It is hard to imagine as you drive through these forests that this area was originally home to powerful kings and maharajas residing in the large hilltop fort; its meadows were rich agricultural lands tended by farmers and Buddhist monks; and sadhus occupied an extensive cave system in 100 BC. Bandhav-garh means ‘fort of the brother’ and is belived to have been gifted by Lord Ram to his brother Lakshman. In the twelfth century, the fort was given in dowry to the Baghela clan, of which the present Maharaja of Rewa is a direct descendent. After almost continuous occupation, the capital of the Baghelas was moved to Rewa by the nineteenth century and the forests became the hunting reserve of the Maharaja and his guests. Gulab Singh of Rewa shot 480 tigers across his kingdom. By 1968, all the animals in the park had been hunted out and on the day the present Maharaja’s late father gifted the forests to the State, there were no quadrupeds left in the park. Soon after, the forests were declared a National Park and later a Tiger Reserve. The park was extended in 1986 and today it covers 1,161 square kilometres, including the buffer areas, in which village communities exist. Famed over the years for its charismatic male and female tigers that are well documented, it today has over 90 individuals residing within its forests. The park is divided into three separate tourism zones – Tala, Magdhi and Khitauli.