Spread over an area of 355 sq km, Madhav National Park is located in Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh. The park is popular for its monuments associated with the Gwalior state as well as its flora and fauna.
Prior to independence, the park was the royal game reserve of the rulers of Gwalior state and was known for its tiger population. According to records, Lord Hardinge shot eight tigers in a day during his visit in 1916. Lord Minto shot 19 tigers during his visit to the Gwalior state.
Declared a national park in 1958, the national park consists of dry deciduous mixed and dry thorn forest. The major trees found in the park are khair (acacia catechu), salai, kerdhai, dhawda, tendu, palash, etc.
Wild animals such as deer, chinkara, nilgai, sambar, chausingha, blackbuck and leopard are commonly seen. The park is also home to migratory birds like geese, pochard, pintail, teal, mallard and gadwall.
Two lakes in the park – Sakhya and Madhav Sagar – support a large variety of biodiversity. The lakes were created in 1918 on Manier river. The main attraction of the Sakhya Sagar lake is the marsh crocodiles which can be seen in abundance.
Boating is allowed on the Sakhya Sagar lake and it is also one of the best ways to see the birds. A viewing lodge constructed by the Scindias, called as the Shooting Box, overlooks the lake.
Another attraction of the park is the George Castle, built by Jivaji Rao Scindia. It was built for the stay of British King George V while on a hunting expedition. The castle offers majestic views of the lake and surroundings during sunset.
In and Around
George Castle, built by the Jiyaji Rao Scindia, is situated in the dense forests of the park at a high point. Hundreds of tourists visits this spectacular George Kaisal fort in Madhav National park. Named after British emperor George V, it is said that in 1911, George V reached this area to hunt a tiger in the forests. The then Gwalior province ruler Jiajirao Scindia constructed the two-storey marvelous fort at the top of a highest hill for him. It was studded with Belgium glass and Italian tiles besides stone from here. It was said that the British ruler killed a tiger before coming to the fort and returned sans visiting the citadel but the monument was famous after him. The fort was one of the magnificent edifices built inside the Park and now developed as attractive tourist spot. From here, the view of the placid lake is exceptional and the best time to visit the castle is at evening when the setting sun lights up the lake like a mirror.
Sakhya Sagar and Madhav Sagar lakes
Sakhya Sagar and Madhav Sagar lakes are two important biodiversity support systems in the Park. Situated on the edge Madhav National Park Sakhya Sagar Lake, is the habitat of variety of reptiles like . marsh crocodile or mugger, Indian Python and the Monitor Lizard. Sakhya Sagar Boat Club the other prime attraction in Madhav National Park is located on the edge of the Park. Built in the Year 1919 by then Maharaja of Gwalior state for V.V.I.P housing, one can have beautiful view of migratory birds and reptiles from here.
Built in 1921, it is facing boat club and Sakhya Sagar Lake. It is said that Nawab Ali Khan Walia presented a big watch (Ghadi) to then Maharaja of Gwalior and he installed that watch in the front upper portion of this building.
Other Places to visit around are:
Chatri of Scindhia State, Shivpuri, Churan Chaj, MNP Shivpuri Ancient Wall Paintings, Museum Shivpuri, Tatya Tope Monument, Shivpuri, Madikheda Dam and Surwaya Ghadi
The months from October to March is the best time to visit the park. During the summer season, it is easier to spot the animals. It is also the best time to spot migratory birds.
How to Reach
The nearest airport to this National Park is at Gwalior which is 130 km away. Pre-paid taxi services are available fromthe Gwalior airport to Madhav National Park
The nearest railhead is at Jhansi (95 km) near Sipri Bazaar which is connected to major cities in India.
Shivpuri is connected by regular bus services with Gwalior, Indore (375km), Bhopal(320), Agra (225), Jhansi, Ujjain and Sawai Madhopur and serveral private and Government Transport buses are available to reach Shivpuri from Jhansi.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
There are several accommodation options in the park. One can find many budget and mid-range rest houses and lodges. One can also opt to stay at the rest house run by the state tourism department.