History

Bandhavgarh National Park a sprawling of 437 sq. km.protected area was the former hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa and at present is a famous natural hub for White Tigers. White Tigers, now a major attraction around the world's zoos, were first discovered in Rewa, not far from here. The terrain is broken, with rocky hill ranges, running roughly east west, interspersed with grassy swamps and forested valleys.

Bandhavgarh has a very deep-rooted importance of it's own in the history and mythology of India. Looming high over the entire park and located in the heart of it's core area, is a fort dating back to the mythological era of Rama and Hanuman from the Hindu epic 'Ramayana'. It is said that the two monkeys who created the "setu", or bridge, between India and Lanka to enable Rama to cross over and vanquish the demon king, Ravana, were also the architects of the Bandhavgarh fort. This fort was used by Rama and Hanuman on their journey back to their kingdom from Lanka. This fort was later handed over by Rama to his brother Lakshmana who came to be known as the "Bandhavdhish", lord of the fort.

This title is still used by the Maharaja of Rewa, who even presently owns the fort. The northern areas of the park is where you will come across the oldest indicators of bygone eras. There are caves dug into sandstone and carry "brahmi" inscriptions dating back to the 1st century BC. The 'Chandela' kings of Bundelkhand, who are famous for the Khajuraho Temples built by them, also ruled Bandhavgarh. The ancestors of the Maharaja of Rewa were the Baghela Kings who started their rule here in the 12th century. Bandavgarh was the capital of their dynasty till 1617 after which it moved to Rewa, which was 120 km to the North. Due to this moving of the capital, Bandhavgarh went through a period of neglect in the times to follow. This was in one way a boon for the present forest present there.

Once this area got taken over by forest cover, the animals in the area too began to multiply. The negative aspect to this was that the royal family and their guests started using it as a hunting reserve. This continued until the Maharaja decided to hand it over, minus the area inside the fort, to the government.It was later declared a national park in 1968 and became Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger in 1993. is is where the famous White Tigers were discovered in the year 1951.