The Bandhavgarh National Park is home to the famous White Tigers of Rewa nestled in the Vindhyan Mountain range in Madhya Pradesh. Once a shikargarh of the Maharajas of Rewa where Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh hunted 111 tigers, it was declared a Park in 1968.In the last few years it has become synonymous with the tiger as Ranthambhore or Kanha.Bandavgarh is known for having the highest density of tigers of any national park in the country despite the fact that rulers believed in hunting as passion.
The landscape is steep and rocky hills, with flat tops and level grasslands in the valleys below. Large meadows such as Chakradhara and Sehra and swampy ground like the Sidhababa meadow lie at the feet. It is bounded by the Sone river in the east,the Johilla river in the south and drained by the Umrar river in the west. The vegetation found within the Park is moist deciduous forest with fine Sal trees with stretches of bamboo. Among the other wild attractions include Nilgai, Chital, Chinkara, Gaur, Sloth Bears and Wild Boar along with some 250 species of birds
In 12th century the Bandhavgarh fort in the centre of the reserve was the seat of power of the Chandela dynasty. Later it came under the Baghels and then the Rewas who are said to be their descendents. The hunting was not allowed for the commoners which helped in the conservation of other animals and the forest itself. As the hunting stopped in 1968 the tiger population increased and in 1982 the reserve's area was extended to cover the present 448sqkm.Bandhavgarh and the nearby Panpatha sanctuary came under Project Tiger in 1993.
There are four entrances to the park:Panpatha in the north ,Tala in the east ,Dhamokar on the south-west and Khitauli on the west.Bandhavgarh offers all types of safaris from jeep to elephant safaris.
There are other attractions also like 35 sandstone caves bearing Brahmi inscriptions dating from the 1st century. The 2,000 years old Bandhavgarh fort sits on the cliffs of the hill from which the park get its name. Bandhavgarh is also famous for the archaeological remains of the Kalchuri period that have been found here.The large statue of Vishnu Shesh Shaiya reclining on a seven-hooded serpent is the only place in the park where a tourist is allowed to walk.It is believed that Charanganga originates at the feet of the Lord Vishnu and hence this water source was left undisturbed.
Best time to visit
Bandhavgarh National Park closes for visitors during the monsoon months of July to October. The best- and only-time to visit the park is between November and June.
How to get there
Air: Khajurao at 230-kms is the most convenient airport connected by various domestic airline services with Agra, Delhi, Varanasi.
Rail: The nearest railhead Umaria at 30-kms is on the Katni-Bilaspur section of South-Eastern Railway. Another convenient railhead Satna (117-kms) is on the Bombay-Howrah main line of the Central Railway.
Road: Highway from Gwalior to Umaria
Where to stay: Most hotels are concentrated around the town of Tala near the park entrance on the Umaria-Rewa highway. There are some options like Nature Heritage Resort, The Tiger's Den Resort and many others providing meals and jungle safaris.