Location : Madhya Pradesh, India
Nearest city : Katni
Coordinates : 23°41′58″N 80°57′43″E
Area : 446 square kilometres (172 sq mi)
Established : 1968
Governed By : Madhya Pradesh Forest Department
Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the most popular national parks in India and is located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. The park derives its name from the most prominent hillock of the area, which is said to be given by Hindu Lord Rama to his brother Lakshmana to keep a watch on Lanka. Hence the name Bandhavgarh (Sanskrit: Brother's Fort).
The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. The park has a large breeding population of leopards, and various species of deer.
Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa captured the first white tiger in this region in 1951. This white tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is located in Umaria District of Madhya Pradesh State in India. Madhya Pradesh lies in Central of India and is also known as heart of India. Geographically Tiger Reserve forest is spread over Vindhya ranges that spread through Central India.Waterfalls in Vindhya ranges are scenic & popular for its evergreen nature. Vindhay & Satpura ranges are two important forest belts of Central India sheltering a major share of Indian Tiger's population.
Ken River Lodge in Panna Tiger Reserve
Fondly called the Tree House by locals, because of its lovely Machaan restaurant overlooking the Ken River, it is the finest place to get lost from the world. It is spread in sprawling jungle of 40 acres along the Ken River and offers a unique opportunity to laze with the crocodiles, roar with the tigers and soar with the birds. It offers a unique blend of traditional royal hospitality and comfortable country living. Panna National Park spread over 542 sq. km is India's 22nd Tiger Reserve. It offers great opportunity to view animals like Tiger, Sloth Bear, Cheetal, Sambhar and Nilgai. Panna is also home to crocodiles and over 300 species of birds.
Tree House Hideway
Resort made in the 21 acres area of land over 5 big trees, The property boasts of its resident species of birds, reptiles and animals residing around the forest trees and over time the area has now become a small secure park for them. You Stay over the cabins on the trees and can spend your time unseen and undisturbed. All Tree houses have been made by local staff using Local craft knowledge and traditional expertise to allow blending harmoniously with nature. Dining halls, bars, etc all are built on Trees.
Samode Safari Lodge Bandhavgarh National Park tour - 15 reasons to Stay in Samode Resort
Important Notes :- Spotting the tiger is not always easy as the parks have rangers walking around or riding bikes around the tracks. Tigers are fearful of humans on foot and jump back into the thicket. However when it is very hot, you have great opportunities of finding them in the cooler waters of the many waterholes.
Day 01: Panna National Park
Arrive Ken River Lodge for lunch. Evening Boat Ride from the lodge on Ken River and overnight stay at the lodge.
Day 02: Panna National Park Jeep Safari & Khajuraho Visit
Morning Jeep Safari in Panna Tiger Reserve. Post lunch - half day Khajuraho visit for Temple Tour followed by light & sound show.
Overnight stay at Ken River Lodge.
Day 03: Panna National Park - Jeep Safari
Morning and Evening Jeep safari in the Tiger reserve.
Overnight stay at Ken River Lodge.
Day 04: Panna - Bandhavgarh
Morning Jeep Safari in the Tiger reserve, after breakfast drive 5 hours to Bandhavgarh- 250 KM. Packed lunch will be provided for the journey. Dinner and over night at Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh.
Day 05: Bandhavgarh National park Safari
Morning and Evening Jeep safari in Bandhavgarh Tiger reserve. Overnight stay at Kings Lodge.
Day 06: Bandhavgarh National park Safari
Morning and Evening Jeep safari in the Tiger reserve. Overnight stay at lodge.
Day 07: Bandhavgarh National park safari
Post breakfast, transfer for further connections.
Bandhavgarh National Park is spread on Vindhya Ranges of Central India and it well connected with many cities and tourist destinations like:
From Umaria: It is the nearest largest town connected by road, train and charter planes. Park is just 37kms/45mins from Umaria town.
From Jabalpur: Bandhavgarh is about 190kms from Jabalpur city. Their are 03 different ways to reach Bandhavgarh from Jabalpur i.e via Katni, via Sleemanabad and via Shahpura tribal town. Jabalpur have connectivity with Delhi & Mumbai by Flight and train connectivity with major cities like Agra, Jaipur, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata etc.
From Katni: This city is important railway junction and is about 100kms/02:30hrs from Bandhavgarh. One can travel by road from Katni to Bandhavgarh via Umaria or Barhi town.
From Khajuraho: It is at a distance of 250kms/05:00hrs is also well connected by road to Bandhavgarh.
Though Bandhavgarh do not have the airport facility for main stream Flights but Jabalpur city which is the nearest city to Bandhavgarh has good air connectivity with major cities of India. Private charters can land near to Bandhavgarh National Park, Umaria district is having small air-strip facility for charter planes.
Jabalpur Airport (210kms/04:30hrs) have 2 direct flights for Delhi and Mumbai. It is the best option for reaching Bandhavgarh National Park as it connected with 02 important cities: Delhi & Mumbai . In between these three flight options, AirIndia flight is operating in 4 days (including Sunday) in a week whereas SpiceJet flight is operating daily basis.
Similarly, one can enjoy flights for Delhi from Khajuraho Airport also which is about 250kms / 05:00hrs from Bandhavgarh India.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve remains open from October to June months for visitors.
In first two months, after opening of park, i.e. during October and November, climate remains pleasant as after monsoon departure, we can find greenery everywhere in the forest area with plenty of water-holes. Winter season lasts for 3-months in Bandhavgarh, December – January – February.
In the months of February and March, flowers in Flame of Forest tree make the jungle more photogenic and attract birds around them, sloth bears to come out more frequently. With the presence of Mahua (Madhuca longifolia), the fruit of Indian Butter Tree attracts most of the herbivores and omnivores animals of Bandhavgarh forest. Sambars, Blue-bull, Sloth Bear, Spotted deer, Languar monkeys can be seen more often in open.
During this time, domestic tourism falls down due to examinations in schools so accommodation availability will not pose any problem from domestic tourism side.
March & April (first half) are the Spring seasons but day time temperature will make you feel hot as temperature will start reaching 40 degree Celsius in day time.
In monsoon, i.e. in the months of July – August – September, Bandhavgarh Park remains closed for visitors.
If you are interested in migratory bird watching, then from October to January months will be more suitable for you. Temperature will remain below 30 degree Celsius. During this time we can enjoy greenery of forest, plenty of water sources and birds around them.
Similarly, tigers can also be seen best in Janauary, February & March Months as water sources remain alive and grasslands will ease the availability of prey in those areas. You can find even distribution of tigers and other animals during this time.
During this time temperature will remain below 25 degree Celsius which makes the weather cool and pleasant so safari will be problem.
Months of April – May – June are considered the best time to do wildlife photography and tiger photography. During this time, we can expect unusual photography of tigers as heat causes animals to remain close to water sources. Limited water sources will enable you to predict the animal location more accurately.
During this time Tala Zone have good number of water sources and the area have hills of sand-stone that retain water from long time and also felt cool during day time so tiger sighting chances in Tala Zone are far better than any other tourist zones of Bandhavgarh National Park.
Close to water source, you may be lucky enough to find unusual photographs of tiger making kill or resting in water etc. Sighting of Tigress with cubs can be possible in early morning hours and just before sunset as tiger mating mostly take place Similarly, birds can also be seen close to water sources. Spotted deer herds under Indian Butter Tree are the most commons scenes of forest.
Due to dryness in trees, fall of leaves in Sal trees and disappearance of bushes causes more penetration capacity to watch distant animals also.
For Bird watchers, Khitauli Zone is considered good as here water sources at Bamera Dam, Khitauli reservoir offers scope for birding around them.
Sita tigress was most photographed tigress in the world. She had a life span of 17 years which is considered as longer the average age of tigers. In his lifespan she manage to raise 6 litters.
She had two litters from Banka, the dominant male before Charger.Her third litter was from her mating with Charger in which she delivered two male cubs. In between them, one by larger in size and known by the name of Bara Bachha and second one had slight limp in his hind leg and known by the name of Langur.
Bara Bachha made his territory around Ghora Demon and Langru chose to stay with Charger & Sita. Here noticeable thing is that, Charger accepted his 4 year old lame son, denying the logic that dominant males drive away their own grownup male cubs.
In March month of 1994, Sita delivered her ill-fated fourth litter in which one cub was blind since birth and died after some time. Sita was so much distressed and disturbed by his death that for few days she wandered everywhere in search of her cub by calling her. During that period park authorities closed her area for tourists. Her another female cub later known by the name of Mohini as she was very good looking. Charger had habit of snatching the kills made by Sita but she never mind and always pleased to see Charger. In September 1996, Sita produced her fifth litter comprising one male and two females. In order to feed them properly, Sita often started trespassing in to other’s territory. She made kills in other’s domain and drag them into her territory.
In the year 1996, Sita was 15 years old which is considered as old-age of tigers, bud she seems absolutely fit. Upto this age, she has produced 6 litters and seems fit to deliver 7th litter also. Parks closed down in month of July for next 3 months. When month of October arrived in year 1996 and parks was ready for next safari season, tiger tracking geared up. During tracking nobody could trace Sita and a peculiar silence or depression was spread in atmosphere. No trace of beloved tigress Sita ignited huge controversies in media and pressure was mounted in Forest department to investigate the missing of Sita. Strange rumors began to spread about her dis-appearance like she was shot three times in Barua Nala and died behind the rest house in terrible agony. Some blamed it a handiwork of poachers spread in local villages. Local people and Forest Department was shocked with the disappearance of Sita.
Their daughter Mohini, son Langru and B2 also maintained their tradition for frequent sighting and moving close to tourist jeeps.
Mohini :- Mohini, became prominent following Sita's death. She mated with Mahamn Tiger. She later died of her wounds from the vehicle accident.Mohini died of serious wounds to her body
B2 Tiger :- After the death of Charger, the fully grown B2 survived as the dominant male in the forest between 2004 and 2007. He also became the strongest tiger in the world. Mating with a female in the Siddhubaba region of Bandhavgarh, he became a father of three cubs.
Bamera Tiger :- Bamera is one of the male cub of B2. He was first sighted in 2008 and is now Bandhavgarh's dominant male. Bamera now has territory in all the four zones of the park. The females are Kankatti and Panpatti who both have three and two cubs respectively.
Bandhavgarh has the highest density of Bengal tigers known in the world, and is home to some famous named individual tigers as below:-
Charger ( Died in 2000) :- an animal so named because of his habit of charging at elephants and tourists (whom he nonetheless did not harm), was the first healthy male known to be living in Bandhavgarh since the 1990s.Charger died in 2000 and his body was buried at Charger Point where he was kept in a closed region at his old age.
Charger earned his name through his unusually aggressive disposition towards tourist safari jeeps and elephants. He terrorized many visitors, jeep drivers, mahaouts on countless times.
Charger and Sita were very compassionate for each other. Charger often share the kills of Sita and in return defends his territory form outsider males.
At the age of 16 in year 1996, Charger lost his longtime companion Sita and his real ordeal began after it. Sita’s departure lead to a tragic turning point in life of Charger. He was hungry most of the time and survived through scavenging.
He wandered in search of dead animals. Old age made Charger to restrict his movement as new generation of Tigers: B1, B2 & B3 were claiming their dominance in the area. Restricted movement leads to his increased sighting in a particular region of Barua Nala. Charger could not restrict himself long in a limited territory and ventured into Rajbehra and had a conflict with B1 and both face injuries.
In June 2000, Charger was engaged in a conflict with strong B2 tiger. In this decisive battle with B2 Tiger, in which B2 wrote the last deciding page of Charger’s grand saga. A week later, Charger was found half dead, lying in a ditch close to Mardari village. To avoid any controversies and danger to villagers, the forest department drove the Charger into a cage and put him inside a chain-link enclosure at Chirhadhar. A veterinary doctor attended his wounds and Charger seemed to improve in health. Since then Charger remained in enclosure. Charger was often seen walking along the fence as he wished to roam independently in to the area once ruled by him. He felt loneliness and uncomfortable in enclosure as he spent most of the time of his life in a royal style by ruling the jungle where he was now reduced to a enclosure.
It was ungrateful day of 29th September, 2000, when Charger passed away leaving his name in history. A memorial was made in a place where his body was disposed off and was known by the name of ‘Charger Point’. We can visit Charger’s Point during safari in Magadhi zone (Gate - 2). Charger lived comparatively long life and was exceptional dominant male in Bandhavgarh National Park.
Sita (Disappeared in 1996) :-
A female known as Sita, who once appeared on the cover of National Geographic and is considered the most photographed tiger in the world was also to be found in Bandhavgarh for many years. Almost all the tigers of Bandhavgarh today are descendants of Sita and Charger.Sita was beleived to be killed by poachers.
About Bandhavgarh Fort
Bandhavgarh Fort was constructed around 2000 years back, and there are references to it in the ancient books, the “Narad-Panch Ratra” and the “Shiva Purana”. Various dynasties have ruled the fort; including the Mauryans from the 3rd century BC, Vakataka rulers from the 3rd to the 5th century the Sengars from the 5th century and the Kalachuris from the 10th century. In the 13th century, the Baghels took over, ruling from Bandhavgarh until 1617, when Maharaja Vikramaditya Singh moved his capital to Rewa. The last inhabitants deserted the fort in 1935.
Mysterious Caves in Bandhavgarh Fort
The history of the region can be traced back to the 1st century. There are 39 caves in the Bandhavgarh fort and in the surrounding hillocks up to a radius of about 5 km. The oldest cave dates from the 1st century. Several caves carry inscriptions in Brahmi script. Some caves have embossed figures such as tigers, pigs, elephants, and horsemen. Badi gufa, the largest cave, has a broad entrance, nine small rooms and several pillars. It has been dated back to the 10th century. The cave appears to be primitive, lacking the elaborate statues and carvings seen in the caves of the Buddhist period. Its purpose remains a mystery.