lies in the heart of Madhya Pradesh- traditional
tiger country. This is where Rudyard Kipling
found inspiration for his famous Jungle Book
(remember Mowgli?), and this is where the
tiger still roams- although now protected
by dozens of laws, some effective, some not.
Once the hunting preserve
of the Maharajas of Rewa, where an alarming
number of tigers were hunted down in pre-independence
Bandhavgarhwas mercifully declared a National
Park in 1968. Today, the Bandhavgarh National
Park is a compact reserve (448 sq. km) of
sal trees, bamboo thickets and grasslands,
teeming with birds.
Located in the Vindhya Hills,
Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh encompasses
32 hills covered with a mixed forest of sal,
and saga and large stretches of grasslands
with bamboo groves. Dominated by a large fort
said to have been built by Lord Rama the hero
of the Indian epic Ramayana, Bandhavgarh is
famous for its tigers. and animals and
the highest population of tigers anywhere
in India. The park is now home to 22 species
of wildlife, including the regal 'gaur', umpteen
varieties of deer, and carnivores such as
the striped hyena, jungle cat and sloth bear
and over 250 species of birds. Within the
park itself is the Bandhavgarh Fort, now in
ruins and largely overrun by the surrounding
Although Bandhavgarh is in the area where the famous
white tigers of Rewa were first found, don't expect
to see any of the exotic beauties around. What you
will see, however, is an amazing diversity of flora
and fauna which can certainly make a trip to this
wildlife preserve utterly worthwhile.
All visitors to Bandhavgarh need a permit to enter
the wildlife national park; this can be obtained
at the entrance to the park. Entry fees for foreigners
are Rs 200; for Indians and members of SAARC countries,
Rs 20. Additional charges are levied for the entry
of vehicles, for cameras and for elephant rides.
If you're looking to sight the majestic tiger in
his natural habitat, head for Jabalpur by jeep,
bus, plane or train and from there onwards to the
Bandhavgarh National Park, 165 km
northeast. The nearest airports are in Khajuraho
(210 km away) and Jabalpur. Buses from Khajuraho
to Bandhavgarh do the trip in about five hours.
closest railhead is the town of Umaria, which
is 30 km from Bandhavgarh; it's linked by
train to cities in Madhya Pradesh and other
states, including Delhi. Private and state
owned bus Services operate regular buses to
Bandhavgarh from Umaria, Jabalpur, and other
towns in Madhya Pradesh. Taxis too can be
hired to get to Bandhavgarh. The wildlife
park's entrance is at a tiny settlement called
Tala, which has facilities- although limited-
Within the bounds of the
Bandhavgarh National Park, vehicles may be
hired at the entrance to drive around; in
addition, private vehicles are allowed in.
You could also ride through the jungle on
elephant-back -- and if you kept completely
quiet and are very, very lucky, you could
even spot a tiger!
Best time to visit
Like many of India's other wildlife preserves, national
parks and sanctuaries, Bandhavgarh National Park
too closes for visitors during the monsoon months,
July to October. Between November and June is the
best- and only-time to visit the park.
The Madhya Pradesh Tourist department has a forest
lodge in Bandhavgarh; the PWD and the Forest Department
also have guest houses within the park, where the
accommodation, though not the height of luxury,
is adequate. Rooms range from some interesting cabins
on stilts to individual cottages.
Besides this, there are hotels
and forest lodges at Tala (at the entrance to Bandhavgarh).
More information on Bandhavgarh
may be obtained from the Director, Bandhavgarh National
Park, P.O. Umaria, District Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh.
Reservations for the MP tourism lodge can be made at
the MP State Tourism Development Corporation in
Bhopal BACK TO TOURS
Suggested Itinerary :
Day 01: Depart by train from Delhi to Umaria
(travel in air conditioned second class sleeper).
Spend overnight on the train.
Day 02-06: Early morning arrive Umaria
station (06.00 hrs approx). Transfer to Bandhavgarh
National Park (30 minutes driving time
approx.) at your resort for five nights. Enjoy
your morning and afternoon jeep-safaris and
elephant-rides in the Bandhavgarh National
Park. Spend overnight at the Resort.
Day 07: Morning depart by surface
to Jabalpur railway station (170 kms. - 05.00
hrs driving time approx.) to board your train
at 15.40 hrs (travel in second class air conditioned
sleeper) for Delhi. Overnight on board the
08: Arrive Delhi at 07.20hrs. Transfer
to a hotel for day use. Later in the evening
transfer to the International airport to connect
your flight for your onward destination.