Though small in size, yet it is the national park known for its highest tiger population. The former hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa; Bandhavgarh was declared a National Park in 1968 and further extended to the adjoining Sal Forests in 1986. The thick forest and Vindhyan Mountains surround Bandhavgarh National Park. Its plains have a number of grass and reed covered wetlands dominated by the Kingfishers and Egrets. The Bandhavgarh National Park. Covering an area of 542.40-sq-kms, Bandhavgarh Wildlife Sanctuary has 25 resident tigers and is noted for its tiger population. The fine trees of Sal cover half of the Bandhavgarh National Park while the higher hills consist of the mixed forests. The wide stretches of bamboo and grasslands cover the entire northern region. Whole of the national park is encompassed by 32 wooded hills.
Wildlife in Bandhavgarh National Park
The national park is mainly known for its tiger population. This is the place where famous White Tigers of Rewa were discovered. The best way to tour the Bandhavgarh National Park is on an Elephant Back, which increases the chances of spotting a tiger. The other wild attractions in the park include Nilgai, Chausingha, Chital, Chinkara, Wild Boar, a Fox and a Jackal.
Mammals & Reptiles: There are at least 22 mammal species and about 250 bird species in the Park. The grasslands in the park consist of chinkara (Indian gazelle), nilgai (blue bull) and chausingha (four-horned antelope) and wild boar. The dense forests contain sambhar (Indian stag), the muntjac (barking deer) and the herds of chital (spotted deer). Gaur (Indian bison) herds can be seen during March and April.
The other animals found in Bandhavgarh are blackbucks, ratel, porcupine, small Indian civet, palm squirrel, lesser bandicoot rat, the jungle cat, hyena and jackal. The reptile population in the park includes cobras, karaits, vipers, ratsnakes, pythons, lizards and turtles. The two primate species - the rhesus macaque and the Hanuman langur - inhabit the Bandhavgarh Park.
Special Attractions In Bandhavgarh
Kalchuri Archaeological Remains: Apart from the wildlife, Bandhavgarh is also famous for the Kalchuri Archaeological Remains that make the Bandhavgarh National Park, a historical site.
Bandhavgarh Fort: The Bandhavgarh National Park area located on the hills turns majestic with the Bandhavgarh Fort built in 14th century. The fort and the adjacent hills contain many caves belonging to the pre-historic era.
Jeep and Elephant Safari: The wildlife viewing can be enjoyed in two ways in Bandhavgarh National Park - Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari. Jeep safaris from the early morning hours till evening hours are the special attractions in the national park. A forest department guide always accompanies you while your jeep safari within the park. Elephant safari are organised for tracking the tigers in the early morning.
White Tigers: Since yesteryears, the Sal forests of Bandhavgarh National Park have been the favourite habitat of the white tigers. The Bandhavgarh Park is the first place where the white tigers were spotted for the first time. At around eight occasions, the white tigers were seen in the national park. The Maharaja of Rewa successfully bred the white tigers in Rewa.
When to Visit Bandhavgarh National Park
The best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park is from Mid-November to June. The park remains closed during the time of monsoon and July to early November.
How to Reach Bandhavgarh National Park
By Air: The nearest airport is at Khajurao at a distance of 230-kms. It is also connected by various domestic airline services with Agra, Delhi and Varanasi.
By Rail: The nearest railhead Umaria is at 30-kms on the Katni-Bilaspur section of South-Eastern Railways. Another nearest railhead is at Satna on the Bombay-Howrah main line of the Central Railways.
By Road: Bandhavgarh National Park is situated on the Satna-Umaria and Rewa-Umaria highway. Madhya Pradesh State Transport Bus Services connect the national park to the cities like Rewa, Satna, Katni and Umaria.
Tourists must reach the gate half an hour in advance to complete the formalities for the entry into the park. All visitors to Bandhavgarh need a permit to enter the wildlife national park; this can be obtained at the entrance to the park. Entry fees for foreigners are Rs 200; for Indians and members of SAARC countries, Rs 20. Additional charges are levied for the entry of vehicles, for cameras and for elephant rides.
Tourist Information Centres :
1. The Manager, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd., White Tiger Forest Lodge, Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh.
2. The Divisional forest officer, Divisional Tourist office, Bandhavgarh National Park, Umaria M.P.