National Parks and Sanctuaries : Bandavgarh National Park
Formerly the 'shikargarh' or Royal hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Rewa, this Park derives its name from the plateau-fortress that dominates the Park. At the base of the fort is Shesh Shayya, with a 21 foot monolithic statue of the reclining Vishnu, up in the fort are carvings of the various reincarnations of Vishnu.

A forest dominated by Sal and Bamboo, Bandhavgarh has a reputation for being one of the best places to see Tigers in the wild. Other notable wildlife includes Chital, Sambar, Muntjak, Langur, Jackal, and Jungle Cat.

The varied bird life of the park includes Grey Hornbills, Paradise Flycatchers, Painted Partridge, Red Jungle Fowl, Peacock, Crested Serpent Eagle, Crested Hawk-eagle, Mottled Wood Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Minivets, Indian Rollers, Red and Yellow-wattled Lapwings etc. The cliffs of the fort provide ideal roosting and nesting sites for Long-billed and White-backed Vultures.

The Park is open from the 1st of November until the 30th of June. A difficult Park to get to at the best of times, the game viewing here is by jeep and from elephant back.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is located in the North-Eastern quadrant of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Formerly the 'shikargarh' or Royal hunting reserve of the erstwhile Maharajas of Rewa, this forest was given the status of a Reserve Forest in 1927. It was first declared a National Park in 1968 with an area of 105 1982 a Primary Gazette Notification was issued increasing the area of the Park to 448 this the original 105, now comes under a single range, Tala.
The additional 343 sq.kms fall under 3 ranges namely, Kalwa, Magadhi and Khitauli.
In 1994 Bandhavgarh was upgraded to the status of a Project Tiger Rreserve and the Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary was added to it.

The Park derives its name from the 95 Ha.(hectares) plateau-fortress of Bandhavgarh. This formidable fortress, protected by sheer cliffs that rise vertically from the forest floor served as the capital of the Baghela Rajput Chiefs of Bhatta (later the Maharajas' of Rewa) until 1617 when the capital was shifted to Rewa. It is still the private property of the Maharaja.

The history of the fort goes back over 2000 years. The hills surrounding it have 32 excavated caves, some of which are quite elaborate and have inscriptions and carvings on their walls.
Latitude: 23°30' - 23°46' N
Longitude: 80°11' - 80°36' E

Bandhavgarh is situated in the Eastern Satpura Hills that run in an East-West direction. The landscape is mainly hilly, interspersed with extensive low-lying areas and dominated by the solid, symmetrical bulk of the Bandhavgarh Plateau and it's neighbour Bandhaini, both rising about 1200 feet (365 M) above the forest floor.
Altitude: The mean altitude is between 1444 feet (440 m) and 2657 feet (810m), with the Fort being the highest point and the Park entrance, at Tala village being the lowest. Over 20 streams flow through the park all draining into the Sone, a major southern tributary of the Ganga.

Climate: North Indian Monsoon with well-defined winter and summer. The hot dry season lasts from the end of March until end June with highs of 44°C (111°F) being recorded in May. Winter sets in around mid November and lasts till the end of February. Lows of 2°C(35.6°F) have been recorded with frost occurring in the open marshy hollows.

Rainfall : The monsoon lasts from mid June until the end of September. There is some rain in November, January and February as well. The average rainfall is 1173 mm.(46.18in.)

Tropical moist deciduous forest dominated by Sal (Shorea robusta) and Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus). Technically termed as Sal forest, the other common tree species found here are Saj (Terminalia tomentosa), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Kalasiris (Albizzia lebbek) Khair (Acacia katechu), Frankincense tree (Boswellia serrata), Kusum (Scleichera trijuga) and Haldu (Adina cardifolia). Fruiting trees include Ambla(Emblica officianalis), Jamun (Syzigium cuminii), and ficus species all of which are favoured by birds and animals. Amongst the flowering trees are Palash, the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma), and the climber (Butea superba) Kapok (Bombax ceiba) and Amaltas (Cassia fistula). The tendu or Bidi leaf tree (Diospyros melanoxylon) is also very common, as also the Mahua (Madhuca indica) the flowers of which are used by local villagers to make a potent home brew. The grasslands that occupy the valley floor in the Park (primarily Saccharum species) are relics of village fields and are favoured by the ungulates


Bandhavgarh supports a reasonably large assemblage of mammals. The open forest, grasslands and areas of low vegetation supports high densities of the major herbivores, which in turn support high numbers of predators.

The Spotted deer or Chital (Cervus axis), are the most abundant and the main prey species for the larger carnivores. Sambar (Cervus unicolor) is also found in very high numbers. The smallest of the deer in Bandhavgarh, the Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) or Barking deer is also common. The Blue Bull or Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) is the largest and most common of the 3 species of antelope and gazelle found here. This is an animal of open scrub forest and grassland and also an indicator, in the context of the Bandhavgarh forest, of a degrading habitat. Its increasing presence is not comforting to Park managers. The Four-horned Antelope or Chowsingha (Tetracerus quadricornis) is rare and inhabits the hilly, dry forest and the Indian Gazelle or Chinkara (Gazella gazella) is found in the peripheries of the Park in open and scrub country. Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) are abundant as are the Grey or Common Langur (Semnopithecus entellus). The other species of monkey seen here is the Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) which is more terrestrial and less common that the Langur. Bandhavgarh supports a large Tiger (Panthera tigris) population.
Leopards (Panthera pardus) are also common but are discreet in the presence of their larger cousin. The Dhole (Cuon alpinus) or Indian Wild Dog is present in fluctuating numbers.For some unknown reason their numbers are lower here than the prey base would suggest. Wolves (Canis lupus) are also seen but in the open forests and at the edge and around villages more than in the park. Of the smaller mammals Bandhavgarh supports a high number of Golden Jackals, Indian Fox in the open degraded areas and Jungle Cat.
Two species of Mongoose include the Common Mongoose and the Ruddy Mongoose. Porcupine, Honey Badger, Palm and small Civets, Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) are all nocturnal and rarely seen inhabitants of the park. A number of species of bats include the Giant Fruit bat. Information on the smaller mammals is scanty and awaits a proper survey.
Although Bandhavgarh cannot be counted amongst the major bird parks of the subcontinent over 250 species have been listed here. The cliffs of the Fort and other areas provide ideal roosting and nesting sites for the Long-billed Vulture which, along with the White-backed Vulture is a common sight. The Black or King Vulture is reasonably common here, as is the Scavenger Vulture. The cliffs are also patrolled by Shahin falcons, Bonnelli's Eagles and occasionally in winter by the Eurasian Hobby.

Of the large forest raptors the Crested Serpent Eagle and the Crested Hawk Eagle are regularly sighted. Ospreys are found patrolling the water bodies in winter but the Grey-headed Fishing Eagle is a rarity.

Other birds include the Malabar Pied and Grey Hornbills, Paradise Flycatchers, Indian Pittas, and Indian Cuckoo as summer visitors. Grey and Painted Partridge, Red Jungle Fowl, Peacock, Mottled Wood Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Long-tailed Minivets, Indian Rollers, Red and Yellow-wattled Lapwings. Rare birds like the Wall Creeper have also been sighted here. Good places to birdwatch are the wetlands, forest edges, Jamunia and Shesh Shayya

Over 13 species of snakes have been identified here. The common ones are the Rock Python (Python molurus), the Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja), the Common Krait (Bungarus caeruleus) and the Rat Snake (Ptyas mucosus).
Of the 73 species of butterflies presently identified the most commonly seen are the Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus), Common Wanderer (Pareronia valeria), Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe), Common Crow (Euploea core), Leopard (Phalanta phalantha), Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya), Danaid Eggfly (Hypolimnas misppus) and the Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae)
Bandavgarh Fort
The Fort once had a motorable road, but the only way up now is on foot. One can drive up to Shesh Shayya, which has a 21 foot monolithic statue of the reclining Vishnu. The trek to the top of the Fort takes about 30 minutes. On top of the hill are monolithic carvings of various Avatars or reincarnations of Vishnu such as the Wild Boar, Fish, Vaman and Buddha. There is also the remnant of a temple dedicated to the Monkey God, Hanuman. There is still a functioning temple at the top, with a Pujari (priest), who lives all alone, coming down to the village of Tala on foot, a couple of times a week for supplies. There are two temple tanks, which are a perennial source of water for the wildlife on top of the Fort.
The history,ruins, wildlife and spectacular views from the Fort make a visit a very rewarding experience. A ticket needs to be purchased from the Baghela Museum and you have to be accompanied by the Fort guide. This is separate from the regular Park guide. The climb is steep and the ground uneven so you need to be reasonably fit.
Best time to visit
The Park is open from the 1st of November until the 30th of June and is closed during the monsoon period. Possibly the most rewarding in terms of both weather and wildlife is the period between February through to end March/early April.

How to get there
Nearest railhead : Umaria is the closest railway station (32 km) and is very conveniently connected by the Utkal Express from Delhi. The train leaves Delhi around one o'clock in the afternoon from Delhi and reaches Umaria at about 6 a.m. early next morning. Likewise the Utkal leaves Umaria around 8p.m. (it is invariably late) and reaches Delhi in the early afternoon. Taxis/jeeps can be hired at Umaria to take you to Bandhavgarh, but it is always better to make prior arrangements through one of the lodges. Umaria is also well connected to Katni (100kms) an important junction and to Jabalpur (200kms).

Nearest airport
Khajuraho (240 kms), from where it is at least 8 hours by road.

Accommodation Bandhavgarh has no dearth of accommodation with various lodges and resorts catering to various budgets. Some lodges offer a 'jungle plan' which includes board, lodge and the drives into the Park. There is a Forest Rest House at Tala too with 4 rooms, but accommodation here is rarely available. It is also possible to hire a jeep and go for a drive in the Park. A forest department guide accompanies every jeep into the Park.

Some of the lodges in the area are :
1. Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge
2. Bandhavgarh Jungle Camp
3. White Tiger Forest Lodge

Given below are the Forest Department rates for entry into the Park

1. Park entry fee : Rs.20/- per person for Indian Nationals and Rs.200/- per person for Foreign Nationals.
2. Elephant booking : Adults - Indian Nationals: Rs. 60/- per person per hour for adults and Rs.40/- per head per hour for children below 12 years.
Foreign Nationals : Rs.300/- per person per hour person per hour while children below 12 years are charged Rs. 200/- per head per hour
3. Vehicle entry fee : Rs.100/- per vehicle
4. Still Camera : Rs.25/-
5. Video camera : Rs.200/-
6. Guide fee : Rs.90/- per trip


View Larger Map

Copyright Wildvistas 2007. Website designed by Boltzmann Consulting
Site best viewed in IE with 1024x768 resolution