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a walk on the wild side

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Location Madhya Pradesh
Speciality Langurs and Rhesus macaque
Airport Khajuraho
Railhead Jabalpur, Katni, Satna, Umaria
Accomodation Forest and PWD rest house
Best Time To Visit November to June

Once part of the old Rewa state, Bandhavgarh national park is set amidst the Vindhya ranges with a series of ridges running through it. Initially this park was the royal hunting ground for the rulers of Rewa. At present, the Bandhavgarh Park covers 448 sq km, but initially in 1968 it had an area of 105.4

The density of tiger population is among the highest in India. The tigers once roamed freely here but due to extensive hunting (Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh shot 111 tigers by 1914), their population came down drastically. Numerous steps were taken to conserve the wildlife here without spoiling the natural beauty of the park. Even today, the Bandhavgarh national park has retained its unspoilt look.

The famous white tigers of Rewa were discovered in Bandhavgarh National Park. The last known capture of the white tiger was in 1951. He is believed to have fathered many a cub in Indian zoos and outside. 'Mohun' is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharaja of Rewa.

Bandhavgarh is densely populated with other animal species too. The great gaur, Indian bisons can be easily spotted when they come to graze on the meadows at dusk. The sambar, barking deer and nilgai are also common sights in the open areas of the park.

The ancient fort of Bandhavgarh adds grace to the park. Climb the fort to get a bird's eye view of the park. Do not miss the small population of naughty black bucks that live here, protected from the predators below.

Park Population :

The vegetation of the park is dry deciduous. About half of the park is covered with sal trees. There are mixed forests in the higher reaches of the hills. Stretches of Bamboo and grasslands extend to the north of the park. Grassy meadow patches occur in the valley and along the nalas. The park sustains all those species which are typical to Central India.

There are 22 species of mammals which include langurs and rhesus macaque as the primary group. The jackal, bangal fox, bears, ratel, mongoose, hyena, jungle cat, leopard and tiger form the core carnivore population. The animals frequently sighted are wild pig, spotted deer, sambar, dhole, the small Indian civet, palm squirrel and lesser bandicoot rat are seen occasionally. Among the herbivores, the gaur is the only coarse feeder.

The national park holds some 250 odd species of birds along the streams and marshes. Reptilian fauna include cobra, krait, viper, rat snake, python, turtle and a large number of lizard varieties, including varanus.

Nearby Attractions :

The most fascinating and most popular excursion from the national park is to the Bandhavgarh fort. This fort is in ruins now but the strong high walls of the fort tell a saga of valour and splendour. The fort blends with the wilds of the park and has become a part of the park. No one knows when the fort was constructed but scripts as old as Shiv Purana have mention the fort which is believed to be almost 2000 years old.
The park in itself is historically very important. The signs of early habitation can be seen in the caves excavated from the cliffs to the north of the fort.Brahmi inscriptions here date back to the 1st century BC.


Park Trips :
The park can be entered on elephant back and/or in a jeep and/or by car. In these safaris a forest department guide always accompanies you. He will direct and tell about the flora and fauna of the park. The best time to visit the park is early in the morning or after 4 p.m.It is during this time that the animals are most active and are easily spotted.

Climate :
There are three well defined seasons - the cool (from middle of October to end of February), the hot (from middle of March to middle of June) and the wet (from middle of June to middle of October). The annual rainfall is 1.173 mm, coming mostly in the rainy season. The temperature ranges from a maximum of 42 D celsius in May and June, to around 4 D celsius in winter.

Best Time to Visit :
The best season to visit this park is between November to June. Rest of the year it is off season for the park. Do not forget that the park is closed in monsoon months .i.e. from 1st July to 31st October.

Accommodation :
The forest department and the PWD have arranged good accommodation facilities here. Madhya Pradesh Tourist department maintains the White tiger Forest Lodge. The rest houses of forest department and the PWD are sufficient to fulfill the needs of the visitors. For reservations contact the Madhya Pradesh tourist offices. Ask for the Bandhavgarh Jungle Camp from the forest officials or the reservation authorities.

Getting There :

The nearest airport is that of Khajuraho which is connected with flights from all over India. From Khajuraho, it is a five hours drive to the national park. But there are many railheads which facilitate the access to this historical national park. Jabalpur is one of the major railway stations, just 164 kms away. Then there is Katni (102 km), Satna (120 km) on the central railway section. Umaria (35 km) falls on the south eastern section of the railways. Thus, access to Bandhavgarh is easy by even train.

There are bus (both private and state bus services are available) and taxi services to the national park from the nearby places. The route passes through heavenly scenery. The road from Khajuraho crosses Ken river which has been recently declared a Crocodile sanctuary farm famous for the Ghraiyal, a rare fish eating species of the crocodile. This road also goes to Panna, a town famous for diamond mines. The same road branches off for Vindhyachal.

For More Information :
Director, Bandhavgarh National Park, P.O Umaria, Dist. Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh (India) - 484661

Reservation Authority (MPT hotels)-- Central reservations, Marketing Division, MP State Tourism Development Corporation Limited, 4th floor, Gangotri, TT Nagar, Bhopal (India) - 785612 Tel : (0755) 554340 - 43, 574289

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