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Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

© Vivek Sharma

© Anish Andheria

© Anish Andheria

© Anish Andheria

Bandhavgarh Tigress © Vikram Singh Bal

Bandhavgarh tigress © Soumyajit Nandy

© Mihir Mahajan - Sanctuary Photo Library

© Kim Sullivan

Sloth bear and cub © Soo & Roger Jackson

© Kay Tiwari

Bandhavgarh National Park India © Satyendra Tiwari

Bandhavgarh - Vijaya tigress © Imtiaz Khan

© Vivek Sharma

Bandhavgarh © Tajsafaris

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

It is hard to imagine as you drive through these forests that this area was originally home to powerful kings and maharajas residing in the large hilltop fort; its meadows were rich agricultural lands tended by farmers and Buddhist monks; and sadhus occupied an extensive cave system in 100 BC. Bandhav-garh means ‘fort of the brother’ and is belived to have been gifted by Lord Ram to his brother Lakshman. In the twelfth century, the fort was given in dowry to the Baghela clan, of which the present Maharaja of Rewa is a direct descendent. After almost continuous occupation, the capital of the Baghelas was moved to Rewa by the nineteenth century and the forests became the hunting reserve of the Maharaja and his guests. Gulab Singh of Rewa shot 480 tigers across his kingdom. By 1968, all the animals in the park had been hunted out and on the day the present Maharaja’s late father gifted the forests to the State, there were no quadrupeds left in the park. Soon after, the... forests were declared a National Park and later a Tiger Reserve.  The park was extended in 1986 and today it covers 1,161 square kilometres, including the buffer areas, in which village communities exist. Famed over the years for its charismatic male and female tigers that are well documented, it today has over 90 individuals residing within its forests. The park is divided into three separate tourism zones - Tala, Magdhi and Khitauli.
Game drives in small jeeps are usual and there are some viewing hides. An elephant safari is also possible with separate permission and payment, though not guaranteed. A visit to the hilltop fortress in the Tala zone is a treat; stop by at some of the remarkable handmade caves and visit an imposing ten-metre long statue of Lord Vishnu, carved in the tenth century. In Magdhi stop and enjoy the scenic meadow.
This is not simply a reserve with a high density of tigers and cubs. Keep an eye out for long- billed vultures that circle around the hill fort, dragonflies around watery meadows, chital herds around the pools, sloth bears and the Malabar pied hornbills whose shriek is instantly recognisable. The great forests of sal hardwood trees and ever-changing greens, browns and yellows of the deciduous crocodile bark and tendu trees or clumps of bamboo hide many treasures against the stunning backdrop of the sheer sandstone cliffs of the ancient Vindhya range. This is a park with much to offer the seasoned nature traveller and the first timer.
Walking trails have been set up in Panpatha zone bordering the park taking in some village trails. Shop in Tala village where some small local souvenirs and curios can be had. Short or longer bike trails take in pretty rural village communities like Rancha that will introduce you to rural life and agriculture pressing close to park boundaries.
Bandhavgarh faces many issues, including illegal deforestation on its borders, wildlife conflict with farmers, a bush meat trade that is affecting prey species like wild pig and spotted deer populations, and poor planning and development that hampers efforts at protection. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at admin@toftindia.org   and consider helping with funding or support: Bandhavgarh Foundation The Corbett Foundation

Destination Information

How To Book

Tour operators or lodges can help book park visits or go online . Book at least four months in advance.

Park Timings

The Park is open for visitors for c.4.5 hours after sunrise and c.2.5 hours in the afternoon before sunset. Please check park opening times with the gate as they vary slightly between summer and winter months depending on sunrise and sunset. The Park is closed every Wednesday afternoon and from 1st July to 30th September every year.

Getting Around the Park

Jeeps called ‘gypsies’ that carry 4 to 6 people are available. Book through operator, lodge or at the gate. It comes with a driver and Park guide. No self-drive vehicles are allowed. Morning and evening safaris are priced between R 726 (per person cost when vehicle is full) and R 4,360 (per vehicle cost).

Entry Fees

R 1,500 per vehicle that can accommodate six persons. Children under 5 are free.
By Air: Jabalpur (180 km) and Khajuraho (210 km). Transport can be hired from these airports to drive to the park. By Rail / Road: Jabalpur (180 km), Katni (95 km), Satna (112 km) and Umaria (35 km) are the nearest railway stations. Transport can be hired to drive to the park .
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Other Destinations To Combine

Pench Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

Since 1992 Pench has been included under the umbrella of Project Tiger as the 19th Project

Kanha Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

Kanha is considered by some as the India’s greatest park, an excellent habitat for many mammals

Travel Here with the Best Travel Companies & Agents

Plan you Indian holiday, Nepal adventure, or Bhutan visit using one of a large number of the world’s best known travel companies, or Indian based agents to put your very own itinerary together. Every travel company here has committed to drive their own sustainable travel practices, seek PUG certified accommodation providers wherever possible and support our conservation efforts.

Now you can enjoy a flawless and carefree travel itinerary to many of Indian subcontinent’s greatest wilderness destinations and combine this with its rich cultural and historic heritage.


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