The Name Bandhavgarh itself reminds us of Tigers first! In this land of Tigers, there are years of history, mythology, dynasties, and stories to discover and learn about.
The following are some of the lesser-known facts about Bandhavgarh that are rarely reported: -
1. Province of White Tiger
In the first of the 20th century, the existence of white tigers can be found in the previous records of Baghel Kings. A nine-month old white male tiger cub was found by Maharaja Martand Singh in 1951 in the Bagri forest of Bandhavgarh province. He named the cub ‘Mohan’ and by breeding him with other female tigers, other white tiger cubs were born and it is believed that the white tigers all over the world are his descendants.
The White colour is due to the lack of the pigment pheomelanin which is responsible for the orange colour of the fur, distinguishing them from their tribe. But, it is a genetic mutation, not albinism.
2. Land of Caves
Undoubtedly, Bandhavgarh is one of the finest breeding grounds for tigers to endeavor a healthy population in the wild. To blend and camouflage for hunting, require myriad prey, hills, waterbodies, and caves, Tigers need an ambush habitat. Caves are the favourite hotspot of tigers to breed, snooze and protect themselves from their rivals.
There are 39 caves in Bandhavgarh and only ‘Badi Gufa’ is accessible to tourists to have a glimpse. During ancient times, the nine compartments and several pillars were believed to be used by the monks and the army.
These Caves are now home to numerous horseshoe bats and there are inscriptions in Pali script and also, depict the figures of elephants, tigers, pigs, and horsemen.
3. Flowers of the First Rain
In the summer, the dry heat reduces the lushness of the forest, leaving it bare and flaked. Despite being the best time of the year for tiger sightings, it is also the time of the arrival of the pre-monsoon showers. Quenching the thirst from the summer lent, the first rain in Bandhavgarh brings the blossoms of white flowers with red/purple highlights called the Crinum lily which can grow up to 3 feet long and can be seen where the foliage is less in open areas.
4. Lesser Known Wild Denizens
Mainly, the rich fauna of Bandhavgarh is dominated by Tigers as they rule the length and breadth of the national park but there are other species as well thriving in small pockets and the fringe or buffer area where you can spot foxes, chinkara, four-horned antelope, wolves, wild dogs, and many more such species.
5. Vishnu Temple at the Fort
To restore the cosmic order out of which nine have been fulfilled, Vishnu descended to Earth in 10 different avatars. At Bandhavgarh Fort, tourists can view sculptures of these avatars at the temples and offer their prayers twice a year, one during Janamashtami and the other during the Kabir festival in December.
6. Chechpur Waterfall
To explore the buffer ends of Bandhavgarh National Park, then you are not far from exploring a picturesque waterfall- Chechpur which comes under the Kallwaah range around 60 km from the Tala zone. One needs to book a buffer safari before entering this beautiful forest. You need to trek over asymmetrical rocks to reach this 35-foot waterfall and can enjoy for packed lunch and the buffer safari.
7. Saint Kabir in Bandhavgarh
Saint Kabir Das, the famed mystic poet whose writings influenced both the Hindus and the Sikhs during the 14th century resided in the hills of Bandhavgarh. Atop of Bandhavgarh fort hill, commemorates the place of his meditation and preachings for his disciples.
Entry is allowed only once from the Tala zone every year and tourists visit on foot for worship and offering to this temple. In the third week of December, entry is allowed only once with proper arrangements done by the Forest Department to ensure the safety of the jungle.
Written by: - Shivangi Rai