Bandhavgarh and its Historical Tales makes it one of the most famous National Parks in India. Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh it derives its name from the most prominent hillock of the area. A legend says that it was gifted by Lord Rama to his brother Laxmana to keep a watch on Lanka. Infact, Bandhavgarh is a Sanskrit word which actually means ‘Brother’s Fort’.
Bandhavgarh and Ramanyana
Bandhavgarh is a park with a historical past. Though, no one has ever found evidence as to when the fort was built, there have been references as old as 2000 years. Bandhavgarh Fort claims to date back to the ancient scriptures of ‘Shiv Purana’ adding to its authenticity and historical glamour. History even tells us that when Maharaja Vikramaditya shifted his capital to Rewa, Bandhavgarh fell into the hands of the Mughal Empire for a short duration. There are a total of 39 caves in the Bandhavgarh Fort and the surrounding hillocks. These hillocks are embossed with Brahmi inscriptions and figures.
Before being declared as a National Park, the forests around Bandhavgarh were maintained as a ‘Shikargah’ or game preserve, of the Maharajas and their guests. As a very interesting fact, Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa captured the first White tiger in this region in 1951. Having the largest biodiversity, Bandhavgarh helped the royalty get better hunts everyday. However, this had to stop. Wildlife had to be protected and the biodiversity to be preserved. As a measure, ‘Project Tiger’ was launched and the ‘Wildlife Protection Act’ was constituted in the year 1972.
Bandhavgarh National Park
With time, authorities realized that protecting only the prime habitat of Bandhavgarh National Park, consisting of 105 sq.km. was not enough. Three more ranges, namely- Khitauli, Magdhi and Kallawah, became an integral part of the Talla range in 1982. The area measured under the National Park was now 448 sq.km. Project Tiger grew rapidly in its activities and influence, thus taking Bandhavgarh into its folds in 1993. As a result, a core area of 694 sq.km. was established, incorporating the earlier three ranges. To this area, a buffer area of 437 sq.km. along with Panpatha Sanctuary was added and all combined of this combined declared as the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
Bandhavgarh is home to famous tigers that are comparatively bigger than any other national park in India. Tala is known as the richest zone in biodiversity, mainly tigers. The Tiger standing at the top of the food chain, the National Park has 37 species of mammals. According to forest authorities, there are 250 species of birds, about 80 species of butterflies and a number of reptiles. The richness of the park calls on the pairs of sarus cranes to breed in the monsoon season.
The biggest attraction of the Park are tigers. According to a survey in 2012, there were 44-49 tigers living in the Park at the time. There is a popular saying about Bandhavgarh National Park, “In any other Park, you are lucky if you see a Tiger. In Bandhavgarh , you are unlucky if you do not see (at least) one”.
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Born and brought up in New Delhi, it was Sharad’s childhood passion to play cricket for India. While on a holiday in 1990, he saw his first tiger. Little did he know that this one sighting would immerse him into a realm where forests and tigers were all that mattered.
Sharad’s experiences as a wildlife photographer have inspired him to observe the tiger’s behavior for over 30 years and motivated him on his own journey as an entrepreneur. He started Nature Safari India Pvt Ltd, with a focus on “Conservation through Tourism.” to align himself to the mission of saving the regal species and repopulating them in India’s forests. In 2006, he set up one of India’s premier jungle lodges in Kanha National Park.
Sharad believes that there are many lessons to be learned from a tiger that can be applied successfully to leadership—both in business and in life. Here’s a new book by Sharad Vats on management and leadership skills to learn from a Tiger.