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Close to nature in Madhav

Madhav National Park is located in close proximity to the Shivpuri town. Madhav National Park has been the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Gwalior, and is one of the oldest protected areas of Madhya Pradesh.

Spreading over an area of almost 355 sq km, the Madhav National Park is fascinating mix of natural splendors of history and architectural wonders. It is said that Emperor Akbar, while returning from Malwa in 1854, captured a large number of wild elephants in its forests. However, at present there are no elephants in this tract. The common fauna in Madhav National Park include leopard, wild dog, wolf, jackal, hyena, spotted deer, nilgai, chinkara, chowsingha and wild pig. There are reports of tigers straying into the area from adjoining forests. Having a varied terrain of wooded hills, dry, mixed deciduous forests, and flat grasslands around the lakes, the park offers abundant opportunities of sighting a variety of wildlife.

The park is unique in having both lake and forest ecosystems. Sakhya and Madhav Sagar are the two lakes in the park, which are important biodiversity support systems. These lakes not only add to the natural beauty of the area, but also provide a permanent source of water to the wildlife, and a fine wetland habitat to the aquatic fauna including thousands of migratory waterfowls. Marsh Crocodiles are in abundance in Sakhya Sagar lake. Due to this, the lake looks like a “Crocodile Safari” and attracts special attention of tourists. The artificial lake, Chandpatha, is the winter home of migratory geese, pochard, pintail, teal, mallard and gadwall. A good site for bird watching is where the forest track crosses the rocky stream that flows from the waste weir.

Deep inside the Madhav National Park, at its highest point, stands the exquisite George Castle. Interestingly the castle was built by Jivaji Rao Scindia of the Gwalior royal family for an overnight halt for tiger shooting by the British King George V, when he was to pass that way during his visit to India in 1911. Ironically, it so happened that the emperor shot a tiger on the way itself and did not stop at Madhav. Other attractions are Tunda Bharka spring, Bhura-kho spring and watch tower, and Churanchaj ancient wall paintings.

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