The 2000-year-old Bandhavgarh Fort stands on the highest hill of the 1537 sq. km Bandhavgarh National Park, with its rocky hills, deciduous Sal forests and grassy meadows. From here you see vultures circling at eye level, while the panorama of the park lies chequered below. Scattered throughout the park are numerous caves containing shrines and Sanskrit inscriptions. The park has the highest density of tiger population and is among the best parks to spot Indian wildlife.
The Tiger Lagoon Resort is arranged around a horseshoe lagoon on 15 acres of wilderness in the buffer zone of the Bandhavgarh National Park. In keeping with local aesthetics, accommodation is offered in 20 mud cottages, with and without a jacuzzi. Each air-conditioned cottage has a private deck overlooking the lagoon. Cottages feature king-size beds, a large dressing room, an open-to-sky shower and satellite TV. Fresh ingredients are sourced from the villages around, supplemented by the local market. Cuisine includes both continental and Indian, and for the gourmet in you, local tribal delicacies can be prepared on request.
The Park is open from 1 October to 30 June, or the advent of the monsoons if earlier, as the roads become too slushy to drive. October to March are the coolest months, and early morning drives in open jeeps are chilly. The best time to spot wildlife is in summer, April through June when wildlife collects around waterholes.
Safaris are conducted in the Tala, Khitauli and Magadhi zones. Routes are allotted on a first come first served basis and can be booked online with a valid photo identification document at the Forest Department’s Wildlife Safari Portal. The resort can arrange an exclusive jeep (capacity 6 persons) with a seasoned tracker. Safaris are conducted twice a day, early mornings and evenings. No safaris are conducted on Wednesday afternoon. Soft earth coloured cotton is best. A wind-cheater jacket is ideal for early morning winter safaris.
The park is home to over 22 species of mammals and 200 species of birds. Among the carnivores are the Asiatic jackal, Bengal fox, sloth bear, striped hyena, jungle cat, leopard and the tiger. Artiodactyls frequently sighted are the wild pig, spotted deer, sambar, chausingha, blue-bull, and the mighty gaur. The wild dog, the dhole, is spotted occasionally. Birds often spotted include the little grebe, egret, lesser adjutant, sarus crane, black-kite, crested serpent eagle, black vulture, Egyptian vulture, common peafowl, red jungle fowl, parakeet, kingfisher, dove and the Indian Roller. Among the reptile, the population include the cobra, krait, viper, rat snake, python, the turtle and a number of lizard varieties including the Varanus.
One can go for nature walks and visit the local Bhil tribal villages. The main attraction is the Bandhavgarh National Park, and the Fort with a number of monolithic statues and caves, some dating to the 2nd century. The Baghel Museum displays articles that belonged to the King of Rewa. 11 km from Bandhavgarh is the 10th-century Jwalamukhi Temple.
Jabalpur and Khajuraho are the nearest airports. The nearest railheads are Umaria and Katni.