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With the highest density of tigers in the world, Bandhavgarh National Park was declared as a National Park in 1968 and later in 1972 gained recognition of a Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger and Wildlife Protection Act, and is the most famous tiger reserve of India. Spread across an area of 1150 sq.km, Bandhavgarh National Park was a Shikargah, a game reserve for the Maharaja of Rewa and their guests. It is believed that Hindu Lord Rama gifted Bhandhvagarh to his devoted ‘bandhva’(brother) Laxman after a triumphant win over Lanka. The park is known for its Royal Bengal Tiger and the twelve natural waterholes, various historical monuments, and remains of 2000 years old caves immersed in rich historical past.
Umaria District, Madhya Pradesh, India
4 hours from Ahmedabad airport
October to June
Mammals: Royal Bengal Tigers, Leopards, sloth bear, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Sambar, Wild Boar, Indian Gaur, Chausingha, Asiatic jackal, jungle cat
Birds: lesser adjutant, Little grebe, egret, black kite, crested serpent eagle, black vulture, Egyptian vulture, common peafowl, red jungle fowl, dove, parakeet, Indian roller, King vulture
Going by the biogeographic classification, the park forms part of the Deccan Peninsula, the central highlands. Bandhavgarh tiger reserveis represented by dry deciduous forests along the valley of river Narmada and neighboured by Vindhya Mountain Range and the western part of the Satpura Mountain Range in central India.
Sal (Shorea robusta), is a major occupant of the valley and the lower slopes, making it a mixed deciduous forest on the hills and in the hotter, drier areas of the park. Dendrocalamus strictus is the most commonly found species of bamboo here.
Bandhavgarh tigers are the main attractions of the park. The presence of high numbers of prey is the reason for such an enormous density of tigers. One can spot them near water resources during summers and if accompanied by a skilled and well-informed guide, at any time of the year, it becomes obvious to sight more than one tiger per day after deciphering the alarm calls raised by langurs and chital, following pug marks and circling vultures and crows
Bandhavgarh tiger reserve offers variety in terms of chital, sambar and barking deer, wild boar, monkeys, and nilgai antelope for tigers to prey upon. However, the swifter Chinkara and four-horned antelope usually avoid getting into the clutches of thoseBandhavgarh tigers. The mammoth gaur or Indian bison can be seen coming down from their hideaway in the deciduous hill forests to the eastern side of the park via the southern extension, to reach the central meadows. Foxes and jackals can be spotted trotting near the herds of chital conspiring for smaller prey and the game plan is well known to the grazing creatures. Bandhavgarh National Park is also home for solitary leopards which are rare to be seen in this tiger-populated area, confining them to the fringes. To fully enjoy the extraordinary flora and fauna of the park a jeep safari is highly recommended to each and everyone who ever visits this phenomenal place. Bandhavgarh tiger reserve has three major tourist zones to offer - Tala, Magadhi, and Kitauli. The safari tour takes the tourists to these zones one at a time for about 3-4 hours from morning to sunrise or for the same period in the evening till sunset. These are 6 seater Maruti Gypsies, accompanied by a driver and a forest guide, operated by the forest department. The department doesn’t allow any other vehicle to ply in the park.
Cycling Trails: A small cycling excursion in the quiet countryside and the surrounding forests amidst the mystical aura of the Bandhavgarh National Park and the pleasure of exploring every stone and species encountered during the jaunt.
Walking Trails and Village visits: A tour exploring the marvelous wilderness while learning about the wondrous flora and fauna of the amazingBandhavgarh National Park. The trip into the hamlets and villages would offer a deeper look into the rich culture, tradition, and the lives of indigenous tribes of the park.
A Visit to the Mythological Shesh Shaiya: The sandstone Shesh Shaiya statue is believed to have been constructed in the 10th century AD. The statue is an 11 meter long Lord Vishnu’s reclining posture, with a canopy of seven hooded serpents called sheshnag. Located at the source of Charanganga, which flows below, watering the meadows, before merging with Sone River, a tributary of the holy Ganges is also revered as the lifeline of Bandhavgarh. Shesh Shaiya is open to tourists during Tala Zone Safari.
Dance to the Local Flavours of Baiga Music: The Baiga Adivasis are an indigenous tribal community of central India, who dwell close to nature, and were formerly the nomadic hunter-gatherers of the place. They possess vast knowledge on the medicinal properties of the flora found in central India and the biodiversity of the region which has been passed on to generations of the Baigas. The Baigas are considered to leave one bewitched from their brilliant dance performances.
Day visit to Bansagar or Ban Sagar Dam: Located about 85 km from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Bansagar Dam is a multipurpose river valley project on Sone river, situated on the Ganges Basin. The dam was constructed near the village of Deolond, in the Shahdol district. The project is called “Bansagar” after Bana Bhatt, the great Sanskrit scholar from the 7th century, who was believed to hail from this region.
The dam is renowned for sightseeing and offers majestic views for a short cruise taken into the wilderness. Kings lodge Bandhavgarh, is a serene and eco-luxury hideaway amidst the pleasing forest estate. Located in proximity to theBandhavgarh National Park, the getaway provides an alluring experience to the travelers parallel to none other.