Bandhavgarh National Park

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Location : Umaria District, Madhya Pradesh

Nearest Access : Umaria (34 kms)

Coverage Area : 450 sq. km

Climate : Winter- between 0° to 20° C and Summer- 36°C to 46°C

Major Wild life Attractions – Tiger, Leopard, Striped Hyena, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Sambhar, Nilgai, Chausinga, Dhole, Jackal, Indian Fox

Open : Mid October to June

Situated in the north eastern border of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park is spread across the Umaria-Shahdol district bordered by the Satpura mountain ranges in Central India. The park is filled with more than 20 radiant streams; mainly, Damnar, Banbei, Ambanala, Johilla, Janadh, Charanganga,  and Andhiyari Jhiria. These streams merge into the son river forming an important southern tributary of the river Ganges. Many caves and lakes are found near the fort which is the most grandiose part of Bandhavgarh.

History of Bandhavgarh

Bandhavgarh has thrived through the centuries and is even mentioned in the legends of Ramayana. Bandhavgarh is a fabulous place with great historical significance. Even early books like the Narad Panch Ratra and the Shiv Purana mention that Bandhavgarh is associated with Ramayana. The word Bandhavgarh is a combination of two words: Bandhav & Garh, Bandhav means brother and Garh means Fort. The name of the Park is taken from the olden fort. It is believed that Lord Rama gifted this amazing fort to his younger brother Lakshmana. The Bandhavgarh fort displays many substantial signs of human activity and architectural practices. Interestingly, one fable explains that the abandoned fort was at one time rebuilt by two monkeys who also built a bridge between Sri Lanka and the mainland. In the fort you can see the sights of several many manmade caves with engravings and rock paintings.

The travellers visiting Bandhavgarh National Park must make a visit to the fort to sight the written proofs of the Bharihas and Vakatak eras who ruled over this land.  This region also tells us the history of other major dynasties that ruled the Bandhavgarh regions including Sengars, the Kalchuris and the Baghels. Out of all the Baghels ruled the region for the longest period.The Baghels shifted the capital to Rewa as their rule grew in power and area pushing Bandhavgarh to a corner of the territory, eventually dividing it and later abandoning it due to the thick forests and the tigers. Bandhavgarh became a game reserve for the royal families to hunt. The royals of Rewa killed 109 tigers due a sudden rise in tiger attacks. Raja Gulab Singh Baghel personally shot 83 tigers in a single year to restrain the hazard of increasing tiger attacks.

Ever since Bandhavgarh has been the private hunting ground for the Maharajas of Rewa and in 1968 it was handed to the state government and declared a national park.

Bandhavgarh has a large populace of tigers & is one of the significant Tiger Reserves of India. The park was a victim to innumerable cases of poaching and the density of the animal population had begun to deteriorate at one time, but several measures have been taken to improve the living conditions of the wild animals in Bandhavgarh National Park. Small dams were constructed to create watering holes for animals and act as shelters. All the villages were relocated from within the boundaries of the park and strong vigil was undertaken at the buffer zones as well as core areas for the wildlife protection.

In this manner, the majestic journey of the Bandhavgarh National Park led to declaring it a tiger reserve in 1993 under the Project Tiger network at the neighboring Panpatha Sanctuary.

Bandhavgarh National Park, is one of the most popular national parks in India. It is situated in the Vindhya Hills of the Umaria district in Madhya Pradesh. Declared a national park in 1968, Bandhavgarh is spread across an area of 105 sqkm. The name Bandhavgarh is taken from the most noticeable hill of the area of Umaria & is famous for the highest density of tiger population in India. Bandhavgarh also beholds the leading breeding population of leopards and various species of deer. Over the years, the park has increased the count of the tigers.

Bandhavgarh has been divided into three major zones named Tala, Magdi and Bamer, the Tala zone attracts the major number of tourists and then Magdi for tiger spotting. Elephant shows are also organized to spot the elusive king of the jungle. Bandhavgarh national park provides sufficient chance to spot the regal Indian tiger and other subtle animals like leopard and sloth bear.

Wildlife in Bandhavgarh

In Bandhavgarh, there are more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds to watch. The common Langurs and Rhesus Macaque represent the primate group and the carnivores include the Asiatic Jackal, Bengal Fox, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Grey Mongoose, Striped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Leopard and the regal Tiger.

One can commonly view, Nilgai, Chinkara and Gaur, Wild Pigs, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Chausinga.

Also one can spot Dhole, the small Indian Civet, Palm Squirrel and Lesser Bandicoot Rat seen occasionally. Among the herbivores, Gaur is the only grazer.

There are two ways to travel in the park- one in a Maruti Gypsy {Indian Jeep} – or on an elephant. A lot of the animals are now habituated to tourists, but still it is advised not to talk loudly and not make hurried movements in presence of wild animals. Jeep safaris start at about 10 AM and continue until 4 PM. The animals are very lively during these hours. While on safari a Forest Department guide accompanies you. The guide is experienced and cooperative in spotting wildlife.

Elephants are used for tracking the Tigers every morning by the Forest Department. Once the Tiger is spotted, the Elephant will pick you up from your resort or from the nearest point reachable by jeep/car to take you to the Tiger. The communication is done via wireless radio.

Although the entire area covered by Bandhavgarh National park is 1161 sq. km the tourists are restricted to an area of 105 sq. km of the park called the Tala Range, this is the core zone for finding tigers. There are four core zones in Bandhavgarh, they are: Magdhi, Kallwah, Khitauli and Panpatha.

Winters are cold and the temperature can normally go below freezing at night, but in the daytime temperature stays around 20 Deg Celsius. The tropical conditions of the forest keep the summer nights also colder than expected but daytime temperatures can touch 40 Deg Celsius. The forest remains closed during the monsoon (or breeding) season (July to Mid-October).

Geographical Details:-
Area:
 1161 sq. kms.
Core Zone: 624 sqkms.
Buffer Zone: 537 sq. kms.
Longitude: 80 47’15” to 81 11′ 45 E
Latitude: 23 30′ 12 to 23 45′ 45 N
Altitude: 440mts to 810mts above sea level.
Rainfall: 1175mm.
Temperature: Min. 2C- Max. 44 C.
Forest Type:
Moist Peninsular low level Sal: 3C/C2a
Wet Gangetic moist mixed deciduous forest: 3C/C3a
Season:-
Monsoon- mid June to September
Winter- November to mid-February
Summer- mid March to mid June

Best Time to Visit:- The park is open from 1st October till 30th June

Birding in Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park is not only a Tiger destination but it is also a hot spot for thousands of bird species. The rich avi-fauna of the Vindhya ranges gives it a extraordinarily fascinating feel. A mixture of dense tropical forests, fields, scrub and wetland are captivating for thousands of birds to nest here.

A List of the remarkable flying creatures found in Bandhavgarh:

Warbler, Little Cormorant, Black Redstart, Little Grebe, Jungle Bush Quail, Red Rumped Swallow, White Naped Woodpecker, White Breasted Waterhen, King Vulture, Bronze Wing Jacana, Lesser Whistling Teal, Asian Palm Swift, Wire Tail Swallow, Crested Tree Swift, Barn Swallow, Indian Bushlark, Ashy Crowned Sparrow , Lark, Rufous Tailed Lark, White Backed Vulture, Long Billed Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Pond Heron, Ashy Prinia, Plain Prinia, Common Tailor Bird, Hoopoe, Red Wattled Lapwing, Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Gold Fronted Chloropsis, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Roller, Oriental Turtle , Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Spotted Dove, Red Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Jungle Babbler, Large Gray Babbler, Gray Francolin, Peacock, Red Jungle Fowl, Blue Rock Pigeon, Pale Billed Flowerpecker, Thick Billed Flowerpecker, Coucal, Purple Sunbird, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Indian Hawk Cuckoo, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Bronze Dove, Black Drongo, Racket Tailed Drongo, White Bellied Drongo, , Stone Chat, Pied Buchchat, Little Egret, Black Ibis, Brown Shrike, Long Tailed Shrike, Bay Backed Shrike, Common Iora, Lesser White Throat, Wooly Necked Stork, Crested Serpent Eagle, Pariah Kite, Changeable Eagle, White Eyed Buzzard, Yellow Crowned Woodpecker, Chestnut Shouldered , Shikra, Black Shouldered Kite, RufousTreepie, Paddy Field Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Indian Moorhen, Common Wood, Shrike, Honey, Buzzard, Common, Kestra, Petronia, Plum, Headed, Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Rose Ringed Parakeet, White Browed Fantail Flycatcher, Black Naped Monarch, Verditor Flycatcher, Little Green Bee Eater, , Red Vented Bulbul, Common Myna, Pied Starling, Barhminy Starling, Barred Button Quail, Black RumpedFlameback, Tree Pipit, Olive Backed Pipit, Black Headed Oriole, Golden Oriole, , Pied Kingfisher, Comb Duck, Ruddy Shellduck, Common Sand Piper, Wood Sand Piper, Green Sand Piper, Temminck’s Stint, Eurasian Thicknee, Jungle Myna, Bank Myna, Magpie Robin, Indian Robin, Savanna Nightjar, Grey Headed Barbet, Crimson Breasted Barbet, Rufous Face Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Grey Lag Geese (Rare), Sarus Crane, Grey Hornbill, Hume’s Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Common Chiff Chaff, Brown Fish Owl, Barn Owl, Short Eared Owl, Indian Scops Owl, , Spotted Owlet, Barred Jungle Owlet, Mottled Wood Owl (Calls), White Throated, Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher.

Flora in Bandhavgarh National Park

There are over 300 flora species in the core and the buffer region of Bandhavgarh. The continuing streams and rivulets flow through the landscape making the sight beautiful. The gorgeous sceneries of Bandhavgarh offer scenic views to the vacationers and nature lovers.

Fauna in Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park is a dry deciduous and tropical land with marvellously dense forest traces with many species of wild creatures to discover. There are more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds in the area with common langurs and rhesus macaque representing the primate group.

The Bandhavgarh national Park is best known as the White Tiger Country since the time of Rewa Maharajas. The last one was captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in the year 1951 and today a white tiger called Mohun is on display in the palace of Maharaja of Rewa.

The list of the faunas available at Bandhavgarh is:

White Tigers, Bengal Tigers, Leopards, Sambar, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Gaur, Chausingha and Chinkara, the Asiatic jackal, Bengal fox, sloth bear, ratel, grey mongoose, striped hyena, jungle cat, leopard and tiger. The artiodactyls frequently sighted are wild pig, spotted deer, samber, chausingha, nilgai and chinkara with mammals like dhole, the small Indian civet, palm squirrel and lesser bandicoot rat and little grebe, egret, lesser adjutant, sarus crane, black kite, crested serpent eagle, black vulture, Egyptian vulture, common peafowl, red jungle fowl, dove, parakeet, Indian roller can also be found in abundance. Reptilian fauna include cobra, krait, viper, ratsnake, python, turtle and a number of lizard varieties, including varanus.

Apart from that the park also boasts variety of species of birds like Grey Hornbill, Common Teals, Red Jungle Fowl, and White Breasted Kingfisher etc.

Bandhavgarh National Park, Tala, Madhya Pradesh

Jeep Safari in Bandhavgarh

Jeep Safari at Bandhavgarh National Park is a delight for adventure lovers and wildlife photographers. The Jeep safari tours are an exciting part of the National Park. The four wheel drive open jeeps give the best way to discover the flora & fauna of Bandhavgarh. The safari in Bandhavgarh gives an wild look at nature and its pristine landscapes. Jeep safaris make for a great adventure and provide the suppleness to explore locations difficult to travel by other method of transportation.

The best time to visit is during the dry season, from October to May. At Bandhavgarh Jeep Safaris can be taken twice a day. The Morning Shift begins early around Sunrise and continues for up to 04 hrs & in the afternoon the safari starts between 02 PM to 03 PM and continues up to sunset. In each Open Jeep 6 passengers are allowed to travel along with one naturalist and one driver. Limited Jeeps are permitted to enter inside the National Park in each shift. This has been done to avoid overcrowding inside the national Park. Therefore it is advisable to book safari rides in well advance through a Travel Agent who specializes in Bandhavgarh to avoid any chance of unavailability.

Safari Timings

There are 04 different zones of the national park for travellers to Enjoy Jeep safari rides. Vehicles Permitted to enter the park in each shift:

Safari Zone Tala Zone Magadhi Zone Khitauli Zone Panpatha Zone
Morning Shift 25 66 35 35
Morning Shift 25 66 35 35

Open Jeeps with tourists and escorted by a environmentalist are allowed into the park at the timings mentioned. Timings for entry and exit from the park differ according to the season. In winters, due to the shorter duration of daylight, the Safari begins later and finishes earlier. Bandhavgarh National Park remains open for visitors from 15th October to 30th June. The safari timings are:

Park Safari Timing 15th October to 15th Feb 16th Feb to 31st March 01st April to 30th June
Morning Shift 06:30 Hrs to 11:00 Hrs 06:00 Hrs to 11:00 Hrs 05:30 Hrs to 10:00 Hrs
Afternoon Shift 14:30 Hrs to 17:30 Hrs 15:00 Hrs to 18:00 Hrs 16:00 Hrs to 19:00 Hrs

Note :
Wednesday afternoon there is no Safari.
There is a Holiday for the Holi festival (In the month of March).
There are some necessary details required for safari reservation:

  • Full Name of every visitor
  • Age & Gender
  • Nationality
  • Any Identity proof details like Passport, Driving License, PAN Card or Voter
  • I D Card. Visitor is required to carry the same ID proof in original at the time of visiting the national park

Important instructions and tips for you to enjoy the jungle trip in Bandhavgarh safely:

  • Pay attention to your movements and sounds be careful that you do not disturb the wild animals.
  • Carry only items which are necessary with you.
  • Carry a first aid box.
  • Be silent and tolerant while observing the wild creatures and make note of their movement, behaviour and features for your records.
  • A forest department guide must always accompany you to direct you and point any particular wild animals.
  • Wear safe and comfortable clothing for easy movements. Wear cotton clothes with dull colors. Avoid bright colors as these divert the animals.

Essential Tips for watching birds during wildlife tour:

  • Witness birds carefully and silently.
  • Observe every minute details about the birds and their movements.
Elephant Safari in Bandhavgarh

The Elephant safari requires the written permission from a Field Director of Bandhavgarh Park.  The safari guide will assist you in every way. An elephant safari at Bandhavgarh is a perfect option for a safe and enjoyable jungle expedition.

Do and Don’ts
  • Drive slowly in the Park.
  • Keep to the specified roads and trails. Driving off trails can damage trees and disturb the resting animals.
  • Respect the wild animals and maintain a safe distance from them remember you are in their home and they get the first priority.
  • Keep seated in your vehicle at all points in the park. It is dangerous to get down.
  • Do not be disappointed if you don’t see a tiger. There are many other interesting creatures that are to be seen and cherished.
  • The Park is not a zoo: so don’t expect to see wildlife everywhere.
  • Keep the park pollution free. While inside the park please put your non-biodegradable litter (thin cans, plastic, glass bottle, metal foils etc.) into the bag provided and dispose of it on your way out.
  • Please obtain services of Nature Guides that the park has trained for your benefit. They are great help to you in sporting wildlife and ensuring that you not to lose your way in forest.
  • Do not smoke or light campfires in the forest. Accidental fires can destroy this wonderful jungle in no time.
Things to Carry

During the winter season beginning from November to February end necessary to carry warm clothes, jackets, gloves, mufflers etc. as the morning open jeep safari drives can be freezing cold.

During the summer months – from April to June the weather is hot therefore loose light color cotton clothes is recommended with the definite inclusion of a cap and Sun glasses. Sunscreen lotions are necessary in summers (April to June) when the sun is very strong.

Bright colors can disturb the animals therefore clothes should ideally be in muffled jungle shades of beige, brown, green etc.

Binoculars and Cameras are a great benefit in the while on safaris.

Initially, only an area of 105 sq. km. was declared as the Bandhavgarh National Park in 1968, which was extended to 448.842 sq. km. in 1982 with the inclusion of adjoining forest area. Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary was notified as part of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in 1983. It was year 1993, when Bandhavgarh National Park, Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary and Buffer Zone Area of park were together declared as the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger.

An area of about 207 sq. km. has been declared as tourism zone within the Park. This area has further been divided in three tourism zones. Each area has its own flora & faunal diversifications. Below given table provides names of Safari zones in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve where one can do wildlife safari with description of maximum limit of safari jeeps allowed for safari at one safari-time. This limit may vary as under special circumstances, park management may increase or decrease this given limit.

Safari Zones Safari Vehicle Limit 
Morning – Evening
Tala (Gate-1) 20 – 10
Magadhi (Gate-2) 20 – 10
Khitauli (Gate-3) 18 – 09

Tala Zone (Gate-1) is now declared as Premium Safari Zone which means visitors have to pay double entry-ticket fee for a safari in this zone from 16/Oct/2011. It is more popular for tiger sighting and is in high demand throughout the season. Jungle Safari Routes” A, B, C, D” lie in Tala zone. Among them, Route B-D or D-B are popular among visitors. Bandhavgarh Fort Safari also lies in Tala zone in which 05 safari jeeps are allowed in a single day. Tiger Tracking using elephant is not promoted by park authority due to limited availability of elephants which are mainly used for patrolling & other purpose.

Magadhi zone (Gate-2) is also good for tiger sighting. After declaration of Tala Zone as Premium safari zone there was a hike in its entrance fee, Magadhi Zone is a popular visitor’s choice. It is the most visited safari zone of Bandhavgarh. Sambar & spotted deer are frequently seen in this zone. Bokha is the main dominant tiger in Magadhi zone. Famous Charger Point is also in Magdhi zone of Bandhavgarh. Park Safari Routes “E, F, G, H” are in Magdhi zone. As about 66 tickets are offered for visitors to this zone, usually it can be availed easily.

Khitauli zone is good for birding, sloth bear and blue-bull sighting. One can do two jungle safaris in a day i.e. Morning & Evening. Park Safari Route “I” are in Magdhi zone. Route-I have 4 sub-route options to choose. As Khitauli zone is least visited by tourists, it is less crowded and easily available for ticket-booking.

Among 3 safari zones of Bandhavgarh, Tala & Magdhi & Khitauli zones are divided into routes and two routes are allotted in one safari round. One route for going from entrance gate to center point and second route for returning from center point to exit gate. Safari tickets can be obtained through online booking or can be purchased from Tala entrance gate and Dhamokhar check-point. Dhamokhar check-point is on the way from Umaria to Tala village. Some Places of Tourist Interest inside the Safari zone do of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve are as follows:

Sr. No. Tala Zone Attractions Magdhi Zone Attractions Khitauli Zone Attractions
1 Siddha Baba Charger Point Umrar River
2 Chakradhara Rajbehra KumbhiKachhar
3 Chakradhara Hide Bhadrashila Hide Garhpuri Dam
4 AndhiyariJhiriya Mahaman Pond NilgaiNala
5 BadiGufa Climber’s Point TedkaMunara
6 Shesh-shaiya Badbada Marjadgarh Tower
7 SitaMandap Sehra Dadra CharkhiDongri
8 Gopalpur Pond SuwariWah Chhulaha Camp
9 Ketkiha SookhiTalab
10 BhitariWah Sookhi Dam
11 Bandhavgarh Fort Kerhawah
12 Three Cave Point Patiha Camp
13 Vulture Nests Dabhadol Tank
14 Ghoda-demon Dinosaur Rock
15 Rampur Hillock Baherha
16 Banbehi Hide Dhaua Tower
17 Bhitari Hide
18 Bamania Hill