Bandhavgarh or Bandavgarh is a region located in Umaria district, towards the north-eastern border of Madhya Pradesh. Situated amidst the Satpura and Vindhya ranges, Bandhavgarh is famous for its wildlife resources and eco-tourism initiatives.
History of Bandhavgarh
Bandhavgarh is a historic place with mythological significance. It is mentioned in ancient texts such as the Narada Pancha Ratra and the Shiv Purana. As per the epic Ramayana, Lord Rama stayed in Bandhavgarh for a brief period while he was on his way back home, after defeating Ravana.
A fort was constructed here by two monkey architects for Lord Rama, which was later gifted to Lakshmana. The fort was called as Bandhavgarh (Brothers Fort) and Lakshmana was Bandhavadhish (Lord of Bandhavgarh Fort). Bandhavgarh region got its name from this fort.
Later, Bandhavgarh Fort, situated at a height of 800 m above sea level, became the private property of the Maharajas of Rewas. Inscriptions that date back to 300 AD are still found on the walls of the Bandhavgarh Fort.
The region of Bandhavgarh was an important territory under many rulers, among which the most prominent ones were the Chandelas of Bundelkhand, the Mughals and the Lodis. It lost its political importance during the 17th century.
The region surrounding Bandhavgarh was covered by dense forests, which became a royal hunting reserve or Shikargarh of the Rajas of Rewas. These forests were designated as a National Park in the year 1968 and Bandhavgarh National Park was relocated.
Things to do in Bandhavgarh
Today, Bandhavgarh is synonymous with Bandhavgarh National Park, which is popular for its high density of the Royal Bengal tiger population. This national park, spread across 105 sq km, is watered by small dams and water holes and has characteristic vegetation, which is a combination of sal and bamboo forests.
Apart from Royal Bengal tigers, sambar, chital, chinkara, barking deer, wild boar, leopard and sloth bears can also be found in this region. Along with the adjoining Panpatha Sanctuary, Bandhavgarh National Park was included under the Project Tiger Network in 1993.
Bandhavgarh tourism offers exploration of the National Park by elephant safaris and also by the safaris on vans and open jeeps. Tourists can also vouch for various attractive packages offer for the trips. Activities such as trekking can also be done through the natural trails in the unspoilt forests of Bandhavgarh. Travelling inside the park on foot or without a guide is prohibited.
Travelling to Bandhavgarh
To reach Bandhavgarh, roadways are the easiest since it is well connected to all the destinations within Madhya Pradesh. The proximity of Khajuraho (210 km) attracts hordes of nature lovers to Bandhavgarh from November June. December to February is the best time to visit this national park, but for tiger sightings, the months of April to June are ideal.
Travel Tips for Bandhavgarh
advised to wear dark-coloured clothes, especially dark greens, browns
and greys, as they do not attract or distract wild animals. Tourists
also need to dress up according to seasons. In the months of summer
temperatures shoots upto 45° Celsius while it drops to 2° Celsius in
Mobile phones and radios are not allowed inside the
park. Safaris are usually organised by the lodges where tourists are put
up. The entry fee varies with different zones of the park and is
different for Indian nationals and foreigners. For Indians, while a jeep
safari for the Tala zone can cost around INR 4000, for other zones it
comes upto INR 3500. This is the total cost of the jeep safari that
includes six persons per vehicle.
Accommodation options in Bandhavgarh
Hotels in Bandhavgarh range from budget hotels and homestays to jungle resorts. Most of these hotels also offer transfers for sightseeing and pick-up from railway and bus stations