The year 2010, hopefully augurs well for us in travel. After the good start in the new year week, one of us had a solo trip to Bangkok, while the other had a solo to Coimbatore and Kerala. But the most awaited trip of January was to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district, Maharashtra. The planning had started in November itself.
The tourism/forest department calls Tadoba the real land of tiger. Perhaps rightfully so. For the first time, we spotted the big cat. Albeit for a short while without giving us enough time for clicking. With multitudes of Maruti Gypsies following, it quickly vanished into the jungle.
Tadoba is the only sanctuary in the country that is open throughout the year and is also the place where sighting chances are very high. That perhaps explains why we came across so many professional photographers in one place.
Spread across 625 sq km, the mixed dry deciduous forest with bamboo, teak, dhvada, and many other trees is home to a wide variety of mammals and birds. We had done advance booking with MTDC for stay and 3 safaris. Safaris in open gypsies are organised by local operators. Private vehicles are also allowed inside accompanied by a guide.
An hour-and-a-half delay at Nagpur as our train reached late cascaded to rest of our schedule and we reached Tadoba only by 3.15 or so in the afternoon. The safari was to start at 2 and we effectively lost an hour. On reaching MTDC, we just ensured the rooms are indeed booked in our names and hopped into the waiting gypsy, without even checking in.
For the next one-and-half days, Shravan, our enthusiastic local guide lead us through many trails whetting our appetite for nature, birds, and animals.
Through the first half of the morning safari on the second day (till about 8.30), we were literally shivering due to the chill. There was a short break at the forest check post at the border of Moharli range and Tadoba range. We tucked in the packed poha (riceflake upma) from MTDC and sipped hot tea offered by a local family at the check post.
The vast Tadoba lake at the middle of the sanctuary was a delight. Deer and sambhar thronged the banks, unmindful of the huge croocodiles waiting for an opportunity. The forest department initially had a rest house on the banks of the lake, but later dismantled it to avoid human interaction at the core area. The crocodile breeding centre also is now discontinued as there is sufficient number of crocodiles in the lake.
More on Tadoba soon…
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) is in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. Chandrapur is about 150 kms from Nagpur. The Moharli range entrance to TATR (where MTDC has a resort) is about 27 kms from Chandrapur. The tiger reserve is open throughout the year. But during summer temperatures might exceed 45 C.