Thursday, June 18, 2015

Destination Bandhavgarh - A Wildlife Lover's Delight

Tucked away in remote access of Central India Bandhavgarh is the land of the tiger. Things do not end here the destination offers some of most ancient and exotic architecture amidst overgrown wilderness. Dating as far as 2000 year back the numerous artifacts and structures are lying untended all over the place.  
Fort Entrance

The fort built by the Gond Rulers is called Bandhavgarh hence the name of the park. The idols and structures are an archeologists delight albeit the fort is no more only scattered remains exist. There is an ancient Ram Janki Temple facing the park.  

The gate a looming arch is suggestive of large encampment that must have been manned by a retinue of  sentinels always at war with the invaders. The zoomorphic idols of Lord Vishnu are a treat to discover. Made of igneous rock they depict Vishnu in form of animals    

Temple at Fort Complex
The remote location and inaccessible terrain must have acted as a hideaway for the numerous dynasties that came to rule over its dizzy heights. A mile below the campus is Shesh Shaiyya a reclining idol of Lord Vishnu besides a fairy pool surrounded by verdant greenery in betwixt the dense forests on the slopes. The Charanganga originates from the mountains and drops down to the plains. It creates slushy meadows as it meanders between the low lying hills covered with dense vegetation. This is the land of the tiger and leopard the big cats that roam Central India. The climb to reclining Vishnu is steep and needs experts to drive up. The erstwhile Maharjahs of Rewa Estate nearby were regular visitors to the Fort. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve was the shikargah of their domain and hence received lot of protection.       

Ram Janki Temple
The hunting preserve was declared as a protected area in the year nineteen sixty eight. It was given the status of a National Park and eventually brought under the aegis of a Project Tiger.       

Bison were relocated from Kanha National Park after the original stock had died down due to disease.   Other animals to  be seen here are the dhole, leopard, sloth bear, nilgai, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer and four horned deer.  Wild boar, peacock and langur are a common sight besides many avian species.
Sesh Shaiyya
ManMade Reservoir

Male Tiger

There are more than two hundred fifty bird species to be found in the tiger reserve. Reptiles are nocturnal but on rare occasion a python could be seen. Other nocturnal animals and the less seen ones are ruddy mongoose, small Indian civet, pangolin, toddy cat, ratel to name a few. 

The park is open from  October 16 to June 30th every year. Most tourist prefer winter months for tiger safari. But lot of holiday crowd arrives during summer whence tiger visibility increases slightly. 
Tiger in Water

The preserve is located in Umaria District about four hours drive from Jabalpur Airport and Railhead. Road connectivity exists from many nearby towns.

Tourism is well organized in the park. For accommodation there are many wildlife resorts in Bandhavgarh which are economic. There are many luxury hotels which are expensive but preferable. A couple five star and three hotels also provide accommodation to up market crowd.   Government accommodation are few and reserved only for state employees and VIP.

Khajuraho can be reached from here which is about eight hours drive by road. About 45 km from Khajuraho is the Panna Tiger Reserve another tiger heaven.

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