Bandhavgarh National Park

The Land of White Tigers

Kanha Kanha Kanha

General Information Area: 4,548 sq.kms.
Altitude: 600-900 metres
Temperature (deg C): Summer - Max 44, Min 23; Winter- Max 23, Min 1
Rainfall: 152 - 180 cms.

OverviewTala is a village located near the Bandhavgarh National Park entrance and the closest town of Umaria is 32 kms away.

Bandhavgarh National Park lies on the extreme north-eastern border of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It falls between the outlying Vindhyan hill range and the Eastern Satpura Hills that run in an East-West direction, and is located in Umaria District.

Umaria district has a geographical area of 4548 sq.kms, and about 42% of the total area is covered by forests only. The district is rich in minerals, the most important being coal and 83% of the population resides in rural areas.

Once the personal hunting ground of the Maharaja of Rewa, Bandhavgarh is famous as the home of the white tiger Mohan, which was found in these jungles, and which now lies stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharaja of Rewa. It was from this tiger that captive breeding of white tigers was started, and now you have approximately 500 of them world-wide, of which pure bred are approximately 40, most of which are in India. White tigers are simply white-coloured Bengals, and not a separate subspecies of Indian Wildlife as many people think.

The tourism zone of the park that most people take to be Bandhavgarh, is actually a small part of the reserve. The area of this is 105 sq km and is known as the Tala range. This was the original area of the park when it was started. There are four more ranges in the reserve namely - Magdhi, Kallwah, Khitauli and Panpatha. These were added later and together these five ranges comprise the 'Core' of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve - a total area of 694 sq kms. There is then the 'buffer,' which is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals another 437 sq kms.

Bandhavgarh National Park gets its name from the tallest hill located amongst a chain of hills situated in the tourist zone of the Tala range. This hill is called Bandhavgarh and is located in the center of the reserve. This hill rises 811 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by smaller hills separated by gently sloping valleys. As this hill has vertical cliffs and a plateau on the top, it became a natural fort for the Baghela Kings, ancestors of the Maharajah of Rewa, who started their rule here in the 12th century.

The mean altitude is between 1444 feet (440 metres) and 2657 feet (810 metres), with the Fort being the highest point and the Park entrance, at Tala village being the lowest. These hills form a number of valleys and spurs, interspersed with a number of grassy meadows found in the low-lying areas. These intermingling grasslands, locally known as "baheras" provide good habitat for herbivores and hunting cover for predators. These grasslands that occupy the valley floor and favored by ungulates, are relics of village fields, which at one time existed here before they were relocated outside when the Bandhavgarh National Park was formed, to preserve threatened Indian Wildlife.

The geology is soft feldspathic sandstone with quartzite. The soil is generally sandy to sandy-loam. Because of this, rainwater percolates through the ground, forming a number of perennial streams and springs. More than twenty streams rise or flow through the park. Of these Umrar (forming the western boundry) is the largest. The other important streams are Johilla (eastern boundry), Janadh, Charanganga, Damnar, Banbei, Ambanala and Andhyari Jhiria. The Charanganga has its source at the Fort. All these streams eventually flow into the river Son, which is an important tributary to the Ganges.

There are about 100 villages around the Bandhavgarh National Park. As they lack any good grazing ground for their cattle, tremendous grazing pressure exists on the Reserve. While poaching of wild animals inside the core area is almost non-existent, animals moving out into the buffer area do get killed occasionally by some communities who have been killing and eating wild animals since ages and have not yet changed their thinking.

Two roads pass through the Reserve, and as there is a lot of vehicular movement on these roads, even during the night, numerous animals get killed in road accidents.

Herbivores raid the cultivated areas of adjoining villages, while livestock also form part of tiger prey. Compensation is paid immediately as per rules, if any cattle is killed by Tiger or Leopard in the area open for grazing.

Safari Safaris in Bandhavgarh are done twice daily at around 5.30 AM and 3.00 PM.

Entry Gate for Bandhavgarh National Park are located at:
- Tala
- Mahaman
- Gohri
- Fort safari