Bandhavgarh is a world famous Tiger reserve, spread over Vindhya mountains in Central India. Its area lies in Umaria Forest Division of Madhya Pradesh state. Being a Project Tiger Reserve, forest area of Bandhavgarh is also divided in to Core-Buffer zone where it’s declared core area is 452.66 sq.km. Till year 1968 it remains a private game reserve of Baghela rulers from Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh. It is counted among highly appreciated tiger reserves of Central India after Kanha National Park. Bandhavgarh is such a popular tiger sighting national park that no tiger safari itinerary can be considered complete without including it in tour program.
More than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds & 70 species of butterflies are found in Bandhavgarh National Park. Common Langurs and Rhesus Macaque represent the primate group. Carnivores include the Tiger, Leopard, Asiatic Jackal, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Bengal Fox, Striped Hyena, Jungle Cat. The artiodactyls frequently sighted are Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Chausingha, Nilgai(Blue-bull), Chinkara. Mammals such as Dhole, the small Indian Civet, Palm Squirrel and Lesser Bandicoot Rat are seen occasionally.
It is said that India's first white tiger was found in the forest area of Bandhavgarh due to which it is also called white tiger country. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. The last known was captured by Maharajah Martand Singh in 1951.
Bandhavgarh is a historical place. The hill top where fort or garrison is located has a history that goes back to 2nd & 3rd century when region was under Magh rulers. The flat platform over hill top where current ruins of fort and other monuments are located was considered very defensive location surrounded from steep natural rocks with water sources on hill top. About 3 Magh rulers ruled here as per inscriptions written on caves present in nearby hills.
After Magh rules, Sengar dynasty came into ruling position since 5th century. Sengar's could not retain the region for a long time and later Kalchuris took over the area in the 9th century. Kalchuris were fond of art & sculpture. During their tenure, many temples and monuments were made in Baghelkhand. Kalchuris made their capital in Tripuri which was in between Jabalpur - Bhedaghat. Here Tripur Sundari Temple is actually Tripuri of Kalchuris. During Kulchuri time, Rewa was called as "Dahal Desh" in their inscriptions. After Kalchuris, this region was ruled by Baghels of Rewa. These Baghels are Raghav Agnivanshi clan of Rajputs. They were originally from Anhalwada in Gujarat, who migrated to Sone river valley in Central India which was known as Bhat Gonda during that time. Later this region was called Baghelkhand. Till year 1562 Badhelkhand capital was at Gahora, situated on Allahabad - Karvi road in Chitrakoot region. It was Baghel king Raja Ramchandra who shifted the capital from Gahora to Bandhavgarh in 1562 and started ruling from Bandhavgarh fort. Here it is important to know that famous Indian music legend "Tansen" had also spend time in Bandhavgarh and later gifted from Baghel ruler to Mughals. Baghel rulers have treaty with powerful Mughal dynasty but when their interference increased in Bandhavgarh, Baghels were compelled to shift their capital from Bandhavgarh to Rewa in year 1618. From that time, Bandhavgarh became an abandoned place and forestation took over the areas of human establishment. During Bandhavgarh safari, we can notice some marks of human establishment in this area and during fort visit, it can be observed more prominently.