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Bandhavgarh is indeed a historical place where human beings established themselves, ruled over the region from this park. While doing jungle safari drive in Tala zone of Bandhavgarh national park, we will find lot of historical evidences that proves that their was a period when human society was living in this forest area. Bandhavgarh is a legendary place and is having mythological importance. In simple words Bandhavgarh is combination of two Hindi language words i.e. Bandhav + Garh. Here 'Bandhav' means Brother and Garh means the fort. It means Bandhavgarh is "Fort of Brother". Here in Bandhavgarh national park, we can find Bandhavgarh Fort located deep inside the national park core zone area which explains Bandhavgarh history. It is proof that national park was one time trespass of human society and thus park has historical importance. As per legends, it is related to epic "Ramayana" time when this fort was gifted to Lord Rama's bother Lakshmana and thus it was named "Bandhavgarh".
History of Bandhavgarh is more than 2000 years old. Hills of this forest are mostly of sandstone in which we can find many man made caves. Here we can find Brahmi script in caves which is more than 1000 years old and considered as a proof of human presence in long time back. Hindu saints use to visit forest areas to meditate in solace and spends a considerable time of their life in these jungles. Before it becomes part of Baghelkhand, it was ruled by Kalchuri rulers who have control over the large area of Central India. Kalchuri rulers were powerful at their time. As per historical facts, we can find that Baghels were actually inherited from Gujarat region and were cattle traders who reached this region and established themselves as ruler. With support of some local people and using consipiracy, they removed Kalchuri ruler from seat and take over the rule of this region. Since then they continue to rule over this region. Now a days, Bandhavgarh fort safari is not allowed to tourists but earlier when it was permitted for tourists, tourists were able to witness prominent marks of human establishments in this forest area. Apart from routine jungle safari drives, fort visit was a unique experience to see something beyond wild animals and understand the background of this region. There is irrefutable evidence of human activity and architectural techniques used in the fort and other sculptural work, carried out in surrounding places to fort. There are several man made caves with inscription and rock paintings, statues, water reservoirs. The archeological surveys states that Bandhavgarh dates back to before chirst period.
Bandhavgarh fort safari is closed but still if we got the chance for this visit, we will find the written proofs of the Bharihas and Vakatak dynasties ruled over the land in and around the Bandhavgarh region. Some of the major dynasties which ruled the Bandhavgarh area were the Sengars, the Kalchuris and the Baghels as the last one. Before Baghels rule, it was under Kalchuri rule which had control over large area. After Kalchuri dynasty, Baghels ruled over the region from Bandhavgarh fort till 1618 AD, when they decided to shift their capital from Bandhavgarh to Rewa region. But the forest area remained their property and they registered their time to time visits in this region. So, in days when distances were measured in days rather than in hours, it was deemed fit to shift the capital to Rewa in order to save a couple of days. Baghels, with this one stroke were able to save ages for this marvelous land, for they ended up tiger, quite unlimited though ! Once the king and the armies had villages around the fort were deserted and people started to move to greener pastures. Pressures removed, the habitat responded marvelously and a dense, diverse jungle came up, enabling the tiger pyramid to firmly establish itself.
The Maharajas of Rewa, as historians would later call Baghels, realized that a most marvelous jungle had sprung up around the deserted fort of Bandhavgarh and that large and fierce beasts of strength roamed within its folds. chivalry was the most ferocious of all beasts the Tiger ! So, Bandhavgarh was declared a game reserve wwith only the royal family having rights of hunting the fierce animal. But, they put the fence rather high, so far as chivalry acknowledgements were concerned at 109 to be exact ! The Rajahs and princes had to shoot down at least 109 tigers to be termed truly chivalrous. So, Rajah Gulab Singh Baghel ended up bringing down 83 tigers during one single year in this pursuit of the magical figure of 109. Till year 1968, Bandhavgarh was private reserve of Royal family of Rewa but after that they decided to handover the forest area to Indian Government for better management, control on poaching activities and security of wildlife in this forest area. Still they maintained their ownership over Bandhavgarh fort and other monuments. If you got the chance to visit Bandhavgarh, we recommend to visit Maharaha Kothi of Bandhavgarh to understand its great past and historical journey of this region.
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