Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Madhya PradeshIt 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.
How To Book
Tour operators or lodges can help book park visits or go online . Book at least four months in advance.
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).
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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