Bandhavgarh National Park – A Complete Travel Guide

Wildlife Safari

One of the most popular tiger reserves in India for seeing Royal Bengal Tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park is situated amid the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh.

Bandhavgarh forest area was part of the Rewa princely state prior to India’s independence. It was declared as a national park in the year 1968, covering a core forest area of 105 sq km.

With several additions to the forest area, the current area of the tiger reserve stands at 1,536 sq km (core area – 716 sq km, buffer area – 820 sq km).

It is amongst the top tiger reserves in the region with a high density of tigers.

The tiger census report released in June 2019 recognizes Madhya Pradesh as the state with the highest tiger population (526).

A Quick Glance Through

Mistry Behind The Name

Bandhavgarh national park gets its name from the ancient Bandhavgarh fort. The word Bandhavgarh is made up of two words – Bandhav (meaning brother) and Garh (meaning fort).

Legend has it that the fort was gifted by Lord Ram to his brother Lakshman and hence it is named Bandhavgarh fort.

Wildlife in Bandhavgarh National Park

Blessed with dense forests, vast grasslands and perennial streams, Bandhavgarh National Park offers an excellent habitat to the majestic big cats.

Tiger in the wild

The park falls within the tropical moist deciduous region with Sal (Shorea robusta) and Bamboo as the dominant floral species.

Bandhavgarh forest is known for some of its star tigers and tigresses. A male tiger named Charger and a female tiger named Sita have been very famous for featuring together in many wildlife documentaries.

Charger was a dominant tiger who died in the year 2000 after ruling the jungle for over a decade. Sita tigress is the second most photographed tigress in the world.

With about 37 mammal species, more than 250 distinct bird species and a number of aquatic species, Bandhavgarh National park attracts wildlife photographers from all over the world.

In addition to royal Bengal tigers, the park is popular for sightings of Indian wolf, wild dog, wild boar, jackal, sambar deer, spotted deer, hyena and leopard.

Spotted deer  - Bandhavgarh National Park
Spotted Deer

Indian grey hornbill, black drongo, little egret, green bee-eater and rose-ringed Parakeet are some of the commonly found avifauna in the park.

Rose-ringed Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet

Look out for the long-tailed paradise flycatcher, they are really adorable. Migratory birds like warblers visit the wetlands of the park in winter.

You may also like: 15 Most Beautiful Birds in India

Tourist Zones

The park has been divided into 3 tourist zones – Tala, Magadhi and Khitauli.

Tala is the main zone and remains most popular for tiger sightings. Magadhi zone is located at the fringe of the park and is also good for tiger sightings.

Khitauli zone is a recent addition that is gaining popularity fast amongst visitors. This zone is well-known for its excellent birding experience. 

The buffer zones of the park are Dhamokhar, Panpatha and Johila.

Bandhavgarh National Park is also well known for its archaeological attractions that still exist inside the park. Here are some of the major places of interest across the three zones.

Tala ZoneMagadhi ZoneKhitauli Zone
Badi GufaCharger PointUmrar River
Shesh-shaiyaRajbehraNilgai Nala
Sita MandapMahaman PondGarhpuri Dam
Gopalpur PondClimber’s PointKumbhi Kachhar
KetkihaSehra DadraTedka Munara
Bhitari WahSookhi TalabCharkhi Dongri
Bandhavgarh FortSookhi DamMarjadgarh Tower
Three Cave PointDabhadol Tank
Rampur HillockDinosaur Rock
Bamania HillBaherha
ChakradharaDhaua Tower

How to Reach Bandhavgarh National Park

By Air

The nearest airport is in Jabalpur (190 km) and the second nearest airport is located in Khajuraho (237 km).

Both airports are well linked to metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi. The park is around 4 hours drive from Jabalpur airport and 5 hours drive from Khajuraho airport.

By Train

Umaria (35 km) is the nearest railway station to the park. The other nearest railheads are Katni (102 km), Satna (120 km) and Jabalpur (190 km).

A number of direct trains run from New Delhi to Umaria, namely Hirakund Express, Chhattisgarh Sampark Kranti Express and a few more.

By Road

State and Private transport buses ply at regular intervals from Katni, Satna and Jabalpur to Umaria. Private taxis are easily available to hire from nearby cities to drop you at your hotel.


Plenty of resorts and jungle lodges are located in the vicinity of the park.

Aranyak Resort is one of the best places to stay if you are visiting Bandhavgarh. It is a beautiful resort set amid lush greenery.

They offer excellent hospitality and great service including delicious food. It lies hardly 2 km away from Tala zone entrance.

Check Prices and Book A Room in Aranyak Resort.

Another wonderful resort near Tala zone is Mogli Jungle Resort. It is a well-maintained property surrounded by tall bamboo trees and a nice garden. The resort is almost 3 km away from Tala gate. Book a room here.

Best Time To Visit

The best months to visit Bandhavgarh national park are from October to June. The park remains closed from 1st July to 30th September due to the monsoon.

Winter temperature varies from 8-20 degrees and the mercury rises up to 46 degrees in summer.

The probability of tiger sightings in summer is higher because of obvious reasons – the big cats are out near waterholes in search of water.

How to Book Permit and Safari

Permit and jeep safari both can be booked from Madhya Pradesh, Forest Department website. You can either book a full vehicle or individual seats depending on the requirement.

Besides the traditional safari experience, Bandhavgarh National Park has started offering hot air balloon wildlife safari. It is a recent addition, launched in January of 2020.

Useful Travel Tips

  • Book forest entry permits in advance and separate permits for every zone you want to visit.
  • Don’t book hotels unless you have confirmed forest entry permits. You will miss all the fun of watching wildlife in the absence of a permit.
  • Remember to carry the same identity card that was used for permit booking.
  • Go for at least 3-4 safaris to make the most out of it because no sighting is guaranteed and no sighting is the same.
  • Don’t forget to carry woolens if you are travelling in winter (November till February). Safaris start as early 6 o’clock in the morning and the mercury drops further inside the forest.
  • Refer to this wildlife holiday checklist for packing essentials.

Further Reading

For more national parks travel inspiration, you may like to check out some of these posts.

The Ultimate Guide To Tadoba National Park.

Pench Tiger Reserve – A Complete Guide.

Best Things To Do in Ranthambore National Park.

Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve – Treasures of Wildlife.

Best Things To Do in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve – A Gem of Western Ghats.

Over To You Now…

Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the most visited national parks in India.

Have you been to this charismatic land of wild cats? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below.

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