Bandhavgarh is a renowned place in Madhya Pradesh having its own mythological importance. It is mentioned in great epic Ramayana that lord Rama has gifted this Bandhavgarh to his younger brother Lakshmana. So the name of the tiger reserve is derived from this particular ancient fort called Bandhavgarh Fort. The amazing history of Bandhavgarh can be traced in to the ancient books like Shiv Puran and Narad Panch Ratna.
Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the remaining heavens for the pride of Indian wildlife - Tigers (Royal Bengal Tigers). Basically the park is famous for the rich population of white tigers. So it is also popularly called white tiger territory. Bandhavgarh is the real home for white tigers existing today. Before getting the status of national park Bandhavgarh was the hunting preserved area of the Maharajas of Rewa. It was declared as a national park in the year of 1968 with area covering 105 square kilometers.
One interesting fact about Bandhavgarh is: before getting the status of National Park, the forested area around the Bandhavgarh had been maintained by the Maharajas of Rewa for a long time. The hunting rights were retained by the Maharajas of Rewa. During 1947 Bandhavgarh and the Rewa province came under the rules and regulation of Madhya Pradesh. Before that hunting of wild animals were carried out by the Maharajas and their guests. It is said that Maharaja Raman Sigh shot 111 tigers by 1914. No conservation measures were constituted by the Government until 1968. Wildlife protection act came in to force in 1972 when it was realized the protection of prime habitats of Bandhavgarh. Extending the area of Bandhavgarh from 105 Square kilometers to 437 Square Kilometers and later the whole area was declared as Tiger Reserve area of Bandhavgarh National Park.
Bandhavgarh has been invaded and flourished by various significant historical legends. Though there are no such records to show when actually these forts and caves were constructed. There are some references in the ancient books that Bandhavgarh has been ruled by various dynasties starting from the Mauryans from 3rd century BC and Vakataka from 3rd to 5th century. Interestingly, Bandhavgarh fort has been ruled by many such rulers, the last inhabitants deserted the fort in 1935 was Maharaja Vikramaditya. So, Bandhavgarh is also famous for its significant historical importance. Total 39 caves have been marked in the Bandhavgarh fort hills that are beautifully surrounded by hillocks. These caves are located at top of Bandhini hills inside the forest area of Tiger reserve. On the top of the hill there are eleven ponds that serve water for human survival on Bandhavgarh fort. These hills and hillocks are regarded as sacred places of worship by local people and tribal.
Despite being one of the known tourist place of India and tourists from all over the world visit here, local people are still economically poor. But one ray of hope is that outsiders have motivated and created awareness among the local villagers for wildlife protection that provided some source of income and may improve their living standard. One major problem with them is that they find themselves secure in a comfort zone of service sector or doing agriculture. They are likely to grab the growing tourism activity in this area and slowly they are entering into the taxi businesses.
Bandhavgarh is well connected by all modes of transport so it is easily accessible via road, railway and air.
By Road: As Bandhavgarh National Park is spread over the entire Vindhya Ranges of central India and has got excellent connectivity to many major cities and tourist destination of India like:
Khajuraho: Bandhavgarh is located at equidistance from the city, Jabalpur and the world famous tourist spot Khajuraho. It is near about 170 Km and takes 06 hrs to reach.
Katni: Katni has very important railway junction that provides you an alternative way to reach Bandhavgarh as because the park is only at 100 kms of distance from the Katni railway station. You can reach Bandhavgarh National Park within 2 to 3 hrs of journey.
By Rail: Railway is the cheapest mode of transport that takes you to the Bandhavgarh National Park. The destination is well connected by rail network also from Jabalpur, Katni and Umaria rail heads.
By Air: Though particularly Bandhavgarh do not have any airport facility. The nearest airports are Khujuraho and Jabalpur which is directly linked with the air India facilities.