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Old 3rd January 2014, 14:48   #16
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Driving to Churna forest rest house in Satpura National Park. It was a 40 kms late afternoon/ evening drive through the forest.
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Gosh, what a picture!

Seeing it made me think, of all the cars on sale in India today, there's no other I'd have in such conditions than the Toyota Fortuner. Silly dependable, built tough and competent in the rough too.

Lovely travelogue with mind-blowing images. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 4th January 2014, 07:47   #17
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Aah.. I was waiting for this log. Brilliant photographs. Please do share details about FRH booking procedures. Also road conditions will be very helpful.
Where did i miss reading in your ownership report about clutch replacement ?. A bit surprising since mine has done 4 major trips in Himalayas . What indicators did you get for a worn out clutch. ?
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Old 4th January 2014, 09:48   #18
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

A very interesting travelogue indeed. Your photography is brilliant too. Perfect vehicle for the perfect trip. I believe that the Fortuner is the best vehicle you can buy for such uses. It is reliable, cheap to maintain, comfortable, fast and safe. I would most definitely not risk taking a Range Rover or a Mercedes Gl for such a trip. Firstly, barely anybody knows how to fix them, and then even one scratch or a tyre puncture and your pockets would feel lighter. In the Fortuner, you can drive relatively fearless and be comfortable at the same time. For instance, you can do the same trip in a Bolero, but it definitely wouldn't be as comfortable.
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Old 4th January 2014, 15:12   #19
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

What an awesome trip! The mighty Fortuner looks perfect in the terrain. The pic of your suv in the jungle gives me a gut feeling as if that's the real home for the Fortuner!

Not to mention i envy your photography skills. What awesome pics man. I could see some wild life pics in the low light but still the pics are really clear and without any hint of grains. That really needs some good photographic skills . I would like to know do you use a full frame Dslr ?

And lastly when you again plan to drop your wife to Kolkata for a bachelor trip let me know so i can fly off from Kolkata and join you for the trip.

Rated 5* for the over all thread. Just loved it and the pictures were the real icing on the cake.

Last edited by Samba : 4th January 2014 at 15:16.
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Old 4th January 2014, 15:52   #20
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Great photography man!
Would've loved to see more pics of the 4*4 beast in the wild
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Old 5th January 2014, 00:05   #21
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Another view of the chameleon since lots of folks seem to like it
Yes, we do!!

Nice pics, and awesome travelogue! Cheers. Would appreciate more details and even more of nice shots like these
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Old 5th January 2014, 14:15   #22
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Truly fantastic shots !

The Leopard and the Tiger picture is the best of the lot, Superb.
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Old 5th January 2014, 19:27   #23
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Default Tadoba

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Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Leopard and Chameleon shots are the best! Very colourful and well framed pics.
Sunset at Nagzira is like a canvas painting
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Originally Posted by dkaile View Post
Some fantastic shots Nilanjan. You are truly enjoying your Nikon & Fortuner.
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Originally Posted by a_bharadwaj View Post
Great photography man!
Would've loved to see more pics of the 4*4 beast in the wild
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe M View Post
Yes, we do!!

Nice pics, and awesome travelogue! Cheers. Would appreciate more details and even more of nice shots like these
Quote:
Originally Posted by mohanKV View Post
Truly fantastic shots !

The Leopard and the Tiger picture is the best of the lot, Superb.
Thanks folks. Some more photos below.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Gosh, what a picture!

Seeing it made me think, of all the cars on sale in India today, there's no other I'd have in such conditions than the Toyota Fortuner. Silly dependable, built tough and competent in the rough too.

Lovely travelogue with mind-blowing images. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks. The Fortuner shines in these conditions - that's what I bought it for. Btw that stretch in the photo was perhaps the best (flat, sandy) in terms of the trail condition. Next day I went to sections that hadn't been opened after the monsoons, and 4LL was required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post
Aah.. I was waiting for this log. Brilliant photographs. Please do share details about FRH booking procedures. Also road conditions will be very helpful.
Where did i miss reading in your ownership report about clutch replacement ?. A bit surprising since mine has done 4 major trips in Himalayas . What indicators did you get for a worn out clutch. ?
FRH: I called up Satpura Tiger Reserve office, and booked the FRHs through them. Office is at Hoshangabad - I had to visit on my way to Churna. PM me if you need exact details.

Now that I think of it, I am not sure that a clutchpad replacement was required. But it was giving some minor noise after the trip,and I got it changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prakhar1998 View Post
A very interesting travelogue indeed. Your photography is brilliant too. Perfect vehicle for the perfect trip. I believe that the Fortuner is the best vehicle you can buy for such uses. It is reliable, cheap to maintain, comfortable, fast and safe. I would most definitely not risk taking a Range Rover or a Mercedes Gl for such a trip. Firstly, barely anybody knows how to fix them, and then even one scratch or a tyre puncture and your pockets would feel lighter. In the Fortuner, you can drive relatively fearless and be comfortable at the same time. For instance, you can do the same trip in a Bolero, but it definitely wouldn't be as comfortable.
True. My vehicle got scratched quite a bit in certain places. Any high GC 4X4 could have done the difficult sections within the forest, but not many vehicles would have been comfortable during the high speed 1000+ kms drives in one day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
What an awesome trip! The mighty Fortuner looks perfect in the terrain. The pic of your suv in the jungle gives me a gut feeling as if that's the real home for the Fortuner!

Not to mention i envy your photography skills. What awesome pics man. I could see some wild life pics in the low light but still the pics are really clear and without any hint of grains. That really needs some good photographic skills . I would like to know do you use a full frame Dslr ?
Thanks. I was using a Nikon D7100 with 70-300mm VR and 18-105 lenses.
---------
Onwards to Tadoba

We had to negotiate for a couple of hours in the morning with the resort manager before he agreed to cancel the 3rd day booking with a small penalty.

Closeup of a leopard. SNP near Madhai.
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Colours of sunset
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Google Maps said that there was a direct route to Tadoba (North - South) instead of going West towards Nagpur and then catching a SH. But the direct route went too close to the Naxal affected areas for my liking. We checked with a couple of local guys who said that there were no issues as long as we didn't drive after it got dark. Since my friends were hoping to do the afternoon safari, we opted to take the direct route: Sakoli - Lakhandur - Chimur - Shegaon - 8 feet wide broken road/track to Moharli. Avoided the better roads that veered towards the East because East (of Tadoba) was Naxal territory.

A male Sambhar crosses the Moharli - Tadoba Lake tar road
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View from the roof of Madhai forest rest house
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While driving, we kept our eyes peeled for roadblocks or suspicious looking guys. There were some lovely arid stretches with no human habitation in sight. I had passed through Warora - Chimur stretch last year when going to Kolara gate in Tadoba. This year since we were going to Moharli, I checked with some local guys and took a shortcut from Shegaon. The road was narrow and broken. Once I became complacent and went over a pothole at a relatively higher speed. That pothole - cleverly camouflaged - was one feet deep instead of 5-6 inches as I thought it were. Result - first loud undercarriage hit of the vehicle. Yes, even with 220mm of ground clearance - had got the angle and speed wrong. Got down, saw that liquid was dripping down onto the road. Was worried for a couple of seconds, before we figured that it was the condensed water from the AC. The underbody protector had taken the hit, and was slightly bent and scraped. That's all. Drove more carefully after that. Could soon see the green hills of Tadoba National Park. We actually came pretty close to Tadoba lake before bypassing it and taking a dirt trail to Moharli. While driving I was thinking that these are the buffer zones that are affected by significant tiger - man conflict (maneating tigers are common in Tadoba buffer zone - but not in the core area). Kept our eyes open but couldn't spot any animals till we reached Moharli. Went straight to the gate, and did spot booking for Safari. It was a couple of days before Tadoba would open, so there was no rush. Got a Gypsy to drive us up and down the road from Moharli to Tadoba Lake (the only tar road that was open).

Another snake closeup. Lay down on the ground to get this angle
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Malabar Giant Squirrel in Churna
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Heard from the driver and guide that tiger spotting had been sporadic. I had had fantastic sightings in Tadoba the previous year - 14 unique tigers - so my hopes were high. After a few kms we stopped below a tree. There were a couple of langurs giving alarm calls. We waited for 15 mins, hoping that the cat would come out of the undergrowth. But it didn't oblige. We moved on. Saw a few Sambhar deers and other hebivores - Gaur, Cheetal. It got dark after a couple of hours since we had started the safari late. A nice moon rose as we went back towards the gate. It was pitch dark when we got down from the Gypsy.

Dancing Quail. Shot in very bad light.
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Sambhar during sunset
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We went to Moharli MTDC, and managed to get a couple of rooms. Food was ordinary, and the rooms were basic. Still, it was much cheaper than the other 5 star alternatives.

Backlit peacock during sunset
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Splashing water
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Two of my friends left early morning to return to Mumbai. Another friend and I stayed back. It was a Sunday, Oct 15th, the day before Tadoba would open. There was no mobile signal at Moharli, so we drove down to Chandrapur to catch up on calls and emails. In the evening, my friend opted to stay in the room while I went out for a drive on the Chandrapur Road (locals were saying that often big cats can be seen on that road in the evening). Saw a lovely sunset on Irai Lake. Later when I got down from the vehicle for a few minutes to take some photos on tripod - it was dark then - I kept the engine and fog lamps on to deter inquisitive cats - some time back two people had been mauled to death by a leopard in a nearby village, and besides Tadoba buffer zone has a bad reputation for tiger attacks. Came back to the resort after driving around for a while and went to bed early, since the next day we would have to wake up at 4.15 AM.
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Old 5th January 2014, 19:44   #24
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

an awesome job on the pics. great TV.
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Old 5th January 2014, 20:50   #25
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Awesome Nilanjan!! What a treat for the eyes! Your photography skills are amazing and you do have an eye for capturing the right perspective/view. Wishing you a very happy 2014 keep the snaps rollin....
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Old 5th January 2014, 22:20   #26
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Brilliant pictures Nilanjan. The central Indian forests offer so much variety.
Great to see that you are able to make good use of both your Nikon and Toyota.
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Old 6th January 2014, 08:53   #27
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Wow! Those are some really amazing pictures. I especially love the ones of the leopard and the sunset. Breathtaking photography skills. Please keep them coming incase you have more.
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Old 6th January 2014, 11:43   #28
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Would be grateful if you added the the F/ISO/Shutter speed settings used to the pictures and the lens used. Fantastic shots as always.
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Old 6th January 2014, 12:24   #29
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Niranjan,
Super shots! Thanks for sharing.
I love the close up of chameleon, really nice
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Old 6th January 2014, 13:58   #30
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Default Re: Central Indian Forests: 4000 km roadtrip in a 4WD Fortuner

Quote:
Originally Posted by contactme27 View Post
an awesome job on the pics. great TV.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robimahanta View Post
Brilliant pictures Nilanjan. The central Indian forests offer so much variety.
Great to see that you are able to make good use of both your Nikon and Toyota.
Quote:
Originally Posted by keshavarora View Post
Wow! Those are some really amazing pictures. I especially love the ones of the leopard and the sunset. Breathtaking photography skills. Please keep them coming incase you have more.
Thanks folks.

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Originally Posted by dkaile View Post
Would be grateful if you added the the F/ISO/Shutter speed settings used to the pictures and the lens used. Fantastic shots as always.
If you can let me know for which specific photos you want the EXIF, it will be easier for me to get the details - the RAW images are in a different machine.
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