It was high time when I needed a break from Urban life and breathe clean air, enjoy noise free environment, enjoy green vegetation everywhere and also somewhat stay away from social media! To attain this and explore my photography skill, I joined a 3-day photo tour mentored by Photographer Dheeraj Paul to Bandhavgarh National Park located in Umaria district situated in Madhya Pradesh also considered as heart of India.
This photo tour gave me an incredible experience with a lot of learning, fun and the peace that I wanted. With the love for nature and to understand the life of wild, we started early morning for the Tala region after enjoying Syna Tiger Resort’s amazing hospitality and tea ofcourse. It was 5:30am that we started from the resort and entered the gate by 6am. Just after 15 minutes of our start we encountered a group of spotted deers having their breakfast ;). We started capturing them with all the enthusiasm and as soon as they heard the click sound of the shutter button, they looked at us, gave us this complete blank look, their eyes were sparkling like a clear water, the innocence, the alertness they had on their face introduced us to the life of wild from their perspective. We then headed on to find our main guy and gal of the wild ‘Tiger’!
As Tala region has high count in spotting Tiger which is why our hopes were quite high and so our expectations, and I would say this expectation led us to our first Tigress sighting. It was hardly 45 minutes of our start that we sighted a Tigress named ‘Kajri‘ (As per our guide) who was marking her territory according to some known professionals. To be frank, we didn’t expect to spot the Tigress so soon but we did! Watching and clicking a Tigress with hardly few metres of distance was such an astonishing experience, I had goosebumps all over my hand and my heart rate was at peak, it was a mix of excitement and eagerness to capture her. The look she gave us was signaling that she was no camera shy! She gave us quite a time to capture her. And the best part was that we spotted her twice.
With the celebration of our first successful sighting, we headed to capture some other beautiful creatures of the wild like birds of various species, turtles, langurs, Jackal, Nilgai etc and then moved on to have our breakfast with refreshing tea at the ‘Center Point’. Well this is spot where you have the option to have variety of breakfast inclusion of different beverages, though our breakfast was packed by Syna Tiger Resort but we did try mung daal ke pakodey that became my ultimate favorite.
Before I continue to share my experience, let me put down here some information about this bewildering national park. Bandhavgarh National Park is rich in biodiversity. One can also spot langurs, peacocks, monkeys, Nilgai, Jackal, Owls and different species of birds, there are around 250 birds of species present in Bandhavgarh along with 37 species of mammals, 80 species of butterflies and number of reptiles along with around 65 or maybe more tigers. It was declared as National Park in 1968, located in the Umaria district. The buffer area is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals 820 sq.km. It is divided into three regions Tala, Khitauli and Magdhi. The park derived its name from the most prominent hill rock of the area, which was said to be given by Hindu God Lord Rama to his brother Lakshmana to keep an eye on Lanka (Ceylon) and that’s how the park got its name as Bandhavgarh i.e. brother’s fort.
After a victorious half a day, we then headed to explore the other region of the National Park Khitauli in the next half of the day. With the same hope to sight a tiger we entered the region, but I guess our luck ran out for the day. However we did snap out some beautiful birds like white- throated king fisher, Indian Roller, beautiful structured trees etc.
The second day, we again started early morning to Tala region. We did spot a tigress named ‘Solo‘ (as per guide) with her sub-adult aged cubs sitting with the kill in the beautiful thick grasslands.
The forest consists of trees like Sal, Saja, Salai, Dhobin etc. along with dense bamboo thickets that also add to the rich biodiversity of Bandhavgarh and that’s not it, Bandhavgarh is also known for landscape views. So those into landscape photography can get a mixed view of flora and fauna along with some landscape view.
After second successful sighting, the next half was scheduled to visit a beautiful village named as Ranchha Gaon. You will find hardworking people filled with all the enthusiasm and also supported us during our shoot. They were so participative! The kids were extremely excited to get clicked, we shooted farmers farming, several portraits and even the scenic view. We tried to capture their regular lifestyle. So if you’re fan of Street/Portrait Photography and get a chance to visit Bandhavgarh, do visit Ranchha Village.
The third and final day was dedicated to the Magdhi region of the national park. Magdhi is a beautiful region with mesmerizing views, I am sure landscape photographers are going to love it! We captured sunlight falling on the ground, vast vegetation and other birds and animals.
We also visited the famously known as Charger Point where Tiger named ‘Charger‘ who was world’s second most photographed tiger was burried. And this was the region where we ended our safari.
Here’s how you can reach Bandhavgarh National Park:
- From Nizzamudin Railway Station, board MP Sakranti Jabalpur Express, get down to Katni station and you can book a cab to Umaria and reach your resort. It takes around 2 hours of drive from Katni.
- Fly down to Jabalpur and book a cab to your resort. This option would take 3 hours 30 min of drive.
Where to stay?
Syna Tiger Resort is the best place where you would love the hospitality and your stay.
For more information, you can check their website and for booking your safari, kindly log on to Bandhavgarh national park website.
So in a nutshell, my experience was astounding and I would love to visit again whenever I get a chance. I would encourage you to visit atleast once. So I am now signing off, will see you with my next blog!