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.

Park timing

Winter: Morning: 6.45 am to 12.15 pm | Evening: 2.30 pm to 5.00 pm
Summer: Morning: 6.30 am to 12.00 pm | Evening: 3 pm to 6.15 pm

Present prices for safaris

For Tala zone: INR 4,200* (US$ 69.5) for Indian Nationals | INR 5,600* (US$ 92.5) for Foreign Nationals
For Magadhi and Khitauli zone: INR 3200* (US$ 53) for India Nationals | INR4,600* (US$ 76) for Foreign Nationals

*(Including Gypsy, park entry fees and guide fees)

How to book jeep safaris:

http://www.mponline.gov.in/forest

Any restrictions and rules:

Non commercial: No fees
Commercial: Photography and videography - INR 30,000 (US$ 496) per person per day.

Latest information on tourism zones:

Tala zone carrying capacity: 16 vehicles
Magadhi zone carrying capacity: 16 vehicles
Khitauli zone carrying capacity: 13 vehicles

Any new activities allowed:

Swimming and fishing at Chechpur falls near village Parasi
Ketkiya water body is good for bird watching, especially flycatchers

IN THE FIELD UPDATE

April 2016

Bandhavgarh Update

Bandhavgarh’s recent king, the tiger Bhamera, was dethroned last season and now languished behind fencing but there is an emergence of contenders to the throne. There are three strong candidates for the role — the Mahaman Male (so called because of the area where he was first sighted) in the Magdhi zone; Bheem (whose size caused a comparison with the Pandava prince of the same name) in Khituali, Magdhi and Tala zones and the Bhagoda Male (whose name, meaning ‘runner’, makes sense given the animal’s penchant for disappearing when he spots a vehicle).

The absence of a dominant male has made tiger sightings very unpredictable, as tigresses are very security conscious and hide cubs, especially in Tala and Magdhi zones. Spotty and Dotty (Sukhi Patia’s cubs), the Rajbhera female with four 12 month old cubs, and Sukhi Patia with three new cubs have been wooing visitors, while Jaya has been languishing outside tourism routes.

  • Photography permits. 5 permits are allowed per day. Though the permit is given zone wise, the guests can change the zone any time during the day. Only condition is that the entry and exit of the vehicle should be from the allocated zone. the guests can come out of the park any time and enter again.

  • The process of booking joy ride on the elephant back has been made more systematic. For this, elephants are now available at 4 different camps across 3 zones.

  • The road network in Tala, Magadhi and Khitauli zones has been revised to include few old time favourites; they have also provided alternate roads to avoid congestion. The route system Tala has been partially discontinued. Every vehicles is allocated a route at the time of entry which ends at the centre point; and from then on, the guest can go to any route. There is no time limit for reaching the centre point.

  • Three buffer zones around the core zone have been opened for tourism. The road network in buffer zones has been selected to facilitate good wildlife viewing.

The park has been very short of water, with poor monsoon rains and very hot weather throughout the season, and a shortage of prey species is worrying going forward. The online booking system is a real source of concern because it continually shows the park being full, yet many unused tickets remain at the gate each morning. Outside of busy Indian holiday periods tickets are often available for game drives at the gate.

Lodge News

Kings Lodge & Tree House Hideaway (Quality PUG Eco Rating)

Bandhavgarh UpdateThese remain two lodges with dependable quality guides, quality staff, offering genuine safari atmosphere and experiences. To further their conservation efforts, both these Pugdundee Safaris properties have stopped the use of bottled water to prevent littering caused by plastic bottles. Guests are gifted with a stainless steel bottle at arrival. Refuelling stations are available to fill these bottles, which can be washed and re-used. Contact Mr. Manav Khanduja at enquiry@pugdundeesafaris.com

Skays camp (Quality PUG Eco rating)

Bandhavgarh UpdateIf you clients are real nature buffs on a budget, and want a genuine insight into Bandhavgrah, local residents Kay and Satyendra Tiwari (Kay is English) are ‘old timers’ of Bandhavgrah, lived through the ups and down of the park and know their tigers and every other creepy crawly intimately, having charted and even painted their histories and stories for over 25 years. Their homestay is good value, simple and rustic yet ideal for those looking for authentic experiences with local hosts. Contact Kay Tiwari skayscamp@gmail.com

Mahua Kothi (Outstanding PUG eco rating)

Bandhavgarh UpdateMahua Kothi of Tajsafaris have launched their Mowgli Trails – to highlight the release of the Jungle Book film. It comprises four pillars as part of a short or long trail package, and includes the Jungle experience, the stay in the lodge experience, a culinary experience and a local community experience, so you can meet the real Mowgli’s, who live besides their own Sher Khan’s every day.
For full details and rates contact reservations@tajhotels.com

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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