A thick-forested land encompassed by bamboo and sal trees and wooded cliffs of the Vindhyas; Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the most exotic wildlife destinations in India. An erstwhile game reserve of the royal family of Rewa, Bandhavgarh got recognition as a wildlife park in 1968, when the Maharaja of Rewa bequeathed the park to the Government. Initially the park stretched to 105.40-sq-kms in area, with 25 resident tigers forming its prime attraction.
Today this sprawling park of Madhya Pradesh covers an area of
437-sq-kms. Visiting Bandhavgarh and trailing tigers on Elephant Safari
or cutting through the jungle tracks in a jeep (Jeep Safari) promises to
give you one of the best wildlife experiences in the state. The nearest
airport to reach Bandhavgarh is Khajuraho (270 km) and the nearest
railhead is Umaria (35 km). The best time to visit Bandhavgarh Wildlife
Sanctuary is mid-November to June.
Landscape and Flora
Bandhavgarh jungle has an excellent vegetation concentration and
consists mainly of sal trees. The park remains enveloped in thickets of
greenery and the shower of trees here is simply spellbinding. Towards
higher altitude, the vegetation changes to a mixed type, with stretches
of dhobin, sali and saja. In the northern regions, there are vast areas
of grass and reed-covered lowlands, with bamboo coppices. The emerald
landscape in this region also exhibits craggy ridges, with dramatic
ravines and perennial streams.
Low hillocks, cloaked in green trees and grasslands, make up the
southern region of the park. This region was incorporated into the park
in 1982. The central zone or the core zone of the park consists of the
original 105.40 square km and still remains the main site of wildlife
viewing, with its 32 hills and the 14th century Bandhavgarh Fort. There
are also some swampy areas, divided by water bodies and a few stretches
of grasslands, in the region.
Declared a tiger reserve under 'Project Tiger', in 1993, the popularity
of Bandhavgarh lies in the fact that it domiciles the highest density of
tiger population in India. It is also a white tiger country. So, the
chance of spotting a wild tiger in Bandhavgarh is higher as compared to
other wildlife sanctuaries in India. Apart from tigers, other animals
that reside amidst the folds of its jungle include leopards, rhesus,
gaur, chital (spotted deer), sambar, dholes, nilgais, wild boars, sloth
bears, macaques, black faced langurs, hyenas, porcupines, jackals,
foxes, wild dogs, chinkaras, chausinghas, ratels, cats etc.
From graceful egrets to carnivorous birds like vultures, Bandhavgarh
promises some excellent sights as far as its collection of birds is
concerned. Bird population in the park include steppe eagles,
orange-headed thrush, coppersmith barbet, browed fantails, green
pigeons, black and white malabar hornbills, grey malabar hornbills,
kingfishers, white bellied drongos, parakeets, blue bearded bee-eaters,
green bee-eaters, black stork, owls, Jerdon's and gold fronted leaf
birds, minivets, woodshrikes, paradise flycatchers, giant leaf bird,
common sandpiper, laughing dove and many others.