Monday, October 6, 2008

Tiger Safari at Bandhavgarh

One of the top tourist destination to see the tiger Bandhavgarh National Park is World famous. Although it is smaller than Kanha National Park and Pench it is as popular . BTR has the highest density of tigers in India.

It was a chance introduction to this tiny paradise thanks to kind courtesy of Maharani of Rewa. As usual the family had planned to take our guests to Kanha National Park somewhere in early seventies. But at the last moment the booking was canceled as some dignitary was arriving at the rest house there.

It was kindness of Maharani of Rewa who permitted us to stay at the Royal Kothi at Tala in Bandhavgarh upon hearing of our predicament. Hence it was a first visit to the great place for my family (not me). I went there after two years. Since the first visit Bandhavhgarh National Park had sunk into our hearts and had become a regular haunt.

It was here that I saw my first male tiger on elephant back and then there were lot of tiger sightings that followed upon my many visits. In the seventies the park was much less visited and hotel accommodation began with the setting up of white tiger lodge by MPTDC. The sole accommodation till then was the forest rest at Kanha.

Bandhavgarh now under Project Tiger is a small reserve with area of approx 450 Although under PT the area of about 1100 in encompassed for conservation. Of the 450 about 125 sq km constitutes the tourist zone. Tigers are regularly seen in grassy meadows here.

The game is in plenty and the extinct Gaur or Indian bison has been re-introduced as per reports. It will be some time before the Gaur recovers here if they do at all. But one can see a lot of magnificent antlered Sambar deer and Spotted deer. Barking deer and Four Horned deer are oft seen. The Leopard is seen with luck but tigers are in plenty and most seen here.

Small game and bird life is exciting. Added advantage is the historical remains of erstwhile dynasties and the Fort at Bandhavgarh is supposed to date back to 2000 years in history. Bandhavgarh has the most enchanting landscape among parks of Central India.

To reach this park one can drive down from Jabalpur which is a rail head and an airport connected with Delhi. Else one can catch Utkal Express from Delhi which is overnight and alight at Umaria station about 32 km from the Park gate.

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