Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary
At a distance of 8 km from Bhimbetka, and 51 km from Bhopal, the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected reserve located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in India, and among the major places to visit as part of Bhimbetka Tour Packages.
Situated in Vindhya Range in central India, the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary stretches across 823 sq. km in the Raisen and Sehore districts of Madhya Pradesh. The area was declared as a sanctuary in 1976 and got the status of tiger reserve under the Project Tiger by the Government of India recently. The landscape is undulating, with hills, plateaus, valleys, and plains. Many seasonal streams irrigate the site in the monsoon, and water is retained in some pools along these streams even in the summer. Two large reservoirs, namely Barna Reservoir and Ratapani Dam (Barrusot lake) are among the major water bodies adjacent to or inside the sanctuary.
The forest of Ratapani is a dry deciduous and moist deciduous type, with teak (Tectona grandis) as the main tree species. About 55% of the area is covered by teak, the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the finest teak forests in Madhya Pradesh. The regal striped cat is the apex predator here and estimates suggest that 40 tigers roam these forests. Besides, the sanctuary is also home to animals like Panther, Hyena, Jackal, Indian Fox, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Blue Bull, Chinkara, Black Buck, Chausingha, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Rhesus Monkey, Hanuman Langur, Indian Hare, Common Mongoose, etc. Reptiles like Indian rock python and many others can also be seen here.
Also, the reserve makes for an amazing bird watching place as well and some of the birds spotted here are Partridge, Blossom Headed Parakeet, Hoopoe, Small Green Bee Eater, Small Blue Kingfisher, White Breasted Kingfisher, Golden Backed Woodpecker, Gray Shrike, Black Drongo, Jungle Crow, House Crow, Red Vented Bulbul, Crested Bunting, White Wagtail, Magpie Robin, Spotted Dove, Ringed Dove, Little Brown Dove, White Spotted Fan-tailed Flycatcher, Paradise Flycatcher, Crimson Breasted Barbet, Yellow Breasted Pied Woodpecker, etc.
Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, are located within this tiger reserve. These rock shelters were inhabited by man hundreds of thousands of years ago and some of the rock paintings of the Stone Age are more than 30,000 years old. There are some stunning forts and monuments to be explored within Ratapani. The magnificent Ginnaur Fort, located at a 1,775-ft high peak of the Vindhyas, is a beautiful spot. This fort is 3,996-ft long and 874-ft wide and has 25 wells and four ponds inside it. Trekking here is an amazing experience as bears, chitals, and nilgais can be spotted easily along the paths. The ideal time to visit this reserve is during the months of October to April.
The entry gate to the sanctuary is located at Kherichouka. Visitors can take their vehicles while visiting Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary but high ground clearance is necessary. And only private safaris are organized in the sanctuary. The Ratapani Jungle Lodge organizes both day safari & night safari. There is no entry fee, but you may have to pay some charges depending on the facilities you want to use. No prior permission is required, but when you reach the entrance, forest guides will help you get the permit.
Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM
Entry: Free, Rs. 3, 500 for Day Safari & Rs. 2, 500 for Night Safari (for 6 Pax)