A tense silence reigns in the swampy meadow of Bandhavgarh National Park. The water of the small lake does not move, the leaves do not creak, the songs of the birds suddenly cease. Spotted deer smell the air with nervous gestures. Even the wind holds its breath, waiting for events. Seconds of tension pass in slow motion. Then, everything explodes. An orange shadow emerges at the speed of vertigo from its hiding place; it is the so-called “alpha predator”, which catches the nearest deer with its retractable claws. The Bengal tiger is victorious in this daily drama of life and death in Bandhavgarh, something he gets on average once every 20 attempts.
We introduce you to the Bandhavgarh National Park, the park that offers the most probability of tiger sighting in its natural habitat. This is the second article in a series of three, dedicated to the majestic national parks of Madhya Pradesh that belong to the “Tiger Project”.
Bandhavgarh National Park: Description and technical sheet.
Location and History: Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968. Previously it was a hunting ground for maharajas and guests. With an extension of 105 km² along the Vindhya mountains in Madhya Pradesh, and with an area of influence of 400 km², it owes its name to its most prominent mound (« Bandhavgarh » – brother’s fortress), which the Hindu God Rama He entrusted his brother Lakshmana to keep an eye on the area.
Landscape: The terrain is broken by a rocky mountain range, which rises from east to west, interspersed by small swampy grasslands, known locally as “bohera ” and by numerous wooded valleys.
Featured fauna: The density of the Bengal Tigers, the main stars of the park, is the highest of the national parks included in the “Tiger Project”. Currently 22 tigers live in Bandhavgarh (one for every 5 km²). That has led local guides to say that “in other national parks you have to be lucky to spot a tiger. In Bandhavgarh you have to have very bad luck to not do it ». In fact, against the current trend, the Bandhavgarh has been increasing its population of tigers for five decades. What sometimes involves conflicts with the villages surrounding the area of influence?
In addition, there are plenty of porcupines, wild boars, sambares (Asian deer), mottled deer and lazy bears. And there have been sightings of Indian wolf. Tigers share the abundance of prey with Asian leopards. In the park there are 37 species of mammals and about 250 species of birds.
Essential: Mount Bandhavgarh dominates the center of the national park, 811 m above sea level and with stunning views of the surrounding valleys.
How to get there: It is 190 km from Jabalpur, the nearest airport. From there, we arrive in Bandhavgarh in about 3 hours by bus or car.
Visits: The ideal time to spot tigers runs from November to June. The morning safari takes place from 06:15 to 10:20; the evening from 15:15 to 18:20. The park is closed from July 1 until September 30.
Trivia: Bandhavgarh was known as “the country of the white tiger.” White tigers (Bengal tigers with a genetic condition that almost eliminates the orange pigment of the skin) were sighted for the first time in the former state of Rewa, in whose heart is Bandhavgarh today. Maharaja Martand Singh killed the last free white tiger in 1951.
In order to appreciate the three jewels of Madhya Pradesh and the king of all Asian cats, and to learn about the development and scope of the “Tiger Project”, we recommend our seven-night program in Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh from $ 2170 (1610 € approx.) Per person.