Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh General Information
In the Vindhyachal mountain range, Bandhavgarh National Park is situated. The Park offers a variety of wildlife including the famous tiger, leopard, sambar, wild pig, blue bull, spotted deer etc. The flora attracts woodland birds, which include green pigeon, crested serpent eagle and variable hawk eagle. There are also interesting cave shrines scattered around the park, some of them dating back to 1st century BC.
A wildlife retreat, where history and nature meet, Bandhavgarh National Park is not far from Kanha. Set amidst the Vindhyan ranges, the park has a series of ridges running through it. Initially just 105.40 sq km in area, Bandhavgarh with 25 resident tigers, was noted for its high-density tiger population. Today, it has been extended to an area of 437 sq km.
The flora of Bandhavgarh is the typical moist, deciduous forest, so common to Central India. Most of the park area is covered with rich sal (Shorea robusta) forests, although at high altitude you may also come across mixed forests comprising of sali, saj, saja, etc. Large stretches of bamboo and grassland are also distributed here. The main viewing area is still in the core of the park with its 32 picturesque, wooded hills.
The park boasts of a wide variety of game. Its main wild beasts are tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (P. pardus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), gaur (Bos gaurus), sambar (Cervus unicolor), chital (Axis axis), muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), chinkara (Gazella gazella; mountain gazelle), and wild boar (Sus scrofa). The gaur is spotted mainly in March/April, while the sambar and muntjac are found in thick vegetation area. The 1990 census accounted for 59 tigers, over 4,500 sambars, and over 7,000 spotted deer. The tigers, however, remain very elusive. The flowering and fruit trees attract woodland birds, which include green pigeon, crested serpent eagle, and variable hawk eagle. One may also encounter rhesus macaque, hyenas, porcupine, white-browed fantails, Steppe eagle, green pigeons, Malabar hornbills, blossom-headed parakeets, blue-bearded bee-eater, white-bellied grongo, and Jerdon\’s leaf birds.
Wandering through the Park on elephant back, the chances of seeing a tiger are quite good. Also to be seen here are nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar and sometimes a fox or jackal. Other habitants of the Park include the muntjac, jungle cat, ratel, hyena, porcupine, the rhesus macaque and the black-faced langur. About 150 species of bird are also found here and include the migratory birds that arrive in winter like the steppe eagle and various water birds.
An ancient fort up on a precipice, 800 metres high, dominates the Park. Bandhavgarh’s history goes back 2000 years in time and the earliest signs of habitation can be seen in the caves excavated from the cliffs to the north of the fort. Brahmi inscriptions here date back to the 1st century BC. A hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa in more recent times, Bandhavgarh was declared a Park in 1968. This is where the famous white tigers of Rewa were discovered. It is possible to climb up to the Bandhavgarh fort for a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Park and there is also small population of black buck that lives here protected from the predators below.