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Old 17th March 2014, 16:37   #1
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Default Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-bolero.jpg

Road Trip

Theme:
Wildlife

Vehicle: Bolero – 2010 – belongs to Naveen.

No. of days: 14 days (24th Feb - 9th March, 2014)

Route: Bangalore – Hyderabad (overnight stay) – Marble Rocks (near Jabalpur – 2 nights) – Bandhavgarh – (4 nights) - Kanha – (4 nights) - Nagpur – (overnight stay) - Hyderabad – (overnight stay) – Bangalore.

Total mileage:
3,500kms

Total fuel consumption:
305 litres

Navigator:
Google Map

Shambhu Shikaris: Naveen Jamal, Sandeep Menon & myself.
Drivers & driving style: Menon & Nav mostly handled the wheel. The Bolero could cruise at 120 kph. Other than Day 2 – all other days were easy distances to cover. Overall, the road conditions were good; but there are patches which a Bolero was the ideal vehicle to have – a sedan would have its insides-out shaken up on this trip.

We had a fair number of pit-stops for chai – samosa – hike up-a hill - lunch – exploration - chai – off roading a stream bank - river crossing – sunset - etc, so the indicated drive time is inclusive of all & silly pit-stops.

Only a brief overview of road conditions mentioned. Unfortunately, we did’nt keep track of exact kms & extent of good/bad roads – which otherwise would’ve been more detailed content to report on this forum.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-route-map-1.jpg

Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-route-map-2.jpg


DAY 1
540 kms - Bangalore - Hyderabad – NH7

Great roads - peaceful easy feeling – all 3 of us – Buddies - on the road.
Lets play the music.

Time taken: 8 hrs – 7.00am – 3pm – pit-stops along the way - b-fast at Kamat - chai – mild-off-roading-etc.

Hyderabad - Place of stay: Secunderabad Club (as member’s guests)

Luxurious. Waiter was helpful to say that “Hotel Paradise” biryani was better than theirs’ – for dinner we took an auto ride to Paradise for authentic Hyderabadi biryani.


DAY 2
800 kms – Hyderabad – Adilabad - Nagpur – Seoni – Jabalpur – Marble Roacks - NH7

Time taken: 14 hours – 5.30am – 7.30pm

As per bit of prior research done on BHP – we were kinda spooked about the very bad road conditions on NH7 particularly between Nagpur – Jabalpur.

We assumed this is the hardest & longest drive of the trip, so better to get done with soon. We started early morning & were prepared for a long day.

Hyderabad-Nagpur - 500kms – 8 hrs: Initial sections of the road are super good, but a stretch of about 40-50kms towards Adilabad is broken up in patches. This stretch of about 40-50kms is time consuming. Added to that, usual chai stops.

Nagpur-Marble Rocks – 300kms – 6 hrs: To our surprise, Nagpur to Seoni road conditions are fairly good – they seem to have been patched up fairly recently - better than the reports on older dated articles on BHP on this section. We approached a section of ghats & roads were still holding up – but the final section of 50-60kms towards Jabalpur gave in, this is probably the worst leg we encountered of potholes & craters. Good thing we were in a Bolero than a sedan.

But beautiful landscapes – through the Pench forests & right into picturesque expanses of lush paddy fields around Seoni – meandering into a ghat section, & finally leading us towards Jabalpur.

7.30 pm – we could hear the waters of the Narmada of Marble Rocks - we made it – to the heartland of India.

Marble Rocks - Place of stay:
Motel Marble Rocks, MP Tourism.

http://www.mptourism.com/web/explore...tion=bhedaghat

Fantastic location overlooking the river. The tents directly overlooking the Narmada are luxurious, & a much better option than the rooms. Food is quite good. Better to book online in advance.


DAY 3
Marble Rocks or Bhedaghat as is known locally, lies on the banks of the river Narmada & is 21 kms from the city of Jabalpur. Breathtaking views of white marble cliffs alongside the mighty Narmada.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-marblerocks1.jpg


Besides the usual boat ride available, the better way to explore the vistas is to take an early morning boat across the river at Bhedhaghat & thereon hike up to Dhuadhar water-falls & even further up to Lameta Ghat. A fantastic walk along the Narmada & you get to see an overview of the river & the marble cliffs. Bhedhaghat to Dhuadhar is approx 3 km. Bhedhaghat to Lametaghat approx 6-7 kms.
Walking path is clean, great photography ops. A local boat-vala will happily come along as a guide.
This was my 2nd visit to the Narmada of Bhedaghat after a gap of 10 years, I met the same boat-vallas with whom I treasure some of the most cherished & memorable moments of all my travels – I had carried photos of them – meeting them again was like a homecoming – can’t describe the joy we shared. Once again, after 10 years - we spent the day walking along the Narmadaji – simply beautiful.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-marblerocks2.jpg


DAY 4
190 kms - Marble Rocks – Jabalpur – Kundam Road – Shahpura – Umaria – Bandhavgarh - MP SH 22 & SH 11

Time Taken: 5 hrs – 10am – 3pm - Easy driving – good state highway roads, not too much traffic – beautiful countryside, usual pit stops along the way.

Bandhavgarh - Place of stay:
Tiger Trails Resort

Located in the boondocks of Tala – the approach “road” was an off-roaders delight in the rain which greeted us. This was unseasonal rain – not a good sign for animal sighting. Resort cottage accommodation, food & service are excellent. Packed breakfast for safari provided.


DAY 5/6/7/8
4 Safaris - Bandhavgarh National Park - morning
Zones covered : Magadhi & Khitauli

Bandhavgarh is truly tiger country. Nothing else much matters. At times it seems life here only revolves around the tiger – where was it sighted last? which is the best zone? Stories amongst the guides & jeep drivers floating around of the ‘most amazing sighting ever’….the general atmosphere around the park gates early in the morning is electric - filled with excitement & tension – you can feel the buildup.
One of the premier wildlife destinations in India & worldwide, Bandhavgarh is reputed to offer the best opportunities to sight tigers in its natural habitat.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-wildlife1.jpg

Safari Tickets for Bandhavgarh & Kanha

Limited number of vehicles allowed inside the park, so either tickets need to be booked well in advance online or very few ‘current’ tickets sold at the counter. We were there at 5am on most days, since we had bookings for only 3 morning safaris in Kanha & none available online for Bandhavgarh. Some others had been in line since 3.30am!

1. 1st option – book online – http://www.mponline.gov.in/Portal/Se...foresthome.htm
2. Our only option – to get to the ticket counter at 5am & get a current booking ticket – very few available, although choice of zone as per availability & the mood of the guy at the counter.
3. System is very impressive – limited number of safari jeeps allowed. To minimise hoarding of tickets by resorts, names of all people going on safari is MUST.
4. Make sure to fill details of ALL PERSONS going on jeep other than driver & guide.
5. ID proof of all persons is a MUST.
6. I was very impressed with the empowerment & knowledge of the forest guide. A huge improvement from my previous visit. They seemed to be extremely knowledgeable & more importantly - enforce forest rules strictly on the visitors while on safaris.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-wildlife2.jpg


Sightings
No tiger sightings for us – all others seemed to be running into the King. Rest of the jungle pack as sighted included the Chital, Langur, Sambar, Barking deer, Wild Boar, Sloth bear, Jackal, Peacock.
As we covered approx 150kms of safari mileage in the forest & while we waited excitedly for the tiger to pop out of the bush, the cheeps & shreeks of birds filled the fresh air of the forest.
We 3 had no choice but to take up birding J & we did.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-wildlife4.jpg


DAY 8 – post noon
280 kms - Bandhavgarh – Umaria - Shahpura – Mandla – Kanha – MP SH 11

Time Taken: 5 hrs – 1.30pm – 6.30pm

A beautiful countryside driving experience right through the heartland of India. Amazing roads - the best we got to drive alongside serene landscapes, river crossings, paddy fields, vast skies & delicious samosas in every little dhaba along the way.
This is the land of samosas & jalebis….burp!

Kanha - Place of stay: Wild Chalet

Fantastic location on the banks of the river Banjar, Kisli.

Manager / Naturalist: Mr. Anukul
A very enthusiastic & energetic gentleman – full of wonderful stories – very helpful & a great host. Always available on Whatsapp. Needless to mention - Cottages are plush, great service & great food. Chain Singh is an old & most helpful staffer here & a special mention about Pappu – the driver, is given below.


DAY 9/10/11/12
6 Safaris - Kanha National Park – morning & evening
Zones covered: Kanha, Kisli, Mukki & Sarhi


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-wildlife3.jpg

An early morning drive into Kanha National Park is one of the most beautiful experiences.
Its cold & still dark-- dressed warm but never enough – lined up along with other jeeps waiting for the park gate to open – some confusion & tension around – ticket & ID check – whew, we made it – gates open - park guide hops on the jeep – Namaste Kanha!

A drive in breaking light – through the thicket of bamboo & towering sal trees – the sudden glimmer of the odd white ‘Ghost Tree’ - & leading to the vast open meadows of Kanha - this is like the bowl of life - & the much famed personalities of Jungle-Book are all out there - langurs, peacock, plentiful chital, the shy sambhar, a busy looking sloth bear crossing the road - the sights & sounds of birds… & suddenly – pug marks !!!

SherKhan is definitely out there somewhere - the safari begins…

Sightings: We had had 2 tiger sightings – but only fleeting appearances of a female crossing the road. Well, the best was saved for the very last. On our 10th & final morning safari- Kisli, Pappu was at the wheel - & he was familiar with the territory & movements of the magnificent male “Munna”.
As we were parked up along a nala – we heard a growl through the thick bushes – goose-bumps! Finally once a few more jeeps & an audience gathered, Munna strode out of the thicket - & the next 20 minutes or so – everyone was in a trance – as Munna disdainly walked down the road – not one bit bothered about the crowd – in-fact he seemed to relish all the attention.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-tiger1.jpg


Munna has the most remarkable stripe marking “CAT” embedded on his forehead.

Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-tiger3.jpg


In my opinion – the guide & the driver together either make a good safari outing or a bad or boring one for the visitor. Not that its their responsibility to make a tiger sighting happen, but when on the trail of a tiger – its their experience & enthusiasm in tracking via pug marks, calls & sounds, water-hole locations, knowledge of the particular tiger’s routes, etc. that matters.
Pappu was outstanding. His sense of predicting the tiger’s movement was impeccable. His sense to keep the vehicle abreast of the oncoming traffic of other vehicles & as well as ahead of the tiger than behind was brilliant. At times when we felt he was moving too far ahead – he was maintaining discipline – allowing others to have a good sighting other than us.
The museum & facilities provided for visitors in the midst of the forest are magnificent – world class.


Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-buddies1.jpg


DAY 12 – post lunch
(complimentary lunch; courtesy Wild Chalet)
Kanha - Nainpur – Keolari – Seoni - Nagpur – SH 11A & NH 7

Time Taken: 6 hrs – 1.30pm – 7.30pm

Once again awesome stretch to drive between Kanha – Seoni. Thankfully we missed out on the worst leg of the roads we encountered earlier on our way in on NH7, the section between past Seoni – Jabalpur.

Nagpur - Place of stay: The Legend Inn

Conveniently located outside the city towards the airport & linked to NH7, this randomly selected hotel turned out to be the ideal hideout for an overnight stay. We bargained a good deal for a 9am checkout @ 3800/- incl breakfast. We cleaned out lotsa dosas next morning…Burp!
As it turned out, this hotel is owned by India's legendary mountaineer, Capt. M S Kohli. All rooms are named after Himalayan legends or peaks & plenty posters adorn the hotel.


DAY 13
500 kms – Nagpur – Adilabad- Hyderabad – NH7

The getaway roads from Nagpur are good but patches of roads around Adilabad are broken up & patchy. Not overly crowded traffic. Got stopped for “Election time – baggage check” for carrying lotsa money – we explained to the well speaking officer that on the contrary, we were quite broke at this stage of our road trip – he let us pass without much of a frisk.

No rush to get to Hyderabad - few detours off NH7 towards water bodies following our reliable navigator - Google maps, pit-stops for lunch– chai stop – rock exploration stop - & yes, a bit of birding ;-) & finally drove into Hyderabad at around 7pm.

Hyderabad – Place of stay: Secunderabad Club (as member’s guests)

Luxurious.


DAY 14
540 kms – Hyderabad – Bangalore- NH7

Great roads - peaceful easy feeling – all 3 of us – Buddies - on the road.
Lets play the music.

Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-buddies2.jpg

Attached Thumbnails
Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero-tiger2.jpg  


Last edited by benbsb29 : 17th March 2014 at 20:26. Reason: Edited out certain sections as per Team-BHP Rule # 11.
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Old 18th March 2014, 13:36   #2
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Default re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks. Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

A lovely travelogue with apt and crisp narrations.
The pics around sightings of Munna, were scary and gave goose-bumps in me too.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 18th March 2014, 18:35   #3
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

A beautiful and engaging travelogue!

1. Congratulations on completing this wonderful trip! I have been blessed to have almost always lived in forest-surrounded dwellings and can understand your joy upon those "sightings".

2. It is relieving to know that the road from Nagpur to Seoni was good.

3. Since the road section for the last 60 km to Nagpur was really bad, does it mean that Seoni to Lakhnadon and further upto around 30 km towards Nagpur is good now?

4. Did you happen to get any idea about the condition of NH44 (earlier NH7) between Jabalpur & Maihar/Rewa? (As per current information updates available on team-bhp, it is advised to take the route-Nagpur-Chhindwara-Seoni-Mandla-Shahpura-Umaria-Tala-Rewa in order to bypass the damaged section of NH44.)

Happy travelling!
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Old 18th March 2014, 20:18   #4
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

Quote:
Originally Posted by onkar1710 View Post
A beautiful and engaging travelogue!

1. Congratulations on completing this wonderful trip! I have been blessed to have almost always lived in forest-surrounded dwellings and can understand your joy upon those "sightings".

2. It is relieving to know that the road from Nagpur to Seoni was good.

3. Since the road section for the last 60 km to Nagpur was really bad, does it mean that Seoni to Lakhnadon and further upto around 30 km towards Nagpur is good now?

4. Did you happen to get any idea about the condition of NH44 (earlier NH7) between Jabalpur & Maihar/Rewa? (As per current information updates available on team-bhp, it is advised to take the route-Nagpur-Chhindwara-Seoni-Mandla-Shahpura-Umaria-Tala-Rewa in order to bypass the damaged section of NH44.)

Happy travelling!
Thanks Onkar170. You sure are blessed to have lived in forest surroundings - we city dwellers long for such a lifestyle... but try to make the best whenever possible.

1.Yes, the section between Nagpur- Seoni was reported to be very bad according to older reports on team-bhp, but the road is pretty good now - seemed to have been done up fairly recently.

2. No idea about Jabalpur - Rewa section but Nagpur-Seoni-Lakhnadon roads are mostly good. From Lakhnadon to Jabalpur - 50-60kms of this stretch is bad.
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Old 18th March 2014, 23:30   #5
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

Perfect is the word, a very well written travelog which is also concise. You have added all the details which are needed when you travel to such places.

Really good to know that the route from Nagpur to Seoni is in better shape, some months ago there were huge craters in Kurai Ghati.

There is actually an alternate route to go to Bhedaghat from Seoni, though a longer one, and by that you don't have to go through the worst part of NH-7 in that area which is between Lakhnadon - Jabalpur.

Seoni - Chapara - Lakhanadon - Narsinghpur - Bhedaghat

The last time when I went on this route in Nov, 2013, only bad roads were in the ghat region between Chapara and Lakhnadon but was manageable.
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Old 19th March 2014, 10:57   #6
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

Very nice travelogue. Bravo.

Such a "leisurely" sighting of a tiger is very rare indeed. Maybe Munna is your friend !! Great photos ; to be treasured.

Nice to hear that the North South corridor is improving rapidly and one no longer to be shunned. Except for a few stretches, you have reported fairly good roads.It now gives us an option for those of us from Bangalore heading north, instead of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Udaipur route. Nice to know this and no doubt more BHPians will follow in your footsteps. Thanks for the travelogue.

As an aside, the work done by our forest officials need to be commended . I was in Gir recently and had the same experience - restricted entry, ability to get a permit online, knowledgeable guides, strict enforcement of rules designed to protect the animals, no corruption, etc etc. Wonderful. There are many pockets of excellence in India and we would do well to celebrate them as you have done here.
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Old 19th March 2014, 13:15   #7
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

A nice, crisp at the same time beautiful TL with all the required details, Manubhai. Thanks for sharing all the information with us on the forum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by onkar1710 View Post
It is relieving to know that the road from Nagpur to Seoni was good.
Nagpur to Seoni is 4 laned now and the road was completed sometime in mid 2013. The 4 lane continues upto Chhapara almost 35KM ahead of Seoni and the rest around 28KM to Lakhnadon is 2 laned but good road at present.
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Old 19th March 2014, 15:02   #8
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

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Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
A nice, crisp at the same time beautiful TL with all the required details, Manubhai. Thanks for sharing all the information with us on the forum.




Nagpur to Seoni is 4 laned now and the road was completed sometime in mid 2013. The 4 lane continues upto Chhapara almost 35KM ahead of Seoni and the rest around 28KM to Lakhnadon is 2 laned but good road at present.

Thanks Sommos - for the compliment & detail concerning Nagpur-Seoni-Chhapara-Lakhnadon. Perfectly described.
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Old 19th March 2014, 15:54   #9
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

@ Sommos :- "Nagpur to Seoni is 4 laned now and the road was completed sometime in mid 2013. The 4 lane continues upto Chhapara almost 35KM ahead of Seoni and the rest around 28KM to Lakhnadon is 2 laned but good road at present."

1. Useful update about a rather notoriuosly bad-condition-road-stretch!

2. So, as per the current road conditions, what shall be the best route from Nagpur to Allahabad.? The information available on team - bhp about this stretch is quite old and all advices and recommendations ask to bypass Seoni.What can be the best route now, especially because this is the shortest route to Patna/Varanasi/Allahabad?
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Old 19th March 2014, 20:08   #10
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

Super Travelogue! And amazing pictures of 'Munna'. I got goosebumps sitting in my office chair so can just imagine what you must have felt looking at him in the flesh! Btw; i was wondering at that statement about 'cruising at 120 km/hr' in a Bolero! But further down in the last pictures; my doubts were cleared when i saw the 'Storm' badging! A DI or even a M2Dicr would be struggling to cruise at those speeds!

Amazing Trip! Amazing Munna!
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Old 20th March 2014, 09:57   #11
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

Great writeup !! I also heard Munna has a mark which says its a prime male (if you notice his right forehead behind the CAT mark
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Old 20th March 2014, 12:23   #12
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

Quote:
Originally Posted by onkar1710 View Post
So, as per the current road conditions, what shall be the best route from Nagpur to Allahabad.? The information available on team - bhp about this stretch is quite old and all advices and recommendations ask to bypass Seoni.What can be the best route now, especially because this is the shortest route to Patna/Varanasi/Allahabad?
If you want to be very safe the route would be Nagpur-Seoni-Lakhnadon-Narsinghpur-Sagar-Jhansi-Kanpur-Allahabad. The road is good throughout but longer.

The other route is Nagpur-Seoni-Lakhnadon-Jabalpur-Katni-Maihar-Rewa-Allahabad. In this route the portion between Rewa and Allahabad was bad and I've no information of this streach.
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Old 20th March 2014, 13:38   #13
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

14 days in tigerland and only one post!!! "Bahut nainsaafi hai re" (in typical Gabbar style) I would love to see more pictures.

Although you have given the necessary details, you can expect a mail from me for more details.
This is a dream route of mine. Hoping to do it this year

Very nice travelogue
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Old 20th March 2014, 18:45   #14
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

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Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
14 days in tigerland and only one post!!! "Bahut nainsaafi hai re" (in typical Gabbar style) I would love to see more pictures.

Although you have given the necessary details, you can expect a mail from me for more details.
This is a dream route of mine. Hoping to do it this year

Very nice travelogue
Thank you Hemanth. I'll be happy to share any further information you need. This was a dream route for me too, & it worked out well. Make a plan & do it, worth it
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Old 20th March 2014, 21:07   #15
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Default Re: Road Trip from Bangalore: Marble Rocks, Bandhavgarh & Kanha in a Bolero

OT OT OT
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
14 days in tigerland and only one post!!!
That is one post better than the travelogue of the person who said
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
Our destination....wait for the travelogue


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