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Old 14th October 2014, 07:47   #31
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

That's a very inspiring trip and an equally inspiring travelogue. The pictures are simply pro quality. Tremendous skills demonstrated there!!! I just loved the night drive episode in the end.
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Old 14th October 2014, 13:48   #32
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfa Romeo View Post
Nilanjan, must say amazing clicks .. really i am reminded of a proverb "In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality"

a great trip and all the lady luck with you. Can you give me some quick info on your lens / camera etc. Also the camera settings you used for clicking the early morning kanha picture. Which editing software are you using?

i know its a lot, but am a beginner in photography and trying all sort of photography. kudos
Thank you. As mentioned somewhere in this thread, I used a Nikon D7100 + 80-400mm AF-S lens for all the photos. Which Kanha picture - the safari vehicle one?

I used Manual mode, AF-C, release priority, 9 or single point AF, auto ISO, 12 bit lossless compressed RAW for all the photos. Aperture varied from f/5.6 - f/8, mostly. I always shoot animals with maximum aperture, since I have slow lenses. Shutter speed was as low as 1/125s at 400mm for some of the tiger photos that were shot in bad light. WB varied.

That morning/Gypsy photo would have been f/8, perhaps 1/200s, ISO 400 - if I remember. Will need to check EXIF in another machine. But ideally I should have shot it in 14 bit RAW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Do you remember that your promise of enthralling us with these stories are still pending? (All you have shared is the story of chicken running away!!)

Simply loved this portion of your trip!!

Psst : Your Kumaon log is still incomplete, you know?

No problems in discussing birds and animals in the travelogue section, I guess.
Thanks. I have the Kumaon one and the Satpura one pending. As well as many weekend travelogues. Don't want to write about my Aug 2014 Ladakh visit since it wasn't a roadtrip. I will restart the Kumaon travelogue after I finish this one.

And yes, this is a wildlife roadtrip travelogue - so people, please feel free to discuss - in context - furry and feathered creatures.

P.S. I am not sure I can share some of the stories here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prashkul View Post
Awesome trip and breath-taking photos. I'm out of adjectives. Your narration style is also quite interesting. It's like watching a movie with anecdotes/flashbacks thrown in. Loving it.
Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psurelia View Post
That's a very inspiring trip and an equally inspiring travelogue. The pictures are simply pro quality. Tremendous skills demonstrated there!!! I just loved the night drive episode in the end.
Thanks. That's not the end - I spent a couple of more days in Kanha, and then moved to Tadoba.

There is a delay in posting, because I have changed laptops, and am also busy with work.

Edit: in my new office laptop, all the photos look oversharpened, and the quality appears degraded :-(

Last edited by nilanjanray : 14th October 2014 at 14:00.
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Old 14th October 2014, 14:02   #33
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Hi Nilanjan,

This is with reference to my previous post on your thread.

We are flying from Kolkata to Nagpur and thereafter driving to Pench & Kanha in the first week of NOV 2014. Our itinerary is as under :

01.11.2014 - KOL to NGP to Pench - Stay @ Pench
02.11.2014 - Stay & Relax @ Pench
03.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Touria Gate) @ Pench
04.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Touria Gate) @ Pench
05.11.2014 - Move from Pench to Kanha - Stay @ Kanha
06.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Kisli) followed by Evening Safari (Mukki)
07.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Kanha)

Since this is our first outing in the woods and that also with 3 kids under the age of 5years, kindly suggest -
1.) Things we must carry with us
2.) Chances of tiger sighting based on the above mentioned itinerary
3.) Any other important information that you might want to share

Thanks
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Old 14th October 2014, 19:15   #34
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ-got-BHP View Post
Our itinerary is as under :
01.11.2014 - KOL to NGP to Pench - Stay @ Pench
02.11.2014 - Stay & Relax @ Pench
03.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Touria Gate) @ Pench
04.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Touria Gate) @ Pench
05.11.2014 - Move from Pench to Kanha - Stay @ Kanha
06.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Kisli) followed by Evening Safari (Mukki)
07.11.2014 - Morning Safari (Kanha)

Since this is our first outing in the woods and that also with 3 kids under the age of 5years, kindly suggest -
1.) Things we must carry with us
2.) Chances of tiger sighting based on the above mentioned itinerary
3.) Any other important information that you might want to share

Thanks
Some thoughts - folks who have done long safaris with kids, please pitch in:

1.) Things we must carry with us
  • Sunscreen, hat, warm clothes especially for kids (could be cold early in the morning and in the even, in an open Gypsy), plenty of fluids, perhaps handkerchiefs to protect kids' noses from dust. Preferably long sleeved clothes in layers - so that one can remove the outer layer when it gets too warm
  • Insect repellant, a good torch, medicine
  • Bottled mineral water is better when in the forests
2. Chances of tiger sighting based on the above mentioned itinerary
Who knows ? Keep your fingers crossed. But I would be surprised if you don't have 1-2 good sightings even once. Prep the kids beforehand so that they are quiet when they see a tiger.

3. Any other important information that you might want to share
  • Don't let the kids roam around alone, without supervision, when near the forest
  • Don't use flash
  • Don't talk too much when out in a safari. But impossible when with kids.
  • Try and avoid bright clothes. Though it doesn't make that much of a difference when in a vehicle.
  • If you have to have mobile connectivity almost everywhere, then a BSNL mob phone.
  • If you are interested in photos, and don't have experience with wildlife, then do some practice on moving animals. Keep an eye on camera battery and memory capacity after each safari. Take backup if required.
  • Cached Google Map, if you want to know where you are at all times.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 14th October 2014 at 19:16.
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Old 14th October 2014, 23:30   #35
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Thanks Nilanjan for the valuable update. It will definitely come in handy at all times.

Just dreading the kids behavior on the Safaris; what's important is that everyone has their share of fun......but safely !!

Thanks once again.
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Old 15th October 2014, 22:06   #36
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Hi Nilanjan

Very nice TL and photos. Can one drive one's own vehicle inside the reserve i.e. use own vehicle instead of the safari jeeps?

Am assuming it will have to be a 4x4 vehicle
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Old 15th October 2014, 23:33   #37
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Quote:
Originally Posted by hothatchaway View Post
Hi Nilanjan

Very nice TL and photos. Can one drive one's own vehicle inside the reserve i.e. use own vehicle instead of the safari jeeps?

Am assuming it will have to be a 4x4 vehicle
Not in Kanha. Possible in Tadoba (any vehicle), Satpuras (if you have FRH reservation), some other parks and reserve forests. Depends on NP/ sanctuary specific rules.
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Old 17th October 2014, 11:56   #38
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

A member had asked some questions regarding Kanha through PM. Copy pasting the Q&A, since it could be useful for others.
Replies below in italics.

------------------
What are the road conditions like from Bangalore to Kanha? I have a hatch and hence asking
Two bad stretches at the AP-MH border. Details there in the routes section of the forum. Look at the Hyderabad - Nagpur thread.

NH7 North of Nagpur would be bad after monsoons. But if you drive slowly and carefully no issues in any vehicle. However, the trip would take longer.


Note: before the monsoons, one can drive fast on good stretches, without much fear of unexpected potholes. After the monsoons, one would need to be more careful - who knows what might have come up, even on fantastic NH7 stretches. True especially if you are cruising fast at night.


Out of Kanha, kisli, mukki and sarhi which one would you recommend and I mean not from a tiger sighting sandpointt as that depends on ones luck, more interested in the overall natural beauty/flora/fauna of the forest
Kanha. Because of the meadows.

Is the kisli tourist hotel inside the forest? Any advantage/disadvantage in terms of getting to the safari start pt/ticket counter in the morning? Do they have parking?
Yes, 3 km inside. I am not sure whether they will allow staying there this winter - go to MPTDC website and check. There were plans to move the resort out of the core area - and when I was there, the new resort was almost complete.

Staying inside can be a disadvantage because one will have to go outside to Khatia gate everytime and provide id proofs before the safari starts. That means extra time.


am planning to book a couple of safaris online and for the rest I may queue up – this is to ensure more flexibility. Is this advisable? I don’t mind queuing up but does it guarantee a ticket?
I saw people getting tickets on the spot after a long wait. But not sure about the pros and cons.

Is the kisli tourist hotel far from the sarhi/mukki side? Will it be an issue since I will have my own car?
It is possible to do Sarhi and Mukki through the Kisli entry. That is what I did. There is a separate gate through Mukki, which is far away - near Baihar.

You did a safari at rukhad in Pench, is it near Jhamtara/touria/karmajhiri? Do I need to book online for this or I can do an impromptu one like you did?
It is in the Pench-Kanha corridoor, not sure about the Pench zone, It is outside the core area, I think. Just Google for any Pench map, you should get the answer.

You can do impromptu safaris at Rukhad.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 17th October 2014 at 11:58.
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Old 17th October 2014, 13:55   #39
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Nilanjan - is there any restriction on driving at night? You reached Rukhad pretty late and also ducked in and out so am guessing not.

Also, is there an issue if some folks whose details were initially included while booking safari online later dont make the trip; I mean I understand that the person booking the ticket with his id details need to be there but what if some members of his entourage dont accompany eventually...their details will still be on the ticket, would that be an issue with the park authorities?
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Old 27th October 2014, 14:27   #40
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Wow Nilanjan!! That is an awesome travelogue. Your Photography skills seem to be getting just better and better!!

Glad to know the Pirellis did their job well. I really enjoyed the part about you driving cross country on the dirt road with a couple of river crossings. That is the reason we bought these beasts after all!!

Rated a well deserved 5 stars!
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Old 5th February 2015, 02:30   #41
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

A couple of images from Tadoba. Had shared them on the images thread.

Shot with the same lens

The Step
Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner-step.jpeg

Lady of the Lake
Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner-lake_colour.jpeg
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Old 5th February 2015, 15:04   #42
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Awesome moments in the woods captured behind the lens.This is indeed one of the finest wildlife shots I have seen. I do understand and can relate to you hunger for forests and I must say you have some magic to get the King and queen pose so gracefully in front of you... I recently visited Ranthambhore in December...Did not expect much sighting at this time but once again enjoyed the forest. Keep Driving and clicking such lovely pictures
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Old 5th February 2015, 15:37   #43
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Default Re: Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner

Quote:
Originally Posted by hothatchaway View Post
Nilanjan - is there any restriction on driving at night? You reached Rukhad pretty late and also ducked in and out so am guessing not.

Also, is there an issue if some folks whose details were initially included while booking safari online later dont make the trip; I mean I understand that the person booking the ticket with his id details need to be there but what if some members of his entourage dont accompany eventually...their details will still be on the ticket, would that be an issue with the park authorities?
No restriction on NH7. And no issues if folks don't turn up. Just inform the people who check the docs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
Wow Nilanjan!! That is an awesome travelogue. Your Photography skills seem to be getting just better and better!!

Glad to know the Pirellis did their job well. I really enjoyed the part about you driving cross country on the dirt road with a couple of river crossings. That is the reason we bought these beasts after all!!

Rated a well deserved 5 stars!
Thanks Manuuj!

Yes, that night drive was interesting, in more ways than one. Why buy the beast if we don't pull such stunts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anirbanz View Post
Awesome moments in the woods captured behind the lens.This is indeed one of the finest wildlife shots I have seen. I do understand and can relate to you hunger for forests and I must say you have some magic to get the King and queen pose so gracefully in front of you... I recently visited Ranthambhore in December...Did not expect much sighting at this time but once again enjoyed the forest. Keep Driving and clicking such lovely pictures
Thanks Anirban. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I don't. Hit and miss most of the time. Started another travelogue here, all my travelgues are WIP lol. By the time I feel like writing and photo processing, I feel the urge to take off on another trip. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-satpuras.html (Bison chronicles: A 3000 kms dash to the Satpuras)
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Old 5th February 2015, 15:46   #44
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Wow.. will surely read this one too.It would be great if you can check my first travelogue on the recent road trip and share your comments to improve as well..Thanks in advance

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...re-orchha.html (Epic Road-trip from Kolkata: Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore & Orchha)
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Old 4th April 2015, 00:36   #45
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Default Kanha...contd. And onward to Tadoba.

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I did 3 more safaris in Kanha. They were uneventful as far as tiger sightings were concerned. I did get a few nice shots of barasinghas, foxes, langurs, sambars and gaurs. I remember one shot of a flying peacock that had come out very well. Unfortunately, all the photos from these safaris got deleted when I was reviewing the photos and trying to delete a few with View NX2, a Nikon software. Couldn’t get them back though I tried everything.

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The last safari in Kanha ended on an interesting note. My co-passengers had been feeling disappointed, they hadn’t had any proper sightings in the last few safaris. Earlier in the afternoon, we had seen one tigress from far away, when she was walking on the side of the road. We were waiting for 5 minutes, praying that she would come close. But then an over-aggressive driver gunned the engine of his Gypsy, and she just melted into the undergrowth. After some more driving around, we turned back towards Kisli gate with a heavy heart. Some 10 minutes before the exit gate, we saw a couple of vehicles that were waiting. We stopped. Someone whispered ‘tiger’. And then I saw it between two trees. A handsome male tiger. The light was very bad, and we had run out of time, so I could only take a couple of high ISO shots, before we were forced to go back.

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Chatted till late night with the friends I had made in Kanha. We were sitting on the steps of Kisli Tourist Hostel. Stars above, deers roaming around, the ‘chuk chuk chukhaaar’ call of nightjars, occasional cheetal alarm calls. Unfortunately no carnivore paid us a visit.

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Next day morning I left for Tadoba. Kanha to Nagpur was a relaxing drive (Khatia – Seoni – Pench – Nagpur). Picked up my old school friend from Nagpur airport, and proceeded towards Kolara, a Northern gate in Tadoba. We were staying in Svasara, a luxury resort in Kolara. From a tourist hostel in Kanha to a luxury resort in Tadoba – one can’t be too choosy .
It was around 47 degrees C when we reached Tadoba. Got the camera ready, had quick lunch, and was ready for the first safari. We didn’t see any sign of a cat. It was too hot. Saw a hare, and a few birds near Tadoba lake. Before coming back, we encountered a pack of wild dogs near Panderpauni. They were far away, but they entertained us for a while with their antics.

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Going back to the chilled ac room was a pleasure. Rested for a while, had dinner, chatted with the other guests, and crashed.

The morning safari was uneventful, apart from a leopard encounter. We had roamed around without seeing any big cat or its fresh spoor. We were passing some abandoned cages near Tadoba Lake (once upon a time those cages were used to rear crocodiles), when we saw that a few vehicles had stopped. Apparently a leopard was closeby. A langur sentry was giving his alarm call. From his excitement, it was apparent that he could see the leopard, which seemed to be in the undergrowth behind the cages. After 5 minutes, there was a snarl, a movement in the bushes, and a glimpse of a tail as the leopard jumped the cage fence and fled. It had been inside one of the cages all this while (perhaps couldn’t figure out how to get out), without any of us seeing it.

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Went back disappointed. We were supposed to do 4 safaris, we had already done 2 without seeing stripes. The afternoon safari was in Kolsa zone, through Pangdi gate, about an hour’s drive from Kolara. On the way, one of the resort vehicles had a flat tyre. So all the guests had to stand in burning heat for 15 minutes while the tyre was fixed.

Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner-fawn.jpg

Very few vehicles entered the park through Pangdi gate, mainly due to its remoteness. After traveling for a few kms, we saw a couple of vehicles were waiting in front of large thicket, say around 50 feet x 40 feet. The guides said that a tigress and her cubs were inside the thicket.

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All fatigue vanished. I looked through the lens at full zoom, and could discern some movement. A twitch of an ear, a few stripes - it was the tigress. It was too hot for the cats to come out, so we waited for almost an hour. One of the cubs emerged for a few seconds, before going back inside. After it became a bit cooler, the tiger family decided to come out on the other side. We had anticipated this, and moved our vehicle there the moment the tigress had got up. We were patiently waiting for the cats to settle down outside, in the shade, when a Maruti 800 came roaring down the road. It went off the track to get a better position, and screeched to a halt. The tigers got scared and went back inside the thicket. Someone whistled from far away – the cats had decided to travel cross country, and gone away in a certain direction. Such a pity. If only that Maruti had formed one line like the rest of the vehicles! I would have captured the tigress and cubs playing together in the open!

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There were 2 vehicles from the resort. After some discussion between the guides, the drivers, and the manager of the resort (who had come with us after hearing that cubs had been sighted at Kolsa), we decided to take a chance and head towards another waterhole, a few kilometres away. We went on a broken track with jutting rocks, so the non-4WD vehicles couldn’t follow us. The plan was to wait quietly near the waterhole, hoping that the tiger family would eventually arrive for a later afternoon drink.

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It was 4 -5 km by road (the trail), but perhaps 2-2.5 kms cross country for the tigers. We positioned the two vehicles on two sides of the water body, so that we would have better chances of sightings. We waited for half an hour. Then our ears pricked up. We could hear the alarm call of the spotted deers. The peafowl started calling too. With mounting excitement, we waited. Unfortunately, the nearby gaurs decided to play spoilsport. They started snorting and giving their own alarm calls. Looking at them, we could make out that the tigers were within a few hundred metres. But then these stupid bovines decided to charge the tigers. Just when I could see the tigress through the trees – some 300m away – a few large gaurs charged towards her and her cubs. The tigers fled!

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We waited there for 10 more minutes, hoping that the tigers would come out again. But no such luck. We then decided to go down the trail for 500m and wait. The other vehicle decided to stay put.

We drove off. After a few hundred metres, there was a sharp turn. After we turned (and lost sight of the other Gypsy), our guide told the driver to stop. He had seen something. It was the tigress!

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We stopped the engine and waited silently. There was no way we could inform the other guests without spooking the cats. After a few minutes the mother came out. Then the cubs. They walked on the path for a while and then crossed some open ground. They were not close, but I could get a few tigerscape shots. The light was bad – evening was approaching – but you are grateful for what you get at such moments.

Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner-lake_tigress.jpg

The other guests were envious after we told them about what had happened. But that is how the cards are dealt in the forest.

It got dark when we left the gate. On the way back, the vehicle in front braked hard. A huge leopard had been standing beside the road – it jumped back into the forest when the vehicle stopped. We were passing through the buffer zone, a dangerous area. Google for tiger human conflict in Tadoba.

The return drive was tough. I must have swallowed an extra kilo of dust. Anyway, a hot shower (cold water became hot in that heat) and some time in the cool ac room helped in recovering. 8 hours of open top gypsy safari – in that kind of heat – can be taxing.

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The 4th and last safari in Tadoba. This time we decided to head straight towards Tadoba lake, without taking a longer route. We were shooting honey buzzards beside the lake, when someone gasped.
I turned and looked. There was the lady of the lake, walking towards us. This is the third time I encountered her on the last safari in Tadoba (2012 trip, 2013 trip, and this trip). Why she doesn’t give darshan during the earlier safaris, only she knows.

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For the next 20 minutes or so, she entertained all of us - me, my friend, the other vehicles that came by later. A couple of times she came within 5 feet of me - she was too close for my lens to focus. I just stood quietly, hoping she wouldn’t reach out with a paw or decide to climb up (open top gypsy, I was on the rear seat, and she was walking straight towards me before veering off at the last moment). And I happened to know that she had killed and eaten a human a few months back.

Btw, never ever use flash or make sudden movements with a dangerous animal such as a tiger or an elephant. And be absolutely still when they come close.

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The pulse increases when a tiger comes within a few feet. And you get that thrilling electric shock when you have that eye contact – from a distance of less than 10 feet.

After an extended catwalk session and a dip in the lake, P2 - the tigress - went off into the undergrowth below the Tadoba forest rest house. She was pregnant when I saw her. She would give birth to cubs 4 days later. Unfortunately none of the cubs survived beyond a few days.

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We then drove towards Telia lake in Moharli zone. People in the gypsys that were returning from there, gave us a thumbs up sign. Apparently Waghdoh – the famous large male of Tadoba – was taking a nap somewhere near Telia lake. When we reached the lake, we could see Waghdoh resting in a patch of water in the middle of the dried up lake bed. He was far away, and the light was too harsh, but I got a few shots of him as he got up and started walking. We couldn’t stay back because it was time to go.

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Kanha & Tadoba - A 3000 km roadtrip in the Fortuner-dsc_3982.jpeg

Went back to the resort feeling happy and content. Had a quick nap for an hour – I had a 1150 km drive ahead of me. Said goodbye to my friend, who was catching a flight from Nagpur. The vehicle had been parked out in the sun for more than 2 days. Had to roll down the windows and drive with the ac on for an hour or so. Crossed Chimur, Warora, Wani and Karanji. The return drive, after a week of safaris, is always tiring. I ended up taking an extended nap somewhere near Hyderabad. Kept the engine and ac on, rolled down the windows a little bit, and slept off. Woke up much refreshed, so the Hyd – Bangalore stretch was a breeze.

The Fortuner performed as expected. Tough and dependable as always.

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