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Old 7th December 2014, 20:36   #1
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Default Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc02866.jpg


You don't always need a reason to do something, especially when that something borders on insanity. Once the idea starts peeking out of the recesses of your mind however, it grows on you until it brooks no opposition and the only decision left for you to make is - is it going to be cream buns or boiled eggs for breakfast in the wee hours on NH7

My compact companion with a mighty heart has gone everywhere it was asked to go, be it traversing the length of God's own country, or skimming the breeze on the sun kissed beaches of Goa, not to mention the dime a dozen weekend sorties to the Coorgs and Chikmagalurs. As my appetite and confidence for munching miles in my pocket rocket grew, I was itching for something which pushed the envelop. Naturally, that mother of all destinations, the pilgrimage for souls thirsting for adventure - Ladakh, kept springing up in my mind like those annoying pop ups on one's laptop screen. The sheer distance from Bangalore (and the attendant cost) ensured it remained a daunting proposition

...and let there be light; trundling deep inside the Kanha zone

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Safaris in the famed reserves of MP had always beckoned me and half baked appetizers in the form of desultory trips into Muthanga and Madhumalai made me lust all the more for the real stuff. Earlier this year, I had all but hatched a plan with the wife to embark on an epic cross country roadtrip to MP, only to see, as it happens with well laid plans, it foiled by the harsh realities of typical, salary earning city dwellers. Undeterred, I was determined to seriously move the odo before the year was out and decided to go it alone in the last week of November. The destination would be Kanha and Tadoba on the way back (inspired and guided by fellow member Nilanjan Ray's TL) Bandhavgarh was picked out as a possible addition, to be played by the ear and if ambition soared, who knows, the delectable Khajuraho could also be considered as an interlude. I planned to start on Saturday, the 22nd of November, reach Nagpur at the end of Day 1 (and dreaming and daring to breach the borders of MP) spend the next 4 days at Kanha and the 5th at Tadoba, with the 6th day for beating a retreat to Bangalore.

I budgeted like a pauper, what with a married man on a solo trip already taxing the conscience. The cost of the safaris, as I realized while booking online, didn't help matters much either. For the uninitiated, Kanha national park has four zones, namely the eponymous Kanha zone, Kisli (closest to the main Khatia gate), Sarhi and Mukki (best accessed from the Mukki gate which is at the other end of the reserve, 55 kms from the Khatia gate and closer to Raipur) The price of a ticket for each of the zones is Rs 1200 (except for the Kanha zone which goes for Rs 2400, being a premium zone on account of the famed meadows, a museum and a canteen smack in the middle of the wilderness). Upto 6 tourists can travel on one ticket and you get no concessions for going solo. When you add that to the cost of hiring a gypsy (Rs 1800) and guide (Rs 300) you are looking at a cool Rs 3300 at a minimum for each safari. Boy, was I glad that the dormitory accommodation at the Kisli tourist hostel came with free (albeit vegetarian) meals. More on this spectacular MP tourism property later, located 3 kms inside the core area of Kanha past the Khatia gate and close to the Kisli gate.

The D day cometh and I make an early start at 3 in the morning to beat the truck traffic at the toll gates. I stocked the car with enough junk food to keep me stoked for what would be a marathon driving effort. Am no stranger to running marathons myself (the half kinds) and can clock hours behind the wheel like a metronome, so was looking forward to it. With my trusted and free Sygic app refusing to give any more 'free' advise, I had loaded my Nexus with Navimaps (better interface but a dowdier voice for the turn by turn instructions, and selected the following route from Bangalore via Hyderabad - Adilabad - Nagpur bypass - Seoni bypass - Kanha

The arrow straight and butter smooth NH7...pedal to the metal baby!

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The city of the Nizams came up at around 1030 AM

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Salute the regine which gave Hyderabadis the ORR, perhaps a political statement which comes straight from the heart. A stretch of almost 100 kms where your ride can blow her lungs out

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The K10 passed the 30k mark in the wee hours of the morning, as I commenced my trip. Its been a wonderful 2.5 years since I got to call her mine and her heart had opened up nicely on account of a paranoid mind getting the milestone services done well ahead of time and sticking to patronizing Shell products (both fuel and motor oil) Galloping on the open highway, the engine was buzzing like an angry bee and just begging, nay daring to be revved. It was as if my kind maker had blessed the NA engine with a turbo; an almost animal spirit was sucking the throttle down as she pulled like a locomotive. If god would grant me one abiding memory at my deathbed, it would be my burning up rubber on a stretch of unbroken tarmac on this maverick motor

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950 odd kms came and went, I was enjoying myself and finally realized what our illustrious batsmen feel while walloping hapless trundlers on our local featherbeds. There are enough BP COCO pumps until Adilabad (some accept cards) if one is paranoid about fuel quality. No sooner had one crossed into Maharashtra (or Vidarbha?) than one encounters roads which have seem to have been carpet bombed back to the stone ages. Its shock and awe all the way as the 'Hyderabad to Nagpur road conditions' thread on our very own TBHP is rendered alive in flesh and blood. The solitary image below of what can generously be described as a highway does disservice to the experience I had to undergo on this stretch; its horror of the Exorcist genre as I invoked gods of every faith, with the underbody of my car gently caressing or tantalizingly missing the lunar surface. Luckily for me, I had a short wheelbase and light cargo and came out with some light battle scars on the nub of my stabilizer bar to show for it. Its safe to say that one's sanity will be tested on this 60 odd km stretch (and they have the temerity to collect toll on stretches where some sort of unbroken but patchy tarmac emerge from the ruins). Its a mystery how a considerable stretch of what is an arterial highway has remained in this condition for years; but thats a political question and we are after all, devotees of much lesser pursuits!

P.S. - Do be very careful if you are tackling this stretch in a low slung sedan; there was a Rexton abreast of me and it seemed a tad adventurous on stretches where one had to pause and then determine which section to tread on to progress further, despite its 4WD credentials, it didn't seem to find the going easy

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By the time I reached the outskirts of Nagpur, I was mentally drained from the effort of nursing my little dynamo out of the pits. It had taken me 3 hours to cover 70 odd kms after having munched close to 1000 kms in a shade less than 12 hours. The temptation of calling it a day was strong, what was stronger was the urge to push on and reach the promised land. Polishing off the last of my garlic bread and potato crisps strengthened the heart and the intrepid soul was off again. Darkness had descended but my pace picked up as the concrete ruins gave way to smooth black tarmac once again. I was looking forward to camping at the Bison Reserve at Rukhad, along the Pench - Kanha corridor. To save time, requested the missus to make a few quick calls to check availability as I ploughed on. Was disappointed to learn that it was full for the night and thanks to the missus' resourcefulness, located a room at Hotel Anand at Seoni, a town one has to bypass on the way to Kanha. Drove into Seoni (a hick town really) as the clock was lazily striking 10. I must have presented an incongruous sight, if anyone had cared to notice. A Karnataka registered small car trawling the roads of Seoni well past bedtime, with a slightly loopy character in tees and shorts behind the wheel. I had done about 1250 kms for the day and would have given anything for some fresh chapatis and a warm bed!

Woke up the next morning full of beans, in anticipation thrill and adventure. I had somehow lost my bearings and mistakenly thought that I had to go back to Rukhad to pick up the trail to Kanha and hence decided to give Pench a quick looksie. I did precious little than strolling around aimlessly near the gate (the morning safari had begun sometime back with the afternoon one still sometime away) before threading my way back along the forest corridor towards Kanha

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My eager terrier of a K10!

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The characteristic tawny landscape of Kanha

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Apparently the king's favorite snack!


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Reached Kanha around 2 in the afternoon, made the necessary entries at the Khatia gate and ventured in. I could still sneak in an unplanned afternoon safari (there are a limited number of current booking tickets available, the scene could get quite chaotic and one is advised to book online in advance) and I attempted a ticket to Kisli as the missing zone in my repertoire, couldn't get one and settled for a MP tourism canter ride into the early section of mukki zone. The canters are loud, run on diesel and are more likely to scare animals away, nevertheless, a brief sample of the photos I managed to take that evening

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Day 3, the 24th of Nov and my planned safaris begin in right earnest. Even though I had booked tickets in advance online, I had to be there at the verification cum booking counter at the main Khatia gate before 6, barely the crack of dawn at this time of the year. It was absolutely freezing and I thanked my lucky stars for carrying some woolens and a jacket. Its essential that one carries the same ID card, the details of which is entered at the time of booking the safari online. The verification process is thorough and designed to keep touts and hoarders out.

The atmosphere has a buzz with minutes to go for the safari to start. Make no mistake, folks pay top dollar (or rupee) to glimpse the king of the forest and the barely concealed excitement is obvious. Steaming tea in styrofoam cups are passed around, fueling the nervous chatter among the occupants of the safari gypsies.

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A crocodile bark tree, 'saj' in local tribal parlance

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hello there!

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I had a humble point & shoot camera at my disposal and the thought of renting a DSLR camera crossed my mind but didnt come to pass, something which I would come to regret in less than an hour to follow from the time these snaps were taken. To compensate for the modest camera and my less than impressive photography skills, I tried what I thought were some 'avant garde' shots using the interplay of natural light and shadows. For your viewing pleasure!

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The Indian ghost tree, apparently best viewed on a moonlit night for a spectral effect

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Last edited by hothatchaway : 14th December 2014 at 18:22.
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Old 14th December 2014, 10:28   #2
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Default re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Sometimes the best moments in life come when you least expect them, cliched but how do you explain the sudden emergence of 'the' majestic beast without any alarm calls? Just when I had resigned myself to soaking up the balmy sun and burning up the duracells with yet more shots of the breathtaking flora of Kanha, I detect some silent but frenzied cocking of telephoto lenses in the gypsy ahead of me accompanied by breathless whispering. The guide taps my shoulder, the driver grips the steering wheel and out comes this male with a bloodied nose, courtesy a spat it had with another male a few days back. I had been telling myself how spotting a tiger in the wild is pure chance and should not detract one from the other treasures of the forest and all that hokum - believe you me, when you see a tiger in the wild, its a feeling which is to be experienced and not described in words...perhaps the snaps below will do a better job!

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Where is that DSLR when you need one??!!

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The tiger wasnt in the mood to hang around and chat, it was perhaps still smarting from the shellacking it had taken from its adversary and wanted to lick its wounds (literally!) in peace. I was fortunate enough to bag a headlong view of this majestic beast; the guide kept urging the driver to reverse and create more open space on the trail, in the hope that the beast will keep 'catwalking', as it happened, it decided to slink off. All the four gypsies at the sighting waited with their occupants craning their necks at the beast partially visible through the foliage. Minutes passed but no dice and the group gradually dispersed. Later I learnt that the forest authorities had been tracking the tiger actively to treat its wound and since I had a perfect opportunity at a clear shot of its face and nose, (I clearly should have done better with the photo!) they copied the photos from me at the Kanha rest and museum point. They had apparently tranquilized the tiger later in the day to administer antibiotics. So I had my moment of show and tell and also did my teeny weeny bit for big cat conservation!


Wily jackals

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the rendezvous point if you are doing the Kanha zone, offering a canteen, restrooms and a fine museum (part of the reason why you pay double at this zone)

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A bison in afterlife

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I retreated from my first proper safari (not counting the cantankerous canter the previous evening) with a sense of contentment. As an amateur, a tiger sighting is the piece de resistance and spotting them during winter is rare (its their mating season and understandably they want some privacy and rest) Mention must be made of the knowledgeable guides and the gypsy drivers. Even as a safari virgin, I realized that they are not the passive dilettantes you encounter at many tourist destinations in India, looking to make a quick buck. I actually felt involved as they tracked the elusive tiger down with their instinctive understanding of the sights and sounds of the jungle. Its thrilling to observe them at work as they pick out distant alarm calls, ferret out fresh pug marks on the dusty trails and swap notes with fellow guides in a collective effort. Its another lingo altogether, one that has been honed spending years in the forest. At times I would stand up in the stationery gypsy along with the guide, our auditory senses on overdrive, straining to hear a giveaway call or a suggestive rustle. One may have used the word 'deafening' in our concrete jungles, only to realize that it is the silence of the jungle that drives home the true meaning of it. Many of these guides and drivers lived in villages inside the core areas which have since been relocated outside and now make their livelihood from the forest. They know it like their own kith and kin and zealously guard its sanctity.

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Shot from the front porch of the canteen of the tourist hostel

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My afternoon safari was in the Sarhi zone. While boarding the gypsy, I had a number of drivers and guides asking me about my experience spotting the tiger in the morning. Sightings had seen slim pickings and there have been tourists who have had no luck despite umpteen forays. I had a faint feeling that luck was at a premium and perhaps I had played out my best cards in the opening moves!

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The Sarhi zone has a hilly terrain and I kinda liked the bumpy ride, even if animal sightings this time were few and far between

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Gateway to another dimension

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No further notable events as we retreated to Khatia with dusk descending. There isnt much activity after the safaris are over and the gypsies have dropped tourists off to the numerous resorts along the state highway leading up to Khatia. It helps if you have a vehicle at your disposal, even if to drive around aimlessly, soaking in the rustic sights and sounds and inhaling the fresh jungle air. The 940 sq kms that constitute the core area of Kanha is surrounded by a buffer zone of 1000+ kms. This is where most of the villages have been relocated from the core area and provide a measure of safety to animals which tend to stray outside the core, thus mitigating man animal conflict. It would become an evening routine for me to drive a few kms down from the Khatia gate to Mocha village and purchase some malted barley beverages, to be savored in the balcony of the tourist hostel after darkness descended, complete solitude and the myriad sounds of the jungle for company!

Apart from the big cats, another big draw were the accommodation options inside the park - The Bagheera log huts and the Kisli Tourist Hostel. The former is a cluster of luxury cottages with a restaurant and bar attached. Adjacent to it is the Kisli tourist hostel where I stayed, in one of the three dormitory rooms. Meals for dormitory guests had to be taken at the tourist canteen which was about 200 metres away. Guests are escorted by the staff to and from the canteen during dinner time. Walking with a flashlight and nerves for company, I would often see things and hear sounds, whether or not they existed. I realized that living in the concrete jungle with its blinding lights, our senses are poor aids in primal surroundings.

Driving down the 3kms from Khatia gate to the log huts/tourist hostel was in itself an evening treat and my favored activity pre dinner. Pottering down at 30 kms/ hour with just the car headlamps illuminating the surroundings, I often encountered the odd Bison, Sambar, Cheetals and Jackals. At a lake near the tourist canteen, favored by a herd of deer for a quick drink, the headlamp would light up numerous pairs of eyes, smoldering in the darkness. I was fortunate to have the tourist hostel all to myself two out of the four nights I stayed (sounds crazy?!) and I would cherish forever those interminable moments spent lounging in the balcony, with only a low powered bulb standing between the hostel and the all consuming darkness of the jungle. A rustling of the bushes here, a slither there would make me jump out of my skin, scrambling for my flashlight. Soon I learnt to relax and soak in the unique surroundings. I consoled myself - after all, being mauled to death by a tiger would infinitely be more exotic than perishing from disease or traffic!

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shot from the tourist canteen, the pump if for exclusive use by the forest staff, the dormitories are beyond the trees

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A shot of the other side, you may pick up the yellow gates of Kisli, beyond which only safari gypsies are allowed

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This fellow would often pay a visit, looking for a snack or two

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The dormitories

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too close for comfort

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the waterbody next to the canteen, a fave haunt of the spotted deer

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The enchanting mornings of Kanha

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Last edited by hothatchaway : 14th December 2014 at 18:46.
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Old 14th December 2014, 10:35   #3
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And so the stage was set for my third and final scheduled safari at Kanha, at the Mukki zone. This zone can be done only in the morning if attempted from the Khatia gate. One can also choose to stay in resorts near the Mukki gate on the other side of the reserve. It takes some time to drive to this zone in the gypsy and somehow, I hoped that I would have one final encounter with the big cat and end the trip on a high note

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River bed crossings, the 4x4 gypsies made short work of these. This trip was an opportunity for a re acquaintance with the gypsy and it was good to see these petrol vehicles doing duty inside the park instead of diesel jeeps/SUVs

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As it happened, it was largely wild boars and some Sambar; lady luck was not going to make any more concessions. With that, proceedings came to an end to the MP leg of my safari. I had kept the 4th day (a Wednesday) as a reserve should I want to make any inclusions to my itinerary. In the event, Bandhavgarh was ruled out as there are no safaris on Wednesday afternoons at all the game reserves in MP. Khajuraho was too far and Jabalpur didnt appear appealing. So I drove down to the Mukki gate near Baihar to pass the time and had a lip smacking lunch of chapatis and chicken curry at the Kanha Safari lodge at Mukki.

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The Baghira log huts. Both these and the Kisli tourist hostel where I stayed are set to be relocated out of the core area sometime next year. While there is merit in not operating resorts inside a protected reserve, I must say that these places are exceptionally run and ensure that there is minimal impact to wildlife with limited lighting and efficient trash disposal. Indians still being Indians though will leave their mark and I saw empty bottles and plastic packets carelessly discarded, perhaps we deserve this property to be moved to a location where such callousness can do no harm to animals

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A couple of shots taken at dusk...

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Some tips for safari seekers at Kanha
  • The evening safari is for a little over 2 hours while the morning safari is for 4.5 hours, so plan accordingly!
  • For professional photographers, a whole day excursion is available for a princely sum of 25k INR, you can stomp around the length of Kanha without the zone restrictions, special permission needed from the forest dept for this
  • For current booking, ensure you reach early to collect the form for the serial number on the form will determine your place in the queue. Try and book in advance however to avoid the vagaries of availability
  • If you have an online booking, first pay for the gypsy (1800 INR) at the makeshift table next to the safari booking counter, collect the gypsy serial number and then proceed to the safari booking counter for id verification and payment of guide fees (300 INR)
  • A safari ticket will accommodate upto 6 tourists and it costs the same even if you are the only traveller (as I discovered to my dismay!) you cant put fictitious names while booking online in the hope of getting stragglers later to share costs, as all ids are usually verified. Any add on member secured at the time of safari will have to pay the same amount over and above what has already been paid, so no beating the system here
  • Even if you are travelling alone and are the sole person on the safari ticket, you cannot share a gypsy with lets say another solitary traveler holding a valid safari ticket, in other words each ticket is assigned a gypsy and cannot be pooled
  • Mukki side of the reserve seems to have more premium lodges, including a Taj property, at least thats what seemed to me at a glance
  • If you believe you will be heartbroken if you dont spot a tiger, plan to go between mid Apr - mid May, the drying water holes in the summer heat drives the animals out into the open in search of water

With some abiding memories safely tucked away, I now prepared for the return leg of the trip which would include a quick detour to Tadoba in Maharashtra. As I trundled out early Thursday morning, it was still pitch dark and I spotted some thrill seekers camping outside the safari booking counter in the hope of a last moment ticket. Now having graduated to rookie from novice status in the safari pecking order, I looked forward to Tadoba and its promise of tiger sightings by the dozen! Stay tuned for more!

Last edited by hothatchaway : 14th December 2014 at 19:01.
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Old 16th December 2014, 09:43   #4
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Old 16th December 2014, 09:55   #5
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Default re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

You pocket rocket rocks. Nice one there.
This destination pops up in my hit list more often nowadays.
Will be of some help when we plan our trip.. Nice pics too.
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Old 17th December 2014, 21:21   #6
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Having left Kanha early, managed to cover good ground as my dynamo thundered towards Tadoba. Soon I crossed the Nagpur bypass and a smooth tarmac of tolled roads welcomed me towards Wani/Warora. I had an untested navigator app in the way of Navimaps as my free Sygic had run its course. It soon yanked me off the smooth highway and led me through roads which got progressively patchy as they got narrow. Soon I was making my way through what was clearly the buffer zone of Tadoba with its straw colored long grass flanking what can only be charitably called roads. As the road got worse I became less confident of the new app and soon bad roads gave way to no roads. I was weary and hungry; I had started at 5AM and it was close to noon. Soon, to my dismay, I saw the dirt trail in a dug up state as I was passing a sleepy hamlet. In my run down state, I almost believed (in the stupid app's infallibility in determining the right course) that I could make it through the pile of loose earth...better sense prevailed as I backtracked and asked for directions. On my last legs of endurance and amid thoughts of giving up and following on to Bangalore, I picked up the trail to Mohurli.

I was staying at the Mohurli MTDC, an overpriced state tourism owned place which immediately got me depressed after the memorable stint at Kanha. I was to do only one safari (that afternoon) and stay the one night, so took it in my stride, and took a shower and prepared for my last tryst with the wilderness of the trip

The lake inside the Tadoba Andhari reserve

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03083.jpg

They allow personal vehicles inside, the pointlessness of doing a safari in a closed vehicle and the monstrosity of a diesel engine inside the pristine wilderness is evident

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03084.jpg

Hidden delight

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03086.jpg


Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03088.jpg

A brave ungulate

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03089.jpg

...with a young in tow

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03093.jpg


Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03096.jpg


Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03103.jpg

langurs in the dusk

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03105.jpg


Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03112.jpg

lovely coat, looks much better on the wearer than off it

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03119.jpg

dusk settles

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03120.jpg

That was the end of my great indian roadtrip. The brief interlude at Tadoba was uneventful and I was also getting homesick. I left Mohurli in the wee hours of Friday, the 28th of November. I was then greeted with some of the worst roads one can encounter in India and brought back memories from less than a week before, of what I had seen near Nagpur. Vidarbha seems to have built these natural defenses for fear of a foreign invasion. The pitures below hardly do justice to a driver's agony...enjoy!

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03122.jpg

I wished my already narrow car could go on an impromptu diet

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03123.jpg

nearly checkmated

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03124.jpg

...and the bliss, the simple joys of life, served daily on NH7

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03125.jpg

Autobahn anyone?

Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)-dsc03129.jpg

Having been and out of hell twice in less than a week, the pocket rocket seemed to gorge on the delicacy on offer on this magnificent stretch. After joining NH7 sometime around 930 am, we motored past Hyderabad around noon and stopped at Paradise (a decoy along the highway which didnt disappoint with the biriyani; humongous portion with the unmistakable Hyderabadi flavor)

Shortly after my lunch when I about to put my steed through her paces, my heart and the biriyani both had an occasion to almost jump out of my mouth - one of the numerous morons on mirrirless bikes dotting our new fangled motorways decided to swerve right on my path, aiming for a cut in the median ahead. Braked pedal choked, rubber screamed on tarmac but the ABSless wonder managed to stop in a straight line before Mr moron could have a tryst with martyrdom on NH7. Windows rolled, expletives thrown, a cud chewing with a nonplussed expression as the sole witness...such is life on our highways (sigh)

As dusk settled I located a Black Accord with moves on it and clung to its tail as a 'sweeper car' my favorite manoeuvre pre dawn and post dusk on highways. Was aiming to reach home by 10 but pleasantly surprised all by shaving a full hour off. My dust caked beauty panted in the driveway after the breathless run, I dragged a finger along her dusty body, no words were exchanged, none were needed, true love you see!

Some meaningless facts

Kms driven - 3252
Fuel sipped - 181 litres
Toll paid - INR 2800
Days gorunded by her majesty for the solo dare - a week

...until next time
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Old 18th December 2014, 11:27   #7
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Great travelogue Hothatchaway.

I been having a plan of driving down to Taboda after reading travelogues on TBHP, however the distance and the bad road conditions in MH was the concern.

Could you please post pics of rooms too, that would help future travelers.
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Old 18th December 2014, 15:38   #8
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Awesome! Driving such distances alone is not easy, hats off. Taboda has been in the to do list for some time now, should do it!
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Old 18th December 2014, 18:29   #9
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Cool breeze in the winter, a hot cup of chai and this read. Thanks a lot for sharing the experience hothatchaway. The read was quite a visual experience (and I'm not even talking about the images) No better way to bring in a landmark odo reading than a road trip.

Quote:
"No sooner had one crossed into Maharashtra (or Vidarbha?) than one encounters roads which have seem to have been carpet bombed back to the stone ages."
I feel your grief. When I crossed the Maharashtra border heading towards Belgaun, the roads transformed for the better.

Quote:
when you see a tiger in the wild, its a feeling which is to be experienced and not described in words
Indeed. Beasts like the tiger need to be seen in the wild to understand why they are assigned the role of "national animal"

Thanks again for the great write up!
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Old 19th December 2014, 15:34   #10
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Great travelogue Hothatchaway.

I been having a plan of driving down to Taboda after reading travelogues on TBHP, however the distance and the bad road conditions in MH was the concern.
Suhas - you have an XUV now, you will chew those roads up and spit them out!

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Could you please post pics of rooms too, that would help future travelers.
The dormitory rooms are basic with eight beds each and a common bathroom. The rooms themselves are spacious and clean without being luxurious. If you are travelling in a big group you may try it out. Else the Bagheera log huts will enable you to enjoy the jungle in style

Didnt take pictures of MTDC as I found the environs depressing after my fab stay at Kanha, you will find some info here - http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Revi...harashtra.html

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Originally Posted by unni.ak View Post
Awesome! Driving such distances alone is not easy, hats off. Taboda has been in the to do list for some time now, should do it!
Thanks Unni, hope you are luckier at Tadoba than I was in spotting the big cat! If you havent done Kanha yet I suggest you start there

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Cool breeze in the winter, a hot cup of chai and this read. Thanks a lot for sharing the experience hothatchaway. The read was quite a visual experience (and I'm not even talking about the images)
Tushar - you made my day dude, it was totally worth penning down my experiences if only for this compliment alone!
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Old 19th December 2014, 16:00   #11
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Travelogues like these always bring a smile on my face.

It is like standing against odds - Small Car? Bad roads? Fatique? Stress? Power? Aerodynamics & Handling?

Tadoba is in my to do list since long and I hope to club that with a visit to Hyderabad next year.

Lovely write up and good wild spotting I must say.
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Old 20th December 2014, 03:01   #12
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Having visited Tadoba in Nov 2014, we took the Nagpur highway route while going and took the Karimnagar route on the way back.

Anyone visiting from Hyderabad are advised to take the Karimnagar route as the road is a hundred times better than the Nagpur Highway route.
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Old 20th December 2014, 20:55   #13
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Travelogues like these always bring a smile on my face.

It is like standing against odds - Small Car? Bad roads? Fatique? Stress? Power? Aerodynamics & Handling?

Lovely write up and good wild spotting I must say.
Thanks Parag, perhaps the thrill and the fear of the unknown in driving 3k+ kms in a small car is what motivated me to undertake this trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1dotcom View Post
Having visited Tadoba in Nov 2014, we took the Nagpur highway route while going and took the Karimnagar route on the way back.

Anyone visiting from Hyderabad are advised to take the Karimnagar route as the road is a hundred times better than the Nagpur Highway route.
Does this bypass Chandrapur while coming from Hyderabad? Because the stretch from Chandrapur upto the Telengana border and then the stretch beyond that was pure nightmare
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Old 23rd December 2014, 17:03   #14
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

is there any bus service from bangalore to Kanha? I could not find any.
Train takes 32+ hrs
flight to jabalpur takes lot of time
flight to nagpur is ok but again one has to travel about 5 hrs by taxi/bus from nagpur to Kanha.

Bangalore to Kanha does not seem to have good public transport options.
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Old 24th December 2014, 00:23   #15
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Default Re: Taming the wild in my plucky Alto K10 - Roadtrip to Kanha & Tadoba (from Bangalore)

Wonderful write-up hothatchaway.

You have a great writing style and a complementing sense of humour.

Coming to your decision of doing it solo. Hat's off.

Myself being from Hyderabad agree a 100% about our ORR. It's an amazing stretch of tarmac. Wonder when governments realise that improving roads and infrastructure increases tourism and business.
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