Bandhavgarh National Park

Home of the largest cat in the world: the tiger

Bandhavgarh Nationaal Park in India is known as one of the best places to see tigers in the wild. You can take jeep safari in this intriguing part of Asia.

This former royal hunting ground has the largest density of tigers. When you go on safari here you might be reminded of Africa, until the largest feline in the world shows up.

Bandhavgarh National Park is a green oasis in a land that’s rapidly growing and developing. It’s located in the Madhya Pradesh in India, and quite small in size. It’s pretty much a mountain and a few surrounding hills.

A tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park. ©Corno van den Berg

Large nature reserve

Together with the forests of Umaria and Katni, the national park is around 437 km². Which is quite big in a country that's almost exploding. Its most important resident is the yellow-and-black king of the jungle.

A tiger passing at Bandhavgarh. ©Corno van den Berg

Tiger Safari in India

Bandhavgarh is one of approximately twenty national parks in Asia where the tiger can be found. And this specific park is trying to ensure that the animal doesn’t become extinct, by encouraging tourists to learn about tigers, and see them with their own eyes.

This has helped bring attention to this animal. Now this former hunting ground of this royal creature is most of all a place of protection and education.

Other wildlife in Bandhavgarh

A jackal in Bandhavgarh. ©Corno van den Berg

You have an excellent chance of seeing a tiger here, especially if you can spend a few days in the area. But it’s always up to chance, of course.

Scientists have counted more than 20 mammals in Bandhavgarh National Park. For example. there are different kinds of deer, wild dogs, sloth bears and pythons. And there are more than 250 kinds of birds in the park.

A male chital in Bandhavgarh. ©Corno van den Berg

The origin of the name Bandhavgarh

The word bandhav means brother, and garh means fort, which refers to a fort on the mountain ridge. It’s not clear when the fort was built, but archaeologists believe it’s over 2000 years old. That makes it the oldest fort in India. It’s at 810 metres altitude and has been inhabited several times, but is now uninhibited.

Hiking in Bandhavgarh

Hiking in Bandhavgarh is a unique tour. ©Corno van den Berg

Believe it or not, but you can take a hike in the park. It is only possible in a small part and with a guide. You can visit the remains of an old fort. But it's mainly worthwhile because of the view from the top. 

The park is also famous for the many caves there, which are holy places for the locals. Many of the caves have Sanskrit inscriptions, the ceremonial language of Hindus. The caves are also the birthplace of many tigers.

That’s one of the reasons why so many tigers can survive in this park. They’re most vulnerable when they are cubs, and the caves protect them from predators.

Best time for Bandhavgarh

A male tiger in Bandhavgarh. ©Corno van den Berg

The best time to visit the park is from February to June – at least when it comes to seeing the animals, and the tigers and leopards in particular.

During spring and summertime, the weather is relatively dry and there are very few leaves on the trees, and the tigers also tend to spend more time near water, so they’re easier to spot.

They are not as frequently spotted in winter, and in the wet season, between June and October, the park is closed.