Tiger Reserve

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White-eyed Buzzard - a common raptor of Bandhavgarh

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is located in the Umaria and Shahdol districts of north-eastern Madhya Pradesh state, and is a part of the Central Indian Highlands falling between the Vindhya and the Satpura hill ranges. The area under the National Park is rugged and is marked by sharp crested hills, Sal forests and grassy pastures. The altitude varies between 440m to 811m above msl and the impressive Bandhavgarh Hill is the highest place in the Reserve. The hills are mainly composed of sandstone and the soil is sandy. Vegetation is varied, and includes a blend of grasslands and forests that support large herbivore populations and an impressive diversity of birds. The reserve is also justly famous for its tigers.
The total area of the Tiger Reserve covers 1161.47 square kilometers, and includes the 446 sq. kms of the Bandhavgarh National Park and 245 sq. kms of Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary. The core area of the reserve is 624.75 sq. kms.

Bandhavgarh Hill - a central attraction

Bio-geographic zones
The ecoregion represents the dry deciduous forests along the Narmada River Valley and the flanking Vindhya Mountain Range and the western part of the Satpura Mountain Range in central India. As per bio-geographic classification, the area is part of the Deccan Peninsula, Central Highlands (Rodgers, Panwar & Mathur, 2000).

Bandhavgarh is a rich blend of grasslands and forests

Forest types
According to Champion and Seth (1968), forest types include Moist Peninsular Low-level Sal Forest, West Gangetic Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest, Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forest and Dry Deciduous Scrub Forest.
Sal (Shorea robusta) dominates in the valleys and on the lower slopes, gradually changing to mixed deciduous forest on the hills and in the hotter drier areas of the park. Other major tree species found here include Diospyros melanoxylon, Terminalia tomentosa, Terminalia arjuna, Terminalia coriacea, Terminalia chebula, Aegle marmelos, Anogeissus latifolia, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Syzygium cumini, Syzygium heyneanum, Boswellia serrata, Buchanania lanzan, Ficus bengalensis, Ficus religiosa, Zizyphus xylopyrus, Salix tetrasperma, Homonoia riparia, Bauhinia roxburghiana, Vitex negundo and Emblica officinalis. The most commonly found species of bamboo is Dendrocalamus strictus.

Bird Life

Red-headed Vulture

Bandhavgarh supports a variety of bird species that occur in central India. Over 300 species have been listed here. The Park is an important area for the conservation of the severely endangered vulture species including the Indian, White-rumped, Red-headed and Egyptian vultures – many of which breed here.

Birdwatching in Bandhavgarh is a pleasure with significant bird density. You will come across many good birds like White-naped Woodpecker (image left) , Malabar Pied Hornbill, Painted Spurfowl, a variety of raptors, Lesser Adjutant, Mottled Wood Owl and other sought after birds relatively easily from the comfort of your open-top jeep. Being a 'Tiger Park', the birds are often overlooked. But the birders will have a rewarding time here if they look for them.

39 mammal species are known to occur here and there are 96 types of butterflies in these forests.

Most people visit Bandhavgarh to catch a glimpse of the apex predator

Bharia (image right) and Gond are the two main tribal communities found in the area. Bharias are agriculturists and cultivate maize, millet, paddy, wheat etc. They use the 'Dahiya' method of cultivation where they dig the soil by their own hands using a metal instrument instead of ploughing it.






Places to visit around Bandhavgarh
Bandhavgarh is close to many major tourist attractions. It is 230 kms away from the Kanha Tiger Reserve and Khajuraho. The famous marble rocks of Jabalpur is just a 150 km drive away and Amarkantak 210 kms from the Park.

Where to stay

Samode Safari Lodge (pic above) High end but top class! Beautifully designed and managed with some of the best Naturalists in the business. Highly recommended.
White Tiger Lodge, Tala
The Manager, Central Reservation Tours Division MP State Tourism Development Corporation Gangotri T.T. Nagar, Bhopal
Forest Rest House, Tala
Field Director Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Umaria phone: 07653 - 222214.


Road: Taxis to Tala are available at Satna, Jabalpur, Katni, Umaria, Bilaspur and Khajuraho.
Railway station: Umaria - 30kms; Katni - 80kms.
Airport: Khajuraho - five and a half hour drive, 237 km; Jabalpur Airport - 164kms.

Important Facts and figures
Area: 1161.47 sq. km. (Bandhavgarh National Park - 446 sq km)
Altitudinal range: 410 - 811 m asl
Location: Between 23° 30' to 23°46' N and 80 ° 11' to36' E
Average annual rainfall: 1070 mm
Temperatures: High 46C; Low -1.4C. Winter November - February.
Forest Department:
Field Director
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Umaria, Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh
Phone: 07653-222214.
There are 4 tourist zones in Bandhavgarh National Park – Tala, Khitauli, Magadhi & Panpatta.
Best season: October to May. Closed July to September.

References/Sources/Further reading:
Forest Deptt. Madhya Pradesh
Wikipedia page
Project Tiger Reserves in India - Reserve Guide
Corbett Foundation page
Sanctuary Asia pages

WWF Terrestrial Ecoregion IMO0207
Samode Safari Lodge
White Tiger Forest Lodge (PDF)
A Birdwatcher' Guide to India by Krys Kazmierczak and Raj Singh

©Sumit Sen

All images on this page copyright ©Sumit K Sen

Sumit K Sen
Kolkata, India


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