Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Bandhavgarh is set amongst the Vindya Hills of Madhya Pradesh and consists of a core area of 105 sq km and a buffer area of approximately 400 sq km. The setting for this park is impressive; the ruins of the ancient fort, from which this park derives its name, provide a stunning backdrop. Also scattered around the park are archaeological remains of the Kalchin period and numerous prehistoric caves.

The Maharaja of Rewa was the last occupier of the fort and managed the surrounding forest to increase his chances of a good hunt. The surrounding area was given national park status in 1968 and during the following years has developed into one of India's finest tiger reserves.

In addition to the high density of tigers in the tourism zone of Tala, it is also possible to see sloth bear, dhole (wild dog), leopard chousingha (small four-horned antelope), chital, nilgai, Rheses macaque and the occasional wolf.

The bird life is also abundant (over 150 species); one can see Paradise fly catchers, Golden-and Black-headed orioles, Purple sunbirds and Red-vented bulbuls.

IN THE FIELD UPDATE

Mar 2012 - Tiger sightings have been far fewer this year, as a whole new generation of Tigers have moved into the tourism zones. They are breeding, but are also very elusive with their young cubs. Next season however will be exciting with lots of youngsters around in both Tala and Magdhi and now in the Khitauli range also. Sadly B2, the dominant and famous male, died in November. His legacy lives on - he was voted by BBC Wildlife Magazine in Feb 2012, as ‘An Animal that Changed the world’, proving that wildlife is worth more alive than dead. As TOFT, we can take some credit for highlighting this when we gave B2 a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2009.

Since December the Park has started a Tiger show again. Also, there were quite a few sightings of Sloth Bear in the Tala Zone.

Park notes

The Tala zone is declared a Premium Zone so the entry fee per trip for an Indian Tourist is now Rs 2030 and for foreigners it is Rs 4030 (US$82) per person per visit, which is very expensive. The Magdhi and Khitauli zones are cheaper to visit.

There is a walking charge for the fort area over and above the Tala zone entry. Tourists have to pay Rs1000 per person for foreigners and Rs 200 for Indians. Only four vehicles are allowed to visit the Fort per day, so book early. Tourists should be able to walk from the Vishnu statue at the bottom of the hill, so need to be reasonably fit.

There is also a new Walking trail you can book in the Panpatta range. Take a TOFT trained guide and enjoy a lovely walk in tiger forest here – maybe on a Wednesday when no park visits are allowed.


Feb 2011 - Today in the Tala tourism zone we have extraordinary high numbers of tigers, reckoned to be 30 in its 109 sq kms range – or one in every 3.5sq kms. Visitors are often seeing a number on any single game drive. No young cubs, but a number of females with sub adults. Sloth bear are quite common too, and recently 19 gaur (bison or wild cows) were moved from Kanha and penned in the area, to be released soon. However, this tiger density is not necessarily good news, as prey species are reckoned to be down considerably and TOFT sources say 60% of tigers now exist on cattle kills, which is worrying. The recently constructed fence is now coming down to see if this helps tiger dispersal.


TOFT Members please note: Please ensure your lodge is using TOFT trained guides and jeep drivers with a good driving record in the park. (Many are not obeying driver etiquette rules - with reports of some being regularly drunk!).

This park is also getting heavy tourism numbers. Please report any poor practices or bad driving to us on admin@toftindia.org and we will pursue it with the relevant authorities.

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