BANDHAVGARH NATIONAL PARK (MADHYA PRADESH)
Bandhavgarh National Park (Madhya Pradesh)Access If youíre looking to sight the majestic tiger in his natural habitat, head for Jabalpur by jeep, bus, plane or train and from there onwards to the Bandhavgarh National Park, 165 km northeast. The nearest airports are in Khajuraho (210 km away) and Jabalpur. Buses from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh do the trip in about five hours.
The closest railhead is the town of Umaria, which is 30 km from Bandhavgarh; itís linked by train to cities in Madhya Pradesh and other states, including Delhi. Private and state owned bus services operate regular buses to Bandhavgarh from Umaria, Jabalpur, and other towns in Madhya Pradesh. Taxis too can be hired to get to Bandhavgarh. The wildlife parkís entrance is at a tiny settlement called Tala, which has facilities- although limited- for accommodation.
Best time to visit
Like many of Indiaís other wildlife preserves, national parks and sanctuaries, Bandhavgarh National Park too closes for visitors during the monsoon months, July to October. Between November and June is the best- and only-time to visit the park
Bandhavgarh lies in the heart of Madhya Pradesh- traditional tiger country. This is where Rudyard Kipling found inspiration for his famous Jungle Book (remember Mowgli?), and this is where the tiger still roams- although now protected by dozens of laws, some effective, some not.
Once the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Rewa, where an alarming number of tigers were hunted down in pre-independence India, Bandhavgarhwas mercifully declared a National Park in 1968. Today, the Bandhavgarh National Park is a compact reserve (448 sq. km) of sal trees, bamboo thickets and grasslands, teeming with birds
and animals and the highest population of tigers anywhere in India. The park is now home to 22 species of wildlife, including the regal Ďgaurí, umpteen varieties of deer, and carnivores such as the striped hyena, jungle cat and sloth bear and over 250 species of birds. Within the park itself is the Bandhavgarh Fort, now in ruins and largely overrun by the surrounding forest.
Although Bandhavgarh is in the area where the famous white tigers of Rewa were first found, donít expect to see any of the exotic beauties around. What you will see, however, is an amazing diversity of flora and fauna which can certainly make a trip to this wildlife preserve utterly worthwhile
The Madhya Pradesh Tourist department has a forest lodge in Bandhavgarh; the PWD and the Forest Department also have guest houses within the park, where the accommodation, though not the height of luxury, is adequate. Rooms range from some interesting cabins on stilts to individual cottages