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Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh is spread at vindhya hills in Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh consists of a core area of 105 sq km and a buffer area of approximately 400 sq km of topography varies between steep ridges, undulating, forest and open meadows. Bandhavgarh is known for the Royal Bengal Tigers. The density of the Tiger population at Bandhavgarh is the highest known in India.
Bandhavgarh National Park was the former hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa and at present is a famous natural hub for White Tigers. White Tigers, now a major attraction around the world's zoos, were first discovered in Rewa, not far from here. The terrain is broken, with rocky hill ranges, running roughly east west, interspersed with grassy swamps and forested valleys.
This forest nestled among the Vindhya hills came into existence in 1968 when the Maharaja of Rewa handed over the area to the government for its formation. At the time when it was handed over to the government, the fauna was not faring too well due to the difficulty in the control of poaching. Once this became a protected area, the animal population took a drastic turn and began to flourish. At this time, the entire park covered an area of 106 square kilometers whereas it presently consists of an area of 448 square kilometers. These much required extensions, to the northern and southern areas, of the park were done in 1982. These areas consisted primarily of Sal forests, which is the main tree-cover found in the entire park along with Bamboo. It was finally declared a tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1993.
Total Coverage Area: 437 sq. km / 44,884 hectares/ 168 sq. miles
Established: 1968 as a National Park.
Extended in 1986.
Became a Tiger Reserve: In 1993
At independence Bandhavgarh remained the private property of the Maharaja until he gave it to the state for the formation of the National Park in 1968. After the park was created poaching was brought under control and the number of animals rose dramatically. Small dams and water holes were built to solve the problem of water shortage. Grazing by local cattle was stopped and the village within the park boundaries was relocated. The Tigers in particular prospered and the 1986 extension provided much needed forest to accommodate them.
The fort still belongs to the Maharaja of Rewa and permission is required to visit it. However permission is available locally and no trip to Bandhavgarh is complete without making an effort to climb up the fort.
WITHIN THE PARK
Bandhavgarh is justifiably famous for its Tigers, but it has a wide range of other game. The undergrowth is not as dense as in some northern terai forests, but the best time to see the park inhabitants is still the summer months when water becomes scarcer and the undergrowth dies back. The most effective way to search for Tigers is on elephant back. It's advisable to book your elephant in advance and to wear plenty of warm clothing if going for an early morning ride in winter. The mahouts are kept well informed of the whereabouts of the nearest Tigers.
However there are many tigers in the park and the elephants are able to take you up steep, rocky hillsides and down marshy riverbeds, which are impassable to vehicles. There are several good weather roads in the park. Jeeps are definitely recommended over other vehicles and can be hired from the Tiger's Den resort. A forest guide must accompany all visitors into the park. Entry in to the park is allowed only during daylight hours. For both elephants and jeep rides the hours immediately after dawn and before sunset are best. Chinkara, still rather shy, can be sighted on the grassland areas of the park, particularly on the formerly cultivated land in the southern extension area, on the edges of the main viewing area. Also to be seen in the grasslands are nilgai, chausingha, and sounders of wild boar, as well as the occasional jackal or fox. Muntjac and sambhar prefer denser vegetation.
The nights in Bandhavgarh are an enigma- the twigs of the bonfire crackling in the resort lawn, combined with the calling of the jackal, the silhouettes of the trees against a starlit sky and perhaps, a distant rumbling roar deep in the heart of the forest.
Best time to visit: This place is fit to be visited through out the year.
How to get there?
Air: Nearest airport from the park is Khajuraho.
Rail: Nearest railway station is Umaria after Katani railway station, from there it is about 40 minutes drive.
Road: Bandhavgarh national park is well connected with all the major cities in India.
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