was instituted as the Shikharghar for the Maharajas of Rewa. Bandhavgarh
is situated amongst the Vindhya Range of Madhya Pradesh. Spread
over an area of 448-sq. km., it is predominantly rugged and hilly
clad in Sal trees in the valleys and mixed forest in the upper reaches.
It has been the centre of human activity for over 2000 years. Here,
the density of the Tiger population is known to be the highest in
India; hence this is also known as a White Tiger country. For many
years, these tigers used to exist in the old state of Rewa. Maharajah
Martand Singh captured the last known tiger in 1951. The same White
Tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and is on display in the palace of
the Maharajahs of Rewa.
Bandhavgarh is known for the Royal Bengal Tigers, cheetals, leopard, gaur, sambhar, and many more faunal species. Thus, it is considered as the crown in the wildlife heritage of Madhya Pradesh. However, apart from tigers and leopards, Bandhavgarh is also extremely productive for medium-sized bison herds.
The Bandhavgarh National Park came into existence in 1968 when the Maharajah of Rewa handed over the area to the government. Prior to it he and his guests carried out hunting. But, apart from them the wildlife was relatively well protected.
Bandhavgarh has a great historical and mythological significance. According to a legend, the Bandhavgarh fort dates back to the mythological era of the Hindu epic Ramayana. It is said that the two monkeys who created the 'setu', or bridge, between India and Lanka to enable Rama to cross over and vanquish Ravan, were also the architects of this fort. The same fort was used by Ram to rest on his journey back to Ayodhya.
This park also has an archeological significance. In the northern
part of the park, there are some caves, which are dug into sandstone
with 'Brahmi' inscriptions dating back to the 1st century BC. Bandhavgarh
served as a base to many dynasties like the Chandelas of Bundelkand,
who built Khajuraho Temples. The ancestors of the Maharaja of Rewa
were the Baghelas, who ruled here, in the 12th century. Bandhavgarh
was the capital of this dynasty till 1617 before they moved to Rewa.
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