Is this the time for Halla Bol!

The picture of travel and tourism industry doesn’t seem to be as glossy as it looks. If we intend to go deeper we find that every day many agents are either incurring huge losses or are threatened by the online offers or are shutting down their shutters. In this scenario, the question is, are the online portals eating up the business of the agents who are doing business the conventional way? Is it an ethical way of doing a business where one section of the travel and tourism i.e. the online portals is doing pretty well despite making profits, whereas the tour operators are not able to compete with them, as per few tour operators. Let’s have a look.

halla bol

Sudipta Saha

‘Ethical’ is a big word in itself, the meaning of it doesn’t stand as simple as its pronunciation. Today, ethical is really losing its meaning, not only in regards to travel and tourism industry, but also in other verticals. The online portals are taking away the business of the tour operators which is being claimed by many of the tour operators these days, and Ethical Tourism Policy has become a buzz. Let’s first understand what ETP is and why this initiative has been started by a group of tour operators. Online travel portals which are armed with large foreign funding are squeezing hoteliers for lowest possible rate and have brought almost a monopolistic situation. They are in a way abetting unethical practices in the travel and tourism industry. Many Tour operators have to shut shop and many are on the verge of closure because Tour operators are not able to compete with the heavy discounting by portals.

But, is anybody making money in the process? The answer is, none! The whole beneficiary in this game of price war by travel portals is direct customer. The ARRs of hotels have gone down drastically, and the offline agents have literally swept out of business because OTAs sell inventory lower than their purchase price to kill the competition. Most of the tour operators want a permanent solution, else they will be forced to shift their business options, says the member of ETP group.

The group firmly believes that hotels should play the role of a principal and product supplier and frame rational sales policies for the tourism industry. The group basically wants to stop hotels to offer attractive special rates to offline or online tour operators producing results for them. All what they demand to hotels is to have strict ethical tourism policy. Firstly hotels should allow portals to discount the rates only on B2B portals and B2C portals should display selling price set by hotels.

The ETP under this model aims at benefitting the hoteliers as well. It says, hotel’s ARR will increase as discounted rates are not displayed and dot coms will be making better profits and will not squeeze hotels for lower rates. As the price war will be resolved, it will be create better profits for the hotels. It also states that hotel’s direct customer will not have any complaints from the hotels as display rates on portals will be higher than nett rates quoted to portals. This will result in gaining the confidence and enhancing hotels credibility amongst direct clients. Since discounted rates are going to be only b2b portals and display rates on b2c portals, travel agents, tour operators will be more loyal to hotels. Hotels will get their bulk sales from Dot Coms as tour operators will be routing their business through their B2B portals.

When it comes to portals, the ETP promises that they will also be benefitted. Since on b2c portals clients will see only selling price and will either book directly or will come through a tour operator. In both the options portals will be benefitted. If clients book on display rates, portals will make more profits, if client comes through an agent which again route his business through portals because of the heavy discounted price on the portals. So portals are getting benefit either ways. Portals will get a loyal team of professionals (i.e tour operators) with no cost which will further enhance their business as tour operators will provide personalised services to all clients. As of now they have to hire team and have that liability of paying them on monthly basis. One customer probably comes to portals may once or twice a year for his booking. But if agents start making profits through portals then probably each agent might be able to give two to 10 bookings a day resulting in maintaining or enhancing the high turnover model of the portals with better service standards. Portals can create their own team of loyal professionals (agents) at no cost and still be able to maintain their turnovers. This will probably convert into a model where agent’s offices can be claimed claim their own offices by portals and can provide all service of offline as well, such as payment collection, personalised services, etc, through the local agents of the specific locations.

The movement obviously intends to provide benefits to tour operators, affordability and easy access of technology at no cost using the portals for bookings. Else agents will have to spend crores of rupees which hardly anyone of the tour operators can afford. An ease of business will be created as portals will do all spade work of contracting and will upload on b2b where tour operators have just to login and conclude the booking procedure. Tour operators are running from pillar to post to get wide range of hotels and keep negotiating the rates will be reduced as portals will do all the contracting that too on a special discounted rates and with incentive schemes by portals. Agents will get their customers and profitability back as clients do not have excess to b2b portals and can see the common display rates on b2c portals only set by hotels.

ETP, a war between offline and online, better to be termed as a movement, is a step to bring in the industry i.e. hoteliers, portals and tour operators together and work as a team. The tour operators are on a verge of losing their business and concerned with the rising demand of online. It is important for all verticals of the industry to follow certain ethical practices so that interests of the industry as well as the clients are safeguarded.

What is (ETP) Ethical Tourism Policy?
ETP is not against any portals or technology it’s not about online vs offline, many are confused, rightly so as industry is going through transit. The aim of the policy is to use technology for the benefits of all industry partners in fact ETP welcome technology and suggest all members to adopt the technology for its better use. Under ethical tourism policy, hoteliers to stop only these few portals which are using their dominant position of having excess funds to under sell (selling even below their purchased cost) b2c portals to have common display rates (selling price) set by hotels. As many hotels could sense brand diluting by not getting the same profile of guests due to this under cutting of price by using different means of under cutting, discounted coupons, advertisement budgets etc.
ETP is against ‘Predatory Pricing’ which is illegal under CCI, (Competition Commission of India) Predatory pricing the act of setting prices low in an attempt to eliminate the competition. Predatory pricing is illegal under anti-trust laws, as it makes markets more vulnerable to a monopoly. Therefore Govt., allow 100 per cent FDI for market place with riders of predatory pricing, these OTAs must regulate else purpose of ETP is to approach govt and force regulation of such practices.
As of now it is a price war in our Industry, whereas the service standards have gone down drastically in the absence of respectable margins due to price war created by few OTAs. Market has become so vulnerable that news of defaulters and cheating has become very common which is not a good sign for any industry.

TTJ Feels
Ethical Tourism Policy is the new buzz in the tourism industry, where the online travel booking is taking over the conventional system. Well, we all will agree that today is an era of technology which has made everything easy and convenient. Online booking can be trouble-free, but often booking holidays through it cannot give a pleasant experience. Whether, it is tour operators, hoteliers or portals, all are the elements of the same industry and they should welcome the change as well as it is a high time to work as a team, and not step over each other shoulder to climb up the success ladder. We feel, all three should come together in order to offer better service to the consumer which in future will definitely lead to expansion and economic growth. The ‘price war’ should be resolved and better understanding amongst the hotels, tour operators and portals should be developed.
ETP is a great initiative, in order to save the dying business of the offline agents, but is a bunch of people enough to drive the mission. The answer is ‘NO’, if the entire industry is facing crisis, then it’s time to be united, come together and convert the movement into mass movement.

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ADTOI Convention 2016 – Bringing in new hopes for a brighter tomorrow

The heart of India ‘Madhya Pradesh’ invited the Association of Domestic Tour Operators, in the land of temples Khajuraho to host their 7th Annual Convention, which was organised amidst the presence of key players of domestic tourism. The theme of this year’s convention aimed and revolved around ‘Domestic Tourism: Billion+ Opportunities’. Innumerable topics and issues were discussed during the two day convention, now what is awaited, is the plan of action. A report.

adtoi members, adtoi

What would have been a better place than Madhya Pradesh to organise a convention of Domestic Tour Operators, the people who actually knows India by heart and project them to the world, influence the world to come and witness the grandeur of the country. The 7th ADTOI Annual Convention-cum-Exhibition was organised from April 9-10, 2016 at Hotel Ramada, Khajuraho, MP.
The first day of the convention took off on a very high note in the august presence of Shri Nagendra Singh, Member Parliament, Khajuraho as the Guest of Honour; Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary Tourism, Govt of India; Dr Venu V, IAS, Secretary, Govt of Kerala; Smt Kavita Singh, President, Nagar Panchayat; Tanvi Sundriyal, Addl MD, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism; Jyoti Kapur, President ADTOI; Sanjay Agarwal, VP & Convention Chairman; Anurag Agarwal, General Secretary, ADTOI; Subhash Verma, Immediate Past President & Convention Co-chairman. According to Hindu mythology, any auspicious ceremony is commenced with a Ganesh Vandana and thus following the ritual, the convention was inaugurated with the lighting of the lamp followed by Ganesh Vandana.
India has a wide range to offer from the Himalayas to the back waters of Kerala. The modern India needs to be experienced and explained for a better visibility. Through this convention ADTOI is taking a step forward to promote domestic tourism in the country. Why MP as a host state? Madhya Pradesh today is a leading state and is working hand in hand with ADTOI. While addressing the gathering, Shri Nagendra Singh said, “I am happy that ADTOI decided to host their convention in Khajuraho. Our Honourable Chief Minister Shri Shivaraj Singh Chauhan is very much keen on promoting tourism in the state. There is lot of opportunities in tourism sector, it not only helps in generating employment but also contributes in the development of the country. I would not go in numbers that how many people visit India every year but would rather focus on the small countries which have developed themselves and are receiving healthy number of travellers.” Tourism is one such sector which deals with many issues, few of them are connectivity, roads, and airport connections. There is a need to emphasis on building good hotels, security, cleanliness and improve mobile connectivity as well.
Adding on, Dr Venu V in his address mentioned that the association is doing pretty well. I have watched Madhya Pradesh very carefully and they have placed their future very firmly and marketed themselves for a brighter tomorrow. He further said, “We are talking about the biggest, but it’s time to harness the domestic tourism. If you think of future, then it lies in hotel bookings, if you have knowledge you will remain in the business and ADTOI is the right forum.”
Shri Vinod Zutshi congratulated the team ADTOI for their 7th Annual Convention and for hosting it in the temple town Khajuraho as it will boost the local tourism. He further in his address highlighted the initiatives which the Ministry of Tourism is taking and laid emphasis on the regional connectivity which in order will increase the traffic in the states. Apart from this, he also stressed on the 24X7 helpline recently launched by MoT, Swach Mobile application, etc. Ministry is going to play a major role in the promotion of domestic tourism and the Ministry is working towards creating a seamless connectivity, online payments, online license, etc.

adtoi members, adtoi

 

Day 1
The first session of the day was focused on ‘Domestic Tourism: Managing the next billion’. There is a major change in the thought process these days. Festivals such as Japan Literature Festival have been able to act as a major catalyst to attract tourists to the destination. We need to change as per time and create euphoria which proceeds to be a major attraction. The country is huge and each destination is unique, there is a need to enhance experiences and create experiences as well. During the session, it was also discussed that the need of the hour is to ‘create ideas and what extra edge can be provided’. Travelling now has changed, as it was five-six years back, niche tourism products are really doing wonders. One of the speakers also mentioned that all of us need to work collectively and together, whenever dealing with clients an extra edge needs to be provided. And minutest of the things should be taken care of in order to travel smooth. Well, the other speaker emphasised that wedding today is another major key player and it’s huge. Weddings will always give opportunity, so there is a need to build the market in order to promote destination wedding. Through this session, the gathering was enlightened on how to manage business; management is all about what we have today. We need to constantly innovate and keep allocating resources so that the old and new business thrives together. There is a need to specialise by market or by products or by services.
On the other hand, it was also discussed that unlocking the potential is also very important, such as forts and palaces can be converted into heritage hotels. Conservation and restoration is equally important. Another key elements are unlocking the market, think of new ideas, issues needs to be discussed together, capacity building in the hospitality sector. Think literally and then create a product.
The second session was on ‘ETP (Ethical Tourism Policy)’, an issue of price war. Online travel portals which are armed with large foreign funding are squeezing hoteliers for lowest possible rate and have brought almost a monopolistic situation. Many tour operators have to shut shop and many are on the verge of closure because tour operators are not able to compete with the heavy discounting by portals. The session was actually a debate between the operators and hoteliers.
The third and the last session focused on ‘Strategy Startups-The future of Domestic Tour Operator’. Today everyone is going online and travel has become special, personalised and experiential. Transparency is missing in the sector. The tour operators should realise that they are not selling deals, they infact are selling dreams. There is a need to create product or a story around it, which gives an insight of the place and helps attract travellers. The day ended on a very high note and exchange of knowledge.

Day 2
What appealed me most on the second day was the topic ‘Desh Dekho Desh Khojo’, which actually sounded quiet interesting. I would rather have thought of flipping the words and would not mind making it Desh Khojo Desh Dekho. But the idea behind this was to listen to the stories of the eminent travellers who have actually travelled and have been able to find out those small little interesting things which can be sold in the market and would rather attract visitors. India is a huge country, no doubt in it, but can we imagine this huge country apart from forts, palaces, sanctuaries and other tourism products. It also has many such interesting aspects which if projected in the international or domestic forum will make a huge impact. So whenever you are on roads try seeing your own country from a different perspective and then offer it to the world.
Some conventions are only discussion based, some are a knowledge sharing process but the 7th ADTOI Convention was mix of fun, networking and dialogue sharing. On one hand the city of temple in the heart of India, on the other some really good speakers, one could hardly find such combination where work becomes fun.

Buyer confidence in Fiji remains high

Fijian Tourism Expo, Buyer confidence in Fiji remains high, Fijian Tourism Expo 2016, Fijian Tourism Expo, Buyer confidence in Fiji remains high, Fijian TourismBuyer confidence in selling Fiji as an aspirational destination for business and leisure travel remains high, after Tourism Fiji closed registrations for international buyers and travel trade media for the third Fijian Tourism Expo (FTE) to be held in Denarau next month.

FTE 2016 has attracted over 160 international buyers and travel trade media and a number of them will be selling Fiji for the first time, specifically from long-haul markets which are now more accessible with Fiji Airways’ opening up the Singapore route.

Fijian Tourism Expo, Buyer confidence in Fiji remains high, Fijian Tourism Expo 2016, Fijian Tourism Expo, Buyer confidence in Fiji remains high, Fijian Tourism

The recent devastation caused by natural weather events has not deterred quality buyers from Fiji’s traditional, new, and non-traditional tourism markets from as far as Italy, Pakistan, Spain and Sweden.

“Buyer confidence in Fiji remains consistently high and this is evident after Tourism Fiji received 148 buyer and 14 international media confirmations to attend Fiji’s premier tourism industry event,” Tourism Fiji’s Global PR Manager, Ms Patricia Mallam says.

“The last two months have been challenging for the tourism industry but we at Tourism Fiji have kept our guards up and continued to work behind the scenes to bring in the best people from all over the world to be part of FTE 2016 for the benefit of our industry and its stakeholders,” she says.

The international buyers and media are qualified by Tourism Fiji’s Regional Directors based in Tourism Fiji’s key source markets and in consultation with Fiji Airways, the Platinum Sponsors of FTE 2016.

“The programme for the three day expo is custom-made and prepared based on the feedback from participants in the first two event. It is kept compact to enhance B2B opportunities, promoting a win-win situation for everyone attending FTE,” Ms Mallam says.

She adds that FTE 2016, “will offer enormous networking opportunities during the evening networking events for connections with peers within the industry, decision-makers, buyers and exhibitors from all over Fiji.”

FTE 2016 will be held at the Denarau Island Convention Centre from 3-5 May 2016.

SriLankan Airlines organises event in New Delhi to promote tourism

SriLankan Airlines organised a gala event in New Delhi recently to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.

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The event at the ITC Maurya was attended by cricketer Kumara Sangakkara, the airline’s brand ambassador, and Jacqueline Fernandez, the Sri Lankan beauty queen who is making a name for herself in Bollywood. Mr. Subhash Goyal, Chairman STIC Travels Pvt Ltd was also present at the event. STIC Travels holds the GSA for SriLankan Airlines in India, along with various other leading aviation companies, such as, Air China, Mihin Lanka to name a few.

He said he has enjoyed India, but “Sri Lanka is my home. It is to me paradise. From beaches to nature adventures, wellness, culture, cuisine, shopping…we have it all—-complemented by a warm, smiling and friendly people with a world renowned excellence in hospitality.”

In a brief speech, Jacqueline Fernandez too exhorted Indians to visit Sri Lanka in large numbers.

A group of dancers specially flown in from Colombo performed at the well attended event.

Moments at Mountains of Angels- Mt. Titlis

A Mecca for the Indian travellers, Mt. Titlis is one of the most preferred and visited mountains in Switzerland. The recently conducted FAM trip by the Titlis cableways, hotels and restaurants for the Indian travel agents and media provided a first hand experience of the destination Engelberg and Mt. Titlis. Here’s a look…

Rachita Sehgal

titlis mountain, titlis cliff walk, titlis

The breath taking vista of flurry capped mountains and the exquisite Alpine site append moderate bout of glamour and glitz, making the reverie’s ingenious voyage smooth and content. Engelberg was the former most in all of Switzerland to identify the potential of the Indian business and since then has advanced into Switzerland’s Mecca for the Indian group business. All the hotels in Engelberg provide Indian meals or have contracts with the Indian food providers for the same. The Terrace Hotel in Engelberg with over 160 rooms has the total capacity offered only in the Indian market. It offers free Indian masala chai every day. Six Indian chefs prepare Indian breakfast and a sumptuous Indian dinner. The disco of the hotel has a Bollywood evening 4 times a week and almost all the occupants of the hotel shake a leg there. Besides that, other hotels also have Indianized their offers a little bit, especially on the food aspect. The Titlis Resort, a collection of 65 apartments, had over 200 Indian staying there at one time. This goes to show that even the individual Indian traveler sees the benefit of staying in Engelberg, to feel a fresh air of the alpine village.

The Zentralbahn Luzern–Engelberg Express takes you from Lucerne to Engelberg in only 43 minutes. And from there the Titlis-Rotair aerial cable car elevates up to 3238 metres above sea level, to the ceaseless snow and ice of the Titlis range, and many more added views.  Located in the heart of Central Switzerland the high valley of Engelberg in Central Switzerland boasts an action-packed summer and winter programme while also offering every opportunity for relaxation.

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A paradise for leisure travellers and adventure junkies, the place offers an array of activities while in Engelberg or Mt. Titlis.

Engelberg Monastery: The Benedictine Monastery, built in 1120, forms the center of Engelberg. To date there are still approximately 30 monks living and working in the Engelberg monastery. The Engelberg monastery offers a guided tour from Wednesday to Saturday.

SnowXperience at Truebsee: You can’t miss upon this if at Mt. Titlis. The expert guides at Truebsee take you through all the fun filled adventures activities like Snow biking, Skii and a walk through the ice igloo. At lake Truebsee you can have it all, drinks at the sun deck of the hotel, play in the snow at the snow toy park, sleep in a real igloo or push your adrenaline in the first and only snowXpark in Europe.

Titlis Rotair: The ‘rotair’ gives you a 360 degree view of the range , the TITLIS rotair gondola rotates its way up towards the snow-covered summit of TITLIS. The world’s first revolving gondola transports you from the middle station at Stand up to the mountain station at 3,020 metres above sea-level. The gondola revolves 360 degrees during the five-minute trip, treating you to idyllic panoramic views of steep rock faces, deep crevasses and distant snow-covered mountain peaks.

Cliff Walk: 3,041 metres above sea-level. 500 metres off the ground. 150 heart-pounding steps. This is what awaits you on the TITLIS Cliff Walk, the spectacular suspension bridge high up on the summit. The TITLIS Cliff Walk holds the record for being the highest suspension bridge in Europe. Entry to the Cliff Walk is free of charge.

Titlis Cliff Walk

Glacier Walk: The glacier walk through a snow covered tunnel leaves you spell bound the minute you step inside. This glacier cave forms the frosty heart of TITLIS. The ice here was frozen long before prehistoric man discovered how to make fire using pyrite. The cave can be easily accessed via a corridor from the TITLIS rotair Cableways mountain station. Entry to the glacier cave is free of charge.

Ice Flyer: The Ice Flyer chair lift sweeps you smoothly and safely over crisp, snow fields and icy depths. Some of the crevasses are up to ten metres deep. In the summer months, the Ice Flyer will carry you and your snow-loving friends from the mountain station to the Snow Park Up On The Glacier. And in winter, the chair lift will take you all the way up to the fantastic ski slopes on the summit.

Subsequent to an adventurous day at Titlis one can enjoy a candle light fondue meal at one of the highest restaurants at Mt. Titlis. You can get the tables reserved well in advance from the ticket desk. Engelberg has slowly and steadily caught up as one of the most liked destinations by the Indian tourists.

Mauritius records 18 per cent growth in Indian tourist arrivals in 2015

As per the statistics shared by MTPA, 72,145 Indian tourists visited Mauritius in 2015. This is an increase of 18per cent as compared to 61,167 tourists who visited in 2014. Speaking on this subject, Mr Sanjay Sondhi, CEO, OM Tourism said that the growth was due to the stupendous efforts of the MTPA India team. He further added “We are looking forward to an even better 2016”. Vivek Anand, Country Manager said “We have seen a remarkable rise of Indian footfalls to Mauritius from all target groups i.e. FIT, MICE, Wedding, Families and honeymooners.

Mauritious

I would like to thank all stakeholders for partnering MTPA in this endeavour. We have seen more wedding and MICE groups showing interest in Mauritius. We also initiated direct interaction with the consumers – promotions in malls and during Golf tournaments, Radio campaigns and a destination promotion series on NDTV Good Times anchored by Rocky and Mayur helped us to increase awareness about the destination. Anand added that “we expect the numbers to increase by another 20 per cent next year with more weddings and MICE groups visiting Mauritius. We will continue promoting Mauritius as a MICE, Wedding, Honeymoon, Adventure, Golf, Family and Luxury destination in 2016.”

Explore wildlife tourism in ‘Heart of India’ Madhya Pradesh

Kanha – Call of the Wild

kanha, wildlife sanctuary, deers, kanha deer
Kanha’s sal and bamboo forests, rolling grasslands & meandering streams stretch over 940 sq km in dramatic natural splendour. Kanha National Park forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve created in 1974 under project Tiger. The park is the only habitat of the rare hardground Barasingha. In the 1930s, the Kanha area was divided into two Sanctuaries, Hallon and  Banjar, of 250 sq km  & 300 sq km each. Though one of these was subsequently disbanded, the area remained a protected one until 1947. Depletion of the tiger population in the years that followed led to the area being made  an  absolute sanctuary in 1952.

What to see-

Bamni Dadar: Known as Sunset Point, this is one of the most beautiful areas of the park, from where a spectacular sunset can be watched. The dense luxuriance of Kanha’s forests can  best be seen from here. Animals that can be sighted around this point are typical of the mixed forest zone.
Less commonly seen species are-  Tiger, Indian hare, dhole or Indian wild dog, barking deer and Indian bison or gaur. Patient watching should reward the visitor with a sight of:

Indian fox, sloth bear, striped hyena, jungle cat, leopard, mouse deer, chausingha or four horned antelope, nilgai, ratel and porcupine. Very rarely seen species are-Wolf, which lives in the far east of the park, chinkara, to be found outside the park’s northern boundary, Indian pangolin, the smooth Indian otter and the small Indian  civet.

Commonly seen species include: Cattle egret, pond heron, black ibis, common peafowl, crested serpent, racket- tailed drongo, hawk, eagle and red wattled lapwing, various species of fly catcher, woodpecker, pigeon, dove, parakeet,babbler and mynah, Indian roller,white breasted kingfisher and grey hornbill. Avian species: Kanha has some 200 species of birds. Watchers should station themselves in the hills , where the mixed and  bamboo forests harbour many species, and in the grassy forest clearings. Water birds can be seen near the park’s many rivulets and at Sarvantal, a pool that is frequented by water birds and the area in front of the museum. The sal forests do not normally yield a sight of Kanha’s avifauna. Early mornings and late afternoons are best for bird watching, binoculars are an invaluable aid to the watcher.
Jeep and Elephant Hire MPSTDC jeeps are available on hire for touring the park. Elephants are used for tiger tracking and should a tiger be located, the elephants can take  visitors to the site. For jeep hire, contact the MPSTDC Managers at Baghira Log huts, Kisli and  at   Kanha Safari Lodge, Mukki. Bookings for a morning run should be made the previous day.Please bear in mind that jeeps are not always available during peak visiting periods.

Best Season: Mid October to June. (The park is closed from July 1- Oct 15 due to rains). For those planning a visit, a stay for at least three nights is recommended in order to have a good chance of seeing the more elusive animals- although  a brief visit is also interesting.

Food: Kisli has a restaurant and a canteen . The restaurant serves both Indian and Western food. The canteen serves  reasonably priced meals and  snacks. Mukki also has a multi – cuisine restaurant.

Useful Information –
THERE IS NO FACILITY FOR ENCASHING TRAVELLER’S CHEQUES at Kisli or Mukki, the nearest bank dealing in foreign exchange is the State Bank of India at Mandla.

How to reach
Khatia (3km from Kisli) and Mukki are the two main entry points to the Kanha National Park. From Jabalpur,Kisli is 165 km via Chiraidongri and  Mukki is 203 km via Motinala and Garhi.

By Air- Nearest airports are at Jabalpur -160 km, Raipur-240 km and  Nagpur-335 km

By Rail-  Convenient railheads are at Jabalpur & Bilaspur.By Road- There is a daily bus service available for Kisli & Mukki from Jabalpur & back. Taxis are available for hire from Jabalpur,Bilaspur and  Raipur. It is advisable to reach Kisli before sunset as vehicles are not permitted within the park after dark. For assistance at Jabalpur, contact MPSTDC’s Tourist office at the Railway Station or Kalchuri Residency(MPT)

Your Host

Baghira Log Huts,Kisli (07649) 277227 (MPT)

Tourist Hostel,Kisli (07649) 277310 (MPT)

Kanha Safari Lodge,Mukki (07636) 290715(MPT)

Bandhavgarh -National Park with a Rich Historical Past

bandhavgarh, bandhavgarh tiger, bandhavgarh tigers in national park, bandhavgarh national pary, national parks in bandhavgarh

This is a small national park; compact, yet teeming with wildlife. The density of the tiger population in Bandhavgarh is the highest known in India. This is the original home of the white tigers.  These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. The last known was  captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in 1951.This white tiger , Mohun, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa.

Bandhavgarh is densely populated with other species: sambar and  barking deer are a common sight, and nilgai are to be seen in the more open areas of the park.

The terrain is of great rocky hills rising sharply from the swampy and densely- forested valley bottoms.The finest of these hills is Bandhavgarh, sided with great cliffs and eroded rocks and on its highest point stands Bandhavgarh Fort, thought to be some 2000 years old. Scattered throughout the park, and particularly around the fort, are numerous caves containing shrines and ancient Sanskrit inscriptions .

bandhavgard, bandhavgard national park

What to See:

The Fort- No records remain to show when Bandhavgarh Fort was constructed.It is thought, however, to be some 2000 years old, and there are references to it in the ancient books, the Narad -Panch Ratra & the Siva Purana .Various dynasties have ruled the fort,for example, the Maghas from the first century AD, the Vakatakas from the 3 Century AD, the Sengars from the 5th Century AD ,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.

How to reach

By Air-The nearest airport is at Jabalpur(190 km). From Khajuraho (237 km), Bandavgarh is a five-hour drive via Panna, Satna & Maihar across stretches of the Vindhyachal.

By Rail-The nearest railway stations near  Bandhavgarh are Jabalpur (190 km) , Katni(102km) & Satna (120 km) on the Central Railway & Umaria(35km) on the South Eastern Railway.

By Road-State/Private transport buses ply  between Katni & Umaria and  from Satna & Rewa to  Tala (Bandhavgarh). Taxis are available at Satna, Jabalpur,Katni, Umaria & Khajuraho. .

Best Season– Mid October  to June. The park is closed from 1 July to 15 October due to rains.

Your Host- White Tiger Forest Lodge ( MPT), Ph:  (07627) 265406