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Old 11th March 2015, 23:33   #1
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Default Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

I have been planning this trip for over a year..
I am sure all fellow Hyderabadis will agree with me about the lack of quality weekend gateways from Hyderabad. This is one reason I miss Bangalore apart from the more pleasant weather (more so in the scorching Hyderabad summer).
At approximately 450-500 km from Hyderabad, Tadoba National park is not really a weekend gateway but certainly can be considered to be a gateway for a long weekend


Anyways, we decided to use the Holi weekend as none of us were really interested in playing Holi this time. We were 2 families in 2 cars - me,wife and daughter in our Jazz and our neighbours (husband and wife) in their Ritz. We were very lucky to get a reservation at the place of our choice - Svasara resorts - http://www.svasararesorts.com More on the resort later.


Now, Tadoba has various resorts located near various gates (there are 6 gates in total) and depending on that the distance may vary greatly. The main 2 gates are the Moharli gate and Kolara gate. Svasara is located very near to the Kolara gate. There are various options available at the Moharli gate as well.

The plan was to start by 5:30 AM in the morning and reach Svasara by 1-1:30 PM. We budgeted for a 7.5-8 hours drive including breaks. The route was the usual NH7 till Karanji (Hyd-Medchal-Nizamabad-Adilabad-Karanji) and then take the Maharashtra state highway via Wani-Warora-Chimur-Kolara. The distance is approx 500 Km from my place (near Serilingampally).

For people going to the Moharli gate, it might be worthwhile to try the alternate route through Karimnagar as it turns out to be much shorter (~50 km) and the road condition is supposedly decent.

Last edited by adimicra : 15th March 2015 at 16:10.
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Old 12th March 2015, 23:21   #2
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Default The drive

We started on 6th March, Friday on the day of Holi.
The plan was to start by 5.30 AM but we ultimately got going by 6 AM.

Starting from Lingampally, I planned to take the bachupally road to hit NH7.
There was no point in travelling the additional distance on ORR as it was so early in the morning.
The route taken is shown below

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This was a very bad decision indeed.
The last couple of kms were devoid of anyproper road, filled with huge craters and heavy truck traffic. I had a very close shave when one truck just headed straight towards me in the process of avoiding a crater and I somehow managed to take evasive action.

Once I hit the NH7 at around 6:45 AM, the nightmare turned into a dream. The weather was excellent, slightly cloudy and there was almost zero traffic may be due to Holi. We just zoomed past Nizamabad and other towns and in no time, we were near Adilabad by 9:30 AM. This has to be one of the best highway drives for me in this country. The road is is pristine condition and pretty scenic too with some nice curves and superb vistas. I would rate it better than the Hyderabad-Bangalore drive which is straight and boring.

We stopped just before Adilabad at a BP petrol bunk..it was a company operated one and claimed to have clean toilets, though my wife found it to be really dirty. There are no clean toilet options in this route, so we had to manage with whatever we had. After a refuelling pit stop, we also finished our packed breakfast of sandwiches and parathas along with some Tropicana juice. All set and raring to go for the next leg of the journey.

I knew very well from the posts in this forum that the road after Adilabad is in very bad shape and I was prepared for that. Surprisingly, I found the road from Adilabad to Pandharkawada pretty acceptable. Yes, it is not comparable to the butter smooth NH7 till Adilabad and there is no divider.But, there were no big craters and it seems there have been recent repairs on this stretch. You should be able to maintain decent speeds of 70-80 kmph on this stretch. After Pandharkawada, the road becomes 4 laned again but there a few big craters which you have to watch out for else they are easily capable to taking down the sidewalls of your tires. A little after Pandharkawada, you see a board indicating Karanji. That is the place you need to take the left bylane to get down from the NH7 and then take a right turn below the highway to hit the Maharashtra state highway MSH6 to Wani. I missed that and had to take a U turn.

Now, I had expected the route through Wani-Warora to be a typical state highway without any troubles. But, it turned out to be pretty bad. There are quite a few bad stretches between Karanji and Wani extending till few kms after Wani as well. Some of the stretches have no roads and lot of road construction activity is going on. I am glad I did not suffer any punctures. Few kms after Wani, the road condition is better though not great and again you can maintain decent speeds. The last town before Svasara was Chimur which is a very busy small town and the roads are a total mess. We lost about 15 mins in Chimur as a huge truck was trying to take a turn. At Chimur, google maps were asking us to take a right turn which we couldn't find and ended up going back and forth. Finally, we had to get down and ask a few locals who showed us the right turn we missed. Even after they showed us the route, we were finding it difficult to believe that it is indeed the correct route as it was soo narrow and the turn was so very difficult to spot. My advice to anyone going to Svasara or Kolara gate is to get down at Chimur market/bus stand and ask for directions to Kolara gate. Finally, we were headed on the right track. Svasara is around 12 kms from Chimur. We finally reached Svasara at 1:40 AM - around 7 hours 40 mins of travel including 2 breaks of approx 40 mins total. Also, we lost at least 20 mins in Chimur. So, driving time will be around 6 hours 45 mins. The odo showed 500 kms. Enjoyed the drive a lot in spite of the few bad patches. The resort is 150m from the Kolara gate in the middle of nowhere. It is hardly visible from outside. More on the resort later.

Last edited by adimicra : 15th March 2015 at 16:14.
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Old 15th March 2015, 13:41   #3
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Default The first safari - Saturday morning

The first safari on Saturday morning was the best of the lot.
We started at 6 AM sharp.. the weather was so chilly. Never expected such cold in the first week of March.
None of us had any warm clothes or jackets, though the resort people provided us blankets for the safari. So thoughtful!

My daughter was shivering even with the blanket on..so I decided to give mine to her.
I was left with just a light cotton T-shit and literally shaking as the Gypsy moved trhough the forest.

It was still quite dark and the experience of driving through the forest is something that can't be described in words.
We were greeted with a large male sambar dear very soon which was staring at us. What a start!

After some time, there were some talk among the guides and drivers that there is leopard around.
Now, tiger sighting is quite regular in Tadoba but leopard is ver rare as it is very shy animal.
We were thrilled and waited for it with bated breath.
Finally, after waiting for 45 minutes, we could see it in its full glory.
The leopard crossed the road in front of us may be at a distance of 50 meters or so.
It looked spectacular in the backdrop of the jungle and the camouflage has to be seen to be believed.
The best thing was that it was not in a hurry which allowed us to have a good sight and click a few dectn pictures.
This was the highlight of the safaris for us.

Throughout the safari, we spotted many animals like the - mongoose, wild boar, peacock, spotted dear, barking dear,wild dogs.
Breakfast was very neatly packed by the resort people which was ample and tasty. For the morning safaris, there is a pit stop
at a forest department place within the forest where people stop for breakfast and bio break.

Time for some pictures.. (we could not get a decent shot of the wild dogs as the line of sight was not clear)



The joruney starts -

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No matter how many times you have seen the spotted dear, the sight of them roaming around freely with the sunlight falling on their gorgeous skin feels so lively and refreshing

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The big moment ... the leopard. Watch the camouflage in the last 2 shots.

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The peacock - a large one. The colors are so striking no camera can capture those.

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The mongoose - saw it for the first time. It looked like a small boulder and was so difficult to spot in the backdrop of the jungle

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The Tadoba lake ..

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Last edited by adimicra : 15th March 2015 at 14:32.
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Old 15th March 2015, 13:59   #4
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Default The 2nd safari - Saturday afternoon

Having seen the leopard in the first safari, we were thrilled and our expectations also climbed up.
We were hoping and praying to have a glimpse of the big cat.
The afternoon safari was little uncomfortable as it was quite hot with the scroching sun above our heads. It was hard to believe that we were all shivering due to cold in the same place a few hours back.

But, it did provide a different rugged and bare look of the jungle.
We waited near the watering holes to catch a glimpse of the tiger but were not lucky enough.
We did catch quite a few sambar dears though - they are much bigger than the normal spotted ones.
Particularly, the male sambar dear looks big and strong and I think it will be a handful for even the tiger.

Few snaps..

The majestic sambar dear .

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A large male sambar dear relaxing in the shade - it was huge

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Sambar on the run ..

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Monkeys create a ruckus on the road

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The mother with a newborn.. the baby is so cute

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This is Jamungudi - the watering hole where we waited for the elusive tiger. I think this place captures the real essence of Tadoba National park.

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The terrain near Jamungudi..

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Some sunset shots from the jungle ...

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Last edited by adimicra : 15th March 2015 at 14:23.
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Old 15th March 2015, 14:17   #5
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Default The last safari - Sunday morning

Thankfully, the last safari on Sunday morning was less chilly than the previous morning or may be we got used to it.
By this time, we were growing impatient as this was our last chance to sight the king of the jungle.
Half an hour into the safari, and we get to hear that some jeep has spotted a large female tiger.
The driver rushed to that direction - the way they drive the gypsy when there is a news of a tiger sighting around -
is scary to say the least. I was sitting quite high in the last row with no protection in the sides and the rear
and there were a few moments where I felt like I would fall off.
When we reached the spot, there were a queue of gypsies waiting. Unfortunately, the tigress had already crossed the road
and went inside the jungle. But, everyone, was still waiting there to catch one more glimpse.
One tip - it's always best to be the first few jeeps in the safari. That way you have a better chance of sighting plus
you don't have to bear the dirt thrown off by the jeeps ahead.
Time was running out and we waited impatiently. Finally, after an hour of waiting, the big moment arrived!
The tiger in its full glory about 100 meters away. I could feel goosebumps in my arms.
Unfortunately, the moment last for a few seconds. It was in no mood to strike a pose for us and disappeared in the jungle in a few leaps.
My camera didn't focus fast enough to take a decent shot.
But, still, there was satisfaction of having seen the tiger after catching the leopard the previous day.
The tiger looked pretty big though we were not sure whether it is male or female and how old it is.
Later, we came to know that it was a male tiger about 2 years old (tigers become fully grown up by 3.5-4 years)and
still stayed with its mother (the female one which few others saw this morning).
Since it was young and shy, it crossed the road so fast. It seems normally the adult ones are not perturbed by the vehicles
and the tourists around and cross the road at a leisurely pace allowing a lot of time for a good sighting.



It was time to head back ... just before leaving, we got a sighting of a group of bisons lazing around.
They looked huge and majestic.
Overall, we had 3 wonderful safaris - an experience to be cherished for a long long time.


The wild boar on the run - these guys are stockily built and charge with immense speed

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The majestic bison - watch the white color of the legs till the knees and the golden-yellow tinge at the base of the horns and the hump on the back.

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The largest of the lot

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A couple of birds relaxing on the bison

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The tall tree in the grasslands ..

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The ghost tree as the locals call it ..they stood out with their silver white lustrous color midst the green-brownish backdrop of the jungle

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A parting jungle shot


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Last edited by adimicra : 15th March 2015 at 16:29.
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Old 15th March 2015, 14:30   #6
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Default A word about the place we stayed - Svasara resorts

Svasara resort is one of the best places I have stayed. The resort does not have any great landscaping as such. They have planned it in a way such that it seems like an extension of the jungle itself.

http://www.svasararesorts.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Revi...harashtra.html

Even before we reached the resort, I got a call from them asking where I am and if I am having any issues with the route. The moment we entered the resort, they directly took us to our rooms and said they will take care of the checkin formalities later. It was a huge relief!

Though the resort managers - Ranjit and Nandita - were on vacation, the ssupervisor Amit and the support staff never let us feel their absence. Eveyone was so well behaved and polite and always willing to help. Any special requests were also taken care of with a smile.

The resort has 12 rooms. We got 2 interconnected rooms which means you share the same sit-out area. It was just perfect for us as we were 2 families. The food had a good spread of veg and non-veg dishes and taste was yummy as well. They serve the lunch in the indoor restaurant near the hotel lobby/reception and the dinner is served in the outdoor restaurant called Teak House. The overall decor of the place and the rooms is minimalistic but very tasteful at the same time. All the normal worldlly comforts and convenience are taken care of.



We took 3 safaris in total - Saturday morning, Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The Svasara people take care of booking the safaris for you. They also pack your breakfast - sandwiches, parathas, muffins, juices, tea/coffee - for the morning safaris. Blankets are also provided for the morning safaris.
Once back from the Safari, you are greeted with a Wet towel and a glass of lime juice. So thoughtful!

After the evening safari, you can head straight to the outdoor restaurant - Teak house - where you are serves with fresh and hot pakoras and tea/cofee. So yummy!

Overall, the Svasara people won us over with their excellent service and attention to detail. They truly exceeded our expectations. Highly recommended!

Some snaps of the room

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The resort outdoors

Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park-1506414_941542379197493_7308520105633614155_n.jpg

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And that's my sweetheart in front of our rooms.

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A China Rose in front of our rooms.

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The teak house - the outdoor restaurant where they serve evening snacks and dinner

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The even do some farming - tomatoes, spinach, chillies, brinjal, cabbage etc.

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My daughter striking a pose
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Last edited by adimicra : 15th March 2015 at 16:26.
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Old 15th March 2015, 14:38   #7
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Default The drive back

We started our return journey at 12 noon on Sunday, 8th march. Initially, the plan was to start after lunch. But, since we wanted to avoid night driving, we decided to pack food from the resort. So, we got some cheese sandwiches, aloo parathas and soft drinks from the resort and left for home at 12 noon sharp. The return journey was more or less uneventful. The bad stretch till Karanji was more bearable as the road on the return leg was in a better condition in some of those bad patches we faced earlier. We took our first break near Adilabad around 3:30 PM. There is a big company operated IOC bunk where we stopped for refueling. The drive on NH7 was good as usual but the traffic was pretty high on Sunday afternoon and we couldn't maintain the high speeds we did on the onward journey. We took another break for tea around 5:30 PM which was our final break. After 6 as the dusk set in, the pace also dropped and the traffic was pretty thick as well.

We reached Medchal around 7:30 PM. We decided to avoid the route which we took for our onward journey at any cost. So, we didn't take the right turn as indicated by Google maps and rather continued straight. After some time, Google Maps showed an alternate route through Dullapally which ultimately hits the Bchupally road towards Miyapur but avoids the bad stretch we faced. We took that route which indeed turned out to be a good decision rather than going through the city via Bowenpally as it would have taken much longer. So, for people travelling towards the NH7 from this side of Hyderabad should take this route as shown below -

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We finally reached home at 8:30 PM. The return journey took almost an hour more, partly due to the traffic, partly due to the slower speeds after sundown. Overall, very nice drive. Anyone planning to Tadoba - Kolara gate from Hyderabad should budget for a 8-8.5 hours drive including a few breaks.


We were a bit tired after the long drive but our spirits were high. It has truly been a thoroughly enjoyable trip and even my little one enjoyed it as much as we did. The memories of Svasara, the Tadoba forest, the wonderful animals - the leopard and tiger in particular will be etched in our memories for a long time to come.

Last edited by adimicra : 15th March 2015 at 16:34.
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Old 16th March 2015, 03:08   #8
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Default re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

Note from Mod : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing with us
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Old 16th March 2015, 03:32   #9
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Default re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

Adimicra

A good travelogue , short crisp and very well put together , indeed wild dogs and leopards are the most shy and elusive animals of the Indian forests so you have been very lucky to sight them, and especially capture the leopard on your cam !, can you kindly give a breakdown of costs if possible .

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Old 16th March 2015, 07:34   #10
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Default re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

So finally was it 55-250 or 70-300? Nice snaps

I agree with your point on scarcity of weekend getaways from Hyderabad. But yes, you guys do make the best of what is available. And add to it the extra distance that you drive!
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Old 16th March 2015, 14:26   #11
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Default Re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

That Leopard getting camouflaged into the backdrop! Magnificent! Even that peacock image reminded me of the time I drove into a dirt track in Mahabaleshwar and a peacock jumped out of the tree, right above the bonnet (wish i had a dash cam). Scary and awe inspiring at the same time.

Beautiful photography and narration. Thanks for the share. Someday, leave permitting, I'd love to make the trip myself.
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Old 16th March 2015, 18:10   #12
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Default Re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by vickzkool View Post
Adimicra

A good travelogue , short crisp and very well put together , indeed wild dogs and leopards are the most shy and elusive animals of the Indian forests so you have been very lucky to sight them, and especially capture the leopard on your cam !, can you kindly give a breakdown of costs if possible .

Regards
Vickzkool
Thanks for the compliments. Sighting the leopard was very lucky indeed. There was a foreigner staying in the resort who did not get to see a leopard in 20 safaris!!

Svasara is on the costlier side but the good thing is everything (all meals etc) is inclusive. Additional tea/coffee etc. are readily available without any extra cost and they pamper you with their thoughtfulness and attention to detail

Per night cost = 9K per room (they don't charge for kids)
Safari cost = 4K per safari.
Since I shared the safari cost with my neighbour, it was 2K per safari for me.
So, total cost = 9K*2 + 2K*3 = 24K

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
So finally was it 55-250 or 70-300? Nice snaps

I agree with your point on scarcity of weekend getaways from Hyderabad. But yes, you guys do make the best of what is available. And add to it the extra distance that you drive!
I went with the 55-250 - cheap and best.
It is a very sharp lens particularly considering the price. Also, it is very light weight, easy to use with good image stabilization. The only problem was it hunts for the focus sometimes which means you can miss that all important shot like I missed the shot of the tiger. Will get a better lens in the future!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
That Leopard getting camouflaged into the backdrop! Magnificent! Even that peacock image reminded me of the time I drove into a dirt track in Mahabaleshwar and a peacock jumped out of the tree, right above the bonnet (wish i had a dash cam). Scary and awe inspiring at the same time.

Beautiful photography and narration. Thanks for the share. Someday, leave permitting, I'd love to make the trip myself.
Thanks Tushar! It is really a wonderful place to go and wildlife seems to be thriving in Tadoba. Also, the jungle authorities have removed 2 villages which were in the core forest area. There are still a couple of more to be removed but efforts are on for that. Hope the precious wild life in the country gets the attention and love it needs!
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Old 16th March 2015, 21:08   #13
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Default Re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

It is indeed wonderful to see a leopard during a safari and so rare. Tiger sightings are probably ten times more common. The road to Kolara gate from Chimur is very difficult to find and we also had the same problem last year in finding this very small road. Moharli gate is over 70 km from Kolara gate, but all the Gypsies from the various gates get together eventually. wonderful pictures.
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Old 17th March 2015, 11:02   #14
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Default Re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

Great travelogue Adimicra, there is a flood of Taboda travelogues on TBHP suddenly.

The news that road condition has improved on Nh 7 is great!

Also, is the ORR - NH 7 connection completed now? Google Maps still shows it as not done.

Can you please let know the co-ordinates of Adilabad COCO you mentioned?
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Old 17th March 2015, 19:55   #15
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Default Re: Hyderabad to the Land of the Tiger - Tadoba National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Can you please let know the co-ordinates of Adilabad COCO you mentioned?
Here is the link
https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/...e80d59d84c411a

Ghar Dhaba
National Highway 7, Telangana 504309
19.767599, 78.565400

Last edited by adimicra : 17th March 2015 at 19:57.
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Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam sarmarishi Travelogues 51 25th March 2011 10:40


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