Searching For Tigers at Bandhavgarh on Permit
Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh in India is also a tiger reserve. It is notified as a reserve under the Project Tiger Program which is an Indian Government initiative. It is also known as the land of the tiger being a conservation unit with appreciable density of tigers in core comprising of 400 sq.km. The lush green Sal forests extend to whole of the tiger reserve stretching up to eleven hundred sq.km
The forests comprise of Sal, mixed moist dry deciduos type and bamboo on the slopes. The ecosystem is fortified by niche habitats comprising of micro flora, microscopic organisms, damp and perpetually wet areas, swamps, and larger floral elements that accord diversity to the whole reserve. The whole system is based on preservation of water, soil, climate and the food chain. This gives rise to diverse life forms and sustains them.
Unique feature of this National Park is presence of tell tale signs of warrior kingdoms or ancient civilzations that date back to 2000 years. Bandhavgarh was a Gondwana land hence the fort, temples, courts, caves, walls and other edifices were built by the tribes and then the structures remained as it is or were modified by dynasties that came to rule here. The last dynasty was the Baghelas who shifted their capital to Rewa a district in Central India.
The remains of ancient civilizations are still there some in perfect state of preservation while others like the fort are in ruins. The most attractive features are the idols of Lord Vishnu in zoomorphic forms carved out of igneous rocks that were part of the terrain. The Lord Ram, Lakshman, Sita Temple is a place of worship tended by a local priest. On the day of Janamasthmi or Lord Krishna's Birth the tribal communities are allowed to enter the park for worship.
The main attraction of the destination is the tiger which flourishes here thanks to conservation efforts and successful breeding. This invites tourists to see the big cat in the wild. The MP Government provides tourism facilities in twenty percent of the area by building jungle roads and assistance for excursions on open jeeps and canter.
The tiger safaris on open jeeps are allowed for tourists who have secured a permit from the forest department of MP. This permit is available online as well as from the gate. There is a long queue for permits during the festival seasons and weekends hence it is advised to book them online before you make the trip. You visit the MP Online website to secure the permit in order to make the trip, the site is secure and facilitates online payment. You can also request the hotel you plan to stay at for securing the entry. They will also help you choose the right zone for safaris.
The tourism area is divided into 3 core zones at Bandhavgarh National Park. The core area is also called the critical tiger habitat. There are three buffer zones, the latter are not preffered much as they offer poor sightings of the big cats. But the buffer is good for birding hence opted for whence permits for the core zones are not available. The fee charged for buffer is less than that of the core.
There is an option for full day safari as well but at much higher charge. This facility is suited for filmmakers and wildlife photographers. Under full day safari permit you get more time and greater privacy for photography and filming
Other options of having fun exploring Bandhavgarh is to go for bird walks in the outer areas as well as visit the tribal villages. There is a small market with shops selling goods and eatables which you can visit.
The pleasure of a good holiday in the wild will also depend upon how good your hotel or wildlife resort is. The services they provide, food and comforts all depends upon choosing the right place. Night drives are also available but you have to book them a day in advance. These drives are good to observe noctrunal animals of the park.
Hence remember to book safari permits well in advance at Bandhavgarh. The National Park faces rush quite often hence take precaution. The most preferred core zones are Tala and Maghdi for wild excursions.