Among The Ruins & Rubble A Photographic Journey

by pateluday

Ancient ruins are spread all over Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in India. On tiger safaris, one comes across caves, idols, stables, temples, pools, and the remains of a massive fort.

Situated in the remote Vindhyan Hill Ranges of India, Bandhavgarh is paradise on Earth. The densely forested park is home to tigers, leopards, bison, sloth bear, and wild dog. Many other animals inhabit this reserve. But among the striking features is the presence of relics of the past dating back to a 2000-year-old civilization. Some of the relics are in a state of self-preservation but many are in ruins, scattered all along with this animal kingdom.

Ruins Bandhavgarh

Idols & Structures
Gate at Bandhavgarh
Gate at Bandhavgarh
Teerath Singh
Stone Idols
Stone Idols
Teerath Singh

Amazing Reclining Vishnu

Sesh Shaiyya

In the middle of the pristine forests, a steep jungle road twists and turns tortuously winding its way to a fairy pool on the hill.  In the sweltering heat, the pool offers much sought-after respite. As you approach it, the groves of tall stands with thick foliage offer shadow and shelter. The dry winds filter down to offer a cool breeze. On the other end is a massive reclining Vishnu carved out of a rock. The idols are a testimony of man's belief in God.       

PoolTourists flock here in hundreds to escape from the tiring safaris. The reclining Vishnu Idol (Sesh Shaiyya in Hindi) and the pool takes you back way long back into history. Enter into an era whence urbanization had not set foot in India, especially in this remote recess.  

Man Made Cave

Badi Gufa
Teerath Singh

Videos of Bandhavgarh

Hindu Temple at Fort

Temple Photo
Temple Photo
Teerath Singh

The Bandhavgarh Fort in Perspective

The imposing height is mesmerizing, as you drive through the Tala Gate you see the fortified structure with dimensions visibly diminished by height and distance. Sharp eyes can easily make out the surrounding walls of this ancient edifice along with the temple that is in a perfect state of preservation. The height and remote location assured security to the ruling dynasties. The lure of a safe haven amid dense forests attracted the conquerors to this tribal fort. Nevertheless, the security in the contemporary era invites the tigers to find succor here far away from the madding crowd.

The striking contrast of the structure with its surroundings makes the human presence evident but except for an old priest and some tourists, no one climbs the torturous pathway to dwell in those eerie but magical surroundings.

On Krishna Janmashtami hordes of tribal from the surrounding, villages walk eleven km up to the fort temple to pray and seek blessings from the Royal priest appointed by the erstwhile Maharajas of Rewa Estate. The Maharajahs of Rewa were the last rulers of this citadel before it was taken over by the Government of India.          


For the adventure seeker, the tabletop mountain is the only place for trekking. The large premises is home to many animals including the Bengal Tiger. As you walk around, you find the fort conspicuous by its absence.  Rubble and ruins are all around scattered like precious jewels are the last vestige. You come across a remain of fortification walls, man-made reservoir

s, huge idols of stone, and arches. The bats provide permanent accompaniment as they swish past you.

Jungle Treks

In the desolate and eerie surroundings, there is a fear of getting lost. The experience of the esoteric comes with a price. Albeit no one has been lost here, thanks to the guides who accompany the tourists...

Tiger on Trail

Bengal Tiger
Dominant Tiger
Dominant Tiger
Teerath Singh

Leopard Photo

Leopard on Tree
Leopard on Tree
Teerath Singh

Wilderness at The Tiger Reserve

Wild DogBesides the relics of human civilizations of yore, the reserve is home to spectacular wilderness. The diverse flora and fauna are the main feature of this amazing ecosystem. The best way to explore the tiger reserve is on open jeep tours.     

The rivulets Umrar, Johilla, and Charanganga accord beauty and grace as they meander through the various habitats. They create a serene spectacle and are also life-supporting systems.     Leopard

The excursion not only reflects nature's pristine splendor, but the sightings of the magnificent predators and herbivores are also an extreme delight. One visit is enough to permanently instill awe, and inspire a longing to come back again and again.   

The topography is torturous, and that gives rise to the startling landscape. The low-rise mountains, snaking rivers, verdant valleys, and grassy meadows in the plains create a dream location. Bandhavgarh is a heaven for all life forms in India.   

The avian species are as striking in their colorful plumage, as are the butterflies with intricate palettes and dazzling shapes and designs. Colorful and enticing, the little gems of this paradise enamor the visitors.


Malabar Pied Hornbill

Stars of Bandhavgarh


Sloth BearThe most charismatic and sought-after animals of Bandhavgarh are the tiger, leopard, wild dog, sloth bear, and bison. Though difficult to sight they are frequently seen during safaris. These animals are present everywhere even in the buffer zone outside the park. Hence tourism is conducted in the buffer nowadays.       

Among the birds, the targeted species are the Malabar pied hornbill, Asian paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta, painted francolin, and crested hawk and serpent eagles to name a few.

Earlier elephant safaris contributed immensely to wildlife sightings. They are now limited to joy rides. However, they are available for photographic tours in Bandhavgarh on elephant back. A hefty fee has to be paid for this tour. Please confirm this before making your plan to visit the tiger reserve.  

For photography, the ideal period is the summers due to the extensive availability of daylight. Animals frequent the water holes offering an opportunity to the cameramen.  Special permissions can be obtained from MOEF & CWLW for flexible rules to photograph and film wildlife in the tiger reserve.


Note: Fort Safari above Shesh Shaiya is not available. Pl, contact the park director for more details. 


MOEF - Ministry of Environment & Forests India
CWLW   - Chief Wildlife Warden Bhopal, MP Government  


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Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger
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Updated: 07/13/2021, pateluday
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pateluday on 04/25/2021

Indians are a mix of Aryans who were the people of Indus Valley Civilization (Harrappa & Mohenjodaro) who intermixed with Dravids probably those who entered India before. All Aryans in India are descendent of people of Indus Valley civilization.

DerdriuMarriner on 04/24/2021

pateluday, Thank you for pictures, practicalities and products.
Are there names or traces of the 2,000-year-old civilization's peoples? Do they relate to descendants of people who built (and disappeared from) Harappa and Mohenjodaro (albeit further northwest and not in ancient predecessors of Madhya Pradesh) or who inhabited Bhimbetka (since there's the Bandhavgarh cave)? The oldest reconstructions I know bring in Ramayana connections or concern Gondwana.

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