Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

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Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. It is notable as Maharashtra's oldest and largest National Park . It is one of India's Project Tiger Reserves.





Total area of the Reserve is 625.4 square kilometres (241.5 sq mi). This includes Tadoba National Park, created in 1955 with an area of 116.55 square kilometres (45.00 sq mi) and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary created in 1986 with an area of 508.85 square kilometres (196.47 sq mi). 


The Reserve also includes 32.51 square kilometres (12.55 sq mi) Protected Forest and 14.93 square kilometres (5.76 sq mi) other areas.

















Densely forested hills form the northern and western boundary of the Tiger Reserve. The elevation of the hills ranges from 200 m (660 ft) to350 m (1,150 ft). To the southwest is the 120 ha (300 acres) Tadoba lake which acts as a buffer between the park's forest and the extensive farmland . This lake is a perennial water source which offers good habitat for Muggar crocodiles to thrive.Other wetland areas within the reserve include the Kolsa lake and Andhari river.




This place was in my wish list from a long time, and I got an oppurtunity to visit the paradise during December 2012 . 
This is a journey of 4 wildlife enthusiasts and Nature Lovers from Bangalore with keen interest on Wildlife , Nature and ofcourse Photography. We departed from Bangalore on 20th December,2012 through (Mysore - Jaipur Express) train and alighted at Chandrapur by 10.30 AM the next day.
The Team included :
1. Mr S.Chandrashekar
2. Mr. H.Satish
3. Mr. Bharath Raj
4. Myself

I had booked the Safaris one month before through Mr.Atul Dhamankar , a Naturalist from Chandrapur. He has his own Gypsy and his brother Mr.Ashish Dhamankar drives it.












Tadoba reserve covers the Chimur Hills, and the Andhari sanctuary covers Moharli and Kolsa ranges. It’s bounded on the northern and the western side by densely forested hills. Thick forests are relieved by smooth meadows and deep valleys as the terrain slopes from north to south. Cliffs, talus and caves provide refuge for several animals. The two forested rectangles are formed of Tadoba and Andhari range. The south part of the park is less hilly.


























Mammals:
Indian leopards, Sloth bears, Gaur, Nilgai, Dhole, striped hyena, small Indian Civet, jungle cats, Sambar, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Langur and Bonnet Macaques, Mongoose , Indian Fox , Indian Flying Fox and Tiger.


Birds :

The Birds of Tadoba are a treat to watch. It is a paradise for Bird watchers. There are around 200 species of birds. The list of frequently sighted birds goes like this :

The Grey-headed fish eagle, the Crested Serpent Eagle, and the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Vultures, Falcons, Buzzards, Peafowls, Junglefowls, Treepies, Orioles, Mynas, Flycatchers, Drongos, Bee Eaters, Warblers , Cuckoos, Pigeons and Doves.

Other birds (which we did not see) are : Orange-headed Thrush, Indian Pitta, Crested Treeswift, Stone Curlew, Crested Honey Buzzard, Paradise Flycatcher, Bronze-winged Jacana and Lesser Goldenbacked Woodpecker, and the black-naped blue flycatcher.

Other Animals include a variety of Snakes like Russel's Viper, Krait , Cobra , Rat Snake , Indian Python , Cat Snake etc.

Marsh Crocodiles are frequently seen near the Tadoba Lake.


A Nice Painting at the entrance to Tadoba


Main areas/ranges in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger reserve:
1. Moharli
2. Telia
3. Kolsa
4. Jamunjhora
5. Kathejari
6. Jamunbodi
7. Pandherpauni
8. Vasanth Mandara / Vasanth Bhandara
9. Panchdhara
10.Navegaon gate
11.Kolara
(and there are many more areas which I dont remember :) )

Dec 21st - Afternoon Safari :
This was the first safari in Tadoba. It was very exciting and we could feel the wilderness once the gate was crossed, as we entered the forest. Each Forest has its own beauty, and the beauty of Tadoba was totally different.

Our Gypsy was lead by Mr. Ashish, a very experienced person in both driving and wildlife. He has a very good knowledge on Wildlife and the identity of Birds and other animals.
Our Guide for all the 7 trips was Mr.Bhaskar
(whichever vehicle enters the forest has to be accompanied by a guide)


Usually each and every safari is very exciting and challenging. And the first safari into the paradise makes it more memorable.

First we went near Jamunjhora, and found nothing. On the way back, a huge male Gaur was sighted. And a quick glimpse of the mongoose crossing the road delighted us.


Then Ashish took us to Tadoba. A nice drive in the cool breeze was amazing. We went near Pandherpauni. Some action was waiting for us there.



As soon as we entered the Pandherpauni range, we could hear constant alarm calls by Chital and Langurs. This increased the excitement, and everyone were standstill. There was an utter Silence in the forest, and only we could hear the sound of breeze,chirp of birds and the calls by these animals.

Suddenly a pair of Indian Wild Dogs (Dholes) were spotted. 

















The dhole (Cuon alpinus), also called the Asiatic wild dog or Indian wild dog, is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia.

The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt. It primarily preys on medium-sized ungulates, which it hunts by tiring them out in long chases, and kills by disemboweling them. Dhole packs are bold enough to attack large and dangerous animals such as wild boar, water buffalo, Spotted Deers.

When these animals are in packs, even tiger hesitates to go near it.


There was a herd of Spotted Deer at a distance from the Wild Dogs. Alarm calls were heard, and the dogs were eyeing the herd. 
Now the action was about to begin. 


Though the hunt was unsuccessful , the drama witnessed was a memorable one. A lucky day for the deer.


On the way back, we spotted few Green Bee eaters. 

They are mainly insect eaters and they are found in grassland, thin scrub and forest often quite far from water. Several regional plumage variations are known and several subspecies have been named.
Also the green bee eater is one of the common specie among the bee eater family.

The first day came to an end with a great drama.There was a beautiful lake next to our room at MTDC.





I had bought few BBC - Planet Earth films and Satish uncle had bought his Laptop. The evening was spent by watching the movies and eating hot pakodas.

At night, the stars were shining brightly and immediately I thought of doing Star Trail Photography which was a new thing to me. Satish uncle accompanied me and we went near the lake to setup the equipments.

A star trail is a type of photograph that utilizes long-exposure times to capture the apparent motion of stars in the night sky due to the rotation of the Earth. A star trail photograph shows individual stars as streaks across the image, with longer exposures resulting in longer streaks. Typical exposure times for a star trail range from 15 minutes to several hours, requiring a 'bulb' setting on the camera to open the shutter for a longer period than is normal.
Star trails have been used by professional astronomers to measure the quality of observing locations for major telescopes.



















Dec 22nd - Morning Safari :


This time Telia was the destination. We went there but the whole place was covered with mist. The landscape and the environment was amazing. I liked the cold-chilling breeze and the misty weather.


We moved towards Tadoba. The Jamunbodi and Pandherpauni range was covered.

There were not good sightings this time too.



The Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis), also called the Blue Jay in former times is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found mainly in the Indian Subcontinent.  They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats.
Many states of India including Karnataka have chosen this bird as the  " State Bird "
 

The Gaur is the largest species of wild cattle, bigger than the African buffalo, the extinct aurochs, and wild water buffalo. The domesticated form of the gaur, Bos frontalis, is called gayal or mithun.


Dec 22nd - Afternoon Safari :

Jamunjhora, Tadoba - Jamunbodi , Pandherpauni and Vasanth Bhandara was covered. Few birds like Bee eaters, Doves, Indian Rollers , Egrets were sighted. A pair of Langur was sitting on the roadside and a Spotted deer Fawn was running on the road.

Later we drove towards Telia Lake. There was only 30 mins left for the Safari to end. We had to reach the gate by 5.30 PM.
It was 5.00PM when we were near Telia. Heard few alarm calls, and at a very far distance, we saw the first Tiger of our trip. It was very far and the sun was setting, the lighting was also not that great. But the very sighting of the Royal Tiger refreshed us and we were delighted to the core. 

Frequent visitors to forests will know the Enjoyment when a Tiger has been sighted.



This was a 16 month old cub. The tiger went in the bushes and we had to come out of the forest.


Dec 23rd - Morning Safari:

It was Chandru Uncle's Birthday. His birthday was celebrated in the Beautiful Paradise called Tadoba. The birthday song was the musical chirping of birds. The gift was reserved for the day. And he got the most memorable gift of the day.

We went to Jamunjhora. Initially on the road , this beautiful Indian Muntjac was happily grazing.

The common muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), also called the red muntjac, Indian muntjac or barking deer, is one among the deer species. It has soft, short, brownish or greyish hair, sometimes with creamy markings.

                                

The chital or cheetal (Axis axis),also known as chital deer, spotted deer or axis deer is a deer which commonly inhabits wooded regions of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and in small numbers in Pakistan. 

 This was shot at Panderpauni.

Heard few calls at Vasanth Bhandara. Waited to see for any movements. Though the call was loud and continuous(Spotted Deer), it faded after a few mins. Probably a carnivore would have moved somewhere.

Trust me, when an Alarm Call is heard, the whole forest echoes, and the wait to see a carnivore is more exciting and amazing.

After enjoying this moment, we tried our luck in the Pandherpauni, Jamunbodi, Vasanth Bhandara and Panchdhara areas. But nothing except trees were to be seen.

So finally we went to the most favorite Telia Lake. On the way, few crossings happened. It was Mongoose, Spotted Deer, Sambar and a Barking Deer.

When we approached Telia, there were many Gypsies which were waiting near the Lake bed. This moment was a thriller.
The guide in the front gypsy told he heard few alarm calls , hence the wait.

Suddenly from the Grassland, his majesty arrived. This was a cub (16 Month) , which had made a kill few minutes before we went there.

This was the best birthday Gift for Chandru uncle .

Dec 23rd - Afternoon Safari :

All places were attractive. We went to Jamunbodi, Panchdhara , Vasanth Bhandara.

The Sambar (Rusa unicolor) is a large deer native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Sirkeer Malkoha on the Road


Telia Lake :

When this amazing animal is seen, the whole Forest is turned into Gold 































This Golden Birthday of Chandru uncle ended with a divine sighting of the beautiful Tiger, and a great drama that was witnessed.


Sunset at Moharli Gate.




















Hanuman Temple at Moharli .

Experimenting Star Trails in the night.























Dec 24th - Morning Safari :
This was the last day at Tadoba. Time had passed in just a wink of an eye. 3 days went like 3 mintues.

It was very cold in the morning. Had a hot cup of  "Chai"(Tea) in the nearby Kaka's Chai shop. This very hot Chai becomes cold in no time. The Chai was very tasty and the whole vessel of Chai becomes empty  very soon.

Firstly headed towards Telia, to find the mist filled lake.





       
By this time, the mist had covered up the whole lake. The tiger was roaring from the other end of the lake, which all could hear but could not see the tiger. The wait became more exciting as the mist did not clear. Now little amount of luck played its part. A small patch was mist-free, and the tiger was spotted in that part.  








 Tourists Approaching 


























































The Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri), also known as the Ring-necked Parakeet, is a tropical Afro-Asian parakeet species that has an extremely large range.

 Spotted Deer - Image converted to painting
 Shot this at Pandherpauni

Marsh Crocodile - Tadoba Lake






A Golden Day - Dust rises when Gypsy comes. The sunset adds a golden lighting, which makes the scene more beautiful.

A beautiful Day ends - So as our trip !!


Accomodation :

1. Tourists Can book the MTDC lodges which is there at Moharli. This can be done online, by reserving at
http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/

(We stayed here for 2 days)



2. There are many other Private Lodges and Resorts at Moharli.

(We stayed at Royal Tiger Resorts for 2 days) 



Transportation :

1. There are many trains which go to Nagpur from Bangalore , Hyderabad, Chennai. This goes via Chandrapur.
    (Get down at Chandrapur)
2. Nearest Rail Stations - Chandrapur - 30kms from Tadoba
3. Nearest Airport - Nagpur - approx 200 kms

Tips For Visitors :

1. Take nothing but Pictures, Leave nothing but Footprints
2. Please make this a plastic free zone, and do not dirt the place
3. Forest colors like Green / Brown / Camoflauge dresses are better
4. Gypsy costs around Rs 3000 for one trip. Max 6 people can be seated
5. Safari timings - Morning (6.30 to 10.30 AM) , Evening (2.30 to 5.30 PM)
6. Book your trip earlier to avoid last minute disappointments.
7. Moharli has only Reliance network, sometimes Vodafone gets connected.
8. Every Tuesday , the park is closed.
9. There are many tour operators, but we went with Atul and his brother Ashish.
10. Atul can book the Safari vehicles for best wildlife viewing and photography.
      He can be contacted at : atultiger@rediffmail.com  /  07620792206



       (L to R : Mr. Chandrashekar , Mr. Bhaskar(Guide) , Bharath , Mr. Ashish (Driver) , Mr. Satish , Myself )



Thanks for viewing


























23 comments:

  1. Hey Arjun, lovely blog on Tadoba Indeed, very well written and beautiful images to go with it,great job. Thanks for special acknowledgements of my birthday, it is most memorable one for time to come. Keep up the good job of blogging, many can see and also get to know how to visit this place and what they can see. Three Cheers !!!
    Chandrashekar

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  2. Excellent description of Tadoba. it brings back the memories of lovely time we passed , the tiger sighting was interesting too. You have given a very information on everything a tourist needs to know before going to tadoba. Your efforts need to be appreciated. Beautiful images complementing the story . It is in a way , a lovely JUNGLE DAIRIES.

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  3. Excellent Photography, awesome location, nice narration :) One of the pic where the Tiger is near a pond in which you shot that pic in that husky light, is beautiful. Keep Going... Wish you all luck :)

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  4. Good blog and nice pictures Keep it up :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent photography!

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for sharing the experience ... well documented and great pics to support them :)

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  7. Nice blog! The one with Tiger in the mist is a bliss.

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  8. Very nice blog, Arjun!
    I am planning to visit Tadoba in May, this year. I want to understand the place
    from a photography perspective.
    I liked some of your images! Please share equipment information so that I would get an
    idea of what to take/what not to!
    Thanks,
    Arvind.R

    ReplyDelete
  9. Absolutely beautiful images! Thanks for the information and the great photographs.

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  10. A very detailed blog Arjun. you make life so easy for the rest of us. Enjoyed reading it and seeing the pictures. I am from Dubai and later this year I would love to do a trip to Tadoba and Bhandavgarh... Let me know and maybe I can join you guys...

    Hussain Nalwala
    hanalwala@gmail.com
    www.hussainnalwala-photography.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Photography is excellent.. Nice write up!!!!

    MANUPONNAPPA.BLOGSPOT.IN

    ReplyDelete
  12. Brilliant Photography as well. Some of the pictures managed me to bring the place alive for the readers. Thanks for sharing it. Keep travelling and do share your experiences with us. Ur writing skills are great and it is easy to read. Know more information about Know more information about How to Reach Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve . Thanks for sharing. Happy Hop Around India...........

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  13. indeed, account has a beautiful series of the lovely pictures. I love wildlife and also have a wonderful account of Indian wildlife in which many of posts are submitted related to Indian wildlife, tiger safari and much more if you want to explore Indian Wildlife then please visit on
    India's Popular National Parks

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent photography and a lucky tour to spot a tiger at its skill,rare in the wild where spotting a tiger itself is a chance opportunity.Will be visiting Tadoba in May-2014 with "Mumbai Travellers" tour group and your blog was a good guide.

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  15. Nice Blog with great photo collection of Tadoba national park . Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project is a very big and famous national park in Maharashtra. If you are animal lover then visit these place with trained tour guide

    ReplyDelete
  16. Damdama lake Gurgaon Comment Thanks for sharing good information !

    ReplyDelete

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