Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park and Sanctuary is one of the biggest wildlife sanctuaries in the country, covering an area of 448 sq km. The place gets its name from the Bandhavgarh Fort that rests majestically on top of a hillock rising in the midst of the forest. The Bandhavarh fort, which lies in the centre of the reserve, was the seat of power of the Chandela Dynasty. Later, it came under the rule of Baghels, and then under the Rewa rulers. Bandhavgarh national park is one place where you can be almost certain of seeing a tiger in its natural habitat. It is rich in other forms of wildlife like deer, leopard, sambar and wild boar. It is equally rich in bird life, home to over 200 species. Dominating Bandhavgarh national park area is the Bandhavgarh fort scattered throughout the park and particularly around the fort, are numerous caves containing shrines and ancient Sanskrit inscriptions. 

The Bandhavgarh National Park was initially a gaming preserve or Shikaragaha for the Maharajas of Rewa. Each Rewa king was supposed to shoot at least 100 tigers as a ritual believed to bring him good luck. The entry to the reserve was restricted to everyone else, except members of the royalty. The number of tigers in the reserve did not get diminished.

Originally home to all the white tigers in India, the Bandhavgarh sanctuary is now home to a variety of wild animals and boasts of one of the largest collection of tigers in the country, though white tigers for which they were originally famed for, have now disappeared.

Bandhavgarh is a 446 sq. km. tract of land flanked by flat-topped hills on the sides,a nd the high hill of Bandhavgarh Fort in the centre, dominating the landscape. Large meadows such as Chakradhara and Sehra, and swampy gorund like the Sidhababa Meadow, lie below. The park is bounded by the Son river in the east, the Johilla river in the south, and drained by the Umrer river in the west. The forest changes from sal and bamboo to grasslands in swamps and sandy patches.



Travel Tips

The Bandhavgarh National Park is open only from the October to the month of March, every year. The park is closed throughout the rest of the year, so if your sole purpose of going to the area is to see the wildlife park, then plan your trip within this time period. The rest of the year, though the sanctuary is closed, Bandhavgarh still remains a popular spot for a weekend off. With many wonderful hotels and luxury resorts, and a variety of nearby attractions, it is a perfect place for a fun, quiet weekend, away from the humdrum of city life.

If you opt for a wildlife safari, it is always wiser to go for the morning safaris because more animals can be spotted at dawn. Try to go for the very first safari of the day. Jeep Safaris with a maximum of 6 people, while an hour long elephant ride which one can avail. Wildlife photography should be done with care since loud noises or movements often confuse and scare away the animals. If you are going to Bandhavgarh during winters, carry ample warm clothes as it gets extremely cold during the night. The morning safari can leave you almost frozen if you are not properly insulated.

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Very Cold
  • 11.8° Max
  • 8.0° Min
  • 6.0 mm
  • Carry heavy woolen, umbrella
Things to do

Bandhavgarh is noted for its high density of tigers. An elephant or open jeep ride through the reserve is a favourite tourist activity of the region as you are sure to see a tiger or two in one of these exploits. The sanctuary is said to be like a breathing organism itself, with a self sustaining system. The main attractions of the place include the Bandhavgarh fort, on top of the Bandhavgarh hill, a good 811 meters high. The Bandhavgarh hill is surrounded by the Vindhyan range that consists of several smaller hills, providing a scenic nest to the sanctuary. It is said that the fort is about 2,000 years old and holds a special place in Indian mythology.

According to Hindu mythology, in the Ramayanas it was built by Ram for his brother Lakshman during their exile - Bandhavgarh literally means brother’s fort. Ruled by several rulers over the years, the fort is rich in historical and cultural heritage. The fort was used as a place of residence by remnants of royalty from the Rewa court till as late as 1935. In the surrounding areas of the fort, there are many small and ancient caves and glistening streams - a joy to those who like to go on little expeditions.

The entire forest is densely populated with Sal and bamboo trees and is home to animals like the Chinkara, Chausingha, Jackal, Fox, Chitol, Nilgai, striped Hyena, Leopard and Sloth Bear along with the tigers. One of the must do things at Bandhavgarhis to take an open-back elephant ride through the expanse of the forest. Open jeep safaris are also very popular among tourists. Both elephant safaris and jeep safaris are conducted by the reserve officials on a daily basis. The tiger spotting safaris are conducted in the morning and are meant especially for spotting tigers. Make sure that an attendant/official of the forest reserve accompanies you on these trips as a guide. The tour covers most of the 32 picturesque hillocks that form the core of the sanctuary and contain most of the wildlife.

Bandhavgarh new pride, the gaur. There are arund 80 gaur here. The number is growing despite regular predation by tigers.

In the northern area of the park, there are moe than 30 sanstone caves bearing Brahmi incriptions, and drawings dating from the 1st century BCE. 

Badhavgarh Fort sits atop the sheer cliffs and scarpments of the Bandhavgarh Hill, from whihc he park get its name. The fort is shrouded in mythology, it is said to have been buil by the same architects who consturcted the bridge to Lanka for Lord Rama.

The Bagehel Museum, located near Tala village, is home to Mohan, the white tiger cub captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in 1951, stuffed and mounted, besides royal artefacts of maharaja's family.

Getting Around

You can avail fro jeep safari.

Places to Stay

Bandhavgarh is known for its luxurious jungle stays and resorts, however few budget options are also available.Most hotels are around Tala, near the park entrance on the Umaria Rewa Highway. Although the hotels will provide with pretty much everything what you need, other supplies are available in town.

There is fuel pump hjere, which saves you the long trip to Umaria to rank up. Ensure there is plenty of reserve supply, however, as fuel supply can be a bit erratic.

How to Reach

  • Bandhavgarh can also be reached by air, the nearest airports being that of Jabalpur and Khajuraho. There are no registered bus services so taxis and cabs are the most recommended form of travel to and from the airports.
  • For those who prefer a train journey, the nearest railway station is that of Umaria (35 kms) which is a 45 mins drive from Bandhavgarh. Another railway station that is close to the forest is that of Katni, at a distance of 100 kms from the Park.
  • One of the most popular ways to reach Bandhavgarh is by road from Khajuraho (Reach Khajuraho Airport from Delhi) which is about 237 km from the reserve. That way, travellers not only get to visit the reserve but also get to see the famous carved temples at Khajuraho. The drive down the forest is very interesting since, on the way travellers cross the Ken River, which is a known sanctuary for the Indian Ghariyaal or the alligator. Also, the small mining town of Panna, famous for its diamonds falls en route.

Surrounding Attractions

The Baghel Museum located about a 100 metres from the park is a famous tourist spot as it houses relics from the time of the Maharajas of Rewa. The Mahaman Pond is also a popular spotand is famous for sightings of wild animals that come to have a drink of water at the pond. The Tala Village is a must visit if you go to Bandhavgarh- it is one of the only remaining completely ethnic villages in India. The Cheshpur Water fall situated at a distance of 50 km from Bandhavgarh, is a natural water fall in River Johila and an ideal picnic spot.

Bandhavgarh, and the adjoining Pantpath sanctuary came unde the Project Tiger in 1993. Despite the conseration efforts, Bandhavgarh still has its share of problems, including industrial pollution in the Son river and bauxite mining nearby.

There is also the endlessly varied terrain of the forest iself; also an everchanging ambience due to light, weather and temperature. There are many more things to explore here: the orchestra of the birds, the dance of the trees, ravishing beauty of the flowers, cool and serene water bodies, ear piercing sound of the cricket and beetles. The forest is an enchanting symphony of life.

It is always a good idea to go on every possible safari, beacuse no sighting is guaranteed, and no sighting is guaranteed, and no sighting is same. Options abound, from jeep to elephant rides. 

Emergency No.

Emergency Response Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Tel No: 0755-2469180

Police Station - 100

Ambulance – 102, 108

Fire Station - 101

Wildlfe/ Tourist offices

Fiedl Director - Bandhavgarh Riger Reserve Umaria #07653-222214