The majestic beast slowly starts to prance up and down under the lush green tree. The atmosphere is filled with an eerie silence- as everyone watches with their bated breath what this magnificent creature is capable of. Here, at Bandhavgarh National Park the sight of a tiger in its natural habitat is one of the most amusing things.
Located in the hinterlands of Madhya Pradesh, this national park is hidden under the large trees that form a spectacular canopy. It is located near the ancient Bandhavgarh Fort, which is said to be about 2000 years old. While you cannot visit the fort, since it is under a restricted area, you can certainly dive into this National Park and explore it as much as your heart desires.
Bandhavgarh is said to have the highest density of tiger population in India, and thanks to the great efforts of the government, the tiger population has also increased. This has made tiger sighting much easier than before. The park is situated on a hill which is about 2624 ft above sea level. The view from here is surreal. You will be blessed with panoramic views of the hilly terrain and the breathtaking green valleys of the Vindhyan mountain ranges.
The Park is also home to several other rare and exotic animals. You can watch all these animals from afar in their most natural habitat.
Once you reach Bandhavgarh take time off to study the layout of the forest. Any of the locals will tell you where you have the highest chances of seeing tigers, and how the park is divided into various zones.
The three main zones of the Bandhavgarh National Park are
The park is small, which led to the problem of crowding. Being a popular haunt, the park was unable to manage to tourist population that hoarded here to catch one glimpse of a tiger. To counter this issue, buffer zones were also established, which allowed visitors to go to these zones and experience the same scenic beauty as well. Tigers have also been spotted in these zones. These zones have allowed tourists to be spread over multiple venues, which has reduced the burden on the three core zones.
All of these are beautiful in their way and will offer you a unique glimpse into their area. The forest is always alive with animals and colorful flowers that will light up our way. Just make sure to keep our eyes peeled, since there will be some rare animals just hidden inside the holes of the trees or behind the short bushes. This Park is also famous for Sloth bears.
These buffer zones are sprawled over Umaria and Katni. The buffer zone called Johila is also famous for its awe-inspiring waterfalls.
The Park starts with some magnificent Sal trees that will keep you company till it merges with the deciduous trees of the area. The forest has about 250 species of birds and 75 species of butterflies. You will find several butterflies just fluttering away and making the area more colorful and vibrant.
The best way to explore these zones is through Jeep Safaris. Jeep Safaris ply in all of the zones. The safari in buffer zones unlike in the core zones is also open during the rainy season.
The price for the Jeep Safari is the same for all the zones, and you can book one whole jeep for about INR 1500 currently. However, make sure you book the jeeps early since they are always in high demand. You can go online and book your Safari.
There are several hotels and resorts in varying ranges in Tala. If you want to stay the night you will find some good budget hotels in Tala.
There are also luxury options that will give you an enchanting view of which forest and the hills that lie far ahead. Some of these hotels will also provide you with a private safari with a seasoned guide to tell you all about Bandhavgarh.
If the sole purpose of your visit is to find tigers and see how they live in their natural surroundings, then come here between March and April. This is the time when the tigers come out of their hidden coves to cool themselves off by a water body. You can also see some tigers during May and June, but it gets too hot at times for tourists to truly enjoy the ride.
The Winter Months is also crowded with tourists and it gets hard to find Jeeps for Safaris or even space to explore. Try and avoid these months if you want a peaceful and calming experience of this wonderful forest.
If you are coming by airplane, then land at Jabalpur. Jabalpur is one of the main cities of Madhya Pradesh, and there is a direct flight from Delhito Jabalpur. From Jabalpur hire a cab and ride about for about five hours to reach here. Take the Shahpura route to reach this place in three hours.
Alternatively, you can also hire a bus to reach the Umaria district which is about 30 km from Bandhavgarh. You can easily hitch a cab ride from Umaria to Bandhavgarh, however, be mindful that the cars don’t ply in the evening after the sun goes down, so it is recommended to reach here before the sun goes to sleep.
You can also reach Bandhavgarh by rail. The nearest railway station is at Umaria, however, the trains are not very frequent from here. You can also take a train to Katni, which is 100 km away from Bandhavgarh. From Katni you can either hire a cab to Bandhavgarh, which will take you about two and half hours or you can take a local train to reach Umaria which will take you only about one hour fifteen minutes.