The fort was built after 1617, by Maharaja of Bandhavgarh, Vikramaditya Singh Baghel, on the confluence of the Bichhia and Vihar rivers. It is set against the backdrop of the Kaimore mountains of the Vindhya range, 20 km away. The emphasis here is not on regal splendour, but on the subtleness and tranquility. The fort also boasts a rare type of Shiva temple, known as Maha Mrityunjay temple, where the lingam (phallus) is covered in lattice work representing the one thousand eyes of Shiva.
It has two entrances – Gurgi Gate or Putariya Gate is located to the east. The outer walls are adorned with apsaras, gods and goddesses and it was in about 1854, Maharaja Raghuraj Singh clad the outer walls in their present form. And the entrance gate to the north is known as Ghariyari Gate, as it once had a ghari (clock) on top built between 1833 and 1854, during the reign of Vishwanath Singh. The palace within is situated downstream from the banks and has stepped bathing ghats, from where its residents could have a dip in fresh, flowing waters. On the opposite bank the so called Guru Ghats have a row of ancient temples. Back in the palace, a rectangular super sized central hall, is furnished with a very large sofa and 17 cushioned armchairs, trophies of a leopard, two tigers, a wild dog, a wolf and a 100-year-old clock, all adorning different sections of the wall, while two full sized stuffed tigers stand guard behind the sofa. To the rear of the palace, stands a separate building, west of the main palace, said to have been built by Maharaja Amar Singh, and is known as Amaresh Mahal. It has golden floral designs on the upper portion of the walls and the roof and is also known as Son Mahal.
The Darbar Hall is a magnificent room, with intricately carved pillars that meet at the top to form arches. There is a massive silver throne in the centre. The king always sits at its foot. For they believe it to be the seat of Lord Vishnu, a tradition, which goes back to 12 generations. Venkat Bhavan is an intricately designed, well maintained building. Maharaja Venkatraman Singh built it to provide employment during the famine of 1894, completed in 1907 and covers 425 sq m. A life sized carving of Shiva and Parvati, brought from a demolished temple nearby, is placed at the main entrance. Built around a circular pond with a round platform in the center connected to the periphery. Twelve doors in the outer walls (baradari) let in light and fresh air. Above the pool there are well-decorated halls, where Vikramaditya held his darbar.