Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks… more than just tigers

Bandhavgarh Landscape

Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks have much more to offer than just tigers.  The tigers are the main tourist draw and it was the main reason we came here but they aren’t the only attraction.  Both parks are different and I’ll go over some of the best non-tiger things that Bandhavgarh has to offer first.

The most obvious non tiger things to do in Bandhavgarh is to photograph the many other animals.  My favorite pictures came from the plethora of bird sightings which I posted about earlier but there were also plenty of deer, wild boar, and langur monkeys to search for.  Sometimes you didn’t have to search that hard as was the case in the langur monkey roadblock.

Langur Monkey Roadblock

There is also the Bandhavgarh fort which makes for a nice afternoon hike (or a extraordinarily strenuous climb if you asked our guide Talat).  You can have your guide arrange to visit the fort in between your morning and afternoon game drives.  It can get pretty hot in the middle of the day so be prepared.  Also have you lodge pack a lunch for you because the views from the top of the hill are the perfect backdrop for a picnic.

View from Bandhavgarh Fort

Talat struggling on the long way around to Bandhavgarh Fort

The climb to the top of the fort wasn’t that bad but it was a little bit of hike.  For my marathon running wife she bounced up like it was nothing.  However, if you’re an out of shape photographer that spends most of his time sitting in the back of jeep taking photos of tigers then it could be a bit of a challenge.

If you hire Talat from Wild Life Photo Tours for your India safari make sure to say Nathan recommended to hike to the top of the Bandhavgarh fort.  He’ll think that its a great idea :)  If he doesn’t thank you then I’m sure his wife will thank you for giving him som exercise… sorry Talat… I just had to mention this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talat passing out after finally making it to the top

The views from up here were great.  There was also a vulture nest on the side of the cliff I tried to take a photo of.  Unfortunately, it was just a little to far away to get a decent shot with the lens I brought up with me.

Nathan at the top of Bandhavgarh Fort

There were also some pretty cools ruins to explore on your way up to the fort.  The first one is a big statue of Lord Vishnue reclining on a seven headed serpent.  You can see the pics of the others below.  All in all, it was a nice break from the game drives and I recommend a trip to the top of Bandhavgarh Fort.

Read more about Bandhavgarh and Kanha after the break.

The tranquility of being at the top of Bandhavgarh eventually ended as we headed back to the park entrance.

Vehicles waiting in line in Bandhavgarh

Before every game drive there is an extremely unorganized mess of vehicles, park rangers, and tourists roaming about as the park rangers got ready verify everyones permits, assign local guides, and eventually to open the gate.  This should be an organized process that is handled on a first-come, first-served basis but its far from that.

Sometimes we were the first in line but near the last of the vehicles to enter the park.  Sometimes we were near the back but were the first to get in.  Sometimes you got your permit to enter but you were stuck in the middle of all the cars so you had to no choice but to wait.  It can be a frustrating experience since the first 10 minutes in the morning tends to be when you get the best tiger sightings.  Kanha national park has this process figured out so I’m not sure what the problem is at Bandhavgarh.  Kanha is very efficient and they handle a lot more vehicles than Bandhavgarh so the park service knows how its supposed to work.  Hopefully the park service sorts this out in Bandhavgarh because it creates a really bad first impression for tourists.

Crazy Driver Sanjay getting us to the action

What happens instead is as soon as you can get through the gate you need to make a mad dash to where the tigers were spotted the day before.  This is why its very important to have a crazy driver.  Luckily, we had the best of them.  His name was Sanjay but he later earned the nick name “Crazy Driver”.  We definitely got to the action quicker than anyone else but my back still hasn’t recovered from the violent bouncing around in the back of his jeep.

Can you feel the warmth...

One of the side effects of the high speed chases in the morning is you can get very cold.  The temperature in the morning can be in the single digits (celsius) and when you add the windchill factor from Crazy Driver it can get cold.  Eventually the sun rises and can begin to bask in the warming effects of the sun.  Ahhh… feels sooooo good.

After our 5 days in Bandhavgarh we continued on to Kanha national park.  Kanha is a bigger park and has much wider expanses.  It feels more like the great plains you see on a safari in Africa.

Sunset in Kanha

The sunsets in Kanha were amazing.  As a photographer, you can never have enough sunset photos and Kanha didn’t disappoint.

Sunset in Kanha

Sunset in Kanha

We had a number of good tiger and bird sightings in Kanha but one unique experience was with a boa constrictor.

boa constrictor

We snuck out of the vehicle for a few moments and actually got to touch it.  Probably not the smartest thing we’ve done but cool none the less.  Boa constrictors aren’t venomous but they do have teeth and can deliver a pretty painful bite… not to mention that constricting thing they can do to you.

Miki touching boa constrictor

We also saw a the very rare wild cat in Kanha but only briefly.  Check out that pic and few of the other animals we spotted in Kanha National Park.

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks… more than just tigers”

  1. Bandhavgarh National Park is located in Madhya Pradesh state of India. Tigers are great animals, especially Siberian tigers, which are also the largest species of cats in world.
    It would be a shamed to disappear.

  2. Angella Trek says:

    I haven’t got the chance to visit Bandhavgarh but it looks to be an adventurous country.The national park has all the wildlife that i love seeing.Thanks for the information and i love the site.

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