Located between Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges, Bandhavgarh is a world renowned forest, and one of the best reserves to see and photograph the Royal Bengal Tiger. Many photographers and filmmakers consider this place as the ‘first choice’ for their projects !
It is this very place where the first ever ‘White Tiger’ in the wild was reported in the year 1951.
Till 1968 Bandhavgarh was the private hunting place for theMaharaja of Rewa, which was later categorised as National Park and also included in the Project Tiger.
This beautiful Sal dominated deciduous forest gets its name because of the ‘Bandhavgarh’ fort located right in the heart of this jungle. Based on the references in ancient literature and scripting in ‘Narad Panchratna’ and ‘Shiv Samhitapuran’, this fort was gifted by Lord Rama to his younger brother Lakshman. The fort itself is the highest point in this jungle and supports a diversity of life. The vertical cliffs of Bandhavgarh hill serve as an ideal habitat for vultures to roost and nest. The dense forest at the base of this fort has the origin of one of the many important perennial streams in this jungle. As this stream originates right next to a huge statue of ‘Sleeping Vishnu’ or ‘Shesh-shaiya’, it is known as ‘Charan-Ganga’.
Apart from Bandhavgarh hill and other smaller hillocks, the forest is a combination of a variety of landscapes like the strands of Sal, patches of Bamboo, vast grasslands, undulating terrain, rocky outcrops and last but not the least – many perennial streams ! All these things make Bandhavgarh an ideal habitat for the Tigers. The canvas on which one gets to see any animal at Bandhavgarh makes it look absolutely scenic !
Bandhavgarh gained more popularity when the photograph of a tigress fondly known as ‘Sita’ was published on the cover page of ‘National Geographic’ magazine. Many other bold and beautiful tigers like Charger, B-2, Bokha, Mohini, Chakradhara female, Bamera male, Banvehi female, Rajbehra female, Mahaman female, Bheem etc. made sure that the nature lovers and photographers visiting Bandhavgarh never returned empty handed (without sighting a Tiger) and the tradition still continues today !
Since the year 2019-20, a few herds of Wild Elephants have made Bandhavgarh their home. The herds seem to have settled down into Bandhavgarh and are sometimes seen venturing into the tourism zones as well !
Including the core and buffer zones Bandhavgarh is spread about 1500 sq km. This jungle is a home to about 30 species of mammals and more than 200 species of birds !
How to reach –
- By air – Jabalpur (170 km from Bandhavgarh) and Prayagraj (280 km from Bandhavgarh) are the nearest airports.
- By rail – Umaria is the nearest railway station (35 km from Bandhavgarh). But connections wise Katni Junction (100 km from Bandhavgarh) has more options.