Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Destination Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Esoteric Abode of  Vibrant Life Amid Serenity 

Reclining Visnu - Sesh Shaiyya


From unknown to worldwide popularity has been the saga of this verdant paradise on Earth. Bandhavgarh National Park was erstwhile kingdom of Maharajahs of Rewa. Successive dynasties have ruled this forest kingdom. The ruins are witness to this historic upheaval of centuries of conquests. Temples, fort in ruins, stables, idols, and manmade caves are creation of the warring dynasties.    

Leopard

Conquerors made their marks before being vanquished by the victors, but the forest lay unperturbed by the turbulence in its premises. The ecosystem nurtured and protected, the wilderness ruled by the tiger. No more a fiefdom of the usurpers, the destination is home to an impressive biodiversity. People of all walks of life from near and far arrive here to witness the exuberant growth of its flora and the enchanting fauna. 
Tiger

Bandhavgarh first came to light whence the white tiger was discovered nearby. Since then this esoteric recessive gene has not been discovered in the wilds of tiger lands.             

Declared as a protected area, the park is a conservation unit that nurtures critically endangered animals. Tiger rules supreme as a tertiary carnivore accompanied by the leopard and the wild dog.

Other carnivores found are the jackal, fox, hyena and the wolf. The last two I have not seen since many years and they are probably on verge of extinction. Deer and antelope form the prey base while numerous life forms complete the web of life to form an ecosystem with niche habitats.    
Tiger

Park is home to more impressive avian species albeit few birders arrive here to watch them. For major share of popularity has been taken over the big cats. After the films by NGC and BBC the paradise gained wide publicity and witnessed a sudden surge of tourists from all over. 
Peacock

Situated at the edge of the reserve at Tala Village the Kothi of Maharani is reminiscent of a lonely past. Protected as a hunting preserve, the Maharajahs of Rewa were avid hunters and conservationist as well. The hunting privilege was accorded to few dignitaries and the woods were well protected. 

The Kothi along with the scattered ruins are now frozen in time. In the early days of tourism post independence a rest house at Tala provided accommodation to the few who visited this preserve. Then the White Tiger Lodge was established followed by plethora of lodges once tourism mushroomed in this remote quarter of Central India.  
Crested Serpent Eagle

Bandhavgarh National Park now a tiger reserve is regarded as a major conservation centre. Tourism flourishes alongside to extol the nature’s bounty and the saga of preservation.   
Brown Fish Owl

The ideal access point is Jabalpur City in MP. Connectivity by air and overnight rail is preferred while local arrivals drive from the satellite towns like, Khajuraho, Katni and Satna.  Accommodation can be availed at luxury hotels in Bandhavgarh near the main Tala Gate. 

Albeit wildlife can be experienced throughout the open season, overseas travellers prefer winter season. Wildlife photographers prefer the extensive sunlight of the scorching summer. Park is closed during the monsoon from July to September.      

When planning a tiger safari fetch along books on birds, binoculars, cloth as per the seasons and personal necessities. 

Image Courtesy Kamaljeet Hora