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. Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968, with an area of 105 km2. The buffer is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals 820 km2.
Bandhavgarh is located 100 km from Katni and 190 km from Jabalpur city. Both routes are covered with green jungle and you will see monkeys between Umaria to Bandhavagargh.
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.
How to Reach Bandhavgarh by Road: 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.
How to Reach Bandhavgarh by Air: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.
Spotting Tiger in Bandhavgarh - Tala Zone
While in Bandhavgarh, There is no point in staying in hotel, All you need to do is Jungle Safari, 2 times a day. There are two Safaries in Bandhavgarh - Morning Safari starts at sunrise and concludes at 10:30 AM, followed by afternoon safari which starts at 2:30Pm and concludes at 5:30 PM. Every Safari trip brings out new discovery, vistas, Gandeur of Bandhavgarh. Both safari's are must to be done because it has highest tiger density.
Morning Safari starts at 6:30 AM, but you need to get up early and leave by 6:00 AM. It can be quite cold even in summer, however blankets are provided by the resort staff.
In tala zone one more plus point for guest is to visit Bandhavgarh Fort, it is a place where Sri Ram ji took rest while return from Sri Lanka. Here you will find big statue of Shiv Ji which fulfill the deficiency if you dont spot the tiger.
Jungle is just fresh after the drama of the night. The advantage is easily identifiable pub marks which are undisturbed in the morning. More over in summer, All animals want to utilize the morning fresh weather before the harsh sun and tend to be out to graze. You will witness Bandhavagrh famous swamp deer, Spotted deer, Langurs, Gaur, Peacocks, Jackals etc. Tiger spotting is a bonus reward, which can happen any time.
Usually Jeeps are driven by the resort staff & one forest staff also joins the Jeep. Jeep can accommodate max 6 visitors & there are two front facing seats.
Driver and Forest Guide work in close harmony with each other, listening to calls of spotted deer, Jungle Cock, Most importantly Langurs, who make distinct distress calls on seeing a tiger, By following these calls, Tiger spotting is sometimes possible, other visible clues to tiger spotting is pug marks, feedback from rangers, and local knowledge of the terrain.
It is seen in Bandhavagarh National Park that Guide and Driver of the Gypsy go out of the way in helping spotting a tiger, it is a good initiative to boost tourism in Tala/Tala Zone.
It should be noted that it is not guaranteed to see Tiger every time you go on safari, we have seen sometimes you need to do 6-7 safaris, then you see the king of the jungle..
Even if you do not see the Tiger, The very feel and pulse of the Bandhavagarh terrain is enough to give you enough thrill each time. so do not get emotional if you do not see a tiger each time.
Costs of full family jeep booking in Bandhavagarh is approx Rs.5,500/- and photo I card is a must to book the tickets online.
There are many good reasons that you will spot Tiger in Magadhi zone, This area has approx 40 tigers, there are good chances for seeing tiger.
Spotting Tiger in Bandhavagrh - Magadhi Zone
Bandhavgarh has 3 zones, Magadhi zone is very important as chances of tiger viewing due to small area of Jungle compare to Tala zone.
Spotting Tiger in Magadhi Zone is also higher due to large density of Deer in Magadhi. Mostly tiger shown where deer spotted.
While you are in Magadhi Zone, All focus is on Jungle Safari & view the magestic tiger, 2 times a day, 7 days a week. There are two Safaries offered in Bandhavgarh except wednesday evening safari. Morning Safari starts from sunrise and concludes at 10:30 AM, followed by afternoon safari which starts at 2:30 Pm and concludes at sunset.
Morning Safari at Magadhi starts at same time ( sunrise) 6:30 AM, but you need to get up early and leave by 6:00 AM. It can be quite cold even in summer, however blankets/Hot water bags are provided by the resort staff.
Even if you do not see the Tiger in Magadhi zone, The very feel and pulse of the Bandhavagrh terrain is enough to give you enough thrill each time. so do not get emotional if you do not see a tiger each time.
Costs of full family jeep booking in Magadhi zone is approx Rs.5,500/- for indian national & Rs 9000/- for foreigners, and photo I card is a must to book the tickets online.
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.
Famous Sita Tiger of Bandhavgarh
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.
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.
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.
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
Watch a tiger everyday 99.99%. Two game safari's every day included in package.You have a 4-hour morning drive and a 3-hour evening drive. The Best safari lodge all over the world with BEST services.
Safari means rising around 4am and going to bed around 10.so you are busy with nature, no time for mobiles, facebooks, whatsapps..in between if you have time, Spend quality time in the pool or just nap on great beds and pillows in between drives.
Perfect game reserve for celebrating Chrismas and New year holidays in December.
In addition, embark on cultural tours involving visit to the nearby village. Meeting the friendly village folks and their lovely innocent children and seeing how simple their lifestyle.
Best Safari Lodge than compared luxury game reserves to Africa, South Aftrica, Botswanna, Zambia, Namibia and Kenya.
Lodge has excellent and expert naturalist also conducting game drives and have deep knowledge India's flora and fauna.
Secluded lodge is somewhat off the beaten path, it is truly a unique, hidden gem.
Great Food and surprise dinner locations in different parts of the lodge each evening for thrilling and fine dining experience.
Local Lodge with Rajasthani Royal Touch, The entire crew hails from within 150 kms of the lodge.
Great Food, Excellent Hospitality in the middle of the Jungle.
Soothing bowls of hot water to dip your tiring feet when return from the safari.
Extremely friendly and knowledgeable guides for ensure tiger spotting. Tiget spotting percentage surpasses all international standards for Safari lodges.
Huge and super luxurious Rooms, excellent shower and two toilets
The outside courtyard area is wonderful for a sunny shower during the day
Balcony area to the back is great to sit back and watch the birds.
international continental food for lunch and Indian in the evening - all food is top class.
No wifi, Very poor Mobile coerage, but you can use their dial-up at reception, again free.
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.
Nature Heritage Resort - Recommended Resort in Tala Zone - Delux Category
There are many good resorts, when you enter from Tala Zone, however recommended and best one is Nature Heritage Resort which is located 2 km from Tala gate and 6 km from Magadhi gate. This resort is in delux category approx Rs.5000-8000 range.
Nature Heritage Resort - Tala Gate - Location Advantage
1. Resort location is perfect, it is in the Tala zone which is 3-5 min from resort.
2. There is no other attached resort with it means no noise, no lights, no traffic near to resort. You have a real jungle feelings once you are inside the resort.
3. Resort is full of covered with green trees and red mud which seems so beautiful
4. This resort can be easily find once you enter in Bandhavgarh.
Nature Heritage Resort - Hospitality - Administration & Staff benefit
1. Guests get the good welcome, once they arrive for checkin or come tired after the safari. One definite advantage of Nature Heritage resort is its dedicated staff and Management.
2. Mr.Navneet (Manager - Nature Heritage Resort) ensures perfect hospitality with minutest details. He is master of all strokes and extends hospitality in surprisingly minutest details.
3. Mr. Navneet has a good knowledge of Bandhavgarh National park which is a plus point for all guests.
4. In fact all staff of Nature Heritage are so loving and helpful that you and your family will miss to come here again and again.
5. One staff will always around you if you required any thing, they will help immediate.
6. Staff is not greedy at all, if you try to give some tip then they will totally deny
Nature Heritage Resort - Facilities - Rooms - Advantages
1. Nature Heritage Resort rooms offer luxury and very clean. The rooms are air conditioned to beat the heat of central India, also have heaters to beat cold in winter seasons when temperature below 10 degree celius
2. Rooms have ample of space and furnisher is made up of sal wood
3. Bathrooms are also large and have facility of cold and hot water 24x7
4. Every rooms have a sitting area outside the room.
5. 3 different restaurants out of which 2 restaurants are open and near by swimming pool
6. Bonfire facility with large sitting area
7. You can enjoy many indoor activities like Table tennis, Carom, Chess etc
Food at Nature Heritage Resort
1. Nature Heritage Resort specialize in excellent food, the menu is awesome prpared from organic vegetables
2. The food prepared at Nature Heritage Resort is gentle on stomach and less spicy but enfused with local herbs.
3. You will get special bread omelet dish with unique concept and tasty
4. Resort uses only triple purified water and guests can fill the same at will