Bandhavgarh, located in the district of Umaria in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is a popular national park. Situated at the foot hills of the Vindhya hills, Bandhavgarh is spread over an area of 448 sq km on the banks of Sone River.
Bandhavgarh was the game reserve of the erstwhile Maharajahs of Rewa. The members of the royal family must have killed more than thousands of tigers before independence.
After independence, Rewa State was merged with Madhya Pradesh and though Bandhavgarh came under the regulations of Madhya Pradesh, the Maharaja of Rewa still retained the hunting rights. In 1968, Bandhavgarh was declared a national park and numerous steps have been taken to retain Bandhavgarh National Park as an unspoilt natural habitat. Bandhavgarh was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 1993.
A lot of hotels, tour operators and travel agencies provide all booking arrangements for car rentals, hotel rooms and Bandhavgarh package tours. Tailor made affordable Bandhavgarh packages with a customised itinerary depending upon your desired travel destination, budget and choice of amenities can be arranged. Experienced guides and naturalists who have a unique experience in the jungles of India will accompany you.
Jeep and canter safaris and elephant rides are also part of the Bandhavgarh package.
According to Ramayana, Lord Rama stayed here on his return after defeating Ravana. This forest was later gifted to his brother, Lakshmana, and named Bandhavgarh, meaning brother’s home.
In the deep forest of Bandhavgarh lies a 14th century fort. The Bandhavgarh Fort was deserted in the 1930s when the Maharajah moved his capital to Rewa. Near the fort are some rock-cut caves dating back to the 2nd century BC.
The Bandhavgarh Fort is where you get the maximum tiger sightings. Apart from the tiger, spotted deer, sambar, nilgai, antelope, gaur, barking deer, chinkara, wild boar, not to mention the elusive leopard and sloth bear are the other fauna around. Bandhavgarh has more than 250 varieties of birds.
When compared to other national parks, Bandhavgarh is small and covers only an area of 448 sq km, but enjoys a higher rate of tiger sightings. The forest authorities have also played an important role in putting a spectacular show for the tourists. On getting information about the presence of tiger in a certain area, the tourists are taken there on an elephant back.
The trails inside the Bandhavgarh forest are well marked.
There is a museum at Bhagela that contains a lot items belonging to the Maharajah of Rewa.
The best time is to go between March and November. However, May and June is the time for the best tiger sightings. The park is open from October 1 to June 30.
Jabalpur is the nearest airport to Bandhavgarh.