|Bandhavgarh Fort||Perched atop the Bandhavgarh Hill|
|Bandhavgarh Hill||Right in the heart of the Bandhavgarh National Park|
|Bandhavgarh Ancient Caves||Around the Bandhavgarh Fort|
|Jwalamukhi Temple||Sited on the banks of the river ‘Charan Ganga’ approximately 11 kilometers away from the Bandhavgarh National Park|
|Bhamera Dam||Found at the distance of just 20 kilometers from the Bandhavgarh National Park within the periphery of the famous Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary|
|Gharpuri Dam||Located just about 10 kilometers from the Bandhavgarh National Park|
|Baghel Museum||Situated just 100 meters away from the National Park|
|Three Cave Point||Placed within the premises of the Bandhavgarh National Park|
|The Photographer's Point||Situated atop one of the precipices within the Bandhavgarh National Park|
|The Shesh Shaiya||At the originating point of the Charan Ganga River|
|Charger's Place||Located within the premises of the Bandhavgarh National Park|
The Bandhavgarh Fort perched atop the Bandhavgarh Hill at the elevation of 811 meters above mean sea level and positioned right at the center of the Bandhavgarh National Park is an antediluvian stronghold that is estimated to be roughly 2000 years old. Also cited in the ancient Hindu scriptures like ‘Narad-Panch Ratra’ and ‘Shiva Purana’, this primordial garrison derives its epithet from the ‘Bandhavgarh Hills’ from where Lakshmana is said to have kept a vigilance on Sri Lanka during the Ramayana Era. Surrounded by innumerable smaller hills, the Bandhavgarh Fort holds immense historical and archaeological importance due to the archaic ruins, sculptures, statues, carvings, coins and other remnants of timeworn human civilization unearthed or discovered here. Supposed to have erected during the tenure of certain Gond King, the Bandhavgarh Fort was ruled by various dynasties i.e. Mauryans, Vaktakas, Sengars, Kalachuris, Baghels, and so on over the millenniums. The fort also functioned as the thriving trading center for the merchants traveling between Kaushambi and Bharhut. During the sovereignty of King Karan Deo, Bandhavgarh acted as the capital of the Southern Gahora Kingdom. The fort was deserted by its latest inhabitant in the year 1935; however, the Maharaja of Rewa still retains the ownership of the Bandhavgarh Fort and tourists are required to obtain permit for visiting the citadel. Presently the Bandhavgarh Fort provides a home to countless species of Vultures.
The Bandhavgarh Hill fixed right in the heart of the Bandhavgarh National Park is the highest and most prominent precipice of the province that measures about 811 meters above the MSL in its total height. The term ‘Bandhavgarh’ literally means the ‘fort of the brothers’ and as per the prevailing folklore Lakshmana was appointed by Lord Rama atop the Bandhavgarh Hill for keeping constant surveillance over Sri Lanka. The Bandhavgarh Hill providing both the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve as well as the Bandhavgarh Fort their rubrics is encircled by approximately 32 hillocks those are separated by numerous smoothly sloping valleys. These gorges end in tiny marshy meadows also locally known as ‘Bohera’. This alpine knoll crowned by the antiquated Bandhavgarh Fort at its top is naturally fabricated out of sandstone and acts as the source of quite a lot of water springs and streams of this terrain, the Vanganga Stream being one of them. Laden with dense green vegetation, populated by varied common as well as endangered wildlife species and basking in the glory of its infinite scenic bloom & cool salubrious climate the Bandhavgarh Hill beckons jillions of tourists and nature lovers to spot rare wild animals and repose in the caressing lap of Mother Nature. Being an important archaeological site where multitudinous decrepit caves, statues, sculptures and other vestiges were discovered, the Bandhavgarh Hill equally attracts the archaeologists and the students of history. The most picturesque vistas of the charming valleys and plains lying underneath can be perceived from the top of the Bandhavgarh Hill.
Bandhavgarh Ancient Caves
A cluster of 39 caves discovered around the Bandhavgarh Fort and the surrounding hillocks covering the total radius of about 5 kilometers is the prehistoric memento of the primitive man dwelling in this region since 1st century AD. These ancient caves bearing the age old Sanskrit and Brahmi Inscriptions, embossed motifs of horsemen, elephants, tigers and pigs and containing the relics of obsolete shrines and temples are estimated to be dating back to the period between 1st century AD and 10th century AD. Some of these 39 caves are man-made while the others have been shaped naturally. It is assumed that in the medieval times these caves were used by the soldiers of the empire for seeking shelter and also by the monks for their religious and spiritual pursuits. The ‘Badi Gufa’ enclosing nine smaller rooms, embellished with several decorative pillars and bedecked with an expansive entrance is the largest cave of this cave agglomeration. The Badi Gufa dated 10th century AD appears to be significantly elementary, lacks artistic and aesthetic values as compared to other Buddhist caves of the same era and doesn’t contain any elaborately chiseled carvings or images. The purpose behind the construction of this cave has remained inscrutable as yet. Presently these caves of Bandhavgarh act as a home to diverse fauna of the National Park. Some of the remarkable caves of this cave group include Vrihad Lekhi, Nritya – Khoh 1 & 2, Yogi Khoh, Ashdhatu Temple, Kachhari, Astbal 1 & 2, Day Shelter, Kachchap, Sarthik, Marhwa, Chatra, Daan Kuan, Mrityudand Machiya, Rani Ki Jhiriya, Amatyakhoh 1 & 2, Trader’s Inn 1 & 2, Vaisharavan Khoh, Reech Khoh, Yugaantar, Hanuman Khoh, Nirad Khoh, Rishi Khoh, etc.
The Jwalamukhi Temple of Umaria sited on the banks of the river ‘Charan Ganga’ approximately 11 kilometers away from the Bandhavgarh National Park is an ancient Hindu place of worship dating back to 10th century AD where Goddess Jwalamukhi is enshrined.
The Bhamera Dam to be found at the distance of just 20 kilometers from the Bandhavgarh National Park within the periphery of the famous Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary is a grand water reservoir where innumerable species of Indian as well as migratory birds can be spotted particularly during winter. This abode of assorted varieties of avifauna beckons hundreads of birdwatchers and photographers all round the year.
The Gharpuri Dam located just about 10 kilometers from the Bandhavgarh National Park is yet another vantage point that is haunted by multitudinous breeds of domestic as well as migratory birds, especially the water birds all through the year. The vicinity crowded by multicolored feathered creatures and the ambience filled with the heterogeneous chirping of these graceful beings absolutely mesmerizes its visitors. A paradise for the nature lovers and the bird watchers and a dream come true for the photographers; the Gharpuri Dam is one of the must visit tourist attractions around the Bandhavgarh National Park.
Before being acknowledged as a National Park and a protected Tiger Reserve, Bandhavgarh and the adjoining regions were maintained as a game preserve (Shikargah) where the Maharajas of Rewa and their royal guests used to indulge in the sport of hunting. Though after the Independence of India the state of Rewa was annexed to the state of Madhya Pradesh, the Maharaja of Rewa retained his hunting rights till 1968 AD. The Baghel Museum of Bandhavgarh situated just 100 meters away from the National Park is a treasure repository where numerous precious belongings of the Maharajas of Rewa and manifold other residues of the glorious aeon of Rewa’s Monarchy are preserved and displayed. The first white tiger of Bandhavgarh; Mohan who was sighted and captured by Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa in 1951 AD is now stuffed and exhibited in the Baghel Museum. Apart from that, archaic hunting equipments used by the Maharajas during their hunting expeditions, a number of military armaments and other personal paraphernalia associated with the royal family of Rewa are showcased in the exhibition galleries of the Baghel Museum. A visit to this menagerie grants you an insight into the aristocratic lifestyle of the sovereigns of Rewa during the bygone years. This museum of Bandhavgarh can be visited from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. A nominal amount of rupees 50 is charged here as the entry fee.
Three Cave Point
The Three Cave Point of Bandhavgarh placed within the premises of the Bandhavgarh National Park is an assemblage of three ancient caves which are particularly acclaimed for the exceptional superannuated architectural techniques portrayed through their structures. Conspicuously visible from the Ganesh Hillock Road, the Three Cave Point comprehends scores of impressive carvings which depict the classic epitome of then prevailing artistic and architectonic standards and the architectural ingenuity achieved by the artisans of the yesteryears. These archeological remnants today act as a testimony of our rich and dexterous past. The Three Cave Point currently provides home to loads of wild animals of the sanctuary, mainly tigers, leopards and sloth bears.
The Photographer's Point
The Photographer’s Point situated atop one of the precipices within the Bandhavgarh National Park is a staggering vantage point from where the most awe-inspiring prospects of the surrounding magnificence can be witnessed. From this elevated spot tourists and nature lovers can apprehend the most striking outlooks of the all-embracing wilderness around; bequeathed with the endless treasure of flora and fauna. This pyramidal viewing venue upheld by the highlands of Bandhavgarh and yielding the panoramic vision of the vicinity is unquestionably a seventh heaven for the photographers. However, photography from this vantage point is not permitted for any and every visitor. To click photos from the Photographer’s Point and confine the nature’s beauty in your camera screen the photography aficionados are required to obtain prior license from the forest director of the region. The Photographer’s Point can be reached on your way back from the Route B.
The Shesh Shaiya
The term ‘Shesh Shaiya’ literally means the bedstead (Shaiya) made from a cobra (Shesh / Shesh Nag). The Shesh Shaiya Statue of Lord Vishnu portraying the deity reclined upon the coiled tail of the heavenly cobra; ‘Shesh Nag’ and canopied under the umbrella of his stretched out hood is an ancient sculpture discovered around one of the antediluvian caves of the Bandhavgarh National Park. Measuring about 65 feet in its total length, this horizontal effigy of Lord Vishnu reposing on the seven headed Shesh Naag is flanked by a Shiva Lingam and an idol of Lord Brahma. Estimated to be dating back to 10th century AD, the Shesh Shaiya sculpture of Bandhavgarh presents a classic specimen of primordial art and architecture practiced during the bygone ages. The river that originates from the spot adjacent the feet of Lord Vishnu (Shesh Shaiya) is christened as ‘Charan Ganga’ meaning the Ganges (water) oozing from the feet (Charan) of Lord Vishnu. As the vicinity around the Shesh Shaiya is affluent with innumerable fruit bearing trees, the place is haunted by scores of birds, particularly the Malabar Pied Hornbill. The Shesh Shaiya Idol of Lord Vishnu received hordes of devotees especially on the occasion of Diwali and other Hindu festivals. The Shesh Shaiya as well as the surroundings are illuminated with countless lamps at the time of Diwali Festival.