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There are some forest areas in India that are steeped deep in history and are blessed with natural beauty as well as burgeoning with wildlife and vegetation. The Bandhavgarh National Park is one such reserve that leaves you awed and inspired. Situated in Madhya Pradesh it was declared a national park in 1968. It covers an area of approximately 1536 sq km. Believed by many as the forest which marks the lineage of white tigers, and after the Project Tiger that was introduced in 1972, today the park has a maximum density of tigers in India and that is why it is also called Bandhavgarh tiger reserve. Project Tiger was introduced in 1972 and the park is divided into the Tala, Magdi and Bamera zone. The Tala zone is where tourists usually get the chance to watch the mighty majestic creature in action.
According to mythology, the park derives its name from a hillock, said to have been given by Lord Rama to his younger brother Lakshman (Bandhavgarh which means brother’s fort). The Bandhavgarh Fort is found within the Park and though the exact date of construction is unknown, it is estimated to be more than 2000 years old. The Maharajas of Rewa have been great influencers in this area and the forests around Bandhavgarh had been used as Shikargarh or hunting grounds by the king and his guests. Maharaja Martand Singh is said to have killed the first white tiger, named Mohan, who is now preserved and is displayed in the palace of the Rewa Maharajas. Interestingly, the Bandhavgarh National Park is connected to the Kanha National Park through corridors of forested areas and the two parks together are deemed as the most important tiger breeding ground in the world. It is estimated that Madhya Pradesh alone houses about 20% of the world’s tigers.
What to see
The Bandhavgarh National Park is undoubtedly brimming with flora and fauna of various types. It is an awning experience to encounter the tigers in their natural habitat. Watching these magnificent feline creatures in an equally majestic environment gives an amazing experience. Besides, the white tigers, royal Bengal tigers, and the other animals that are found here are leopards, sambars, barking deers, nilgais, gaurs, Chau-sanghas, chinkaras, wild boars, Bengal fox, sloth bears, grey mongoose, jungle cat, and striped hyena. Due to some disease, the gaur population in the Park had all died, however, they were successfully shifted from Kanha National Park. By 2012 about 50 gaurs were shifted to the Bandhavgarh National Park. The wetlands and marshes support a variety of avian species, such as the brown shrike, long-tailed shrike, common Lora, black ibis, crested serpent eagle, wooly necked stork, lesser white throat and more. There are about 250 bird species and 80 species of different types of butterflies. The vegetation of the Park ranges from tall grasslands to sal, saj, dhobin and salai trees. The dense bamboo cover is a common occurrence in this region.
Things to do
How to reach
The Park is located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Umaria is well connected via train with major cities in India. Jabalpur airport is the nearest airport to the Park. The Khajuraho Civil aerodrome too can be availed for air services. Both these airports are well connected to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and so on. One can hire buses, taxis, and private cars from Jabalpur, Umaria, Khajuraho, and Katni to reach Bandhavgarh national park.
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