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Old 7th January 2015, 17:31   #1
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Default Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip

Tadoba- Andhari is the name of a bug that has been biting many wildlife enthusiasts and I got added to that bug's victim list as well. After no luck at Corbett in March last year, we decided to try our luck at sighting cats at TATR during my kid's Christmas vacation.

I had been trying to see if I could drive up all the way from Bangalore to TATR, but TBHPians who had done so had mentioned that driving in the Maharastra stretch was a nightmare, so finally it settled to booking 2- tier A/C tickets for ourselves to Chandrapur station, some 45 min from Tadoba's Moharli gate. I next started to do bookings of safaris over the MTDC online site, but that was one big flop. Of the 6 safaris I wanted to do, booking could go thru only in one, for 25th Dec 2014 afternoon, from Moharli. All other attempts failed, likely due to an awfully poor web- server that the MTDC's service provider uses. Anyway, I decided to get to identifying accommodation next and after nearly finding none anywhere to suit our needs, stumbled upon Tigers Heaven Resort near Navegaon gate. I booked with them for 3 nights and found we just loved every moment of it.

I informed the manager (Mr. Asif) at Tigers Heaven resort about our safari booking problem. He was extremely helpful and himself took over all our safari booking needs for the remaining 5 safaris, including 4 from Navegaon gate and 1 from Moharli on the afternoon of 28th Dec 2014 when we were to leave Chandrapur for Vijaywada by a night- train.

The 3 of us (I, my wife and kid) left home on 24th morning by the Sangamitra 'Super- Fast' express as it is called (believe it should be called 'Super- Last' express in reality- it brought us 6 hrs late on the return journey!). I always dread a night- train journey for the poor sleep I end up having (thanks to that criminal 100+ dB level(s) of NVH the train supplies you with all day and night) and this journey was no exception. The sleep tracker I wear showed I had had just some 3 hrs deep sleep overnight and in fact left me with a bad throat as well. Fortunately I had anticipated even this and immediately put to use my proven antibiotics and recovered over the next 2 days, phew!

The Sangamitra reached Chandrapur, fortunately just some 15 min behind schedule. After spending the next 6 hours at one really simple hotel in Chandrapur (was okay for a wash and some much needed sleep), our cab arrived and we were off to Moharli gate for the 1st safari. We stopped for lunch at Swad pure- veg restaurant, where the dosas seemed good, but their mini- Thali drove me crazy with oily Puris and one ghee- filled sweet. We were at Moharli gate in an hour.

The Moharli safari was exciting for a while when we heard many alarm calls around Telia lake, but we couldn't get to see the predator as light was poor and the dense grassland made sighting nearly impossible.
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-ibisstorks.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-ghosttree.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-bullgaur.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-sunset.png
We got back by 1830 hrs. The forest gates were closed for private cars by then and we had to take the village route that borders the forest to get to Tiger Heaven resort.

My Nokia offline maps (all India) proved helpful to get to Shiggaon (from where one can catch the excellent state highway to Chimur. Actually I discovered our driver did not know where the resort was and went all the way to Chimur, some 4 km beyond a place called Khadsangi where he should have deviated off the highway to get to the resort. A few phone calls and guidance from the resort manager helped and we touched the resort by around 2045 hrs.

The next 4 safaris were from Navegaon gate, some 2 km from the resort. The resort provided us the Gypsy. It had not occurred to me to carry along warm headgear, although I had good woollens to beat the 4 deg chill around 0530 hrs. Somehow managed to make up for it with a few handkerchiefs that in fact also helped reduce taking in the dust raised by other Gypsies.
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-beecatcher.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-sambarfemalenervous.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-boarwatching.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-closeupsambarfemale.png
Now for the real sightings. We spotted a leopard hiding well behind tree leaves on this morning safari, apart from the usual Sambhar deer giving nervous looks at us, ready to shoot off on the slightest move. Notice its face partly seen in the rotated pic here.
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-faceleopard.png
That day's afternoon safari started by around 1430 hrs and we did a really long drive of nearly 30 km, I guess, but no luck. The resort manager however assured us that we had 3 more safaris to go and were going to surely spot the big one.
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-chitalstags.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-nilgai.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-sambarstagwhatdouwant.png
Next day was luckier for us. The morning safari started as usual. There is a place called Jamungudi in the forest where we had spotted the leopard the previous morning. This morning when we reached there we found Gypsies collected around the same place and in moments, the king checked in. After some surveillance of the Gypsies around, he decided to move down and make his way between the countless photo- hungry and excited lot of people. He seems to be around 6 to 7 years as my guide told me.
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-tigercheckingin.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-tigerwaitandwatch.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-tigermoving.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-sideviewtiger.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-eyesbright.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-egretsunbathing.png
After that satisfying sighting, the Gypsies headed towards Tadoba lake where they assumed the tiger would cross again, but he didn't. And now, our Gypsy had a sort of encounter with a wild boar. From somewhere on the lake bank, this fellow rushed towards our Gypsy, barking angrily and rammed our Gypsy on its side, only to realise he had got wedged below the vehicle, unable to come out. Our driver fortunately put the Gypsy immediately into 4WD and the fellow rushed out, of course in a quite different state of mind, changed from fire to fear. The whole thing happened out of nowhere and so fast, I couldn't even get to frame it!

We got back to the resort with something at last to remember. Somehow after you have had one good sighting, you tend to be less interested in another. The afternoon safari anyway had been booked earlier by the manager, so we were off as usual. After the usual following of pug marks here and there that lead you to nowhere, we were approaching the lake in the pic here, when a leopard leapt out of the tall grass on our right, crossed the jeep path just in front of us and got into the dense shrub on our left. the whole thing happened so fast, the fellow was already well inside the shrub before I could even take my camera out of the bag. Incidentally, one has to keep a camera almost always in its bag for the massive amount of dust that is always in the air from Gypsies. I call that the law of sighting- For your eyes only.
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-sambarcloseup1.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-sambarsideview.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-fromhere.png
Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip-tohere.png
Back to the resort again, with another sighting to talk about. The next morning I decided to have rest as my eyes were sore from 3 nights of early waking up and exposing them to the dust and morning chill. Anyway we were to have another safari at Moharli that afternoon, on our way to Chandrapur for the night train. We finished lunch, settled the resort's bill, thanked the resort manager for the excellent experience and once our cab arrived, we were headed off to Moharli gate for the 6th and final safari. The village road drive from Shiggaon to Moharli varied from average to good, meaning an average speed of some 40 kmph.

The Moharli safari started as usual with the driver determined to get us a sighting somehow. He straightaway headed for Jamungudi, where we had had sightings on all mornings. Some alarm calls again around there excited everyone, but the predator's movement was not quite clear. Then he decided to get back again when another Gypsy came rushing towards us, in the opposite direction, urging our driver to rush to Jamungudi. Our man very reluctantly did so (I don't know why), but after finally rushing back, we were just in time to see the famous tigress, Maya, just arrive. Now the foolish thing our driver kept doing in that excitement was to try to get nearer and nearer to her, something that actually ended up bringing us to a spot where Maya turned out into a real "Maya", hidden from view by all other Gypsies. I just managed to get a very poor picture of her, thanks to our driver's mess up. It was the law of "For your eyes only" again.

Tadoba is surely a place that has ample wildlife and nature to enjoy in winter. The rich greenery and growth attract me as much as wildlife does, something that can be experienced only in winter.
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Old 7th January 2015, 17:55   #2
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Default re: Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip

Hi DrVjy,

Excellent Pictures & nice write-up as well.
Specially liked the zoomed in pic's of Maya (though you said you got a poor pic, it is still good)
Good to know that nobody was harmed in the Encounter you had
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Old 7th January 2015, 19:39   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyKing_775 View Post
Hi DrVjy,

Excellent Pictures & nice write-up as well.
Specially liked the zoomed in pic's of Maya (though you said you got a poor pic, it is still good)
Good to know that nobody was harmed in the Encounter you had
Thanks, @GypsyKing. Actually the photo of Maya is not the one in my post. I have attached it here, with lost focus.
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Old 7th January 2015, 22:58   #4
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Default re: Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip

Very good sightings buddy. ..did you do 6 safaris? that must have been really tiring. We did 3 safaris, 2 in the core and one in buffer zone at Moharli on the 14-15 Dec...it was quite chilly then so can imagine that it must have been freezing by the 25th.
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Old 8th January 2015, 12:38   #5
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further. We request you to post ONLY when you have something substantial to add to a discussion.

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Old 8th January 2015, 13:10   #6
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Default re: Tadoba: A Family's Winter Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVjy View Post
Thanks, @GypsyKing. Actually the photo of Maya is not the one in my post. I have attached it here, with lost focus.


Ohh,
This is indeed blurry.
The other ones you posted are really thrilling & you are lucky you got some good sightings
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