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Old 2nd May 2012, 16:47   #1
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Default Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Thankfully there are still some places left where mobiles don't work, where the sky is full of twinkling stars, where the air is crisp and clean, the first rays of light shimmer the waters of the rivers, where sunset is a riot of colours and above all life continues the way God wanted it to continue, following the same rules which were there since time immemorial......the rules of the jungle.
Madhai is one such place where the king is still the One... you may not see Him but the One always sees you.


He was here


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sights which act as a balm to the soul..



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the shimmering backwaters of Tawa dam



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Old 2nd May 2012, 17:08   #2
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

This trip was done 2 years back in my City (NHC). Not much has changed since in terms of road conditions and fascilities.

Madhai is a small village on the banks of the backwaters of the Tawa dam in Madhya Pradesh. The other side of the backwaters is the Satpura Tiger reserve.

Googlemaps image of the route


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March is year ending for my company. Since the last copule of weeks the work pressure had been enormous. Body and mind both had become numb. They were screaming for a break. My wife's sister and her husband had come over to Bhopal from Hyderabad for a week. They too were looking for a getaway.
Some of my friends had visited Madhai earlier and were all praise for the place. It was 135 kms away. Far yet not far enough.I could manage it in a leave of two half days. It also offered the promise of a jungle safari in Satpura National Park...perfect. Madhai it is to be.
We started from Bhopal at dot 12 noon. The road upto Obaidullaganj is just about OK. Traffic is dense and there are pot holes, road is narrow and overtaking the trucks is real pain. Conditions improve a lot as you approach the Bhudni ghat with the road meandring through dense forest. On reaching Hoshangabad we took the excellent road to Pachmarhi. Had our packed lunch under the shade of a tree. Crossed babai village and 6 kms before Suhagpur one finds a sign board pointing right turn to Madhai. From there its a picturesque journey of 17-18 kms on village roads amidst lush green feilds. The last 5-6 kms are not mettaled. However my City did not blink an eye and munched them with ease.
We reached Madhai at exactly 3:00 PM in afternoon in time for the evening Safari. Sorry guys no photos of my NHC. I was pressing the pedal just to make in time for the evening safari. We checked into the superbly located "Madhai wildlife resort".

After a brief rest we were excited for our first safari in the jungle. A motor boat takes you across the backwaters to Satpura Tiger reserve. There is a forest rest house on the other bank of the waters. For those wishing to stay in the Forest rest house will have to leave their vehicles on the madhai side of the waters.


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The Safari is on a open Gypsy. The ride cost Rs. 1760 inclusive of guide charges (might have been revised now). On reaching there we found out that there were two types of Gypsys. The one in stock condition with length wise rear seats and other modified ones with two rows of horizontal seats at the back. We demanded the horizontal seat type for i was aware that the length wise rear seats are not at all comfortable for a ride of 2-3 hrs. We were told that these modified Gypsys are donated by resort owners and their guests get preference on them and those guests are coming behind you. We could'nt argue anymore decided not to spoil our mood further and took the normal gypsy.

We bounced back quickly as we entered the jungle. Its a picturesque jungle with dense forest, grass lands and beautifull water holes. There are lots of animals like...cheetal, neelgaya, barasingha, bear, bisons, wild boar, leapord and ofcourse the Tiger. There are many bird speices and the reserve is an orinthologist delight. I have a 70-200 and it felt woefully inadequate. A minimum of 400mm is a must to get some close shots.



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Would love to drive on this trail. These trails go all the way upto Pachmarhi. If you have a petrol 4x4 and permission from forest officials then you can drive all the way to Pachmarhi from here.!!


water hole


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Last edited by columbus : 11th May 2012 at 17:47.
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Old 11th May 2012, 17:52   #3
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

There is an elephant camp inside the jungle. Here you can take an elephant ride inside the jungle. We decided to continue on Gypsy as elephants are slow and won't go deep in the jungle. The ride costs 100 Rs per person.


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Spot the crocodile

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Water hole

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Last edited by columbus : 17th May 2012 at 17:26.
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Old 17th May 2012, 17:46   #4
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Some more wildlife from the evening

Peacock

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Black Buck

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Brilliant camouflage. Spot the Barasingha......nature at its best...

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Bison herds

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Time to go back to the resort

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I really didn't expect to see so much of wildlife just 135 kms from Bhopal. Kanha and Bandhavgarh have always been in the limelight. But i guess its hard to beat the beauty of Satpura National Park. We returned back to our resort to witness a spectacular sunset .

Last edited by columbus : 17th May 2012 at 17:51.
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Old 17th May 2012, 18:01   #5
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

We were back just in time to witness this surreal sunset over the Satpura ranges. Every passing minute brought new colours in the sky... No words can describe the moment..... just enjoy the pics...


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My daughter. Enjoying her leave from school.


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Old 17th May 2012, 18:13   #6
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Staying options at Madhai are pretty limited. There are only three resorts and out of these the Madhai Wildlife resort is the cheapest and has unmatched location. Right on the banks of the waters and a stone throw away from the boat jetty. It is managed by a retired DFO. There are three types of rooms. A 1200 Rs room will get you a spotlessly clean room with a clean bathroom with modern fittings. The 1400 one will get you an additional sitting area and a 1600 one will get you an AC room with a TV and a Tata sky connection. (All rates might have changed now).
Though I am not sure how much time the AC runs since electricity plays hide and seek all the time. Nevertheless shear value for money considering the resort generally has visitors during the cooler months of November to March.
Though things like electricity and tata sky have reached Madhai but thankfully mobiles have not. So no phone calls from the office..nothing to disturb you. Sometimes silence feels so wonderfull.
Each room has a large covered verandah to sit and lech at the scenery infront and just let the world go by back home. A small campfire , a bottle of cold drink and freshly cooked pakodas makes it just perfect .


View from the room


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Old 18th May 2012, 15:18   #7
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

If the evening was surreal then the morning was mesmerising. Getting up at the crack of dawn to see millions of stars twinkling, the chirping of the birds, the first rays of the sun creating magic ...only to be experienced.

The morning safari starts at 6-6:30 and we were there all dressed up to explore the Jungle again.



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Our ride coming from the forest side

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The shimmering backwaters

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The lone boatman

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Old 18th May 2012, 15:49   #8
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Some more from the morning


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Old 18th May 2012, 15:57   #9
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Though the day time temperatures were pretty high but the morning was chilly. And it becomes bone chilling in an open Gypsy. Again the same group of foreigners were there and we thought heck we are going to get the same squeaky old Gypsy. However yersterday's drama made the forest officials spare one modified gypsy for us.


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We saw fresh pug marks but the king of the jungle did not bless us with his appearance.


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Last edited by columbus : 18th May 2012 at 15:59.
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Old 18th May 2012, 17:24   #10
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

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Old 18th May 2012, 17:30   #11
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

An ideal stay at Madhai should be a minimum of 2 nights. There is a evening boat ride in the backwaters which looked very promising. Though everyone of us wanted to stay another night but decided to leave somethings for next time.
It was 10:30 by the time we were back. Had a quick brunch of Methi and Aloo parathas and started back for Bhopal. Again it took us just short of 3 hrs to reach home. Though it was a short trip but we had an absolutely rocking time. I would whole heartedly recommend Madhai as a 2 night stay if you are near Bhopal.


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Back to school.. back to work..


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Thanks for reading.
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Old 18th May 2012, 22:12   #12
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Superb pictures and narration. Nice to know about one of the "unsung" wild life sanctuaries of our country
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Old 20th May 2012, 11:31   #13
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

A very interesting thread. Thanks a lot for sharing.
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Old 21st May 2012, 09:54   #14
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Really a nice thread. Liked those wide shots of sky and its reflections. These are really calming and showcase the serenity of that location.
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Old 21st May 2012, 11:27   #15
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Default Re: Madhai.. Where time stands still.

Excellent Travelogue, Wish you spent a bit more time on write-up for each posts while posting the pictures.

I really liked the pictures of Post #5 of the beautiful sun-sets and also the picture of your daughter against the back-drop of fading sunset

Thanks for sharing.
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