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Old 23rd May 2017, 12:16   #1
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Smile Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

The forest always fascinated me with the bio diversity it holds. From the earthen smell of the soil teeming with insects and other slitherers to the towering green trees and everything else in between. The wonder of nature just amazes me.
It sure must be for a person who grew up in a bustling city who like most city dwellers, just saw an occasional sparrow twitter up on the balcony railing, the pigeons cooing on the parapet walls and the street dogs of various sizes barking around on the roads.
For someone who grew up through the adult life just watching the spectacular filming in National Geographic and Discovery channels, a chance opportunity to visit a national park came as a big surprise and a long yearning becoming true!
We got to visit the Pench National Park during May 2017.
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The booking was done at Olive Resorts, Turia gate from 05 May to 07 May 2017.
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The bonus was to drive our TUV300 all the way!
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The journey began at 0300 hrs from Hyderabad since we were unsure if we could traverse the 600 odd kms and reach the forest gate on time at 1600hrs for the first ever forest safari for us.
This was also the first trip for us towards Nagpur from Hyderabad.
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Fortunately it was the Expressway all the way till Adilabad where we stopped by at a dhaba for Breakfast at around 0730 hrs.
Onion paratha – dhabha style was served with dal and was good except for the deep-fried oil!
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After Adilabad, the roads were just fine with frequent diversions due to 4 laning works till Pandharkhawada in Maharastra.
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The route took us on to Hinganghat and then onto Patan Bori and Buti Bori.
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Just after Buti Bori, the route took a right under the bridge onto the Nagpur Bypass 4 lane road.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 12:48   #2
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

As we crossed Mansar, the diversions began up to the border town of MP, Khwasa.
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The toll plaza were operational for commercial vehicles only. Cars had a free pass as of now.
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Came to know that the National Highway passes just on the fringes of the Buffer Forest area.
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Crossed Silari gate on the way to Turia gate where our Resort was located.
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After a left turn from the highway and 10kms , reached the resort at 1300hrs where we were asked to have lunch before the check in began! That’s Hospitality at Olive! The lunch was simple ,tasty and filling with roti, sabzi, dal and a refreshing chaas at the end followed by a sweet gulab jamun.
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The booking was for a 2-bed room villa for 5 Pax. The villa was comfortable with AC in bed rooms and a high-speed air cooler in the living room. The heat was intense outside.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 14:15   #3
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

First Safari at Turia gate @ 1600hrs:

The gypsy was waiting for us at the reception for the first safari in the afternoon.
The excitement was hard to contain.
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Waiting for the gate to open.
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As the jeep meandered through the dry and hot forest, these were our first sightings in the hot afternoon sun.
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The gypsy took us around the forest in search of the elusive tiger sometimes halting to glimpse the other beautiful people in the forest.
there was no tiger sighting on this day.
With excitement dipping due to the intense heat coupled with the disappointment of not sighting the elegant beast, we returned to the Resort by 7pm for hot pakoras served with Chaas in the open lawns of the resort.
Hope was the most constant thing ringing in the mind preparing for the next morning.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 14:29   #4
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Some more Pictures from the Evening Safari:
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Searching in the direction of Alarm calls heard near the Rest stop inside the forest....

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Old 23rd May 2017, 14:35   #5
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Few more pictures ....
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Forest lake partially dried up due to hot summer month.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 15:24   #6
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Morning Safari @ Turia gate - Day 2 :
With Hope and rising excitement, began the next morning at 0430 hrs to be at the gate by 0500 hrs.
As we entered the forest,
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The guide showed us this pair of owls in the tree trunk.
(could anyone please identify and name the species)
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As we moved along, news of possible sighting of a female came in from fellow guides on other jeeps and all made a beeline to the area carefully looking for any pug marks on the road or any signs on the tree and shrubs around,peeking through foliage with binoculars and simply switching off the engine to listen in silence to any alarm calls in the jungle.
And we found - pug marks on the road.
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The excitement was evident among us in the jeep with the guide now more upright in his seat, keenly looking around in silence with his binoculars instructing us all to be very silent. He guided us slowly to a waterhole where we sat in silence with the engine switched off for the next 1.5 hrs.

Langurs at the water hole:
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Our guide Rajender was good and keen to show us the other beings in the forest , educating us along on the importance of conserving forests.
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Apart from a few sightings of other animals around, we couldnt see the tiger.
Vulture on a tree stump
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Could anyone please identify this bird
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Wild Boar
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Could anyone please identify these birds
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With time running out and no sign of the tiger, we started our drive back to the forest gate.
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The feeling was mixed but the safari trip was satisfying. The good thing was we were able to see and appreciate the nature's beauty in other animals and birds as well in the jungle.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 17:17   #7
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

^^ Looks like a Magpie Robin , very common. Great pics !!
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Old 23rd May 2017, 17:43   #8
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Smile Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

As we returned to the Resort, the Manager, Mr. Girish met us near the villa and invited us for an early lunch. He had booked the noon safari at another gate - Kursapahar gate which was around 40 mins drive from the resort.
We relaxed for a couple of hours and went in for an early lunch.

Afternoon Safari @ Kursapahar Gate

Reached the gate well on time at 1430 hrs and waited in line for the gate to open.
After a short drive through the dusty road, as we just crossed a nala and approached a turn midway on a bund, this is what filled our eyes
A 2 year old female Tiger cooling off in a water hole!
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Further away, on the far side of the bund, under a tree was a Male tiger!

Couldn't get a clearer picture due to limitations of the Canon 1200D Camera with 250mm lens.
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As we were observing the Male, the Female quietly slipped away into the bush behind the water hole.
Then the waiting game began for her return for the next 1.5 hrs.
She graciously walked back to the water hole and slowly slipped into the water.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 17:47   #9
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Smile Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
^^ Looks like a Magpie Robin , very common. Great pics !!
Thank You BUXX.
He's our Star photographer - Aditya
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Old 23rd May 2017, 18:20   #10
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alton View Post
...
The toll plaza were operational for commercial vehicles only. Cars had a free pass as of now...
That is not a toll plaza. It is the integrated border check-post between two states (MP and MH in this case) where commercial vehicles pay the relevant taxes.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 19:11   #11
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucifer1881 View Post
That is not a toll plaza. It is the integrated border check-post between two states (MP and MH in this case) where commercial vehicles pay the relevant taxes.
OK Thanks for clarifying. Now I suppose the gates for Cars are for commercial ones. Not the private owned ones.
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Old 24th May 2017, 11:31   #12
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Great pics and wonderful trip log. Short and sweet

Being from Nagpur I cannot help but wonder why anyone would drive hundreds of kilometers to go to Pench and not Kanha National Park. Kanha is a much more serene forest with even more fauna than Pench and is about 120kms from Pench itself. Can I ask what was the charm for Pench?
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Old 24th May 2017, 12:33   #13
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

The owls, my guess are the Indian Scops Owls.
The blue winged bird with brown neck and back is the Indian Roller.
The woodpecker is probably the Black rumped Flameback.
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Old 24th May 2017, 13:16   #14
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Spectacular pics!

The tigress treated you to quite a sight.

The one time we saw a tiger relaxing at a water hole in Ranthambore, SO many vehicles lined up that the tiger got fed up with all the noise.

Can you post some info on the cost of safaris, timings, private/Govt-operated etc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alton View Post
The bonus was to drive our TUV300 all the way!
Perhaps a slight risk, or inconvenience, driving a non-registered vehicle across three states?
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Old 24th May 2017, 14:41   #15
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Pench National Park in a TUV300

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwin1224 View Post
Great pics and wonderful trip log. Short and sweet

... Can I ask what was the charm for Pench?
Did not know anything about Pench or Kanha before hand or any info about the fauna or anything else.This was our first Jungle safari and it just happened that Pench was a casual recommendation by a friend, who also searched and helped in the resort bookings.Thanks for mentioning Kanha too! Will try for the next visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srgntpepper View Post
The owls, my guess are the Indian Scops Owls.
The blue winged bird with brown neck and back is the Indian Roller.
The woodpecker is probably the Black rumped Flameback.
Thank you for identifying them

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Spectacular pics!

The tigress treated you to quite a sight.

The one time we saw a tiger relaxing at a water hole in Ranthambore, SO many vehicles lined up that the tiger got fed up with all the noise.



Can you post some info on the cost of safaris, timings, private/Govt-operated etc?


Perhaps a slight risk, or inconvenience, driving a non-registered vehicle across three states?
Thank you. Yes, we were really lucky to spot the Tiger in our first Jungle trip.Will surely share the costings of Resort and Safari details at the end of Travelogue. Oh! sorry I had mistakenly posted one of the old pics of the TUV.It is registered and already done 40K as of today.The ownership report is also due since long.Will do shortly.

Last edited by GTO : 24th May 2017 at 18:01. Reason: Please don't type the entire post in bold :)
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