Prior to becoming a national park, the jungles of Bandhavgarh in the Vindya Hills of central India were maintained as Shikhargarh, the private hunting grounds of the maharajas of Rewa.
An ancient ruined fort, from which the park takes its name, complete with a small active temple situated high on a sandstone plateau, rugged terrain and rolling hills provide a dramatic backdrop to Bandhavgarh’s grasslands, marshes, sal and deciduous forests watered by streams and springs. With a core area of 105 km² (and a buffer zone of approximately 400 km²) this is the smallest of the three parks in the region (the others being Kanha and Pench) but it has one of the highest concentration of tigers in India and is understandably popular as a result.
There is a good chance of seeing tiger here, either on morning and afternoon jeep safaris, or Sher Darshan, a short tiger viewing from elephant back. Although the latter is not guaranteed, it is a unique and incredible opportunity to get very close to a tiger should one have already been spotted in the early morning by the park mahouts and the authorities grant permission for viewing.
Though rarely sighted, leopard co-exist in abundance. Wild boar, golden jackal, several varieties of deer, antelope and monkeys are commonly seen and with patience, luck and the skills of your naturalist, sighting of dhole (Indian wild dog), sloth bear and even wolf are all possible. Bandhavgarh has bird life galore - both migratory and resident bird species – totalling around 250 species including vultures.