandhavgarh park is divided into 4 main zone: Tala Zone, Magadhi Zone, Khitauli Zone, Panpatha Zone. Out of these Magadhi and Tala zones are known for the highest concentration of wildlife. The prime attraction of Tala and Magadhi zone is that they offer maximum opportunities for tiger sightings.

Bandhavgarh fort: Although there are no records for the year of construction of the fort but according to some ancient holy books, it was erected during the times of Ramayana. The top of the fort offers some amazing views of the surrounding greenery. The last inhabitants relieved the park in the year 1935.

Bandhavgarh Ancient Caves: There is a group of around 39 caves in and around the surrounding hillocks in a radius of around 5 km. the oldest cave was probably built during the first century A.D. These caves have embossed figures of pigs, elephants, horsemen and tigers along with inscriptions in Brahmi script. The largest cave dating back to the 10 century AD, called the Badi Gufa, has a huge entrance, various pillars and 9 small rooms.

Baghel Museum: Quite close to the national park, Baghel museum is home to valuables of the Maharaja of Rewa who took care of Bandhavgarh as his personal hunting ground or Shikargah. The museum also has a stuffed White Tiger.

Gharpuri Dam: Placed on the outskirts of Bandhavgarh National Park, Gharpuri dam is a nice place to enjoy sightings of colorful water birds.

Do’s and Dont’s:

  • One must drive slowly inside the Park so that you can easily enjoy, without disturbing the wildlife.
  • Stick to the specific trails and roads.
  • Do not jump out of your jeep inside the park as it is dangerous for your own safety and you may disturb the wildlife as well.
  • Do not litter inside the park as it is the home of the wildlife and also keep the park free from pollution. When you are inside the park, do not throw waste material here and there.
  • Do not light campfire or smoke inside the jungle. An accidental fire can play havoc.
  • Do not talk loudly while inside the park and also keep your children calm.
  • Do not wear bright colored clothes with bold prints as such colors distract or attract wildlife, wherein both the things might not be useful for you. Try to pick clothes that may merge with the environment. It is best to pick cottons and linens in summers. Try to wear clothes that cover most of the body parts.
  • It is advisable that one must carry water bottles, sun-block cream, hats or caps, sun glasses, camera and binoculars.

Bandhavgarh National Park is a must-visit not only for its wildlife but also for it scenic beauty and archeological richness.