Bandhavgarh National Park : Making of Bandhavgarh

How Bandhavgarh became: Fort of Tigers

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve History The Fort of Bandhavgarh is one of the oldest fort of India. It is surrounded by dense forest and steep natural rocks which makes this fort invincible. Glory of Bandhavgarh was manifested during of rule of Baghels of Rewa. Earlier this area was known as Baghelkhand because Baghel Dynasty ruled over this area for more than 350 years. It was Baghel King Karan Deo who was the ruler of Gohar. He married the Padam Kunwari, daughter of Kalchuri rulers of Raipur. Padam Kunwari and the Kalchuri gave him the Bandhavgarh Fort as gift. Before Baghels, Bandhavgarh was ruled by Kalchuri dynasty from 9th century. The king Karan Deo soon capture the Kaimore range (noth-west of Bandhavgarh) from the Kingdom of Bharon which were having main places as Bharhut, Bargadh and Bhainswar. Karan Deo was a Sanskrit learned person and he wrote a Jyotish book called “Sarawali”.

It was King Ramchandra who shifted the kingdom capital from Gahora (currently in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh state) to Bandhavgarh in year 1562 AD. During that time Bandhavgarh fort was a business center for traders traveling between Kaushambi & Bharhut. During the same time Indian classical music legend 'The Great Tansen' was also in Bandhavgarh. In same time, Bandhavdheesh temple was also made at top of hill, close to fort. This temple is still actively present in Bandhavgarh. With the expansion of Baghel kingdom, in year 1617 AD it was felt that Bandhavgarh is now in corner of kingdom which poses problems in management activities. At that time, Rewa was found suitable for new capital. Once the king left the Bandhavgarh fort along with armies, most of the village settlement also migrated towards new capital. Area become deserted and unattended. With the passage of time, dense forest grown up in and around Bandhavgarh.

Absence of human presence, growth of dense and diverse forest, availability of enough water & prey attracted tigers towards this region and this land become 'Tigerland'. During that time tiger population rapidly increased in these Bandhavgarh forest. Later, maharajas of Rewa came to know that marvelous jungle had sprung up around the deserted fort of Bandhavgarh and tigers roam in this area they decided to declare it as game reserve. Here only royal family members have the right to do hunting. In year 1947, when India become independent from British colonialism, Baghel ruler Maharaja Martand Singh was ruling the state. With India's independence, kingdom system was vanished and Baghelkhand become part of India. It was Maharaja Martand Singh who caught first white tiger of India from Bagdara forest in Sidhi (currently Sanjay National Park). Later also white tigers were located in Bandhavgarh forest during royal hunting expeditions. It is his initiatives that persuaded that time Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi to declare Bandhavgarh forest area of 105 sq. km. as Bandhavgarh National Park in year 1968. Later in year 1982, 3 more ranges Khitauli, Magdhi and Kallawah were added to Tala range and area increased to 448 sq. km. In year 1993, Bandhavgarh National Park with an area of Panpatha wildlife sanctuary and buffer area of 437 sq. km. included in Project Tiger and become Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

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