Bandhavgarh is one of the best of India's many excellent Tiger Reserves with an impressive record for consistent Tiger sightings (indeed, a 100% record on these tours!). Set amongst the forested Vindhya Hills, and dominated by the impressive ruins of the hilltop Bandhavgarh Fort, photographers will be in their element. There is an abundance of wildlife subjects to be photographed on every Naturetrek tour to India, but this holiday is specifically designed to allow extra time with each wildlife encounter to allow the composition of that perfect photograph! Whilst the mighty Tiger is the star attraction at Bandhavgarh, the reserve offers a wealth of obliging wildlife subjects, including colourful birdlife and such other mammals as Spotted Deer, Sambar, Chousingha, Nilgai and Grey Langurs.
- Expertly guided by at least one leading photographer of Indian wildlife
- 7 nights / 8 days in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve – time for serious photography
- Excellent opportunities for Tiger photography – from jeeps & elephant-back
- Spotted Deer, Sambar, Chousingha, Chinkara, Nilgai & Langurs amongst other mammals
- Wealth of birds, including Peacock, raptors, bee-eaters & other colourful subjects
- Bandhavgarh Fort – pre 10th century rock carvings & photogenic temple ruins
All included in the price, except for dinner on Day 11.
A simple but comfortable forest lodge at Bandhavgarh, with private facilities.
Day 2 Delhi; overnight train to Katni
Day 3/9 Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Day 10 Final day in Bandhavgarh; overnight train to Agra
Day 11 Full day's sightseeing in Agra; evening train to Delhi
In his famous ‘Jungle Book’ Rudyard Kipling acknowledged the undisputed status of the mighty Bengal Tiger by introducing Shere Khan as the king of the beasts. Although the cat family includes many impressive and attractive animals, there is an aura of power and majesty about the Tiger which makes it an automatic choice for this title and to observe a male Tiger patrolling his territory in an Indian reserve is to watch an unchallenged ruler strolling through his domain.
Unfortunately for the Tiger, being top predator was no protection against the activities of man, and a combination of habitat destruction and hunting pressures reduced the Indian population from an estimated 40,000 to less than 2,000 before the conservation initiative known as ‘Project Tiger’ sought to halt this rapid decline by the establishment of numerous Tiger Reserves. It is in reserves such as Kanha and Ranthambore that, over the years, many hundreds of Naturetrek clients have savoured the ultimate wildlife experience of watching Tigers in their natural environment. However, in recent times, another lesser-known reserve, Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh, has acquired a rapidly growing reputation as one of the very best locations for consistent Tiger sightings. Set amid the Vindhya Hills, Bandhavgarh was first established in 1968 but substantially increased in size 20 years later by the incorporation of several adjacent tracts of Sal forest. This is a region steeped in history and, in the heart of the reserve, towering 800 metres above the forest, stands the ruin of a magnificent hilltop fort which bears testament to the succession of dynasties which over the ages ruled this area. A former capital of the Baghel kings, Bandhavgarh Fort was eventually abandoned early in the 17th century and quickly reclaimed by the jungle around it, although it remained a royal hunting reserve for another 300 years, thus ensuring the protection of the forest. Today, careful management has ensured that the park is a haven for Tigers, and it also provides a remarkably picturesque and tranquil setting for that unforgettable encounter with the most magnificent of all big cats. Several Naturetrek groups have already discovered the delights of Bandhavgarh, but it is in acknowledgement of the park’s abundant photographic qualities that we are pleased to now offer this exciting 12-day tour which affords a wealth of subjects, both natural and man-made, for photographers to capture.
Our holiday begins in the capital city of Delhi, but we pause only briefly before catching an overnight sleeper train to Katni, the railhead close to Bandhavgarh. From here we drive to comfortable accommodation just outside the reserve where we stay for seven nights. During the following days we will board jeeps for morning and afternoon excursions into the national park, each visit charged with that unique tingle of anticipation generated by being in Tiger territory. Even here, appearances by Tigers can never be predicted or guaranteed and sometimes only a giant footprint in the dust, or a distant roar, betrays the presence of our quarry. However, perseverance has its rewards and that magical moment when the lord of the forest finally emerges into view will never be forgotten. Depending on the situation it is often possible to approach Tigers closely by jeep and much film is sure to be expended during such encounters. Even without the Tigers, there is much to see in Bandhavgarh. Herds of Spotted Deer roam the reserve and constitute one of the main prey items for the Tigers, although the utterly endearing little fawns look far too appealing to deserve such a fate. Other herbivorous residents are less conspicuous but include Sambar, Chousingha, Chinkara, Nilgai and Muntjac. Several hundred species of birds have been recorded in the reserve and it is often the excited behaviour of the birdlife that first announces the presence of a prowling Tiger, although the anxious chatter of Grey Langur Monkeys and barking alarm calls of Spotted Deer quickly relay the warning to all the creatures in the vicinity! The wildlife at Bandhavgarh will be mostly viewed from jeeps, but ‘riding elephants’ are also employed on occasions to traverse some of the areas impassable to vehicles and travelling on one of these huge animals as it plods with sure footsteps through fast-flowing streams or picks its way along a rocky trail, is a thrilling adventure, spiced with the constant possibility of coming upon a Tiger at rest.
With so much wildlife to photograph, participants will need to take plenty of film and memory cards, and as a diversion from the wildlife, may also wish to visit the scenic Bamera Dam at nearby Panpatha Sanctuary or Majhauli Dam, a good place for birdwatching. Bandhavgarh Fort also contains rock carvings and photogenic deserted temples dating back to the 10th century and beyond. This wonderful national park richly deserves its reputation as one of the top Tiger Reserves in the subcontinent and we are confident that photographers will be delighted by the range of subjects during this specially designed tour.