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Old 27th June 2011, 20:01   #76
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
At first I was foxed as this didn't register. Then I had to draw on my Chemistry studied in school & college to decipher what exactly this compound was.....
Sirji, even if you don't remember any other compound, you should have at least remembered this...or were you totalling up 'tee' leaves during your college days?

The Bos Gaurus

Muscles that will make Arnold envious

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_7118.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_69871.jpg

I loved the way the black Gaurs looked in the midst of fallen red leaves in the forests of Kanha. And while standing out as black dots in the midst of Kanha landscape.

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6803.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6762.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6794.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_67821.jpg

Don't mess with me
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6995.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_7665.jpg
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Old 27th June 2011, 20:11   #77
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

No Nilanjan, C2H5OH was a little unknown in the era when I did my schooling & college. In those days we were more into totalling the female of the Homo Sapiens....

The first pic of the Bos Gaurus is just awesome. What physique and what rippling muscles..

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

Sirji, even if you don't remember any other compound, you should have at least remembered this...or were you totalling up 'tee' leaves during your college days?

The Bos Gaurus

Muscles that will make Arnold envious

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Old 27th June 2011, 22:23   #78
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

Thanks to GD1418, Nilanjan, Dr Ghosh, Sam Kapasi and so many others I spend most of my after-office hours (some stolen moments whilst in office too) reading these wonderful travelogues. Fabulous! Thanks Nilanjan.

Cheers!
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Old 29th June 2011, 14:12   #79
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

Thank you R2D2 - may the force be with you!

June 7th, 4:00 - 23:30 hrs

Morning safari. Wake up cursing, quick shower, in line for entry. We were # 2 this time for CA route. The experience was similar to previous morning's, except for fewer raptor sightings and a long wait near a stream to wait for a leopard or a tiger. The deers kept calling, the langurs kept calling, we waited for 45 mins. But no luck in the end.

While coming back, again saw Kankatti (the mating tigress who had killed her rival a few months back), walking around in the bushes, looking for shade. Before taking the turn on the road that would bring us to that spot, I said 'I am sure she is hanging around closeby' - and after 10 seconds, we see her! Anyway, after a few minutes, the jostling and crowding started. Poor tigress was just trying to rest somewhere without disturbance - we didn't let her for quite some time. I clicked quite a few shots, but she was covered almost all the time by bushes/ undergrowth - no clear shot.

We had Abheek and his friends join us at the resort. Saw their pictures (some of them are posted here on other threads e.g. Safique's thread) - fantastic. We discussed that we will go to Magadhi zone in the evening, since we didn't have much of luck at the Tala zone. Go the zone changed through the new driver (after 3 resort safaris, we were using the driver recommended by Abheek).

Before lunch, we drove to Kings Lodge, a sister concern of Treehouse Gateaway. We wanted to check out the place, in case we came back to Bandhavgarh in the future with family. Also, we had heard stories of two cubs eating a cow near the property a few days back, so I was curious to see the terrain. Kings Lodge was more 'resort-like', but still no room service - a key criterion for choosing a resort when traveling with kids. My friend stayed there for a while, sending some work emails, while I drove around on and off a dirt track that I could see going near the woods. Saw some deers grazing in the afternoon, did some mild offroading alone, picked up my friend and then came back to the resort for lunch.

The Magadhi gate is 6 kms fromTala gate, off the highway leading towards Umaria from Tala (which we had taken while coming to Tala). We were a few minutes behind Abhek's Gypsy, but caught up with them at Magadhi gate. Abheek's driver provided some inputs to our driver (Abheek has given a detailed note on this earlier in this thread), and off we started. That afternoon was HOT! Open Gypsy, dust...I am pretty sure that tthe temperature was close to 45 degrees that afternoon. The other Gypsys had folks dressed like the daakus or arabs, covering their face and head. I just wore a wide brimmed hat. Anyway, the initial part of the safari was uneventful. Then we went to the nallah that Abheek has spoken about, and taken pictures of. There were a few vehicles waiting there. There was shade, so I was fine with parking the vehicle and waiting for 1 hour., But our driver started getting impatient after a while, and wanted to drive off. Well, he knows the territory better than us, so we gave in - eventually. He drve around for a while,and then came back to the same place. The road was crossing the nallah at that point. Imagine a sandy nallah bed on your right - pretty flat. And a rocky bed going down in steps to your left. We were expecting the tiger to come through the sandy part. However, while were were waiting, she was enjoying herself in the pool below (that was out of sight to us). Eventually she decided to walk up over the rocks. Her emergence was like a James Bond woman emerging out of the sea, or a shop appearing over the horizon. Slowly different parts came into view. She just kep looking at us and coolly walking without any fear. Then she went on the road. Unfortunately therer were a few vehicles in front is us, so I coudln't get a good shot when she stopped on the middle of the road and looked back at us. Would have been a great shot, but I Was blocked. The folks in front didn't even have cameras, and were chattering loudly. But the moment she stopped and gave us a glare, I saw many people from the vehicles in front promptly sit down :-). She was about 20 feet from the first Gypsy, I think.

She started walking ahead, and we followed her at respectable distance, so as to not make her uneasy and drive her off. As Abheek has described in detail, she started calling for her cubs - a strangely touching/mewing call that can be instinctively understood by humans as well. She went off into the undergrowth after a while, and then emerged carrying her kill for the cub(s). I couldn't get a picture of the cub that was following us on the other side of the road.

This was a fantastic experience, much better than seeing tigers resting somewhere. Also, for a few minutes, she had gone into the bushes on the right side of the road. We knew she was traveling parallel to us. We could hear her steady footsteps...and then she emerged again. Knowing that the tigress is moving unseen, just a few feet from us, and hearing her steady purposeful footfalls built up the anticipation. Surprisingly, there were no alarm calls during the entire incident (lasting 15 mins, I think). Only, a hare got the shock of his life as he almost banged into the tigress as she was walking in front of us in the bushes - we could see it come running down towards us with a petrified expression on its face, congratulating itself on its narrow escape. Don't know how the hare didn't realize that there was a tigress in the bushes.

I was really happy that I got some good shots of a tiger - finally! we met up with Abheek's gang to celebrate at the Magadhi gate. And then took another route to go back to Tala. This was through the buffer zone. The buffer zone is pretty similar to the core zone, and animals roam around all the time.

Saw a few Nilgais (lucky!) when it was almost too dark for pictures. The evening/night drive through the trail and then on the Tala road was interesting. Just after crossing Tala entrypoint, we stopped for 2 mins to put on the rain covers (it had started drizzling). A bike appeared, and stopped beside us. The guy said that he had seen tigers (cubs, actually) crossing the main road just after we went. We missed the sight by 1 minute!

We spent the evening at the bar/dining room on the top floor of the dining treehouse. The other family hadn't see any tigers (Tala zone) unfortunately. But had some 'near sightings'. They really enjoyed the photos of the tigress.

Next day we were leavng for Kanha after the morning safari. I told my friend that we can relax more at Kanha, since the pressure of taking decent tiger pictures was gone :-). We were undecided between Magadhi and Khitauli for the morning safari, and decide that we will take a call after soeaking to the driver in the morning. we were supposed to meet up with Abheek and his gang in the evening, but were too tired and too sleep deprived. Also, I was driving to Kanha from Bandhavgarh, and needed to get adequate rest to fight the fatigue that was piling up.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 29th June 2011 at 14:27.
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Old 29th June 2011, 19:03   #80
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

A couple of raptors sitting close to the ground, Image quality got degraded after couple of resizing cycles with MS Picture Manager.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_5749.jpg

Another Changeable Hawk Eagle
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_5762.jpg

Bandhavgarh meadow
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6023.jpg

Kankatti - the injured side. You can see that one eye is gone after her territorial and cannibalistic fight.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6159.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6359.jpg

Her good side. I know dogs get very aggressive if you approach their injured side. Wonder whether it is the same for big cats when with mates ("How dare you make a move from that side?")
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6333.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6323.jpg

The sandy nallah bed - we had expected the tiger to come from this side.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6441.jpg

Passing close to the vehicles. Many more pictures of her (posted by Dr. Abheek Ghosh and me) are there in the first few pages.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6471.jpg

The Nilgai in the evening, taken handheld (1/8s and high ISO) at long distance after 7 PM. The locals said that the Nilgais hung around the villages because they were too easily killed by the tigers if they ventured deep inside the jungle. Don't know how true this is.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6562.jpg

As I mentioned in another thread, I am wondering whether to invest in a tripod, given the type of pictures I like to click. I take all my pictures handheld, and tripod somewhat reduces mobility and response speed - I like the freedom of carrying the camera and being ready to shoot anytime. Also, am not sure whether the tripod makes sense with my current lens - the Nikkor 70-300mm. Maybe I should start carrying a small beanbag.

I do know that a good tripod + 300mm/f4 or 200-400mm/f4 would significantly improve my picture quality, while also increasing my monthly expenses due to divorce payouts.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 29th June 2011 at 19:12.
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Old 29th June 2011, 19:53   #81
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

Nilanjan,

Seems like a very good gear was used to capture the wildlife on this thread, coupled with our lucky and varied sightings.

Info ion the gear please if I have missed out.
Regards,
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Old 29th June 2011, 20:15   #82
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

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Nilanjan,

Seems like a very good gear was used to capture the wildlife on this thread, coupled with our lucky and varied sightings.

Info ion the gear please if I have missed out.
Regards,
Thanks....yes, we were lucky to see almost all animals except the leopard and the wild dog. I used a Nikon D90 and Nikkor 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 lens for the pictures. All pictures taken take handheld. No Photoshop - some Picasa touches.
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Old 30th June 2011, 10:33   #83
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

I would like to hear more about this zone change. How did you do this and how much extra 'premium' did you pay? Did you manage to just change your safari booking at Tala to Magadhi without incurring any extra cost?

I'm asking all of this because if you read my thread of my visit to Bandhavgarh, Pench & Kanha, I had all my bookings for Magadhi in B'garh. Since sightings were happening in Tala, I opted for Tala for my last two safaris. I've mentioned very clearly what I went through.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2340110 (Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon)

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

We had Abheek and his friends join us at the resort. Saw their pictures (some of them are posted here on other threads e.g. Safique's thread) - fantastic. We discussed that we will go to Magadhi zone in the evening, since we didn't have much of luck at the Tala zone. Go the zone changed through the new driver (after 3 resort safaris, we were using the driver recommended by Abheek).
Beanbag is a very good alternative to tripod though it does not exactly replace it. You can try this link - http://www.facebook.com/naturelounge

While the 200~400 is mighty expensive, 300 f/4 is affrodable and if you add the TC 1.4 to the kitty you have a killer 630 mm at f/6 on a DX body.

Hmmm...increased monthly expenses due to divorce payouts....you do have a point but I don't have to worry on that front. I've, as mentioned before, have always called the bluff and gotten away..

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

Maybe I should start carrying a small beanbag.

I do know that a good tripod + 300mm/f4 or 200-400mm/f4 would significantly improve my picture quality, while also increasing my monthly expenses due to divorce payouts.

Last edited by gd1418 : 30th June 2011 at 10:40.
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Old 30th June 2011, 10:59   #84
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
I would like to hear more about this zone change. How did you do this and how much extra 'premium' did you pay? Did you manage to just change your safari booking at Tala to Magadhi without incurring any extra cost?

While the 200~400 is mighty expensive, 300 f/4 is affrodable and if you add the TC 1.4 to the kitty you have a killer 630 mm at f/6 on a DX body.
We changed from Tala (the most popular zone) to Magadhi (the less popular zone). There were empty slots available for Magadhi, so there were no issues. I just payed 400 extra for each safari to the driver. We also changed to zone to Khitauli for the last drive, and that happened real-time I think.

I get 450mm at f/5.6 now with the VRII 70-300mm. Do you think that the extra 180mm reach and better sharpness will be worth it? Also, with the TC, would I have issues with focusing e.g. will autofocus become a bit slower? I don't want to miss out on shots because of slower focus.

Also, the 1.4 TC + 300mm lens combo would cost almost the same as the 80-400mm lens. How would you compare the IQ of the combo with the 80-400? I am doing some Googling and checking out forums, but would be good to know from someone who has experience with both.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 30th June 2011 at 11:01.
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Old 30th June 2011, 11:26   #85
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

The sweet spot for a 70~300 is 250mm at f/7. So 450mm at f/5.6 would certainly give you a reach but less sharpness.

The AF is not slower with a TC. It is almost the same. Secondly the 80~400 is a variable aperture lens at different zoom levels. The IQ of the combo 300 + TC 1.4 would be still better as compared to that of the 80~400 as the former is a prime with a fixed aperture (f/4 at 300 and f/6 at 630 with the TC) while the latter is a zoom with variable aperture.

And finally the the combo would still be cheaper than the 80~400. Last when I found out then the 300mm f/4 was for 62K in the grey and 68K with bill. TC should be around 18K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

I get 450mm at f/5.6 now with the VRII 70-300mm. Do you think that the extra 180mm reach and better sharpness will be worth it? Also, with the TC, would I have issues with focusing e.g. will autofocus become a bit slower? I don't want to miss out on shots because of slower focus.

Also, the 1.4 TC + 300mm lens combo would cost almost the same as the 80-400mm lens. How would you compare the IQ of the combo with the 80-400? I am doing some Googling and checking out forums, but would be good to know from someone who has experience with both.
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Old 30th June 2011, 12:18   #86
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
The sweet spot for a 70~300 is 250mm at f/7. So 450mm at f/5.6 would certainly give you a reach but less sharpness.

The AF is not slower with a TC. It is almost the same. Secondly the 80~400 is a variable aperture lens at different zoom levels. The IQ of the combo 300 + TC 1.4 would be still better as compared to that of the 80~400 as the former is a prime with a fixed aperture (f/4 at 300 and f/6 at 630 with the TC) while the latter is a zoom with variable aperture.

And finally the the combo would still be cheaper than the 80~400. Last when I found out then the 300mm f/4 was for 62K in the grey and 68K with bill. TC should be around 18K.
Thanks. Yes, I know that at 300 the lens becomes a bit soft, and that the sharpest images come usually at two stops down. However for wildlife, I sometimes have to take pics at the maximum aperture due to bad light - I don't have pro f/2.8 lenses like yours :-)

Good to know that focus speed doesn't get affected. I guess if I have two camera bodies, it makes sense having one prime lens attached. With one camera body, sometimes one needs the flexible zoom option, especially for wildlife. Let's see...purchase is not planned for the immediate future, I am in the research mode.

By the way, at Smartshoppers.in, the TC + 300 (20.5K + 63K) costs almost the same as the 80-400, that is available for Rs. 83K.
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Old 30th June 2011, 17:44   #87
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Default Elephant break

Ok, a quick break from tigers and MP forests, back to my beloved Nilgiris and elephants. Some pictures of elephants, taken at close distance. The elephants here are single wild male tuskers. One of them was in musth when these were taken.

The first few pictures were taken during my pre-DSLR days. The last 4 were taken with my D90.

When I clicked some of these photos (you can guess which ones), I was praying that they don't reach out with their trunk and embrace me or give me a friendly whack that would have shattered my spine.

Imagine turning around and seeing him staring at you from close distance.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_47281.jpg

Elephant, bison and cheetal in the same frame
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_4321.jpg

Elephant in the shadow of the Nilgiris. Me in the shadow of the elephant.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_6388.jpg

He got angry for some reason, and was protesting.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_6348.jpg

This guy is pretty tall - a 10foot+ male.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_6378.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_3046.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_3064.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_3072.jpg

About to start throwing a tantrum - do some minor demolishing, the way kids do when upset. The musth fluid is trickling down his eye. I once took a blind turn into a jungle offroad track at 9 pm in the night (I think it was the same night), and he was standing half blocking the road, 4-5 feet away. I knew he was in musth, and was hoping hard that he lets my poor little bison pass without any hard feelings. Well, I had to do some evasive maneuvering - sort of like an elephant test instead of a moose test (with no toppling, thankfully) - and gun my vehicle hard to swerve and get away (over bushes, rocks etc. - I didn't care as long as I got away).
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_3100.jpg

Incidentally, I have seen big cats from that balcony. No photos though - it was too dark.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 30th June 2011 at 17:51.
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Old 1st July 2011, 16:06   #88
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

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Thanks Manuuj! Very few pictures of the The Bison performed as expected.

Kumaon trip...let's see when that would be possible. Tough to do it this year. But it would be great to do a trip together in the mountains and the forests.


Btw, why Matheran? You will have to leave your vehicle outside the town. Mahabaleshwar or Panchgani is better - and is a shorter detour off the Goa highway.

No surprise that the Bison performed as expected Nilanjan..these Toyotas are incredible. I hope the Kumaon trip happens for us all too.

Thanks for the heads up on Panchgani as opposed to Matheran. Had no idea and will get more inputs from you and GD before the trip is undertaken.
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Old 1st July 2011, 22:29   #89
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

Manuuj: sure. I did a number of trips to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani when I was in Mumbai - in my Indica. I like Mahabaleshwar more than Lonavla/ Matheran. Higher altitude, more beautiful...and a small detour from the Mumbai Goa highway. But be prepared to be disappointed - these Maharashtra hill stations can't hold a candle to the Himalayan ones. I have traveled extensively in the Himalayas since I was a kid, and since I was in Mumbai, I used to go to these. How much I wished I could drive down to Uttaranchal or Himachal during weekend, instead of overpriced, overhyped Maharashtra hillstations!

This travelogue - though 5 safaris + many pictures are left to cover - is grinding to a halt. Thinking of a trip tomorrow, since I serviced my vehicle - might as well as spend my time in the Nilgiris instead of sitting front of a computer.
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Old 1st July 2011, 22:32   #90
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Default Re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortune

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No surprise that the Bison performed as expected Nilanjan..these Toyotas are incredible. I hope the Kumaon trip happens for us all too.

Thanks for the heads up on Panchgani as opposed to Matheran. Had no idea and will get more inputs from you and GD before the trip is undertaken.
Manuuj: sure. I did a number of trips to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani when I was in Mumbai, in my Indica. I like Mahabaleshwar more than Lonavla/ Matheran. Higher altitude, more beautiful...and just a small detour from the Mumbai Goa highway. But be prepared to be disappointed - these Maharashtra hill stations can't hold a candle to the Himalayan ones that you have visited. I have traveled extensively in the Himalayas since I was a kid, and since I was in Mumbai and didn't have much choice, I used to do weekend trips to these. I have some nice memories of spending Diwali in Mahabaleshwar...and of some interesting trips with our Irish Setter puppy. But how much I wished that I could drive down to Uttaranchal or Himachal during weekends, instead of to overpriced, overhyped Maharashtra hillstations!

This travelogue - though 5 safaris + many pictures are left to cover - is grinding to a halt. Thinking of a trip tomorrow, since I serviced my vehicle - might as well as spend my time in the Nilgiris instead of sitting front of a computer.
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WLS Hopping - Hyderabad to Kanha, Pench and Tadoba ExtremeTorque Route / Travel Queries 19 19th February 2014 17:03
Panna-Bandhavgarh-Kanha-Pench Route. mercedised Route / Travel Queries 6 4th August 2010 09:53


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