Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh has dense forests which at one point in time was the hunting grounds for the Mughal rulers. The dense forest fortunately is not a myth and today is a major tourist attraction here. The Karera Bird Sanctuary and the Madhav National Park with the enormous George Castle whisk tourists into a land where nature and man co-exist peacefully.
It's long and colorful history stakes claim to Shivpuri being the summer capital of many a royal family. The town boasts of a host of forts, palaces and temples amongst many others. Tourism in Shivpuri is no doubt a thriving, self-sustaining industry as the glorious monuments, national parks and bird sanctuaries are invitations by themselves. Here is a guide to the wildlife town of Shivpuri.
Chhatris is an empty tomb dedicated to the memory of a person whose remains lie elsewhere. Derived from a Greek word, Cenotaphs have been erected since the beginning of recorded history as a means of honoring the deceased. The Chhatris in Shivpuri are dedicated to members of the royal Scindia clan.
They are notable not only for their history but also for their art and architecture. They are marble structures etched with immaculate art, protected and cherished over the years. These chhatris in the setting of a large manicured Mughal garden, on either side of a lake, make them seem larger than life and a dedication befitting the statuses of the Scindia royal family. Tourists coming here can explore them and admire their beauty.
A view of the Chattris.
Photo Courtesy: Nagarjun Kandukuru
Banganga is an ancient temple located in Shivpuri, a town named after Lord Shiva. Every turn in the road brings tourists right in front of temples where the Gods are rumored to have stood on the very same ground. It is a religious, holy ground for Hindus.
Boasting an ancient temple and 52 sacred ponds of water around, this is believed to be the site where Arjun, one of the Pandava brothers, shot an arrow into the ground to get water to quench Bhishma's thirst. It is visited by devotees round the year who come here to seek the blessings of the lord.
Madhav National Park
The Madhav National Park is the forest area that in the pages of history was famous as hunting grounds right from Akbar's reign to the Colonial rule in India. Akbar is rumored to have captured an entire herd of elephants for his stables from this forest. The rolling hills and flat grasslands around the lake makes this National Park a wild life enthusiasts's dream come true. The predominant wild animal species that inhabits the park is the deer, of which the most easily sighted are the graceful chinkara and the chital. Other species that can be spotted here include nilgai, sambar, chausingha, blackbuck, sloth bear, leopard and common langur.
A nilgai spotted in the park.
Photo Courtesy: Marie Hale
Bhoora Khon Waterfall is one of the three waterfalls in Shivpuri that make visiting this town a soothing, restorative vacation. It is a beautiful natural waterfall that is serene to say the least.
The harmonious sound of water falling from a height of 25 mt broken by natural boulders and rocks is a soothing balm to a city-weary soul. The more adventurous tourists may even dive in and swim in nature's lap. The ancient idols of Lord Shiva in small shrines around the waterfall foster the spiritual bend of mind that blooms with the cascading waters.
Karera Bird Sanctuary
The Karera Bird Sanctuary is the Holy Grail for avid bird watchers and avian photo enthusiasts. As a protected park, the wildlife within the park has been largely untouched allowing them to flourish. A visit to the sanctuary is not only an opportunity to witness birds but also numerous wild animals in their natural habitat.
The sanctuary is home to many endangered species of birds and also to migratory birds. The Indian Bustard is a celebrity resident of the bird sanctuary. A rapidly endangered species, the Karera bird sanctuary is one of the few places where the bird lives in its natural habitat. With over 245 recorded species of birds living in the sanctuary, it is no surprise that bird watchers come in from across the world to witness the unique avian world.
A bustard spotted at the park.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Bentley
How to Reach Shivpuri
By Air: The nearest airport is Gwalior airport located 128 km away. It is well connected with all the major cities in the country.
By Train: Shivpuri is probably best approached through the railway network as it offers the most direct approach. The railway station is located a mere 3 kilometers away from the main town area. It is well connected with the rest of the country from here.
By Road: With the extensive road network running through even the most obscure towns and villages, the road is the best way to travel if a bumpy ride is not too much of a bother. Buses and taxis are easily available from major hubs such as Gwalior and Jhansi.
So when are you heading to Shivpuri?
Photo Courtesy: Nagarjun Kandukuru