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Bandhavgarh National Park Nature & WildlifeSafari

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Location : Bandhavgarh, in eastern Madhya Pradesh
Area : 448 sq kms.
Major Attractions : Tiger, Cheetal, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Rhesus Macaque etc.
Best Time to Visit : November to March.
Timings : 6 am to 10 am, 3 pm to 6 pm.
Entry Fee : Rs. 25 for Indians, Rs.500 for foreigners.
Guide Fee : Rs 100
Vehicle Entry : Rs 200

Introducing Bandhavgarh National Park
Indian roller Coracias benghalensis breeding adult Bandhavgarh National ParkSet amidst the picturesque Vindhya ranges, Bandhavgarh is a place where nature meets with history. A series of ridges run through the park and the terrain is broken with rocky hills, interspersed with grassy swamps and forested valleys. In addition to a rich wildlife, Bandhavgarh National Park is also home to several ancient caves and rock shelters, with shrines and inscriptions.

Once the hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa, Bandhavgarh is presently a popular natural hub for White Tigers. In fact, Bandhavgarh is the very place where the famous White Tigers of Rewa were first spotted. Now, Rewa White Tigers are a major attraction not only in India but also in the zoos across the world.

Till India's Independence, around 106 sq.kms of this reserve functioned as the hunting ground of the Rewas and it is believed that each Rewa king had shot at least one hundred tigers. After Independence, the reserve was taken over by the Madhya Pradesh Government but the royal family of Rewa retained their hunting rights until 1968, when it was declared a National Park. As hunting was banned, the tiger population increased here and in 1982, the park's area extended to 448 sq. kms. Later in the year 1993, Bandhavgarh and the adjoining Panpatha Sanctuary, came under the Project Tiger.

Flora of the National Park
About half of the Bandhavgarh National Park is covered with Sal forest. Mixed forests are found in the higher elevations of the hills, while the Bamboo forests and grasslands stretch to the north of the park. Usually the forests at Bandhavgarh National Park are less dense, which offer better sightings of wildlife, including the daytime sightings of Tigers.
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Fauna of the National Park
Tigers have always been a major attraction for tourist visiting the Bandhavgarh National Park. In addition to Tigers, Bandhavgarh provides shelter to several other wild animals like Rhesus Macaque, Porcupine, Langur, Golden Jackal, Indian Gazelle, Bengal Wolf, Fox, Ratel, Sloth Bear, Indian Grey Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Small Indian Civet, Common Palm Civet, Striped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Leopard, Tiger, Wild Boar, Indian Muntjac, Sambar Nilgai, Gaur, Indian Pangolin, Northern Palm Squirrel, Hare, Chital, Four-horned Antelope, Blackbuck etc.

Apart from wild animals, about 150 bird-species are also found here including the Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Shahin Falcon and Brown Fish Owl. Migratory birds like Warblers and Steppe Eagles visit the west land of the park in winter. Along its marshy areas and river, you can spot the Sarus Crane, Black Ibis, Lesser Whistling Teal, Kingfisher, Egyptian Vulture, White-eyed Buzzard, Crested Serpent Eagle etc.

Activities You Can Take Part In
TigerTiger Spotting in Bandhavgarh National Park : Bandhavgarh is home to more than 40 Tigers, which are found abundantly near the grassy plains. Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari are the two best ways to spot the tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park. You can undertake Jeep safari during the early morning hours till the evening. While you are on a tiger spotting trip, a forest department guide always accompanies you. The forest guide is well aware about the jeep routes and the places where chances to spot the tigers are maximum. Note that each jeep is allowed to carry only six visitors, in addition to a guide and a driver. If you want to spot the tigers from elephant back, then undertake the Elephant safari trips which are organized early in the morning. In fact, when you wander through the Bandhavgarh National Park on an Elephant's back, there are maximum chances of seeing a tiger. Be sure to book the elephant in advance as it is the most popular way to explore the park.

Souvenir Shopping : A small souvenir shop at the entrance of park sells a range of intersting items. You can buy books, maps and T-Shirts at this shop.

Other Attractions
Bandhavgarh Fort : The park area is mostly hilly and is dominated by the massive Bandhavgarh Fort. Built in the 14th century, the Bandhavgarh Fort in now mostly in ruins, but its monuments and water tanks provide shelter to wildlife such as Blackbucks. From the fort, views of the park are spectacular and you can watch the nesting site of dozens of vultures as well as rare Malabar and Grey Hornbills.

Kalchuri Archaeological Remains : Apart from Bandhavgarh Fort, Bandhavgarh National Park is also known for the archaeological remains of the Kalchuri period, which have been found in excavation here.
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Nearby Attractions
Baghel Museum : Baghel Museum is located close to the Tala Village. In this museum, you can see Mohan, the white tiger cub, stuffed and mounted, which was captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in 1951. The museum entry fee is Rs 50 and the timings are 10 am to 4 pm.

Ghapudi Dam : Just 10 kms away from the Bandhavgarh National Park, Ghapudi Dam is a good place for birdwatching.

Bhamera Dam : Situated 20 kms away from Tala, the Bhamera Dam in the Panpatha Sanctuary is a bird-watchers' paradise. At this reservoir you can see a wide variety of bird species.

Where to Stay
Most of the resorts and lodges are located around the town of Tala, near the park main-gate on the Umaria-Rewa Highway. Apart from fulfilling all your needs, your hotel also provide some basic supplies like vegetables. Some of the popular hotels and lodges are Nature Heritage Resort, Tiger's Den Resort, Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge, White Tiger Forest Lodge, Tiger Trails Safari Lodge and Maharaja Royal Retreat.

How to Reach
Nearest airports are located at Jabalpur (200 kms) and Khajuraho (310 kms). Both these airports are served by the flights of several airlines from major cities of India. Umaria (32 kms) is the nearest railhead from Bandhavgarh National Park. Buses and jeeps are available from this railway station to reach Bandhavgarh. Most hotels you book at Bandhavgarh will receive you at the railway station. There is a highway running from Gwalior to Umaria. Bandhavgarh is well linked by roads with Umaria (32 kms), Satna (120 kms), Jabalpur (200 kms) and Khajuraho (310 kms).

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