Once the private hunting grounds of the rulers of the princely state of Rewa, Bandhavgarh was declared a National Park in 1968 and a Tiger Reserve in 1993 under the Project Tiger initiative.
Nestled within the Vindhya Mountain Range of Central India, the park derives its name from the highest hillock in the area, Bandhavgarh Hill (807 metres), atop which the ancient fort of the same name is located.
The park has a total area of 437 sq. kms. comprising a core area of 105 sq. kms (called the Tala Range) and a buffer zone of 332 sq. kms. Currently only two zones within the national park – the Tala Range and the Magdhi Range – are open to tourists.
Bandhavgarh has one of the highest densities of tigers in the world. It is estimated that there are between 46 to 52 tigers in the reserve of which 22 inhabit the core tourist area. That’s a density of 1 tiger for every 4.7 sq kms!
The forests of Bandhavgarh are where the world famous white tigers of Rewa were once discovered. However, no white tigers have been reported in the area in the last 50 years.
Other than the tiger, the park also boasts many other species of animals, birds and insects. About 37 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 70 species of butterflies, and a number of reptiles are found here.
The most commonly spotted animals here include the Sambhar, Chital (Spotted Deer), Langur, Rhesus Macaque, Wild Boar and Asiatic Fox.
Commonly seen birds here are the Peafowl, Red Jungle fowl, Grey Hornbill, Common Teals, Red Wattled Lapwing, Crested Serpent Eagle, White Breasted Kingfisher and Lesser Adjutant Stork.
The vegetation is chiefly of Bamboo thickets and Sal trees at the lower slopes, gradually changing to mixed deciduous forest on the hills and in the hotter drier areas.