Bandhavgarh National Park
Forest around Bandhavgarh fort was declared national park in the year 1965 on behest of Maharaja Martand Singh ji of Rewa royalty who was very distressed on seeing unabated degradation of forest and poaching of wildlife, after independence, in a jungle which was once protected by the royal family of Rewa. Later after adding more forest area to previously declared protected forest a tiger reserve was crafted out to protect one of the smartest predators – Tiger and named Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in honor of royal family of Rewa also known as Bandha Maharaja.
Tiger safari is one of the best way to spot the big cat at Bandhavgarh national park. Bandhavgarh national park is spread over an area of 694 Sq Km with buffer of another 437 S. Km. Bandhavgarh hills which also has the famous Bandhavgarh fort gives name to this world famous tiger reserve. It is in these forests that Maharaja Martand Singh ji caught first living white tiger cub – Mohan. It is said that the Bandhavgarh fort has a history of more than 5000 years and Bandhavgarh national park is famous for its rich historical past along with the big cat Tiger. There are 39 known caves in the fort region and the oldest one is believed to be of 1st Century. Many statues of different incarnations of Lord Vishnu can be seen in the fort with “Sheshshaiya" the statue of lord Vishnu in reclining pose being the most beautiful.
Mango, Aonla, Saja, Tendu, Arjun, Palash, Jamun, Salai, Bhirra, Khamer, etc. are common in this mainly Sal and Bamboo forests of Bandhavgarh. Many rare herbs and shrubs, with medicinal values can be seen here along with some rare insectivorous plants like Drocerapeltata.
Well known for its high Tiger density, Bandhavgarh national park has 22 mammals, 270 birds and 128 known species of butterflies along with other small and big living beings which make it a biodiversity hotspot. Tiger, Spotted deer, Barking deer (Muntjac), Sambar, Chausinga (Four-horned antelope), Nilgai, Leopard, wild dog (Dhole), Wolf, Jackal, Wild boar, Sloth bear, Common Langur, etc. can be spotted here without much difficulty. Gaur (Indian Bison) which had once shifted from here are being reintroduced by the forest department.
Bandhavgarh forests are well known amongst bird watchers and people come here from all over the world to see some rare species of the flying wonders.