The Bandhavgarh National Park is a veritable crown of the rich wildlife heritage of Madhya Pradesh. It is located about 195 km off Jabalpur and 210 km off Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. The exceptional characteristic of this park is that though it is smaller in comparison to Kanha or any of the other parks of Madhya Pradesh, it hosts almost the same number of tigers or any other wildlife species! Cozily nestled in the Vindhya mountain range of Central India, it is known for the Royal Bengal Tigers, cheetals, leopards, gaur, sambhar, and numerous other fauna species that can be found here. Medium-sized bison herds can be sighted in all their glory here.
Bandhavgarh was the game reserve of the Maharajas of Rewa before becoming a national park in 1968. Though it started with just 105 square km of land, its territory was later extended by including two adjoining sal forests in 1986. Bandhavgarh is a typical moist, deciduous forest, so common to Central India. Most of the park area is covered with rich sal (Shorea robusta) forests, although at higher altitudes mixed forests and large stretches of bamboo and grassland can be found.
The best season to visit this park is between November and June. The best time to visit the park is early in the morning or after 4 p.m., as it is during this time that the animals are most active and can be easily spotted. The park can be entered on elephant back or in a jeep or by car. A forest department guide always accompanies you, directing and telling about the flora and fauna of the park.
When visiting Bandhavgarh, there are not too many places that you can take a detour to. For, the only two urban habitations around Bandhavgarh are Katani and Umaria . Katni is located 120 km away and is a major junction on the South-Eastern Railways. Umari, on the other hand is located closer at a distance of just 32 km, and is and is usually the base for tourists who come to explore the park. It is also the nearest railhead to Bandhavgarh on the South-Eastern Railway.
Tourists could also take a trip to Khajuraho and Jabalpur, as well as Bheraghat on the river Narmada, for all of these are located in about the same region.
Bandhavgarh Wildlife Sanctuary - Bandhavgarh
Attractions and Places to Visit in Bandhavgarh
Flora : The flora of Bandhavgarh is the typical moist, deciduous forest, which is common to Central India. Most of the park area is covered with rich sal (Shorea robusta) forests, although at higher altitudes you could also come across mixed forests comprising of sali, saj, saja, etc. Large stretches of bamboo and grassland are also distributed here.
Fauna: The park boasts of a wide variety of game. Its main wild beasts are tiger, leopard, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, chital, muntjac, nilgai, chinkara, mountain gazelle, and wild boar. The gaur is usually spotted in March/April. The sambar and muntjac can be spotted in thick vegetation.
It is estimated that there are around 60 tigers, over 4,500 sambars, and over 7,000 spotted deer in this reserve. The tigers, however, remain very elusive. The park is alos rich in avifauna and birds such as the green pigeon, crested serpent eagle, and variable hawk eagle are seen here. One may also encounter rhesus macaque, hyenas, porcupine, Steppe eagle, white-browed fantails, white-bellied grongo, Jerdon's leaf birds Malabar hornbills, blue-bearded bee-eater, and blossom-headed parakeets. There are also several cave shrines scattered around the park, with Brahmi inscriptions dating from the first century B.C.
Bandhavgarh Fort: The Bandhavgarh Fort is located within the park and was built by the Maharajas of Rewa at a height of 800 m above the surrounding countryside. It offers a panoramic view of the wildlife preserve and is believed to be 2,000 years old. A stream called Charganga flows beside the fort. Statues and temples and a 10th-century rock statue of Lord Vishnu can be observed en route. A large number of Crag martins and blackbucks can be found around the fort.
How to Reach Bandhavgarh
Air : Khajurao at 230-kms is the most convenient airport connected by various domestic airline services with Agra, Delhi, Varanasi.
Rail : The nearest railway station is at Umaria at a distance of 30-kms, it is on the Katni-Bilhtmlur section of South-Eastern Railway. Another convenient railway station Satna (117-kms) is on the Bombay-Howrah main line of the Central Railway.
Road : Bandhavgarh National Park is situated on the Satna-Umaria & Rewa-Umaria highway. Some of the important road routes are: Khajuraho (via Satna)230-kms, Varanasi (via Rewa) 340-kms, Katni 75-kms, Rewa 115-kms, Umaria 30-kms, Kanha 250-kms. Madhya Pradesh State Transport Bus Services is also available from Rewa, Satna, Katni and Umaria.