Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park  is one of the popular national parks in India located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968 with an area of 105 km². The buffer is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals 437 km². The park derives its name from the most prominent hillock of the area, which is said to be given by Hindu Lord Rama to his brother Laxman to keep a watch on Lanka (Ceylon). Hence the name Bandhavgarh (Sanskrit: Brother's Fort).

Bandhavgarh National Park is a park with a rich historical past. Prior to becoming a national park, the forests around Bandhavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargah, or game preserve, of the Maharajas and their guests.In 1947 Rewa State was merged with Madhya Pradesh; Bandhavgarh came

under the regulations of Madhya Pradesh. The Maharaja of Rewa still retained the hunting rights. No special conservation measures were taken until 1968, when the areas were constituted as a national park. Since then, numerous steps have been taken to retain Bandhavgarh National Park as an unspoilt natural habitat.

This park has a large biodiversity. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. The park has a large breeding population of panthers, and various species of deer. Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa captured a white tiger in this region in 1951. This white tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa.

Project Tiger was constituted in 1972 and then the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 came into force. It was realized that protection of just the 105 km² of prime Bandhavgarh habitat was not enough, so in 1982, three more ranges namely, Khitauli, Magdhi and Kallawah were added to Tala range (the original Bandhavgarh National Park) to extend the area of Bandhavgarh to 448 km². As Project tiger extended its activities and area of influence, Bandhavgarh was taken in its folds in 1993, and a core of 694 km². Including the previously named ranges and the Panpatha Sanctuary along with a buffer area of 437 km² was declared as the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Geography :-
Bandhavgarh National Park lies on the extreme north- eastern border of the present state of Madhya Pradesh in India and the northern flanks of the eastern Satpuda Mountain range. Latitudes and longitudes are 23°30' to 23°46' North and 80°11' to 80°36'East. The altitude of the park varies between 410 metres (1,345 ft)
  and 810 metres (2,657 ft) The park lies within the tropical monsoon climatic zone, characterized by well-defined winters, summers and rains. Temperature as low 2 2 °C (36 °F) as has been to a high of 44 °C (111 °F) as has been recorded . Average rainfall is 1,173 millimetres (46 in), most of which falls during the monsoons. Some rains result from the cyclonic depressions as well, between the months of November and February.
Structure :-
Tourist are restricted to an area of 105 km² of the park, known as the Tala range. However this area is richest in terms of biodiversity, mainly tigers. There are four more ranges in the reserve namely –Magdhi, Kallwah, Khitauli and Panpatha. Together, these five ranges comprise the 'Core' of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve constituting a total area of 694 km². The buffer zone is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals another 437 km². The legal status as a national park dates back to 1968, but was limited only to the present Tala range for a considerable length of time. In 1993 that the present scheme of things was put in place.
The Elusive White Tiger :-
The forests of Bandhavgarh are the white tiger jungles of the yesteryears. However, no white tigers have been reported from the wild in the last 50 years, and it is believed that less than a dozen have been seen in India in about a hundred years. And yet when white tigers were sighted, it was right here in Bandhavgarh.

Once a hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa in more  recent times, Bandhavgarh was declared a park in 1968. This is also the site where the famous  WHITE TIGERS of Rewa were discovered.

Flora :-
With the tiger at the apex of the food chain, it contains 37 species of mammals, more than 250 species of birds, about 70 species of butterflies, a number of reptiles. The richness and tranquility of grasslands invites pairs of Sarus Cranes to breed in the rainy season.One of the biggest attractions of this national park is
the tiger and its sightings. Bandhavgarh has a very high density of tigers within the folds of its jungles. The 105 km² of park area open for tourist was reported to have 22 Tigers, a density of one tiger for every 4.77 km². (Population estimation exercise 2001). There is a saying about the Park that goes: "In any other Park, You are lucky if you see a tiger. In Bandhavgarh, you are unlucky if you don't see (at least) one."Bandhavgarh tiger reserve is densely populated with other species: the gaur, or Indian bison are now extinct or migrated elsewhere; sambar and barking deer are a common sight, and nilgai are to be seen in the open areas of the park. There has been reporting of Indian Wolf, hyeana and the caracal the latter being an open country dweller. The tiger reserve abounds with cheetal or the spotted deer  which is the main prey animal of the tiger and the
leopard Wandering through the Bandhavgarh national park on an Elephant Back, the chances of seeing a tiger are quite good. Among the other wild attractions include, Nilgai, Chausingha, Chital, Chinkara, Wild Boar and sometimes a Fox or Jackal.
Jeep and Elephant Safari :-
One can enjoy viewing the wildlife by two ways in Bandhavgarh - Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari.. Jeep safaris are undertaken during the early morning hours till evening. A forest department guide is always their with the visitors on these jeep trips taken inside the park. Elephant safari trips are organized for tiger tracking early in the morning.

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