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  Bandhavgarh National Park

Location: 32 km SE of Umaria District, Madhya Pradesh, India
Area covered: 448 sq. km.
Main Wildlife Found: Tigers, Leopards, Bears
Best time to visit: November to March and May-Jun (The park remains closed between July and October)

About Bandhavgarh National Park
Set amidst the Vindhyan Mountain range in Madhya Pradesh, the Bandhavgarh National Park is home to the famous White Tigers of Rewa. The prominent ones captured in the Park include the legendary White Tiger called Mohan, who supposedly fathered several offspring found in zoos the world over.

The park was a former hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa where once Maharajah Venkat Raman Singh made his illustrious career out of hunting 111 tigers. Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968. The landscape is a unique mixture of steep and rocky hills, with flat tops and level grasslands in the valleys below. The vegetation found within the Park is moist deciduous forest with fine Sal trees and stretches of bamboo.

Today, Bandhavgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is known for having one of the densest populations of Tigers in the country. Prominent among other wild animals are Nilgai, Chital, Chinkara, Gaur, Sloth Bears and Wild Boar along with some 250 species of birds. It is one of the best places to witness the Tiger in action with the highest density of tiger population for any wildlife park in the country.

Wildlife Attractions in Bandhavgarh National Park
Chances are you will spot a striped predator while wandering through the park on elephant back. Other animals seen here are Nilgai, Chausingha, Chital, Chinkara, Wild boar and sometimes a fox or jackal.

Around 250 species of birds are also found in the park including migratory birds that arrive in winter such as the steppe eagle and various water birds. The terrace of the Bandhavgarh Fort provides a breathtaking bird's-eye view of the Park.

Other avian species found here include Peacock, Paradise fly catchers, Jungle Fowl, Golden and Black headed Orioles, Yellow Ioras, Red-vented Bulbuls, Blue Jays, Purple Sunbirds, Green Barbets and Mynahs.

Safari options in the park include Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari. Jeep safaris are undertaken during the early morning hours till evening. It is essential to take along a forest department guide on a Jeep safari, while on an elephant safari your guide will be the mahout or elephant driver. Elephant safari trips are organized for tiger tracking early in the morning. It is advisable to go on every possible safari, because a sighting is never guaranteed and no sighting is the same. The best time for a safari is the early morning hours, while you can also make good use of the afternoon. The tiger show is another major attraction which guarantees a sighting.

Other Attractions In Bandhavgarh National Park
Kalchuri Archaeological Remains
Besides the wildlife, Bandhavgarh is also famous for the archaeological remains of the Kalchuri period that have been found here.

Bandhavgarh Fort
Within the Park, stands tall the ruins of Bandhavgarh Fort, believed to be over 2000 years old. The Fort has a large number of caves belonging to the pre-historic period with Brahmi inscriptions dating far back to the first century B.C.

Baghela Museum
The museum houses the private collection of the maharajah of Rewa. The stuffed body of Mohan, the first Tiger found in the park in 1951, can be seen here. Also seen is a unique collection of military weapons and other hunting stuff. The museum timings are 10 AM to 3 PM and 5 PM to 8 PM.

How to Get there

By Air : Khajuraho is the nearest well connected airport. Indian Airlines flies from Delhi to Khajuraho seven days a week (Dep. 11:40). Jet Airways has a daily connection between Khajuraho-Delhi via Varanasi (Dep. 10:40). Another major airport, Jabalpur is connected by a daily Air Deccan flight from Bhopal (7:55) and Delhi (5:55).

By Rail : The nearest railhead is Umaria located on the Katni-Bilaspur section of South-Eastern Railway. Important trains between Delhi-Umaria are Kalingautkal Express (12:50, Daily) and Hirakund Exp. (8:45, Mon, Thu & Sat). Other convenient railheads near Bandhavgarh are Jabalpur, Katni and Satna on the central railway. Mumbai is connected with Jabalpur through a number of daily trains which include the Gorakhpur Express (6:35), Mahanagari Exp. (00:10), Rajendra Ngr Exp. (23:40), Kolkata Mail (21:25), LTT RLPB Exp (22:10), Guwahati Exp. (7:45, Wed, Fri, Sat) and so on. From Jabalpur, a short journey by bus from will take you Tala, near the entrance of the park.

By Road : Bandhavgarh National Park is situated on the Satna-Umaria & Rewa-Umaria highway. Madhya Pradesh State Transport Bus Services are available from Rewa, Satna, Katni and Umaria. Another option is to hire cars from Katni, Umaria, Satna or Bilaspur and hit the bumpy road. The road trip from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh is an interesting one which passes through the Ken river, a crocodile sanctuary. It then moves on to the diamond mining industry of Panna and Satna before branching off on a subsidiary road across the ridges of Vindhyachal to Bandhavgarh.

Distances from Major Cities:
Umaria : 35 km (NE)/ 45 min
Khajuraho : 270 km/ 6 hrs.
Jabalpur : 190 km/ 4 hrs.
Satna : 120 km
Delhi : 978 km (SE)
Gwalior : 565 km (SE)
Katni : 102 km

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