BANDHAVGARH NATIONAL PARK
Bandhavgarh is a strange land. Flowing through a vibrant and luxuriant Sal Jungle, the wind murmurs the songs of nature in the voice of silence. It seems to be quiet. Life appears to be dead. Leaves don't rustle! Water doesn't trickle! Grasses stop to move! Even the wind pauses to hold its breath and watch the drama unfold! Then all of a sudden the Jungle springs to life! Langurs groan. Branches of trees begin to swing under their springing jumps. Fleeting hooves rustle the grass. Heavy bodies splash the water. Spotted Deers let out the alarm call. Let it be known - the King is here - "Hail, the King!" Lesser creatures flee. The King sweeps a gaze over his Kingdom. Period. Utter silence. The show begins.
The biggest attraction of this land is the Tiger and its sightings. Bandhavgarh has a very high density of Tigers within the folds of its marvelous Jungles. Probably the highest in the world! The 105 sq kms of park area, open for tourists is reported to have 22 Tigers, a density of 1 Tiger for every 4.7 sq kms. There is a saying about this park that goes - " In any other Park, you are lucky if you see a Tiger. In Bandhavgarh, you are unlucky if you don't see (at least) one."
Bandhavgarh is a National Park with a very long history. Set among the Vindhya hills of Madhya Pradesh with an area of 168sq miles (437sq kms) it contains a wide variety of habitats and a high density of game, including a large number of Tigers. This is also the White tiger country. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. Maharaja Martand Singh captured the last known in 1951. This white Tiger, Mohun is now stuffed and on display in the Palace of Maharaja of Rewa.
Prior to becoming a National Park, the forests around Bandhavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargarh, or game preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa. The Maharaja and his guests carried out hunting - otherwise the wildlife was well protected. It was considered a good omen for Maharaja of Rewa to shoot 109 tigers. His Highness Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh shot 111 Tigers by 1914.
With over 35 kinds of mammals, 250 species of birds, 111 species of butterflies, 16 kinds of snakes, 500 kinds of plants and many more trees and shrubs it undoubtedly has a very rich flora and fauna. Judge for yourself and take a drive through the park and be convinced! Forget the Tiger! Forget the Chital herds and forget the Sambar! Just let the sky above and the earth below enchant you! It will. It does! The vibrant and luxuriant Jungles of Bandhavgarh has its own poetry to recite as you "Let Go" and allow your senses to let the language of nature sink in. No doubt the famous Saint of 16th century Kabir spent years atop Bandhavgarh Fort meditating.
Yes Bandhavgarh is a strange land, a new park with a very old history --- Bandhavgarh has been a center of human activity and settlement for over 2000 years, and there are references to it in the ancient books, the Narad-Panch Ratra and the Shiva Purana. Legend has it that Lord Rama, hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, stopped at Bandhavgarh on his way back to his homeland after defeating the demon King Ravana of Lanka. Two monkey architects, who had engineered a bridge between the isle of Lanka and the mainland, are said to have built Bandhavgarh's fort. Later Rama handed it over to his brother Lakshmana who became known as Bandhavdhish -The Lord of the Fort. Lakshmana is the particular God of the fort and is regularly worshipped in a temple there.
Welcome to Bandhavgarh! The second coming and the tigers are a sideshow. The experience of being in Bandhavgarh takes the centre stage. As your conversion to the "religion of nature" advances beyond the ritualistic glitches of Tiger sightings and as your belief in the new religion crosses the threshold of dogma into the realm of unflinching faith you undergo a metamorphosis! You grow. You mature. You transform. You are a new person. You are You....
BANDHAVGARH NATIONAL PARK