Introduction to Bandhavgarh
Bandhavgarh National Park is spread all over the Vindhya mountains in Central India. The area of Bandhavgarh National Park lies in Umaria Forest Division of the state Madhya Pradesh. The national park is located in the eastern region of the state.
The forest covering an area of Bandhavgarh National Park segments into the core buffer zones where the core area is declared as 105 square kilometres and the buffer area is approximately 400 square kilometres. The area was previously ruled by the Baghel rulers and Kalchuri rulers once. It is one of the most famous and highly visited national parks in Madhya Pradesh after Kanha National Park.
The first white tiger of the country was found in Bandhavgarh National Park. Bandhavgarh has an ancient history. The fort located at the hilltop goes back to the 3rd century when Magh rulers were the leaders here. The Bandhavgarh National Park lies in the middle of open meadows, forest, and steep ridges. The number of tigers found in the Bandhavgarh National Park is considered to be the highest in India.
Safaris in Bandhavgarh National Park
The main adventure in Bandhavgarh National Park begins with a jungle safari drive. Safaris involve an open jeep with a guide to keep you informed about the locations. The tickets for safari are always sold out in advance. Bandhavgarh National Park offers two types of safaris to choose from- a jeep safari, and elephant safari. Most of the times, elephant safaris are very pricey and not easily available to the tourists.
Thus, jeep safaris remain highly popular. Jeep safaris rides come in two modes- Single seat safari mode and full-jeep safari mode. Easy to understand by the names, single-seat safari involves you seating a single seat in a jeep and you are most likely to be accompanied by the other tourists. In full jeep safari, you book the whole jeep to yourself with a guide and a driver. It is relatively expensive than the single-seat safaris. However, you are not permitted to go for a safari without a guide in any mode or type of safari. The three safari zones in Bandhavgarh National Park are Khitauli zone, Magadhi zone, and Tala zone.
Tiger: The Supreme Predator
World famous white tiger was first found in Bandhavgarh National Park. The various famous tigers found in Bandhavgarh National Park are Marchaini, Sukhipatia, Dotty Krishna, Rajbhera, Kankati, Chandini, Bamera, and Bheema. The Tigers are mostly identified by the territory they live in and not by the stripes on their body. There are more than 60 tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park at present. Only 20% of the total core area is open and available for tourism purposes.
Co-Predator and Other Animals
Leopards, Jungle Cat, Striped Hyena, Grey Mongoose, ratel, Sloth Bear, Bengal fox, the Asiatic Jackal, Chinkara, Chausinga, Gaur, Wild Boar, Nilgai, Barking Deer and Sambar are some of the prominent faunas found in the Bandhavgarh National Park. Along with these animals, other animals and birds found in the Bandhavgarh National Park are Indian rollers, parakeet, dove, red jungle fowl, common peafowl, Egyptian vulture, black vulture, crested serpent eagle, black kite, sarus crane, egret, palm squirrel and wild pig. Some reptiles found here are python, ratsnake, viper, krait, and cobra.
The safari routes here are designed in such a way that no one experience rush at a particular spot.
Zones in Bandhavgarh National Park
The most popular zone in Bandhavgarh National Park is the Tala zone. The safari routes named A, B, C, D, E are there under Tala Zone. The Bandhavgarh fort safari is also included in the Tala zone. The routes are always decided at the entrance of the park by the forest department officials. Tourists can request for a specific route of safari but the ultimate decision is taken by the forest department only.
Some of the attractions of tala zone are bamania hill, bhitari hide, banbehi hide, Rampur hillock, Ghoda-demon, vulture nests, three cave point, Bandhavgarh fort, bhitari wah, ketkiha, Gopalpur pond, sita mandap, shesh shaiya, badi gufa, andhiyari jhiriya, chakradhara hide, chakradhara and sidhha baba.
The Magadhi zone is another popular zone of the Bandhavgarh National Park. It is approximately 8 kilometers far from the Tala village and is accessible by the road. It also shares the boundary with Tala zone. The main tiger of this zone is Bokha and the charger point is also located in the Magadhi zone. The safari routes of this zone are E, F, G, H.
The number of tickets offered for the visitors who wish to go for the Magadhi zone is 66. Some of the attractions of the Magadhi zone are Dhaua Tower, Baherha, Dinosaur Rock, Dabhadol Tank, Patiha Camp, Kerhawah, Sookhi Dam, Sookhi Talab, Suwari Wah, Sehra Dara, Badbada, Climber’s Point, Mahaman Pond, Bhadrashila Hide, Rajbehra, and Charger Point.
The Khitauli zone comes under the range of a core zone and is quite popular. This zone never ceases to disappoint when the visitors want to catch a glimpse of the leopard, blue bull, sloth bear and bird watching. The safari route ‘I’ of Bandhavgarh National Park comes under the Khitauli zone. It is also the least visited zone by the tourists, and the tickets are always available easily.
Some of the attractions of the Khitauli zone are Chhulaha Camp, Charkha Dongri, Marjadgarh Tower, Tedka Munara, Nigai Nala, Garhpuri Dam, Kumbhi Kacchar, and Umrar River.
How to Reach
Air: The Jabalpur Airport is the closest airport to the park at a distance of 210 km.
Train: Bandhavgarh does not have a railway station. Railway Stations in Umaria (32 KMS), Jabalpur (170 kms), Katni (102 kms) and Satna (112 kms) are the closest to the park.
Road: Both state and private buses ply between Bandhavgarh and nearby cities.