A relatively small park with a thriving tiger population, Bandhavgarh National Park is renowned for offering one of the highest chances of sighting this majestic animal in its natural habitat. 27 tigers roam the 105km2 core area.
Cradled between the scenic Vindhya and Satpura mountains, Bandhavgarh began as the hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Rewa. The park offers a mixture of jungled valleys, rocky hills, dry deciduous forests and open grasslands with ample waterholes and a network of spring-fed streams.
The diverse habitats make it ideal for a selection of exotic wildlife: leopard, spotted chital deer, four-horned chousingha antelope, jungle cat and sloth bear. The park also has more than 250 colourful species of birds.
The highest hill in Bandhavgarh is topped by the ruins of an ancient Fort that gave the park its name. With magnificent views of the entire reserve, the fort is accessible by an old track. Halfway up the trail, a massive statue of Lord Vishnu reclines in the dense vegetation, with a natural spring bubbling at his feet.
Atop the 800m-high cliffs, the fort is now a bastion for vultures, blue rock thrushes and crag martins. Their calls as they climb the updrafts create a haunting serenade that echoes across the jungle canopy and meadows below.
Hiking up to the Bandhavgarh Fort | Views from the escarpment | The excellent chance of seeing a tiger
− There are 40 leopards recorded living here
− The park is 448 km2