"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not". - Dr. Seuss
Although Bandhavgarh is a relatively small park in the last few years this former game reserve has become one of India's most prominent National Parks. The major reason for all the interest is Bandhavgarh's high density of tigers, which roam the mixed forests of sal and bamboo in search of an easy kill. The tigers have not only bolstered the local population by breeding successfully, they have also brought international media attention to the park and the plight of the Royal Bengal Tiger.
The best time to visit the park, keeping all aspects in mind, is between October till May. During the summer months, most of the animals are seen around the few precious water bodies not yet vaporized by the intense heat.
Bandhavgarh experiences climatic conditions that vary to opposite extremes. In winters, the bitter cold forces the visitors to put on multiple layers as protection against the biting cold. Early morning rides can be in temperatures that dip below zero, once you take the wind chill factor into consideration. In the summers, it changes drastically to the opposite. It now feels uncomfortable to even sometimes put on a thin cotton t-shirt. The temperature in the winters varies from 0 to 20 degrees centigrade between November and February. In the summers, the temperatures move to the other extreme and can go up to 46 degrees centigrade. Towards late summer, it is also advisable to carry some protection, for yourself and for your cameras, from rain. Bandhavgarh has an average annual rainfall of 1200mm. The rains here give very little prior warning and it is preferable to be prepared for your own protection, as well as for your equipment. These rains, however, bring good respite from the blistering heat. A single shower can make temperatures fall from 45 degrees to 30 degrees centigrade. The main monsoon season mostly begins only once the park is closed from June to November. To discover this wonderland of the big cat, you have to pack your bags and come home to this paradise.
Park entry times vary according to season, depending mainly on the time of sunrise and sunset. To travel into the jungles of Bandhavgarh one needs to be aware of all the transportation modes that help each travel to enjoy the vast forest stretch. Traveling within the park is possible only in the Forest registered open safari vehicles (generally the Maruti Gypsy model), which are available to be booked from the hotel.
All the national parks in the country differ in the activities and the facilities that they offer to their visitors. Like wise Bandhavgarh too has certain unique selling point. The elephant rides are subject to availability, cannot be pre-booked. They are for a minimum 1 hour ride or max 2 hours. These are done only in the morning, one must inform the Resort reception if one is interested to get the same done. To avail the Elephnt ride it is mandatory to book the Jeep safari as well.
Jeep Safari, Bandhavgarh National ParkThere is a general merchant, Known by all as "Nathu Bihari", who is like an all-purpose store. There are a few vegetable vendors, cigarette shops and even a liquor store. Umaria, which is a 45 minutes drive away, offers some decent medical and emergency facilities. Although Tala has it's own little post office, a trip has to mostly be made to Umaria for most telegraphic facilities. Email connectivity is available at the resort. Besides small shops at the some of the resorts at Tala, there is a shop at the main entrance to the park. This shop sells all kinds of stuff ranging from T-shirts to key chains to ashtrays. Also available at this shop are interesting maps and books dealing with wildlife of the park.