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BANDHAVGARH: National Park With a Rich Historical Past

Bandhavgarh is a small National Park ; compact, yet teeming with wildlife. The density of the tiger population in Bandhavgarh is the highest known in India. This is also White Tiger country. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. The last known was captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in 1951. This white tiger, Mohun, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa.

The terrain is of great Rocky hills rising sharply from the swampy and densely-forested valley bottoms. The finest of these hills in Bandhavgarh, sided with great cliffs and eroded rocks and on its highest point stands Bandhavgarh Fort, and particularly around the fort, are numerous caves containing shrines and ancient Sanskrit inscriptions.

Prior to becoming a National Park, the forests around Bandhavgrah had long been maintained by as a Shikargah, or game reserve, of the Maharajas of Rewa. Hunting was carried out by the Maharajas and their guests - otherwise the wildlife was relatively well-protected. 

In 1947 Rewa State was merged with Madhya Pradesh; Bandhavgarh came under the regulation of Madhya Pradesh. The Maharaja of Rewa still retained the hunting rights of Bandhavgarh and no special measures were taken until 1968, when the areas were constituted as a National Park, since then, numerous steps have been taken to retain Bandhavgarh Bational Park as an unspoilt natural habitat. 

What to see 

The Fort 
The Fort is estimated to be 2000 years old. Various dynasties have ruled the fort : the Maghas from the 1st century AD, the Vakatakas from the 3rd century AD, the Sengars from the 5th century AD, the Baghela took over, ruling from Badhavgarh until 1617, when Maharaja Vikramaditya Singh moved hi capital to Rewa. The last inhabitants deserted the fort in 1935.

The vegetation is chiefly of Sal forest in the valleys and on the lower slopes, gradually changing to mixed deciduous forest on the hills and in the hotter, drier areas of the park in the south and west. Bamboo is found throughout.

There are more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds. Common langurs and rhesus macaque represent the primate group. Carnivores include the Asiatic jackal, Bengal Fox, sloth bear, ratel, grey mongoose, striped Hynes, jungle cat, leopard and tiger. The artiodactyls frequently sighted are wild pig, spotted dear, sambar, chausingha, nilgai and chinkara. Mammals such as dhole, the small Indian civet, palm squirrel and lesser bandicoot rat are seen occassionally. The vegetation along streams and marshes is rich in birdlife. The common ones are little grebe, egret, lesser adjutant, saris crane, black kite, crested peafowl, red jungle fowl, dove, parakeet, kingfisher and Indian roller. Reptilian fauna include cobra, Krait, viper, ratsnake, etc.

Wildlife viewing 
The main way of getting about in the park is motor vehicle. Jeep safaris timing are from 10 am to 4 pm, as the animals are most active during these periods. A Forest Department guide must always accompany you. This guide will able to direct you and point out wildlife. 

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