Madhav National Park– Amidst the COVID pandemic, the lockdown was about to begin from the 15th of April. My phone rang on the evening of the 13th of April. My sister from the other side, “Kal Kahin ghumne chalein?… parso se lockdown shuru ho rha h, fir ghar me band ho jayenge” (Shall we go out somewhere tomorrow? we’ll be again locked down in the coming lockdown). As I’m always ready to travel and hit a new place, we instantly started planning for the next day.
Our planning started
We started searching places for one day trip and our search ended on Madhav National Park which is around 120 km from Gwalior and roughly 100 Km from the famous Gwalior Fort.
We were so excited about this trip as we were going out somewhere after so long. We planned to leave by 5 a.m. in the morning as early morning trips are better during these extremely hot and sultry days of Gwalior.
Filled with enthusiasm! I got up before my alarm turned up, got ready, and packed my stuff for the trip (essentials like water, masks, hand sanitizer, some foodstuffs, sunglasses, etc.). We pulled our socks up… and were perfectly ready on time.
So did we leave on time?
Wait…… this is impossible when you are travelling in a group 😂😂😂. One member of our team was still peacefully hugging her bed… 😂😂.
We all were furious at her and woke her up. Now she started getting ready, meanwhile, I made banana shake for all of us, we had it and finally left by 6 a.m.
Finally! we started
We started our journey. Car, Music, or Thandi Thandi hawaon k sath…. we were approaching our destination.
So, we reached… no…not at the national park. It’s the Jorasi Hanuman Ji Temple.
Darshan at Jorasi Hanuman Temple
This temple is situated on the Gwalior-Jhansi Road (also known as Jorasi road). Known for its great divine value, locals believe that the Darshan at this temple saves from the probable accidents. So every truck and other vehicles visit here while on a trip and offer obeisance to the almighty.
Like others, we took a halt here and prayed for a happy and safe trip.
It’s a commendable stop to have a break from tedious driving. There are various roadside shops which serves snacks and kulhad tea.
We continued and started driving again. No, it wasn’t me who was driving the car 😂😂. It was my Jijaji (brother-in-law). It was around 7 a.m., and we all started starving…
Breakfast at Mohna (Village in M.P.)
There were so many shops in midway but…. we wanted to eat the special Mawa Gujiya (a sweet dish), so we couldn’t stop anywhere. Only Choubey Ji Ki Gujiya in Mohna, you should stop at. We arrived in Mohna (a village in the Midway, famous for the special Mawa Gujiya).
Here, we had breakfast of Indori Poha, Samosa, Bedai and Chai …. followed by Choubey Ji ki Gujiya… 😋😋😋 Bus or kya chaiye Jeevan me (what else you want in life). These truly are the life of a Gwaliorite. And for me, a day without Bedai is a day wasted 😂😂. Gwalior and nearby regions have these items as their staple breakfast items which are beloved to the locals.
After satisfying our taste buds, we started to cover the other halfway.
Yes, we reached our actual destination – The Madhav National Park (Shivpuri)
Let’s have a quick look at its history:
Situated on Vindhayan Hills, this park was notified as a National Park in 1958. It is named after Madhao Rao Scindia (Maharaja of Gwalior) and is located near Shivpuri town of MP. This area was the former hunting ground of the Gwalior Maharaj. And even before that, it was used for hunting by Mughal emperors. This area is well protected as this was a Royal shooting reserve. It has a special viewing lodge called the Shooting Box which was used for hunting.
Ok… enough of the info… let’s back to our trip
We reached at around 8:30 a.m. I think we were the only visitors that day. No one was there, even inside the jungle (because of COVID perhaps). We bought the ticket and took the entry. It’s irony, but they do not provide their vehicle, so only your vehicle has to go inside the Jungle.
The National Park has two gates, via:
- NH-25 on Old Jhansi Road
- NH-3 Agra-Mumbai Road on Shivpuri-Gwalior Road
We took the second one.
Important Points: You must note the following things which we found weird:
- They do not provide their vehicle, so the vehicle would be yours;
- Two-wheelers are allowed only up to some distance and not allowed to go inside the main jungle;
- Only you would have to drive the car/vehicle. They do not provide any driver (even on hire). So be prepared for this challenging drive. You must be well-versed with the best driving skills, to manage inside the rough path of the jungle. It’s all kachchha path inside;
- Your vehicle should be well maintained and capable to bear the stress of jungle path;
- It’s advisable to take SUV, especially if you are visiting during the monsoon;
- Now, the funniest part… the Guide will join you in your car😂😂, so keep one seat vacant for the Guide😂. Our Car was 5-seater and we were 4, so, fortunately, we had one seat left😂.
- Additional photography service with no extra cost😂😂: This one is something remarkable. Our Guide helped us taking good pictures, not just helped, he did our mini photoshoot there😂😂. He was so kind and such a sweet person.
- Maintain discipline as this is the area of wildlife or you’ll have to give up your life.
Experience inside Madhav National Park
Our experience inside the park was phenomenal. Among the wildlife, we could sense the beauty of nature (and also the adverse impact that human is making on the wildlife). The chirp of birds, different animal sounds in mid of the jungle… were so pleasant and was delivering an entirely different feeling.
At a juncture, a group of chitals were having a quality time and one by one they starting leaving!… Oops! I think we disturbed their privacy 😂. They must have thought like, “Ye kyun se aa jate hain bar bar.. hume disturb krne” 😂😂 (“why do they come again and again to disturb us”)”
The same happened with the crocodile… it was resting on the land surface, we came, he left 😂 and went inside the lake water.
There are numerous rare species of birds, deers, monkeys, etc. in the park. But our fate let us see crocodiles resting in the lakes, chital, chinkara, sambhar, nilgai, langur, barasingha, dove, peacocks, etc. There are also leopards in the national park but wasn’t in our fate.
Historical Landmark – The George Castle
Deep inside the national park, the George Castle is standing at the highest point of the National park.
This castle was built by Jivaji Rao Scindia of the Gwalior Royal family. The purpose behind building this castle is absolutely fascinating. The purpose was just an overnight halt of British King George for tiger shooting.
In 1911, during his visit to India, British George was to pass that way to hunt a tiger. Ironically, King George never stopped at the Castle because he shot a tiger on his way itself.
The guide uncle took us to this beautiful, small and, sweet castle built with touches of Italian architecture. The jungle looked stunning from the top of the castle. We clicked some pictures here, then continued to cover the remaining path of the jungle.
Ride of National Park ended – Next stop Badhaiya Kund
With over 25 km (covered in around 2-2.5 hrs) of the ride inside Jungle, we came out of the National park and bid goodbye to the guide uncle.
It was around 11:30 a.m. and we tend towards the Badhaiya Kund (around 8-9 km from the National Park). Badhaiya Kund is a small waterfall with a temple in its vicinity. It was April so, water was not falling from this waterfall 😂. One should visit this place in the rainy season. In the lap of nature, it’s indeed a serene stop.
We spent some time here, took a break, and enjoyed the peace. But peace cannot satisfy hunger 😂… It was around 12 p.m. and we were searching for a good place to have lunch. On enquiring the locals, they directed us to the Lake view cafeteria.
Lunch at Lake view cafeteria
This cafeteria is situated in mid of lush green surroundings. As it was so hot, we got freshen up and then ordered lunch for us. Sev bhaji, Dal tikkad, Manchurian, Tawa roti, Fried Dal and Rice followed by Vadilal ice cream.
This is what we ordered here. I must mention that the food was delicious 😋. Especially the Sev bhaji (Less spicy with creamy flavor… with super soft buttered tawa rotis… 😋😋 mmm just amazing).
After the pet pooja (having the meal), we left for our home sweet home. While returning, we found a whole gang of monkeys midway, we offered them cucumbers and biscuits. They grabbed and enjoyed it.
We were home by 3 pm. After this short, sweet and nice journey, we got freshen up and landed in our beds 😴😴😴… the feeling is so cosy…!
What did this trip leave for you?
While planning a trip to the Madhav National Park, you should not miss out:
- Darshan at Jorasi Hanuman for a safe journey,
- Enjoy the delicious Mawa Gujiya in Mohena with a must breakfast of Bedai, Poha, and Samosa,
- Embrace the nature and wildlife in the National Park
- Visit the waterfall at the Badhaiya Kund filled with peace and tranquillity.
- Have a delicious meal at the Lake view cafeteria.
It was definitely a memorable experience. Had we chosen the right time, it would’ve been a better experience. It’s best to visit here during Monsoon, to witness the stunning lush greenery of the forest area, and the Badhaiya Kund waterfall.
You can also visit in winters, so the sun warmth will deliver a more-cosy feel among the woods. Also, please go through the important points mentioned above to avoid any trouble.
A small request from the author
Nature and wildlife are much more than what we think. It’s essential to keep a balance on earth. We all know the current situation of climate change, immense pollution, and other environmental problems.
If you are reading this, then I (as a human and nature lover) urge you to not just search places to travel which are blessed with nature, but also make your home, your area, your city, a place worth living in.
And this, not just for you but also for the other creatures. We must not forget that the planet earth is not owned by humans… it belongs to other creatures too. We belong to mother earth and it belongs to all of us… So, if you want to see them tomorrow, regrow and nourish our mother earth today! Do your part, Work for it, today! Now!
I hope this would help you plan a well-informed trip to Madhav National Park. Hope you find it worthwhile to read. Happy Travelling and Keep exploring! Because exploration is evolution. 😇
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