Located in Vindhya Hills of Central India in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park derives its name from an ancient fort ‘Bandhavgarh’, perched on a hilltop in the middle of the park. Spreaded over total area of @450 Sq Kms, with core zone of just 105 Sq Kms, makes Bandhavgarh is one of the smaller tiger reserves in India compared to its larger counterpart in Kanha 255 kms away.
Forest around Bandhavgarh was a popular hunting ground for Maharaja of Rewa, which was later handed over to the state government for Tiger conservation. The ruins of the fort make great hideouts for wild animals. After the success of Project Tiger, Bandhavgarh National Park is considered to have the densest population of tigers in India, making it easiest place to spot tigers in India.
The wild life:
Bandhavgarh National Park is home to wide variety of animals and birds, including Royal Bengal Tigers, Leopards, Jackals, Hyenas, Sloth bears, Spotted deer, Chinkara, Langoors and Nilgai.
Bandhavgarh National Park Safari:
For safari purpose, Bandhavgarh National Park is divided in to 3 areas of Tala, Maghdi and Khitauli zones. Most of the jungle is covered with dense Sal and Bamboo vegetation, but grasslands can be found on higher planes. Spotting of animals & birds can be explored using open air jeeps. Lush green foliage and rocky terrain make these jungle safaris a thrilling experience!
Bandhavgargh Safari can be taken in the early morning at the break of the dawn as well as in the late afternoon leading into dusk. These are the best time zones when animal activities and movements are at peak.
Besides spotting wild life during jungle safaris, one can also visit ‘ Bandhavgarh Fort’ to explore the ancient ruins. The fort is considered to be almost 2000 years old and has been mentioned in some of the ancient Hindu texts. ‘Shesh Shaiya’ is another place of interests inside the park, where a 65 feet long statue of Lord Vishnu is found reclined horizontally, on a seven headed serpent, called Shesh Naag. River Charanganga originates from this point. The river gets its name from shallow water levels, which come only up to one’s feet (Charan)! Mahouts gather around Charanganga in the morning to bathe their elephants, and it is makes a visual delight for wild life enthusiast while returning from an early morning safari. To know details of safari timings click here
Best time to Visit Bandhavgarh National Park
The park is open to visitors from 15th October to 30th June. The best time to visit Bandgavgarh National Park is during late November and Late march when the weather is not too cold or hot, and the number of tourists are less as there are no long holidays around that period, like any other National Parks in India.
Tiger sightings are relatively easy in April & May because of the drying of some vegetation. Unlike Kanha, thick forest of Sal in Bandhavgarh keeps it cooler in compression, during summer months, though high humidity levels in May and June are not as welcoming.
- The safaris should be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment at a later stage. The number of jeeps allowed in the park has been reduced drastically and chances are that one may not get any safari under current booking during heavy tourist seasons.
- Elephant safari in Bandhavgarh National Park should be considered only if the tiger or any wild animal is spotted in a particular area of the park. This is when the Forest Department organizes ‘Tiger Show’ for a closer look at the wild animal.
- Stay at one of the properties of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Corporation, situated right inside the core zone of the park, animals can be heard and spotted right from the resort balcony. It completes a true wild life experience.
- Do make friends with one of the guides or resort owners and spend an evening of ecstasy around bon fire, listening to their stories of fights between tiger & a bison, a leopard chasing a bison or a leopard stealthily following one of the forest guards on duty!
- To know more about Wild Life Viewing tips, please click here.
How to reach Bandgavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh is accessible by road from towns of Jabalpur, Satna, Umaria and Khajuraho. Jabalpur is 200 kms from Bandhavgarh, and it is one of the main cities with the nearest airport. Umaria is 35kms away and is the closest railway station from Bandhavgarh. Umaria is well connected by train with major cities by train. One can also travel from Kanha National Park, which is 250kms away; though it is not advisable as the road conditions are very poor.