Bandhavgar­h: A royal des­ti­na­tion

The fort was un­der the own­er­ship of the roy­als of Rewa, and the forests are home to Mad­hya Pradesh’s tigers. An op­por­tu­nity to visit the place is not to be missed.

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Bandhavgar­h is a small na­tional park; com­pact, yet teem­ing with wildlife. Cov­er­ing 448 sq km, Bandhavgar­h is sit­u­ated in Umaria district. The den­sity of the tiger pop­u­la­tion in Bandhavgar­h is the high­est known in In­dia. This is the orig­i­nal home of all the white tigers alive to­day. The last known was cap­tured by Ma­haraja Mar­tand Singh in 1951.This white tiger, Mo­hun, is now on dis­play in the palace of the Ma­hara­jas of Rewa. Bandhavgar­h is densely pop­u­lated with other species: sam­bar and bark­ing deer are a com­mon sight, and nil­gai are to be seen in the more open ar­eas of the park. The Bandhavgar­h Fort is thought to be some 2,000 years old. Scat­tered through­out the park, and par­tic­u­larly around the fort, are nu­mer­ous caves con­tain­ing shrines and an­cient San­skrit in­scrip­tions.

There are three wellde­fined sea­sons-the win­ter (from mid-Oc­to­ber to the end of Fe­bru­ary), sum­mer (from March to mid­dle of June) and the mon­soon (from the mid­dle of June to mid­dle of Oc­to­ber). The tem­per­a­ture ranges from a max­i­mum of 42 de­grees Cel­sius in May and June, to around four de­grees Cel­sius in win­ter. Prior to be­com­ing a na­tional park, the forests around Bandhavgar­h had long been main­tained as a ‘shikar­gah’, or a game pre­serve of the Ma­hara­jas of Rewa. In 1947, when Rewa was merged with Mad­hya Pradesh, Bandhavgar­h came un­der the Reg­u­la­tions of Mad­hya Pradesh. No spe­cial con­ser­va­tion mea­sures were taken un­til 1968, when the ar­eas were con­sti­tuted as a Na­tional Park. Since then, nu­mer­ous steps have been taken to re­tain Bandhavgar­h Na­tional Park as an un­spoilt nat­u­ral habi­tat.

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