India is a proud home to nearly 100 National Parks. Amongst them is the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve situated in the dense canopy of Bandhavgarh forest, which has the highest known tiger population in India. Bandhavgarh is located in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh and is a 3-hour journey from Jabalpur.
This national park is the jewel of wildlife in Central India. The whole area was a power seat of Chandela dynasty. Later on, it was a part of princely state of Rewa and was used as a hunting ground by its ruler. Bandhavgarh has a core area of 106 sq. km. and buffer area of 342 sq. km. with ranges of flat-topped hills on its flanks and the Bandhavgarh fort at an 811 meters height in the center, dominating the park’s landscape. Although the fort is not accessible to tourists, you one can visit the 35 feet long stone statue of Lord Vishnu, inside Tala zone at the footstep of the fort. The park has large meadows such as Chakradhara and Sehra, and a swampy ground like Sidhababa. There are three rivers Sone, Johilla, Umrar, which run through and around Bandhavgarh. The park is accessible to tourists through three gates – Tala, Magadhi and Khitauli.
Flora and Fauna
Unlike the other parks of central India, the Bandhavgarh forest is green even in summer as about 70% Sal trees with their lush green leaves populate it, all year round. The other 30% of the forest includes bamboo among other varieties.
Tourists flocking Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve can enjoy panoramic views of flora and fauna against the background of the stunning landscape. There are number of tigresses with cubs, which shows the overall health of this park. Apart from tiger, other common animal species seen are leopard, wolf, jackal, fox, hyena, mongoose, wild dog, jungle cat, boar, deer and the famous Hanuman langoor. The diverse terrain provides shelter to many migratory birds. Most notable ones are raptors and vultures. Other species like stork, eagle, owl, lark, woodpecker and kingfisher can also be spotted. The insect and reptile life in Bandhavgarh is amazing with numerous types of butterflies, moths and snakes.
Our trip to Bandhavgarh was amongst the most exciting safaris. With tiger sightings at almost every safari ride, we had thought it wouldn’t get better. But the rare sighting of a Porcupine, displaying her quills right in the middle of the road, pleasantly surprised us.
Let your journey begin
The Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is open from 1st October till 15th June and remains closed during the remaining season because of monsoon. Many tourists prefer to visit during the winter months of November to February in order to avoid the unbearable summer. However, during summer the vegetation remains dry and allows for easy sighting of tigers. The reserve is accessible by road, train and air. The nearest airports are Jabalpur & Khajuraho and routine flights operate to all major towns in India. There are many resorts in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve ranging from high-end luxury to standard.
Bandhavgarh is an excellent park and a must-visit destination for all wildlife enthusiasts.
– A blogpost by Capt. Mandar Salaye, a wildlife enthusiast himself.