Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bandhavgarh National Park

Go there for: White Tigers, Leopards, Bears
Bandhavgarh National Park at a glance
If tigers are what you want to feast your senses on this vacation, Bandhavgarh National Park in Umaria District of Madhya Pradesh, with its highest tiger population, can be your ideal destination. The 105.40-sq-km of former hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa set amidst the Vindhyan ranges, Bandhavgarh was declared a National Park in 1968 and today serves as a natural habitat for the world famous White tigers. The terrain is broken, with rocky hill ranges, running roughly east west, interspersed with grassy swamps and forested valleys.
Widlife Attractions of Bandhavgarh National Park
The fine trees of Sal cover half of the Bandhavgarh National Park while the higher hills consist of moist deciduous forests interlaced with bamboo thickets and mixed forests. The wide stretches of bamboo and grasslands cover the entire northern region. Whole of the national park is encompassed by 32 wooded hills and quite a few perennial streams and rivulets that crisscross at different points inside the park and as a result create stunning vistas. Certain areas are marshy and support a wide variety of wildlife.
Nestled in these forests is a whole world of wildlife - 22 mammal species and about 250 bird species. This is the place where famous White Tigers of Rewa were discovered. Other animals that abound the Park are - Nilgai(blue bull), chinkara (Indian gazelle), chausingha (four-horned antelope), wild boar, sambhar (Indian stag), the muntjac (barking deer), herds of chital (spotted deer), Gaur (Indian bison), blackbucks, ratel, porcupine, small Indian civet, palm squirrel, lesser bandicoot rat, the jungle cat, hyena and jackal. The reptile population in the park includes cobras, karaits, vipers, ratsnakes, pythons, lizards and turtles. The two primate species - the rhesus macaque and the Hanuman langur - inhabit the Bandhavgarh Park.
Remember to carry binoculars on your tours for gazing at the birds of Bandhavgarh. It is home to some of the rarest birds. The varieties include -Cuckoos, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Asian Koel, White-rumped Needletail, Sirkeer Malkoha, Green Bee-eater, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-rumped Spinetail, Collared Scops Owl, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Black-shouldered Kite, Osprey, Little Ring Plover, Black-bellied Tern, Honey Buzzard, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Painted Sandgrouse, Black Coot, Little Stint, River Lapwing, Bronze-winged Jacana, Greater Painted-snipe, Rufous Turtle Dove, Grey Nightjar, Moorhen, House Swift, Ruddy Shelduck, Cotton Pygmy-goose, Red-crested Pochard, Eurasian Wryneck, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Little Scaly-bellied Green Woodpecker, White-naped Woodpecker and other birds.
Safari Adventure
Options abound from jeep to elephant safaris. And if animals are what you have come for all the way to these jungles, 'Early to bed and early to rise' will have to be your mantra. Jeep safaris at the crack of dawn are recommended. You can also drive your own vehicle into the jungle accompanied by an authorised guide. Elephant safari trips, needless to say, are the best option. Tiger tracking on an elephant can be an spine-tingling experience.
What more to look out for in Bandhavgarh
Kalchuri Archeological Remains: Beside the wildlife, Bandhavgarh is also famous for the archaeological remains of the Kalchuri period that have been found here. Bandhavgarh Fort : The Bandhavgarh Park area is hilly and is dominated by the majestic Bandhavgarh fort, built in 14th century. The fort and the adjacent hills have a large number of caves belonging to the pre-historic period. As per the lores, this fort was built by the same simian architects who constructed the bridhge to Lanka for Lord Shree Ram.
Baghel Museum: Bandhavgarh legends say that white tigers still rule the forest. This museum has the white tiger cub Mohan, captured by a Rajah in 1951, all stuffed and mounted.
How to reach there
The nearest airport is at Khajurao (230-km). The nearest railhead is at Umaria (30-km) on the Katni-Bilaspur section of South-Eastern Railways. Another nearest railhead is at Satna on the Bombay-Howrah main line of the Central Railways. Madhya Pradesh State Transport Bus Services connect the National Park to the cities like Rewa, Satna, Katni and Umaria.
Ideal time to visit: The best season is from Mid-November to June. The park remains closed during the time of monsoon and July to early November. The best time to visit the park is early in the morning or after 4 p.m. It is during this time that the animals are most active and are easily spotted.
Accommodation options
Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge is walking distance from the Park's main gate and is in periphery of the park. It has been developed on the theme of an Indian Village. Tiger Trail Resort, Tiger Den Resort, Royal tiger resort are other suitable lodging places - all placed at walking distance from the Park.



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