Bandhavgarh National Park
Umaria (30 km)
The Bandhavgarh National Park lies in the very heart of Madhya Pradesh and nestles blissfully among the majestic Vindhya hills. This area used to belong to the Maharaja of Rewa who handed it over to the government in 1968 thus leading to the formation of the park. Home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, the Bandhavgarh National Park sprawls across an area of 448 sq km with a huge number of extensions being dome in 1982. Covered mainly by Sal trees and bamboos, the Bandhavgarh National Park is now one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in the world that also boasts of a huge international profile.
The Bandhavgarh National Park came under the Project Tiger programme in 1993 and has since been one of the most visited wildlife destinations by tourists across the globe. The forests of Bandhavgarh teem with animals and birds of many types. However, the most important resident of the Bandhavgarh National Park happens to be the tiger. In fact, the Bandhavgarh National Park boasts of the highest population of tigers in India. Besides, the national park is also home to many other species like the gaur, many varieties of deer, striped hyena, jungle cat, sloth bear and many varieties of birds.
Once a hunting reserve of the royals, the Bandhavgarh National Park also used to boast of the regal white tiger. Unfortunately, they don't inhabit the park any more. Another interesting facet of Bandhavgarh is that it is the very place where author Rudyard Kipling was inspired to write his famous novel, the Jungle Book.
As you explore the environs of the Bandhavgarh National Park get transported into a wonderful realm where you can view nature at its wildest best. Surely, this thrilling experience would always be present in the portals of your memory long after it is gone.
Set amongst the Vindhyas, in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh is a small national park, but with the highest known density of tiger population in India. This is also known as White Tiger territory. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. The other species found in abundance in Bandhavgarh are the gaur or Indian bison, the sambar, the barking deer and the nilgai.
The terrain is made of rocky hills, sal forests and grazing areas, formerly agricultural land. The finest of these hills is the Bandhavgarh hill, and on its highest point stands Bandhavgarh Fort. Though no records remain to show when the fort was constructed, it is believed to be about 2000years old. Several dynasties have ruled the fort: for example, the Maghas from the 1st century A.D, the Vakatakas from the 3rd century; the Sengars from the 5th century, and the Kalachuris from the 10th century.The oldest signs of habitation, are the caves dug into the sandstone, near the fort. Several of these contain Brahmi inscriptions dating from the 1st century B.C. Prior to becoming a National Park, the forest range around the regionhad been maintained as a Shikargarh, or game preserve, of the Maharajahsof Rewa. It was only in 1968, that the area was declared as a National Park. Since then, stringent steps have been taken to retain it as an unspoilt natural habitat.
There are more than 22 species of mammals, and 250 species of birds. Some of the inhabitants of this park are the rhesus macaque, the black-faced langur, jungle cats, chinkara, and the chital. The Park attracts many migratory-birds in the winter months, that include the steppe eagle and a variety of wildfowl. Reptilian fauna include cobra, krait, python, turtle and a variety of lizards. The Bandhavgarh National Park has excellent game and bird viewing to offer, coupled with a fascinating historical element to it, thus satiating those adventurous at heart, completely.
The park can be explored on elephant back (also, a much preferred means of tiger-tracking) or in a vehicle. Jeep safaris are best undertaken, from dawn till about 10a.m, and from 4 p.m till dusk, as the animals are quite active during these periods.
When To Visit
The ideal time to visit Bandhavgarh is the November to June period. The Park is closed from 1st July to 31st October, due to the monsoon, and as the breeding season also comes around at this time.
Bandhavgarh experiences climatic conditions that vary to opposite extremes. The temperature in the winters varies from 0 to 20 degrees centigrade between November and February. In the summers, the temperatures move to the other extreme and can go up to 46 degrees centigrade. Bandhavgarh has an average annual rainfall of 1200mm. The rains here give very little prior warning.
Consult the Doctor before you leave for the trip. Get enough information about the place you are going to visit.
You will find good list of hotels here. Pick the one which is most ideal for you. There are numerous hotels ranging from luxurious to budget. You can also stay in the jungle resorts, as this will make your tour to the park more convenient. The jungle resorts are also well designed to provide complete satisfaction to you.
Venture into the Bandhavgarh
Jeep or Elephant Safari are the two ideal ways to explore the National Park. If you are interested in tiger tracking then go for the Elephant Safari or else go for the Jeep Safari. Both are ideally arranged by the forest department here. The forest department will also provide you a guide to tour through the region. If you rise-up late in the morning then be careful, as all the safaris start here early in the morning. Just wake up early in the morning, take bath, take your breakfast and then head for the safari.
Bandhavgarh is densely covered by variety of trees. It is an excellent assemblage of trees and foliages. As you start your safari, you will be welcomed by fine trees of Sal, and as you reach the higher lands of the forest you will come across mixed forests. The higher lands boasts of mixed vegetation of sali, saj, saja, dhobin etc. As you move northward you will be surrounded by the stretches of bamboo and grasslands. The main wildlife viewing is still done in the core of the park with its 32 picturesque, wooded hills.
Attractions of The Town
Cradled between the great rocky hills of the Vindhya Range that rise sharply from thickly-forested valleys is Bandhavgarh. 811m above sea level with steep cliffs and crumbling rocks, Bandhavgarh is the centre of a well-known National Park and the abode of a once-mighty fort.
Humble valleys separate the slightly smaller hills and dense forests that surround this imposing hillock. At the edge of the mountain range are small swampy meadows called bohera, seemingly placed there by Nature to break the splendid monotony of these hills.
Winter (November to mid-February) in Bandhavgarh is rather cool, with night temperatures dropping to as low as 4° Celsius. Daytime in winter is usually a pleasant 20° Celsius. But come summer and things change. From March to mid-June, the mercury soars to about 45° Celsius, with the great ball of fire in the sky enveloping everything in its flaming fury.
But Nature is not a mean giant. Although the monsoon brings respite, it is intimidating too because from July to September, it is almost impossible to move around in the Park. The rains wash away the dirt tracks, and with the retreat of the monsoon, the herculean task of constructing tracks commences once again. This track-building process is repeated every year.
Bandhavgarh is a unique blend of nature and history. The National Park is not only home to an amazing variety of animal species including the tiger, but also embraces the remnants of a rich historical past. The ruins of the ancient fort, numerous caves that contain shrines and ancient Sanskrit inscriptions dating back to the 1st century b.c.,are scattered throughout the Park.
Bandhavgarh is renown for it's big cat population. The Bandhavgarh region is gifted with a large variety of natives in terms of animals. It is quite possible to sight tigers, leopards, gaur (Indian Bison-although some say this is no longer seen), chital (spotted deer), Sambar deer, Dholes, nilgais, wild boars, chinkaras, sloth bears, rhesus macaques, black faced langurs, jungle cats, hyenas, porcupines, jackals, foxes, wild dogs, chausinghas and ratels, among others as you venture into the forest area.
As you sway on your Elephant, you will be captivated by several chirping birds passing from one to the other side. Bandhavgarh National Park, being a bird lover's paradise inhabits birds like - white browed fantails, steppe eagles, green pigeons, grey malabar hornbills, black and white malabar hornbills (quite a rare sighting), blossom headed parakeets, parakeets, blue bearded bee eaters, green bee eaters, white bellied drongos, owls, Jerdon's and gold fronted leaf birds, minivets, woodshrikes and the lovely paradise flycatchers. These creatures will surely delight you.
It would be a relishing tour if you go to Kalchuri Archeological Remains, Bandhavgarh Fort (14th century fort), which are close to the National Park. Also visit Khajuraho (via Satna) 230 km, this will give a proper change over from the wildlife. But, if want to see more of the Indian Wildlife then visit Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary (250 km).
Extend the Trip
Madhya Pradesh is in the central part of India. So, you can extend your trip to any of the places you wish to visit in India. However, the closest of the major attractions are Taj Mahal at Agra, Varanasi about 340 km via Rewa.
This part is situated at the central part of India, So, you may not face too many difficulty. But, you may not be able to speak to the local people, as only the educated one can speak English.
Don't get into any unknown or illegal activity. Do not disturb the local culture and local atmosphere. Try to be well informed about the routes and the place you are going to visit. Contact us when and where needed, while on a wildlife India Tour.
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