Located in the Umaria district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park and Sanctuary is one of the biggest wildlife sanctuaries in the country, covering an area of over 500 sq km., with the core area being 105 sq. km and the rest is the buffer zone. The place gets its name from the Bandhavgarh Fort that rests majestically on top of a hillock rising amid the forest. The Bandhavarh fort, which lies in the center of the reserve, was the seat of power of the Chandela Dynasty. Later, it came under the rule of Baghels, and then under the Rewa rulers.
The Bandhavgarh National Park was initially a gaming preserve or Shikaragaha for the Maharajas of Rewa. Each Rewa king was supposed to shoot at least 100 tigers as a ritual believed to bring him good luck. The entry to the reserve was restricted to everyone else, except members of the royalty. The number of tigers in reserve did not get diminished.
In 1993 the Bandhavgarh national park became Tiger Reserve and is considered as one place where you can be almost certain of seeing a tiger in its natural habitat. It is rich in other forms of wildlife like deer, leopard, sambar, cheetal, Indian bison (gaur), Indian wolves, striped hyenas and wild boar. It is equally rich in birdlife, home to over 200 species including myenas, Indian hornbills, egrets, woodepeckers, flycatchers, barbet, crested eagle, owl, peafowl, Indian roller and many more.
Dominating Bandhavgarh national park area is the Bandhavgarh fort scattered throughout the Park and particularly around the fort, are numerous caves containing shrines and ancient Sanskrit inscriptions.
Originally home to all the white tigers in India, the Bandhavgarh sanctuary is now home to a variety of wild animals and boasts of one of the most extensive collection of tigers in the country. However, white tigers for which they were initially famed for, have now disappeared.
Bandhavgarh is a land flanked by flat-topped hills on the sides, and the high ridge of Bandhavgarh Fort in the center, dominating the landscape. Vast meadows such as Chakradhara and Sehra, and wet ground like the Sidhababa Meadow, lie below. The Park is bounded by the Son river in the east, the Johilla river in the south, and drained by the Umrer river in the west. The forest changes from Sal and bamboo to grasslands in swamps and sandy patches.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is a popular destination for tourists because of comprising highest number of these big cats, which can be spotted easily and persistently.