BANDHAVGARH is located between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, and was well known for its tigers much before it became a tiger reserve. The area has unique historical attributes, with the Bandhavgarh Fort prominently located as a major landmark. According to legend, it is believed that the Bandhavgarh Fort was given to Lakshman by his brother, Lord Ram (bandhav means brother, hence the name Bandhavgarh). Several ancient texts like Shiva Samhita and Narad Puran also make a reference to this area. Bandhavgarh owes its wilderness to the erstwhile rulers of Rewa State, since it was their hunting preserve and enjoyed protection from wanton destruction. It was considered a good omen for the Rewa Maharaja to shoot 108 tigers, the numbers coinciding with the beads in the Hindu rosary!
Bandhavgarh has three major attractions: wildlife archaeology and breathtaking landscape. Out of which wildlife is the principal one, with tigers being the star attraction that can be easily sighted in their various moods and behavioural patterns. Interesting territorial fights and land tenure patterns of tigers have been observed in the area.
The other common wild herbivores of Central India like sambar, chital (spotted deer), chowsingha, nilgai and chinkara can be seen. Other wild animals there include the sloth bear, jackal, hyena, langur, and more than 240 species of avifauna, apart from a large number of reptilian species. The reserve also has a sparse population of gaur, which can be sighted in forest areas adjoining the reserve.
The must-visit places within the park include the Bandhavgarh Fort, the statue of the reclining Vishnu (Sheshshaiya), Badi Gufa, Three Cave Point, Sita, Mandap, Raj Behra and Chakradhara. Wildlife can be viewed from open vehicles on safaris.
VOL. 9, ISSUE 7 | OCT, 2015