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When you first glimpse this magnificent striped beast in the dappled sunlight of the Satpura Hills, you feel an explosion of body-shaking excitement. Then – and to be honest, the guidebooks never tell you about this bit – you sense a vaguely terrifying chill run up your spine and an entire swarm of butterflies fluttering in your stomach.
Witnessing a tiger’s power, size and majestic strength evokes deep respect and awe. It then turns to an overwhelming sensation of beauty and wonder. It’s one you’ll never forget.
Bandhavgarh National Park is a relatively small reserve with a thriving tiger population, so you’ll have a great chance of spotting one in the dense green valleys and arid rocky hills. There are more than 60 adult tigers roaming here, making it one of the most populous areas in the whole of India. But it won’t be all you see on your tour of Bandhavgarh by any means.
On a safari game drive, you won’t only have a chance to spot tigers. Leopards and panthers also compete with these magnificent beasts for the bountiful prey in the area: wild boar, sambal, chital and striped hyena. And in the skies and trees, there are literally hundreds of species of birds, from peacocks and eagles to kingfishers and hornbills.
They’re each wonderful and amazing to catch of a glimpse of. But going eye to eye with a tiger, that creature of folklore? Well, that’s an opportunity you’d be mad not to take.
The wildlife of Bandhavgarh is what’s going to draw you to visit this magical place. The tigers, panthers and leopards of the hills and jungle will leave a paw print on your memory. But to get the full experience of Bandhavgarh, it’s fascinating to visit some of the local villages – and the ancient ruins of the fort.
Bandhavgarh Fort, set in the lush hills of the national park, is thought to be 2,000 years old and is the oldest fort in India. Once a business centre for traders, the romantic ruin has revealed many statues and ancient coins that prove its historical and economic importance.
The only residents of the place now are still of great importance; species of rare and endangered vulture circle above the fort, apparently keeping an eerie watch.
There are villages around the edge of the park that have been there for hundreds of years, and whose tribespeople still practise age-old farming methods with traditional – but basic – tools. It’s like a step back in time to stroll down the sleepy lanes, passing single-storey houses made with cow dung, their tiled roofs overrun with pumpkin and bitter gourd vines.
Is your inner tiger raring to go? Are you feeling inspired by the wild? Have a read of our blogs to see what other people love about Bandhavgarh.
If you’re looking to track a tiger or tail an elephant, India is the place to go.
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