India // Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh //

Bandhavgarh National Park

Madhya Pradesh’s second national park, BANDHAVGARH, tucked away in the hilly northeast of the state, has one of the highest relative densities of tigers of any of India’s reserves and shelters some fascinating ruins. Although it’s a long haul to Bandhavgarh from either Jabalpur (195km) or Khajuraho (237km), it’s worth it – not only to track tigers but also, as all the accommodation is close to the park gates, to watch the array of birdlife from the comfort of your lodge.

Brief history

Bandhavgarh, one of India’s newer national parks, has a long history. Legend dates the construction of its hilltop fort to the time of the epic Ramayana (around 800 BC). Excavations of caves tunnelled into the rock below the fort have revealed inscriptions scratched into the sandstone in the first century BC, from which time Bandhavgarh served as a base for a string of dynasties, including the Chandellas, responsible for the Khajuraho temples. They ruled here until the Bhagels took over in the twelfth century, staking a claim to the region that is still held by their direct descendant, the Maharaja of Rewa. The dynasty shifted to Rewa in 1617, allowing Bandhavgarh to be slowly consumed by forest, bamboo and grasslands that provided prime hunting ground for the Rewa kings. The present maharaja ended his hunting days in 1968 when he donated the area to the state as parkland. In 1986, two more chunks of forest were added to the original core zone, giving the park a total area of 448 square kilometres.

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  • The park