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.
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.
There are no restaurants or eating joints in the park. It is advisable to carry food hamper and water.
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.