Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park being a dry deciduous and tropical land brings amazing dense forest trails where one can discover many glittering species of wild creatures amidst the lush surroundings.
Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968, with an area of 105 km². The buffer is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals 437 km². The park derives its name from the most prominent hill of the area, which is, according to legend, to be given by Hindu Lord Rama to his brother Lakshmana to keep a watch on Lanka (Ceylon).
This park is most recommended for Madhya Pradesh Tourism as it known to have the highest density of tigers in India and a large population of leopards as well. Bamboo clumps are an intrinsic feature of Bandhavgarh, as is the hilly terrain with its steep ridges, sal forests and grassy pastures.
The original home of all the white tigers alive, today, Bandhavgarh was the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Rewa: their old fort still dominates a hill rising out of the forest. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. The last known was captured by Maharajah Martand Singh in 1951. This White Tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa. Prior to becoming a National park, the forest around Bandhavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargah, or game preserve, of the Maharajahs of Rewa.
Chinkara, still rather shy, can be sighted on the grassland areas of the park, particularly on the formerly cultivated land in the southern extension area on the edges of the main viewing area. The main prey animal, however for the Tigers and the park’s rarely sighted leopards are the chital, which now number a few thousand.
Also to be seen in the grasslands are Nilgai, Chausingha and sounders of Wild Boar, as well as the occasional Jackal or Fox. Muntjac and sambhar prefer denser vegetation. There are two types of monkeys common in the park-the rhesus macaque and the black faced langur. ;Drives can also reveal jungle cats, hyenas, ratels, porcupines and a variety of other mammals.
Bandhavgarh attracts many migratory birds in the winter months, including the birds of prey like the steppe eagle and a variety of wildfowl.
However as it has limited water surfaces it cannot compete with parks with large areas of wetland. Attracted by flowering and fruiting trees, some; very attractive and less common birds can be seen – like the blue bearded bee eater, white bellied drongo, Tickell’s blue flycatcher, white browed fantail, minivets, white Malabar hornbills and wood shrikes. Other fruiting trees reveal a large population of green pigeons, the noisy blossom headed parakeets.
The vegetation in Bandhavgarh can be classified as the Indus-Ganges Monsoon Forest type consisting mainly of semi-evergreen sal forest mixed with the lofty Terminalia and mixed bamboo species. Lagerstroemia, Boswelia, Pterocarpus and Madhuca enhance the floral richness. Over half the area has sal, saj, dhobin and saja. Bamboo and grassland called bahs are situated in the north, where Saccharum, Phragmites, Themeda and Heteropogan form the staple food base for herbivores. It is thought that swamp deer used to live here, but that they moved away with the gradual change in the habitat. Bamboos flowered gregariously in 1985 and this has led to a profusion of dense new clumps, that can be seen together with the vestiges of old ones. Nullahs such as the Charan Ganga, Umara, Junad, Damnar and Bhadar crisscross the forest. Botanists would like to stop by and admire the ferns that dominate these wet areas, which also sport other typical moist evergreen species.
How to reach Bandhavgarh
Reach Bandhavgarh by Road Approx 6 hrs drive from Khajuraho (280 kms), between 3 and 4 hours from Jabalpur (170 kms), 7 hrs from Kanha (240 kms), Katni 2.5 hrs drive (95 kms), Satna 3.5 hrs drive (112 kms).
Reach Bandhavgarh by Air There is no airport here. The closest ones are at Khajuraho (210kms) or Jabalpur (190kms).
Reach Bandhavgarh by Train The closest railhead is the town of Umaria, which is 30 km from Bandhavgarh; it is linked by train to cities in Madhya Pradesh and other states, including Delhi.
Best Time to Visit December to March is the perfect time to visit for the casual traveler. Temperature will remain below 25 degree Celsius which makes the weather cool and pleasant. The months of April to June are perfect for wildlife photography as the animals remain close to water resources due to immense heat.
Park remains closed from July to Mid October due to monsoon season.