Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve - Chandrapur - Maharashtra

Tadoba calling..... I'm just back from the jungles, TATR - the pride of Vidarbha and.... This was the first signboard we came across and how true it turned out to be..

3 days / 30 hours in the jungle / 6 junglee trips and countless minutes of patient waiting and prayers... still the tigers were elusive in showing themselves up.. We had to be content with only the loud calls / roars very close to us... Still we had many firsts on this adventure, good close sightings of many species which are very elusive here down south and meeting of a good person working towards the conservation of the TATR (Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve), Mr Shalik Jogwe, an fellow INWian and a wildlife enthusiast.

The options to reach Tadoba are:

1. Take a flight to Nagpur from Bangalore and from there 4 hours on road to Tadoba.

2. Sanghamita Express (except Fri - train no 2295) - 9am departure - alight at Chandrapur station - 20 hours journey.

3. Jaipur Express (Thu & Sat only - train no 2975) - 1pm departure - alight at Chandrapur station - 20 hours

4. Ypr-Gorakhpur Express (Thu only - train no 5016) - 7.30an departure - alight at Chandrapur station - 23 hours.

5. Bagmati Express (Fri only - train no 2578) - 9am departure - alight at Chandrapur station - 20 hours.

The best option would be this....

6. Rajdhani Express (Mon-Wed-Thu-Sun - train no 2429) - 8pm departure - alight at Balharshah station. You need to book tickets upto Nagpur (3ac / 2ac only) but alight at Balharshah when the train stops for change of men and machinery (cleaning / guard change / staff change -- The stoppage here is as confirmed from the Railway station master at Balharshah). From Balharshah its an 20km drive to Chandrapur. This saves almost 5 hrs journey time.

With expectations high and soaring, our group of 4, Me, Raja, Guru and Nag boarded the 9am Sanghamitra express on a 20 hour long eventful journey. Travelling by train itself is a pleasure where you get to see variety of people - different languages, different styles, different beliefs and ethics, some very vocal, some sober, some funny, some irritating and the continuous chai-biscoot-samose walas and the state wise enunchs who do anything for money... and travelling for 20 hours was itself something to be remembered (none of the others had travelled such a long distance in a train except me....). We had few college students as our companions who were travelling without confirmed tickets!! but were sitting in our compartment. We had no idea of Shalik whom we would be meeting for the first time and with that anticipation ended our day... all of us hitting the berths...

Alighted at 5:30 am at Chandrapur railway station, Chandrapur is a small sleepy town nestled somewhere in Maharastra enroute Nagpur. Few minutes later Shalik arrived alongwith Praveen (our gypsy driver for our entire sojourn to be).. in an open white maruti Gypsy. After a brief introduction, knowing the unknown we boarded and gypsy and had to travel another 25 kms to reach Mohurli where our booking at MTDC resort was done by Shalik.

The ride took of well and 10 minutes later started the real catch - we were literally shivering in the cold! These gypsies have raised back seats with absolutely no cover and the early morning cool breeze hitting straight onto your face... All of our sleep vanished and we were jostling for cover and our faces literally ice cold. As it was past 6am when we reached TATR, we rode straight into the park for our 1st safari ride of the trip.

Long train journey, Chilly ride and now we were at the gates of the TATR with high anticipation - things were moving fast and the first signs of fresh tiger pug marks at the entrance raised our curiosity and everyone was looking everywhere for those elusive stripes! But as the poster above read, luck is all that matters and we had no idea where had we left our lady.

TATR has three main zones: Mohurli / Tadoba and Kolsa. Mohurli is the place where the resorts are and the entrance is located... A little further inside is the Tadoba range and further inside is the Kolsa range. There is a FRH at Kolsa also. Its almost about 30-40 kms these forests spread across and there are villages inside the park too and the road leading them passes right through the buffer zone. The advantage here at TATR is its open throughout the year (however few routes are not accessible during rains) The forest cover is also amazing with bamboo shrubs across one part, open fields, dense growth, dry open lands, prominent lake inside TATR, many artificialy water bodies created for the summers, hill ranges of Tadoba... it amazes as the landscape changes on your every turn...

Our 3 days stay there gallopped with only eating / safari ride / sleeping, gobbling our days...

Morning 5:30 am for the safari ride, back by 11am, breakfast / 1:30 pm lunch and rest / 2:30 pm evening safari starts, out by 7 pm / 8pm dinner and rest. Being in a jungle has its own advantages... as you have no distractions whatsoever.

Accommodation / Food:

We stayed at the MTDC resort @ Rs.900 per day (rates vary per season) and food cost extra. Currently stay options are limited at Tadoba to MTDC resort, Resort Saras and Tadoba resort. Still it was a good and comfortable stay at the MTDC. The FRH at Kolsa is also available with prior permissions.

Food is prepared at MTDC resort itself with prior notice (as also tea/coffee before the morning safari rounds). Comfortable / clean rooms are the highlight at the MTDC however food is a tad pricey.

Safari and Timings:

The park is closed on Tuesdays.

Entry time is from 6am to 9am (exit by 11am) and 3pm to 5pm (exit by 7pm).

Private vehicles are allowed inside with a forest guide. Camera fee / Safari fee / Guide fees etc.. are charged that are nominal.

An ideal safari round would be for about 4-5 hours with rounds around Tadoba and Mohurli region.

For more info see this link.

Other info: Good birding options around the MTDC resort too.

Patience is a virtue.

Certain behaviours are expected of visitors visiting the parks, please ensure that and stop acting wild!

Respect and care for the nature.

Park Charges and Rates: See this link.

Well our Tadoba adventure ended with no tiger sightings (all along we could hear only the growls / snarls all around us but could not spot them owing to the dense growth) but other wild life made their presence felt..

1. Indian Gaurs 2. Barking Deer 3. Sambar 4. Marsh Crocodiles 5. Antelopes and Spotted deer and the avians were not lagging behind...

1. Green Pigeons 2. Asian Paradise Flycatcher 3. White Eyed Buzzard 4. Greater Coucal 5. Treepie 6. Plum headed Parakeet 7. Indian Robins and the normal Drongo's, Egrets, Storks etc...

Well those who are interested in visiting Tadoba and savor its beauty can contact Mr. Shalik Jogwe who would be more than happy to arrange things for you.

His contact nos are: 93720 69911 / 94203 03020

Email: sljogwe@gmail.com / tadobatiger@gmail.com

Websites: http://tadobatourism.blogspot.com/

http://tadoba-tiger.blogspot.com/

http://tadobapictures.blogspot.com/

Pictures will follow......

Care for the nature and the nature cares for you!
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