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Old 24th December 2014, 08:20   #1
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Default Waghoba at Tadoba

“Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height!”

The majestic Wagdoh male…..India’s largest tiger at 350kgs of pure muscle.
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Tadoba was always on my radar for the past few years but disappointing outings at sanctuaries like Periyar, Bandipur, Dandeli, Muthanga to name a few always put a freeze on a full fledged safari drive. This time too I was dissuaded by seasoned naturalists that it’s not the right season for tiger sighting and I should plan something for May-June. Just thinking of the heat up in central India during the summers made me sweat and I decided to take the plunge right away. Like they say, sighting a tiger is pure luck…so I hoped and prayed that lady luck smiled on us this time!

We decided to catch up on a few relatives in Nagpur and planned a round trip back to Mumbai through Hyderabad. The route finalized was Mumbai- Nagpur – Chandrapur (Tadoba) – Hyderabad- Solapur – Pune (brief stop) – Mumbai. Armed with detailed road routes and hotel bookings from HVK, we started the drive hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive tiger!

Day 1 : Mumbai - Nagpur
The route planned was Mumbai- Talegaon- Chakan- Shikrapur- Ahmednagar- Aurangabad- Mehkar – Karanja – Amravati- Nagpur. Started out at the stroke of the midnight hour on the 13th of Dec ’14 and the Rain Gods started smiling on my plans. As soon as I touched the Mumbai-Pune expressway, the rains started pouring down and slowed me down further when I branched off the expressway to take the Chakan –Shikrapur road. The constant rain and the spray from the trucks made the going tough till almost dawn. By the time the rain abated, we had made it to Aurangabad and stopped for a quick bite and a hot cuppa. The Aurangabad bypass is a nightmare and rest of the road till Karanja is a 2 lane route. We stopped for a late lunch just before Karanja and were advised (ill-advised but then hindsight is a wonderful thing) by a couple of local taxi drivers that the route via Amravati is a longer route to Nagpur than the route through Wardha. So going against expert (read HVK) advise I took the Wardha route and reached the other end of Nagpur than where I was supposed to be…took me almost an hour in peak 6pm traffic to make my way through a sea of bikers to my destination. Meeting my kin after years took away all the fatigue of the ardous drive and the sumptuous dinner that followed left me wishing that I had planned for more time here.

Start of a wild vacation...
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Authentic Savji mutton at Nagpur...
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Sun....are the black dots sun spots??
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A wild rose...
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Despite the rain and my mis-adventure I made it to my destination with 926kms for the day on the ODO.
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Last edited by nix1976in : 24th December 2014 at 09:30.
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Old 24th December 2014, 08:40   #2
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Day 2 : Tadoba…Tiger Ahoy!

Had planned for an early start but all the chit chat, food, banter and then some more food meant that that we could only start out by around 11pm. We had to hurry since we had booked an evening safari at the Tadoba buffer zone starting at 3pm. The route to be taken was Nagpur – ButiBori – Jam- Warora – Chandrapur – Moharli (MTDC Tadoba).

The highway after Buti Bori was awesome to say the least and the Xylo made light work of the miles to Warora in double quick time where at an intersection I asked a traffic constable the way to Moharli. Now again against expert opinion, I decided to follow the cop who sounded very convincing in directing me to a “shortcut” through Chimur which he said was a much better bet than negotiating the Chandrapur traffic. So off I went, the roads snaked through verdant countryside interspersed with tiny hamlets and ‘tiger-crossing’ signs increasing our anticipation but the road went on and on before Chimur came in at 55kms after the turn-off with Moharli still 30kms away.

Roads after the turn off at Warora towards Chimur
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The diversion may have taken a bit more time but the drive through the countryside was lovely and worth the detour. We finally made it to MTDC Tadoba by around 2pm and had a quick lunch before settling into the open gypsy to start our first safari.

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The safari was planned for the buffer zone and we entered the dense forest with a prayer on our lips for a glimpse. We entered the forest and took leafy bylane towards our first waterhole and lo and behold….a huge striped mass lay right next to the water around 35feet away from us…a tiger in the first 5 minutes…the animal-Gods smiled on us…finally!

Entrance to the buffer zone
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Just before the turn to the waterhole
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Noted naturalist Atul Dhamankar who accompanied us on the safari informed us that this was the Waghdoh Male, the largest tiger in India by a fair margin weighing in at a formidable 350kgs. Wagdoh seemed to have had his fill and was lazing around in the water swatting away flies with his huge paws and splashing water around with his long furry tail. Wagdoh is around 9yrs old and has many battle scars to show for his struggles through his age…so much so that his nick is ‘scarface’….

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This kingfisher gave us a demo of his fishing prowess by scooping out a fish from the shallow waters at full tilt (sorry for the grainy image as it settled down a bit too far away.
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We were mesmerized by Wagdoh for over 2 hrs during which time he posed for us in every profile. The putrid smell of his rotting kill wafted through the air whenever the wind changed direction. Finally after over 2 hours, he moved and walked off into the thickets leaving us satisfied and overjoyed at the lovely sighting.

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Moving on, we roamed around the narrow jeep tracks and before we knew it the time was up and we returned back to the resort where we were informed that a tigress had crossed over the lane near the resort 15 minutes prior to our reaching there but we were too jubilant at the long sighting to mull over this lost opportunity.

The night was cold but the resort served up some awesome chicken and bhakris after which we crashed for the night dreaming about ‘Wagdoh’ …

Last edited by nix1976in : 24th December 2014 at 08:46.
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Old 24th December 2014, 09:06   #3
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Day 3 : Safari and some more..

Day 3 dawned early and saw us cruising towards the Tadoba core zone at 6am in the chilly morning. The drive through the dense forest is worthwhile by itself and was interspersed by sightings of monkeys, huge crocodiles, tons of deer, sambar and huge Indian gaurs.

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We followed a group of forest rangers who were tracking a female tiger and stopped at a point where there was heavy stench of a kill with another dead gaur lying by the road side. The rangers informed us that the tiger was within 50 feet but was hidden inside the thickets. We waited there for over 15 mins but to no avail and moved on. We roamed the forests, lakes and water holes for the whole day over 2 safaris and sighted a lot of animal and bird species. We did not feel the lack of a tiger sighting on this day due to earlier long sighting and were content with the other sightings.

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Carcass of a hunted Indian Gaur. We were told by the forest rangers that a tigress and her cubs were within 50 feet devouring another kill.
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First sighting of a crocodile
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Pics continued in next post...
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Old 24th December 2014, 09:18   #4
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This Sambar waded into crocodile infested waters for a treat of lotus stems...so much risk for a feast!
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We returned just after sunset to the resort for another round of sumptuous chicken meal and crashed for the night satisfied with a successful forest jaunt.

The ODO stands at 1102 kms for the trip thus far.
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Last edited by nix1976in : 24th December 2014 at 09:24.
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Old 24th December 2014, 09:33   #5
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Mod note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 24th December 2014, 10:21   #6
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Superb pic and superb travelogue. Some of the pics are wall paper worthy. Good to know that you could capture the Tiger in the lens and in a fantastic way.

How was the road condition till Nagpur? Suggest you to update the same here and the Mega Road updates thread, will be useful for fellow BHPians planning to use the route. Details of your stay at Tadoba would also help.
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Old 24th December 2014, 16:08   #7
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Fantastic travelogue nix1976in! I spent a good 10 minutes just staring at the first image. Cant imagine what it feels like to look at one in the muscle. I saw a lion up close, but the poor thing at SGNP looked malnourished. Even the image of the sun had me cleaning my screen before i read the caption.

Amazing images that genuinely brought a smile to my face. After reading your post all I can say is "I have to go to Tadoba NOW!". Tadoba's website should have a "visitors speak" section because this will definitely tempt many others like me to take the trip. Also, is there any chance you mapped your trip?

Last edited by Tushar : 24th December 2014 at 16:11.
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Old 24th December 2014, 17:28   #8
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Day 4 : Hyderabad calling…

Woke up nice and early and roamed around the MTDC resort which is at the edge of a huge lake. Had a heavy breakfast before making our way out to our next destination for the day, the land of the Nizams ..Hyderabad.
As soon as we were moving out of the MTDC Tadoba resort, the staff told us that 4 leopards were being kept in cages at the forest range office.just outside the resort gates. We saw the cages but they were covered with cloth, still we could make out the leopards silhouette against the morning sun as it paced around furiously in the small cage. We could barely get a glimpse from a tear in the cover but ticked off another big cat off our list nonetheless.

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The roads on the outskirts of Tadoba are lovely but once we made it to Chandrapur town we were bogged down a bit by rampant road construction and traffic. As usual on this trip, again contrary to expert opinion, I took the local advice and moved on towards Rajura instead of back towards Warora as advised. The 2 lane road was not bad and I made quick time towards Rajura- Asifabad –Mancherial – Godavarikhani – Pedapalli where I joined the Rajeev Rahadari to Hyderabad. The Rajeev Rahadari is a 4 lane super highway and threw us out at the other end of Hyderabad from where we were supposed to be…so again we trundled through the Hyderabad traffic from Secundarabad to Hitech city for over an hour before making it to our destination for the day by 5pm.

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This was a small dhabha on Rajeev Rahadari somewhere near Karimnagar...Can anyone help with the Telegu text?
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In the evening we decided to visit Shilparamam which is very much on the lines of Delhi Haat.

Shilparamam performance
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Paradise on earth...
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The dinner was at Paradise and it didn’t disappoint…lovely chicken biryani, awesome kababs and delicious Double ka meetha. We crashed for the night with a real heavy stomach.

Day 4 done after adding 455kms on the ODO
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Last edited by nix1976in : 24th December 2014 at 17:32.
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Old 24th December 2014, 17:57   #9
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Awesome pictures! Keep them coming...

Originally Posted by nix1976in View Post
This was a small dhabha on Rajeev Rahadari somewhere near Karimnagar...Can anyone help with the Telegu text?
It says "Kalpana Family Hotel".
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Old 24th December 2014, 22:36   #10
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Day 5: In and around Hyderabad.

I generally avoid city driving when on vacation so we called for a taxi to take us around the city. We covered Golkonda fort, Salarjung museum, Nizam’s museum, Charminar, Chowmallha Palace and the Hussian Sagar Lake.

Let the pictures do the talking…

Swan suites...A very good and economical apartment hotel in the Hitech city area.
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Golkonda Fort.
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Salarjung Musuem
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Raja Ravi Varma originals
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Full Body armour...how did they ever walk leave alone fight in this atrocity.
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Veiled Rebecca
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Musical Clock
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Ivory chairs and buggies...wonder how many elephants were massacred for this eccentricity
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This was my favorite piece at Salarjung. A dual faced statue crafted to perfection.
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Nizam's museum. This is tucked away in a leafy bylane behind Salarjung museum but in my opinion has a more interesting and eclectic collection of gifts presented to the last Nizam on his 25th coronation anniversary.

There are 8-10 such huge models of buildings spread throughout Hyderabad which were either commissioned or inaugurated by the Nizam.
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Huge pure gold vase presented by the Maharajah of Kapurthala
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Biggest yellow sapphire in the world (as per the guide). In another private section there are 2 walking sticks with the largest basra pearls in the world collectively worth 1500 crores as per the guide. He mentioned that there is 200kgs of gold and much more silver in the museum. Don't know how far that is true...
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Gold and Silver throne ...used only once by the Nizam
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Manual lift with pulley's circa 1900.
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This is the longest wardrobe in the world all of 175ft long fully built of burma teak wood. Truly the lifestyles of the rich and the famous.
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Nizam's palace exterior.
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Pista House. Amazing rolls, pastries, nankhatai and biscuits.
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Chowmallah Palace
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Nizam's Car collection
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Continued in the next post.

Last edited by nix1976in : 24th December 2014 at 22:45.
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Old 24th December 2014, 22:59   #11
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Nizam's Car Collection
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The coronation Rolls Royce.
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Chowmahalla palace
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Hussain Sagar lake
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While on the way back from Hussain Sagar, we stopped at a Paradise takeaway and picked up a few biryani’s to last us for rest of the journey.

Day 6 : Solapur.

Swan Suites Hyderabad
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The Nehru ORR is minutes away from Swan suites and is a dream to drive on. The highway to Solapur too is good and we made it to our destination by 3pm.

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Solapur came by at 311kms on the ODO.
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After checking in we called a taxi and went to Akkalkot for a quick darshan.
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Satisfied after a veg meal after many days, we crashed for the night. Homeward bound tomorrow

Day 7 : Mumbai..

The hotel at Solapur
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An early start saw us making our way on the trusted NH9 towards Pune

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After a quick lunch stop at Pune, we made quick work of the miles to Mumbai marking the end of a great vacation.

Somewhere on the mumbai-pune expressway
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Trip done with 2350 odd kms on the ODO
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Last edited by nix1976in : 24th December 2014 at 23:12.
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Old 26th December 2014, 10:16   #12
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Originally Posted by nix1976in View Post

This was my favorite piece at Salarjung. A dual faced statue crafted to perfection.
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This shot was really clever taken! i thought that the male statue was holding her hand or she was following him. When i saw the next photo! it blew my mind. it was actually mirror which has reflected her statue!

Nice Travelogue!
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Old 26th December 2014, 13:50   #13
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What a treasure trove you have hit upon. Beautiful sightings: birds, reptiles, mammals, and the Tiger himself.

At Salarjung, did you manage to see Rebecca. For me she has always been its biggest highlight. I could not believe she was not alive!
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Old 26th December 2014, 16:24   #14
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Awesome pictures, can you please share the cost of the Safari and the MTDC resort and how did you manage a booking?
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Old 27th December 2014, 20:27   #15
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Amazing pics and very well written. Maharashtra and AP/Telangana tourism should have a link to this thread on their websites.
Please do post some more details about the route taken so that we can also follow in your tyreprints
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