Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
The history of Bandhavgarh dates back to the glorious Ramayan era. The name Bandhavgarh is derived from the ancient Bandhavgarh fort which is believed to be a gift to Lakshmana from brother Rama.
It was set up as a national park in 1968 with an area of 105 sq km and upgraded to tiger reserve in 1993. The park is located in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh.
Owing to a high tiger density in the region, Bandhavgarh is an immensely popular national park to see tigers in India. Tala is the most visited tourist zone. Magadhi and Khitauli zones are also known for excellent wildlife sightings.
Other animals in the park include barking deer, sambar deer, wild boar, leopard, wild dog and gaur (Indian bison).
The Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is located between the Vindhyan and Satpura ranges of Madhya Pradesh. The habitat is characterized by valleys, hills and plains, with the Bandhavgarh fort prominently seen as a major landmark. The habitat consists of tropical moist, deciduous forests with sal, mixed forest and grasslands. The habitat also has several archeological monuments.
One of the most popular tiger reserves in India for seeing Royal Bengal Tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park is situated amid the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh.
Bandhavgarh forest area was part of the Rewa princely state prior to India’s independence. It was declared as a national park in the year 1968, covering a core forest area of 105 sq km.
With several additions to the forest area, the current area of the tiger reserve stands at 1,536 sq km (core area – 716 sq km, buffer area – 820 sq km).
It is amongst the top tiger reserves in the region with a high density of tigers.
The tiger census report released in June 2019 recognizes Madhya Pradesh as the state with the highest tiger population (526).
The park falls within the tropical moist deciduous region with Sal (Shorea robusta) and Bamboo as the dominant floral species.
Bandhavgarh forest is known for some of its star tigers and tigresses. A male tiger named Charger and a female tiger named Sita have been very famous for featuring together in many wildlife documentaries.
Charger was a dominant tiger who died in the year 2000 after ruling the jungle for over a decade. Sita tigress is the second most photographed tigress in the world.
With about 37 mammal species, more than 250 distinct bird species and a number of aquatic species, Bandhavgarh National park attracts wildlife photographers from all over the world.
In addition to royal Bengal tigers, the park is popular for sightings of Indian wolf, wild dog, wild boar, jackal, sambar deer, spotted deer, hyena and leopard.
Indian grey hornbill, black drongo, little egret, green bee-eater and rose-ringed Parakeet are some of the commonly found avifauna in the park.
Area of the Tiger Reserve
|Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve||Area|
|Core/critical tiger habitat||National Park||452.666 km2|
|Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary||264.235 km2|
|Buffer/peripheral area||Buffer zone||820.035 km2|
The park has been divided into 3 tourist zones – Tala, Magadhi and Khitauli.
Tala is the main zone and remains most popular for tiger sightings. Magadhi zone is located at the fringe of the park and is also good for tiger sightings.
Khitauli zone is a recent addition that is gaining popularity fast amongst visitors. This zone is well-known for its excellent birding experience.
The buffer zones of the park are Dhamokhar, Panpatha and Johila.
Bandhavgarh National Park is also well known for its archaeological attractions that still exist inside the park. Here are some of the major places of interest across the three zones.
|Tala Zone||Magadhi Zone||Khitauli Zone|
|Badi Gufa||Charger Point||Umrar River|
|Sita Mandap||Mahaman Pond||Garhpuri Dam|
|Gopalpur Pond||Climber’s Point||Kumbhi Kachhar|
|Ketkiha||Sehra Dadra||Tedka Munara|
|Bhitari Wah||Sookhi Talab||Charkhi Dongri|
|Bandhavgarh Fort||Sookhi Dam||Marjadgarh Tower|
|Three Cave Point||Dabhadol Tank|
|Rampur Hillock||Dinosaur Rock|
How to Reach Bandhavgarh National Park
The nearest airport is in Jabalpur (190 km) and the second nearest airport is located in Khajuraho (237 km).
Both airports are well linked to metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi. The park is around 4 hours drive from Jabalpur airport and 5 hours drive from Khajuraho airport.
Umaria (35 km) is the nearest railway station to the park. The other nearest railheads are Katni (102 km), Satna (120 km) and Jabalpur (190 km).
A number of direct trains run from New Delhi to Umaria, namely Hirakund Express, Chhattisgarh Sampark Kranti Express and a few more.
State and Private transport buses ply at regular intervals from Katni, Satna and Jabalpur to Umaria. Private taxis are easily available to hire from nearby cities to drop you at your hotel.
Best Time to Visit
The best months to visit Bandhavgarh national park are from October to June. The park remains closed from 1st July to 30th September due to the monsoon.
Winter temperature varies from 8-20 degrees and the mercury rises up to 46 degrees in summer.
The probability of tiger sightings in summer is higher because of obvious reasons – the big cats are out near waterholes in search of water.