The Bandhavgarh Fort is situated in Bandhavgarh in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is located on the Bandhavgarh hill, rising 811 meters above sea level at the centre of the Bandhavgarh National Park.
It is surrounded by a large number of smaller hills separated by gently sloping valleys. These valleys end in small, swampy meadows, locally known as 'bohera'. The fort is also home to many of the endangered species of Vulture in India
Bandhavgarh Fort was the business centre for the traders traveling between Kaushambi and Bharhut, at that time known as Bardawati (Bhaudhya root). During the Kalachuri dynasty it was called “Haihay Kshetra”. The Vakataka dynasty used this place, and various stone writings are found written by them. They made the place livable by cutting stones. There are some ruins found of the Fort in the Bamania Hill near Bandhavgarh, and there are many sculptures and coins found in the nearby villages near Bandhavgarh, Bijhariya, Mala which prove the economical and artistic situation of the kingdom. In the reign on Karan Deo (Vikram Samvat 1245-1260), Bandhavgarh was the capital of the southern part of the Gahora kingdom.
Various dynasties have ruled the fort: for example, Mauryans from the 3rd century BC, Vakataka rulers from the 3rd-5th century, Sengars from the 5th century, and the Kalachurisfrom 10th century. In the 13th century, the Baghels took over, ruling from Bandhavgarh until 1617, when Maharaja Vikramaditya Singh moved his capital to Rewa. The last inhabitants deserted the fort in 1935.
Throughout the tour of Bandhavgarh fort, wildlife such as tigers, cubs, and deer can be seen. In addition, many rare species of birds like Malabar pied hornbill, falcons, 4 species of vultures, and tortoises swimming can also be seen. At some point one can also see vulture nests from above. The hilltop is considered best for photography of flying birds due to the advantage of being positioned at the top. This makes the Bandhavgarh fort a worthwhile addition to a Bandhavgarh National Park wildlife tour.
As of approximately 2012, it is no longer possible to visit Bandhavgarh fort, as the M.P. Forest Department is no longer granting anyone permission to do so. Only the large Vishnu statue at the base of the fort can be visited at present.