History of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
The origin of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve has a long history behind it. According to folklore, Lord Rama, the epic hero of the Ramayana, put a halt in these forests on his way back from Lanka. His two followers were two monkey architects, largely liable for the exclusive bridge, which spans between the water of the mainland and Lanka. According to the popular saying, these architects carried on the construction of the Bandhavgarh Fort. It was Rama who had bequeathed this temple to Lakshmana. Somewhere within the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Lakshmana adored at a temple as the Bandhavdhish.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve was the personal hunting land of the Rewa maharajas. It is said that each and every maharaja killed a huge population of tigers. It was estimated that almost hundred and nine tigers were killed. It only throws light on what a large number of tiger populace prevalent within the sanctuary! The first ray of consciousness arouse among one of the Maharajas. Maharaja Martand Singh was concerned by the condition of the forest and also took the initiative to protect it in the early years of 1960s. So much so, an area covering hundred and five sq.kms. area was increased to incorporate the adjacent forest tracks. In the year 1982, the locale of the national park showed an area of total 448.84 sq km.
Topography of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
A high plateau punctuated by wildlife-rich grassy sprawls, originally marshlands designed to protect the fort, dominates the rugged terrain. Some of the marshy lands still exist amid soaring Sal forests and contrasting tracts of bamboo. This wide-ranging deciduous forest, worn out by numerous streams, is an ideal tiger habitat.
The four main zones of the national park are Tala, Magdhi, Khitauli, and Panpatta. Tala is the richest zone in terms of biodiversity. The vegetation is chiefly of Sal forest in the valleys and on the lower slopes, gradually changing to mixed deciduous forest on the hills and in the hotter drier areas of the park in the south and west. The topography of Bandhavgarh supports moist deciduous forest, grasslands, woodlands, scrub-thorn arid forests, tropical forests, rocky hills, tropical forest, rocks, plateaus, meadows and valleys. There are 32 hills in center part of the park, which has a large natural fort at its center. The fort’s cliffs are about 800 meters in high, and about 300 meters above the surrounding countryside.
Flora and Fauna of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
The 1997 census registered a total number of 44 tigers. Often the tourists get elated to see the tigers, roaming around with in the reserve. It was within the premise of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, somewhere near Rewa, that a white tiger was last seen. Finally it was caught in the year 1957. Since then, no white tigers have been claimed to be seen by any one within the premise of the reserve. White tigers are not a separate species, the whitish color that have got is due to 'albinism'. Now almost all the tigers of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve bore normal colors in their bodies.
Few mammalian species too are found here in larger numbers. These are namely. Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Jungle Cat, Common Palm Civet, Jackal, Striped Hyena, Sloth Bear, Gaur (Indian Bison), Sambar, Spotted Deer (Chital), Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Chowsingha (Four-horned Antelope), Chinkara (Indian Gazelle), Nilgai (Blue Bull), Indian Pangolin, Ratel, Common Mongoose, Common Langur. Winter is the best time to take a glance of beautiful birds. Over two hundred bird species are found here. These include the Red Junglefowl and the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Painted Francolin, Grey Francolin, Painted Spurfowl, Streak-throated Woodpecker, White-naped Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Indian Roller, Drongo Cuckoo, Indian Pitta, Large Cuckooshrike, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Black-hooded Oriole, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Blue Rock Thrush, Orange-headed Thrush are also important.
On the banks of the water bodies, everyone can hear the chirping of birds. They include like painted stork, black-headed Ibis, Grey Heron, Lesser Whistling-duck, Black-winged Stilt and Stork-billed Kingfisher etc.
Bird raptors that throng the dense forest of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve include Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Shikra, Common Kestrel, Mottled Wood Owl, Dusky Eagle Owl.
Tourism in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Mesmerized by the wild, quite a number of tourists throng the place from all the provinces of Indian subcontinent. Special arrangements too are being felicitated for their comfort and safety. Walking is not allowed. However they can move round the reserve at the back of the guiding elephants. Also the tourists can undertake a jolly rides in jeeps for excursion to areas like Khilouli and Sehra Dadra. These are considered to be ideal pastures for the grazing animals of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, thus providing appealing glimpses of wild life treasures of India to be seen.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is superbly decked up for tourists with a wide system of nicely maintained roads and easy housing and lodging. Due to the sincere initiatives of the concerned forest authorities the reserve has well been preserved with its bounty. There is also a special spot to be visited. The legendary fortress of Bandhavgarh is located within the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, thus producing a magnificent view of the whole of reserve. The Park also offers other attractions like the Bandhavgarh Fort and several caves.
Khajuraho is the nearest airport of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Then its 7 to 8 hours drive to Tala Park entrance of the sanctuary. Also nearest railway station is Umaria after Katani railway station. Alternatively an overnight train can be taken from Delhi to Umaria and drive (30 minutes) to the park. Traveling to Bandhavgarh by road is convenient as the destination is accessible from the nearby cities and towns like Umaria, Jabalpur, Katni and Khajuraho via SH 11, 22, and NH 43.