Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park shot to fame with the discovery of the albino species- the famed White Tiger.
History and Origin
Originally a fort belonging to the former Rewa dynasty, the royal property served as a ‘dowry’ gift to the family of the Vaghelas of Gujarat for the marriage of their son to the daughter of the Raja of Pirahwan. The possession was though, short lived as the Mughals took over the fort in 1597 and established their dominance in the region. A rich history evident from the inscriptions in Brahmi script, engraved on the walls of the fort speak volumes about its life. As per Hindu mythology, the name “Bandhavgarh” seems to originate from Ramayana folklore wherein Lord Rama visited Bandhavgarh and gave this fort to his younger brother Laxman resulting in the name- Bandhavgarh. Prior to becoming a national park, the forests around Bandhavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargah, or game preserve, of the Maharajas and their guests.When the Rewa state was merged with Madhya Pradesh, the Maharaja of Rewa still retained the hunting rights. Thereafter, in 1968 when the first national parks were being laid out, Bandhavgarh gained its protected status as a national park and was included under “project Tiger” in 1973.
Bandhavgarh National Park belongs to the Vindhyan mountain ranges of central India. Sprawled over an area of about690+ sq. kms., the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has considered it as the most vegetative part of the Umaria district. The captivating landscapes are being spread over 32 hills, cliffs, plateaus and meadows. The forests of Bandhavgarh, belonging to the dry deciduous category uniquely supports the growth of a rich and varied flora in the park.
Flora and Fauna
The vegetation of Bandhavgarh is specially filled with Sal forest in the valleys and Bamboo stretches on the lower slopes of the region. While half of the forest is being covered with fine trees of Sal and Bamboo, the forest also beholds the mixed species around the higher hills that also includes high grasslands which are the major specialty of the Bandhavgarh jungle. There are more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds in the area with common langurs and rhesus macaque representing the primate group. Apart from the tiger, the following fauna flourishes in this jungle of central India- Leopards, Sambar, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Gaur, Chausinga and Chinkara, the Asiatic jackal, Bengal fox, sloth bear, grey mongoose, striped hyena, dhole, palm civet and the jungle cat. A variety of birds such as the Egyptian vulture, common peafowl, red jungle fowl, dove, parakeet, Indian roller can also be found in abundance.
Did you know?
The original discovery place of the White Tiger, the forests of Bandhavgarh are the white tiger jungles of the yesteryears. However, no white tigers have been reported from the wild in the last 50 years, and it is believed that less than a dozen have been seen in India in about a hundred years. The last white tiger was captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in the year 1951 and today the white tiger called Mohun is on display in the palace of Maharaja of Rewa.