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Bandhavgarh National Park

posted Dec 17, 2011, 9:26 PM by sandip mishra   [ updated Dec 17, 2011, 9:27 PM ]

Trip to the Bandhavgarh National Park was in the offing since a very long time.However, the long and tedious train journey of almost 20+ hours was the show stopper. This time around, Shreya insisted that we should make the trip come what may. MP Tourism as usual was our default choice as travel partner and got our booking done from Nagpur to Bandhavgarh and back.

The trip from Nagpur to Bandhavgarh by road is a very tiring one and at the time of writing this, it not advisable to follow the NH 7 route through Jabalpur,  Katni , Umariya and then Tala.- for almost 30-40 kms patch, the National Highway did not exist. What a state of affair!!! A better route to follow is Seoni to Mandla , Umariya ,Shahpura and directly to Tala (Bandhavgarh) through State Highways 11 and 40.

We reached the White Tiger Safari Lodge(MP Tourism) late in the night 11 p.m. and were greeted by Manager Alok Verma who was full of energy & enthusiasm to receive us. We had three safari trips and he promised us one in the premium Tala Zone and two in the Umariya. The hotel has a few rooms set-up in machaan design,  with the rooms elevated from the ground amongst the trees.

Bandhavgarh probably has one of the highest Bengal tiger densities in the country and recently had attracted a lot of negative attention due to a few tiger deaths. The park is divided into three zones - 1. Tala which is the premium zone and a lot of sightings happen during the summer season, 2. Umariya and 3.Khitauli zone........The total number of vehicles allowed in each zone is 65, 40 and 30 respectively. Rules are quite strict and vehicles are assigned a path and not allowed to deviate.

Sunday morning...we made two trips to the Tala and Umariya zone. With lot of activity around...animal sightings were very less. The usual sightings of Sambhar, Nilgai, Deer, jackals, wild boar, mongoose and a variety of birds added to the tally. It was breath-taking to see the mountain range and the Bandhavgarh fort. Some good bird photography was the highlight of the day and at the end of the day realized that of the 100+ vehicles none did sight the majestic Tiger.

Next day morning, I was the lone survivor from the family and with resolute decide to carry on with the third trip to Umariya zone. The early morning chillness was nice and we decided to go slow with the safari. At one spot in the distant I heard a faint alarm call of chital and alerted my driver and guide. We stopped to track the call...and then there was a rush of alarm calls (Sambhar, Monkey, Chital, peafowl) from all directions within a 50-60 meters distance.

Excitement was high and we were the only ones around this small patch of jungle. The guide figured out that probably the action was happening on the other side of the patch and the tiger (ress) will definitely cross our path. A lo and behold, there in front was a majestic female...(may be the Umariya female) walking parallel to the road. We moved along with it for 3-4 minutes by which time 3 more jeeps joined us...What a sight of this beautiful animal.

As she disappeared into the thicket we decided to move on and we encountered a rare scene of a pack of jackals, five of them, the guide was surprised too. Normally jackals  do not hunt in packs...We continued to watch them for 10 minutes and after taking some more bird photos returned to the hotel.

On, the return trip near Mandla we saw a signage reading "Fossil Park" and Shreya being very enthusiastic about Dinosaur fossils pleaded us to visit this park located in Ghughus. Run by the MP Tourism department, the place has plant fossils dating back to 5000 years and a nice museum houses the seeds, bark, eucalytpus trees and to our wonder a Dinosaur egg also. It was quite interesting to see these fossils and Shreya kept on taking snaps.

Overall an exciting journey...

Bandhavgarh National Park
 
 
 
 Tigress @ Umariya zone
 
 
 
Temple @Fort
 
 


Changeable Hawkeagle 

 


Jackal pack

 

 

The mountain ranges
 
 
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