Very few parks in India are as picturesque as Bandhavgarh National Park. Situated in Umaria District of t
he State of Madhya Pradesh Bandhavgarh carries history in its womb. It was witness to budding civilization, the creation of magnificent temples, man-made caves reservoirs, and a fort complex. A fort complex sufficient to hold a garrison.
Situated at Bandhavgarh Hill the fort complex covers a large area on this tabletop mountain. In
As a matter of fact, right from the entrance as you head for a safari, you can see the fort walls encircling the mountain. The exotic structure is an introduction to the park and takes you way back in the time in a jiffy. Actually much before the tiger makes its presence felt.
In Tala Zone, you drive up the crazy ascent, steep and dangerous to reach Shesh Shaiya. The rock idol of Vishnu is twenty feet long and reclines beside a fairy pool enshrouded by a plethora of ferns and shrubs. The microforms like algae and fungi have infested the walls and make them look timeless and more exotic. The looming trees assure shade in the parched land and the coolness is magical. This is where the exhausted soldiers on horses came to rest. A welcome rest before another steep climb to the fort. The aging shelters greet you all way big enough to house the horses carved out the walls of igneous rocks.
A picture of solitude in the arch is a surprise amidst the dense vegetation all around. Standing alone and idle, it stands like a sentinel in the fairyland. The marvelous structure has a large wooden gate in between two domed chambers (chhatris) which hosted the guards in the heydays of the Maharajahs. Now hordes of bats infest this structure in the wilderness.
The loneliness at this isolated destination becomes apparent as you proceed further back into the time. The tall grass beside the pathways harbors wildlife and scattered idols of zoomorphic Lord Vishnu. The most striking is the first one that stands erect on the edge of the mountain. As you pay reverence, the whole mountain seems to loom down into the esoteric realm of diverse life that is Bandhavgarh. Hills and valleys, snaking rivers and swampy grasslands the sight bedazzles. You will come across many zoomorphic avatars of Lord Vishnu prominent among them is the Varaha avatar (boar) and matsya avatar (fish). A Lord Ram & Janki Temple lies on the edge of the mountains where a priest still attends. On festival days hordes of local tribes visit the mountain to pay reverence to the Lord.