Bandhavgarh is a place of mythological and legendary significance. The ancient Bandhavgarh Fort is of great importance as it is believed to have been gifted by Lord Rama to his younger brother “Lakshmana”. ‘Bandhav’ means brother, in English and ‘Garh’ means fort, in same. Hence the name, Bandhavgarh. Bandhavgarh dates back to 2000 years ago and you will find several man made caves with inscriptions and rock paintings. Also the land of tigers. This is the place to visit if you want to spot the big cat. India’s top dwelling for tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park has the highest density of Royal Bengal tigers in the world.
Places of Interest
It is located on the Bandhavgarh hill, rising 811 meters above sea level at the centre of the Bandhavgarh National Park. It is surrounded by a large number of smaller hills separated by gently sloping valleys. These valleys end in small, swampy meadows, locally known as ‘Bohera’. The fort is also home to many of the endangered species of Vulture in India. No records are available to show when Bandhavgarh fort was constructed. However, It is thought, to be of some 2000 years old, and there are references to it in the ancient books, the “Narad-Panch Ratra” and the “Shiva Purana“. Regional folklore suggests that Bandhavgarh Fort was constructed by rulers of the Gond Empire. Gond kings of the Pandro caste are the original builders of this fort, and descendants of Gond kings still live near the fort.
There are some ruins found of the Fort in the Bamania Hill near Bandhavgarh, and there are many sculptures and coins found in the nearby villages near Bandhavgarh, Bijhariya, Mala which prove the economical and artistic situation of the kingdom. There are a few statues depicting the reincarnations of Vishnu (avatar) – like one of the Fish and another of the Turtle. There are some remaining ponds on the hill e.g. Rani Talab(Queen’s Pond). There is a viewpoint on the hill called Suicide point, from which if one is lucky one can see the vultures in flight.
One the way back from the fort one can see a gigantic idol of Vishnu lying down, it is also known as Sesh Shai. The word Bandhavgarh means the Fort of Laxman, and the stone carved Shesh Shai also provides further evidence for the origin of this name.
This park has a large biodiversity. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. The park has a large breeding population of leopards, and various species of deer. Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa captured the first white tiger in this region in 1951. This white tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa. Historically villagers and their cattle have been a threat to the tiger. Rising mining activities around the park are putting the tigers at risk.
The history of the region can be traced back to the 1st century. There are 39 caves in the Bandhavgarh fort and in the surrounding hillocks up to a radius of about 5 km. The oldest cave dates from the 1st century. Several caves carry inscriptions in Brahmi script. Some caves have embossed figures such as tigers, pigs, elephants, and horsemen. Badi gufa, the largest cave, has a broad entrance, nine small rooms and several pillars. It has been dated back to the 10th century. The cave appears to be primitive, lacking the elaborate statues and carvings seen in the caves of the Buddhist period. Its purpose remains a mystery till date to the researchers.
Tigers In Bandhavgarh
Bandhavgarh has one of the highest density of Bengal tigers known in the world, and is home to some famous named tigers which are large in size and are beautiful. Charger, an animal so named because of his habit of charging at elephants and tourists (whom he nonetheless did not harm), was the first healthy male known to be living in Bandhavgarh since the 1990s. A female known as Sita, who once appeared on the cover of National Geographic and is considered as the second most photographed tiger in the world, was also to be found in Bandhavgarh for many years. Almost all the tigers of Bandhavgarh today are descendants of Sita and Charger. Their daughter Mohini, son Langru and B2 also maintained their tradition for frequent sighting and moving close to tourist jeeps.
The three main zones of the national park are Tala, Magdhi and Khitauli. Tala is the richest zone in terms of biodiversity, mainly tigers. Together, these four ranges comprise the ‘Core’ of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve constituting a total area of 716 km2. The buffer zone is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals another 820 km2. The legal status as a national park dates back to 1968, but was limited only to the present Tala range for a considerable length of time. In 1993 the present scheme of things was put in place.
The Baghel Museum in Bandhavgarh is the storehouse where all the personal belongings of Maharaja of Rewa are being kept intact for display. Tourists come here and explore the royal and jungle life of Bandhavgarh. Along with that the museum also displays the stuffed body of the first white tiger being spotted by the Maharaja of Rewa. Besides this, the museum also boasts ancient hunting equipments by the Maharajas along with some of the military equipments.
The museum is located 100 meters away from the reserve (park) and is being famous for keeping the belongings of Shikargarh, or a game preserve that the tourists certainly want to discover at Bandhavgarh.
The timings to visit the Baghel Museum are: 10 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm.
The Mahaman Pond is being located near the Bandhavgarh Fort which is being surrounded by bamboo clumps where large varieties of herding of wild creatures can be found. This place is called the “Place of Quench the Thirst” where the variety of herbivores and carnivores inhabiting the national park can be found.
This place is also known as the Pendanus Point where a lump of an aromatic plant called “Kewra” can be found amidst the supercilious Jammu and Arjun trees. It is undoubtedly a real floral treasure of Bandhavgarh Reserve.
It is one of the most amazing place in Bandhavgarh National Park that symbolizes nature’s beauty. This location brings an aerial view of the entire park and the forest in this location is filled with Sal and Bamboo trees. Along with that the place is also being flourished with some the best and unique species of fauna like butea superba and bauhinia wahlii along with Sal trees. This is an ideal place for the tourists to take some rest and for the peace of mind.
As discussed earlier, the Bandhavgarh area is filled with a number of lakes and caves that really brings an outstanding view to the place. The Bari Gufa which means the “The Giant Cave” showcase the ancient monument of past. Undoubtedly it is one of the most ancient creations in the Indian history. It is being believed that the Bari Gufa is the biggest man-made cave of the reserve dating back to 10th century.
One of the most fascinating point in Bandhavgarh National Park is the three cave point that can be easily visible from the Ganesh Hillock road. This beautiful location has many beautiful carvings that typically signify the perfect blend of the architectural techniques that were prevalent in the ancient times. Today, this place is perfectly being the ideal home for many wild animals including Leopards, Tigers and Sloth Bears.
It is a marshy meadow which can be viewed from the Bandhaini Hillock and is the origin of the river “Dammer“. The Rajbahera that brings the Bandhaini Hillock view along with the glances of sorks, vultures and herds of Chital, Samber and Wild Pigs is definitely an additional attraction of Bandhavgarh.
The Shesh Shaya is a marvelous 11 meter long statue of Lord Vishnu in the laying position with umbrella of “Shesh Nag” along with the “Shivling” and the “Lord Brahma” are situated here. It is placed on the main entrance of the footpath, th way towards the Bandhavgarh Fort. The origin of the river “Charan Ganga” inflows from the foot of “Lord Vishnu” and so the name is being derived from. The statue is believed to be the asset of 10th century.
The Cheshpur Water fall is a natural water fall in River Johila, situated at a distance of 50 km from Bandhavgarh. It is an ideal location for the tourists to enjoy picnic here.
It is the temple of the goddess Jwalamukhi situated in the bank of river “Charan Ganga”. About 11 km away from Bandhavgarh, this temple is also 10th century founding.
About 110 km away from Bandhavgarh, the Fossil National Parks named so since it brings all its floras in the fossil form that existed in India anywhere between 40 million and 150 million years ago. This park is being spread over an area of over 274,100 square meters. The fossil plants are found in three villages at the buffer area of the national park. The Standing, petrified trunks of trees have been categorized as Gymnosperms and Angiosperms- Monocotyledons and palms and some of them have also being identified as Bryophytes.
The archaeological team is still surveying the base of these fossil plants and is only considering whether they are from the late Jurassic or the early and mid-Cretaceous age. Since when the single land mass called Pangaea was collapsed, it was being split into Laurasia and Gondwanaland and India being a part of the Gondwanaland, the fossil plants are basically the molluscus. These fossils are 40 million years old that looks like ordinary rocks.
Best Season to Visit
Months of April – May – June are considered the best time to do Wildlife photography and Tiger photography. During this time, we can expect unusual photography of tigers as heat causes animals to remain close to water sources. Limited water sources will enable us to predict the animal location more accurately. During this time Tala Zone have good number of active water sources and the area have hills of sand-stone that retain water from long time and also felt cool during day time so tiger sighting chances in Tala Zone are far better than any other tourist zones of Bandhavgarh National Park. Close to water source, we may be lucky enough to find unusual photographs of tiger making kill or resting in water etc.
Sighting of Tigress with cubs can be possible in early morning hours and just before sunset as tiger mating mostly take place in the months of November – December – January – February so cubs born from 110 days of gestation period can be seen during this time. Similarly, birds can also be seen close to water sources. Spotted deer herds under Indian Butter Tree are the most commons scenes of forest. Due to dryness in trees, fall of leaves in Sal trees and disappearance of bushes causes more penetration capacity to watch distant animals also. For Bird watchers, Khitauli Zone is considered good as here water sources at Bamera Dam, Khitauli reservoir offers scope for birding around them. Blue bull or Nilgai antelope and sloth bear sighting in this zone is also good compare to other tourist zones of Bandhavgarh.
|Safari Zone||Safari Vehicle Limit (Morning – Evening)|
|Tala (Gate-1)||16 – 16|
|Magdhi (Gate-2)||14 – 14|
|Khitauli (Gate-3)||14 – 14|
|Park Safari Timings||Morning Safari||Evening Safari Time||Fort Safari|
|15 Oct – 15 Feb||07:00 – 10:30||14:00 – 17:30||Sunrise – to – Sunset|
|16 Feb – 31 Mar||06:00 – 09:30||15:00 – 18:30||Sunrise – to – Sunset|
|01 Apr – 30 June||06:00 – 09:30||15:30 – 19:00||Sunrise – to – Sunset|