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Old 12th June 2024, 21:14   #1
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Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

We have a neat time and holiday during Durga Puja, and being in a joint family is the best time for long holidays. Madhya Pradesh is always a fascinating place to visit. Last year(2022) we travelled to Northern Madhya Pradesh during Puja Holidays. This year(2023), we planned to journey to the heart of the state, keeping religion and adventure in our travel buckets. The following itinerary can better describe our motive and intention to search for something new to our travel stories.
Day 1: Kolkata to Raigarh overnight drive
Day 2: Raigarh to Amarkantak
Day 3: Amarkantak
Day 4: Amarkantak to Kanha Tiger Reserve
Day 5: Kanha Tiger Reserve
Day 6 : Kanha Tiger Reserve to Jabalpur
Day 7: Jabalpur to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
Day 8: Bandhavgarh.
Day 9: Bandhavgarh to Parsili Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve.
Day 10: Parsili to Varanasi
Day 11: Varanasi to Kolkata overnight drive.

Day 1:
To cross Keonjhar Ghat road on Mumbai road, so we decided to start our journey a little late. We aimed to reach Ghat Road after 5 a.m. Thus, we began our journey from home at 11:30 pm with a stop at Kolaghat Express Food Plaza for a tea and light dinner break.
Some snaps to ignite the tour at Kolaghat
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After filling our stomachs, we resumed our journey and reached Keonjhar OTDC at 8 am for breakfast. The OTDC is located on the right side of the highway, and the manager provided us with a room and washroom to freshen up before breakfast. The breakfast menu was standard with limited options, but we finished it quickly to save time. Our goal was to reach Raigarh as soon as possible and take some rest.
Some snaps beside the beautiful greenery inside the OTDC Panthanivas.

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Mumbai Road is nice to drive, besides some bad patches of 200-300 Metres in single lanes and potholes. One needs to be careful as those patches suddenly come between good roads. As usual, driving on Keonjhar Ghat road is fascinating, with a nice view at every bend. Our Crysta was enjoying the cruise through the winding passage.
Picturesque Ghat Road of Keonjhar.
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Reached Deoghar(Odisha) fast and took a turn right to Jharshuguda and Raigarh. We chose to stay at Hotel Accord Premiere. A very nice property with prompt service for guest rooms and food. Overnight stay at Raigarh.
The dining room is the main highlight of the property, visible from every floor.
Hotel Accord Premiere
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The Dining space.
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Day 2:
We woke up feeling lazy as our next destination was relatively close. After enjoying a delicious breakfast in the beautifully decorated dining room, we began our journey towards Amarkantak at around 10 am. While most travellers take the Ranchi Mainpat route to reach Amarkantak, we decided to go via Raigarh. The road from Raigarh to Amarkantak is excellent, so we went through Bilaspur and Ratanpur. We avoided the route through the Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary and reached Amarkantak within 5.5 hours. As we started our climb to Amarkantak, the weather began to change slowly. Due to the ongoing elections, there were several checkpoints in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. It's always a pleasure to drive on the state highways of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh because they are butter-smooth and offer scenic views on both sides of highways.
Landscape on the way to Amarkantak
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Our trusted horse soaking the drive with the nature
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We reached Amarkantak by late afternoon and our main goal was to visit the Mataji Narmada Mandir in the evening to offer Puja at the AARTI Point. It was an amazing experience for me as I witnessed the process from such a close distance for the first time. The whole atmosphere was divine and it felt truly special. The temple was located within walking distance from our hotel. There was ample parking available for those who wish to take their vehicles to the shrine.

MPT Amarkantak
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Mataji Narmada Mandir night view
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The Aarti
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Mataji Narmada
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A common ritual to float Diya in the Narmada River
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After returning to our hotel, we ordered dinner. I must mention the warmth of the hospitality at the MP tourism accommodation. They take live orders to serve hot food, which is amazing. In many hotels we had to order our food earlier to ensure it was served on time during dinner.

Day3:

After having breakfast, we left the hotel to explore some nearby sights. The hotel manager suggested that we hire a guide to learn about the area's history, and it turned out to be a wise decision.
Our Crysta in the beautiful roads of Amarkantak.
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First we went to The Kapildhara Waterfalls, a must-visit sight at Amarkantak.
Kapildhara Waterfall
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The walk from the waterfall to Durbasa Muni ashram is a short trek to check our fitness.
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At Amareshwar temple, the huge Shivling is a must-see for all tourists.
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As Amarkantak is a small place, we were able to complete a full tour in just half a day. We saw the main source of several rivers, including the Sone and Narmada. The weather was fantastic for sightseeing, and we took some snaps of the scenic environment.
The Kalyan Seva Ashram a place of visit in amarkantak.
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A family snap with the beautiful Landscape at back ground of the Sone river origin point.
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Shri Yantra Mandir at Amarkantak
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Later, we returned to the Mata Narmada Mandir to witness the aarti once again.
Few Last minute snaps in front of the Mataji Mandir.
Myself with my Niece
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Ladies Brigade of our group
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During our two-day stay in Amarkantak, we closed the day early to prepare for the next day's tour.

Last edited by Travelmania : 7th July 2024 at 14:18.
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Old 23rd June 2024, 14:35   #2
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re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Day 4: We were excitedly anticipating our next adventure at Kanha Tiger Reserve, so we had an early breakfast in order to depart quickly. We had booked an evening safari for 3pm. The roads in Madhya Pradesh were exceptionally smooth, even the single lanes. The drive to Kanha was a picturesque one, through lush forests and greenery, which made the journey all the more enjoyable.
Our Crysta stands tall on the beautiful road to Kanha from Amarkantak
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Bhpian Samba recommended Motel Chandan in Kanha, so we made a reservation there. One of the advantages of this property is its distance to the entry gate is very small. They have different room categories to choose from, and we selected the cosy rooms on the first floor of the new building, which are located at the front of the motel. On the ground floor, there is a spacious restaurant where delicious food is served based on individual orders.
Outside View of Motel Chandan
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Night Vew of Motel Chandan
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The owner offered us the option of hiring an experienced driver in addition to the coaster, in order to increase our chances of spotting the big cat. We agreed, and it must be said that the driver was the main reason for our successful sightings in the forest.
We began our evening safari on time, at 3 pm, to the Kisli zone. This area is hilly and we were fortunate to spot the rare Barasingha (Swamp deer) along with other kinds of deer. The Barasingha (Swamp deer) is mainly found in Kanha. Although it was quite far from our vehicle, I tried to take a picture of it, but the quality was not so good. I learned that the beauty of the forest does not only lie in its highlighted species, but every moment within it is a thrill. The guide's narration of the different types of trees and their stories was a unique experience. We were on a 3-hour safari in the evening to try and spot a big cat, but unfortunately, we didn't have any luck that day. Our driver did an excellent job, but seeing the king of the jungle up close is a matter of luck for everyone.
Our team ready for the safari
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Barasinghe at Kisli Zone
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During the Navaratri festival, there were many chants and songs being sung in honor of Mata Narmada. After a long day, my team and I retired to our room early as we had an early morning safari scheduled for the next day.
Few Evening photo shoots.
Celebrating my Brother's birthday in Jungle
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Our driver instructed one member of our team to arrive at the gate at 4:30am to ensure that we were the first to enter the jungle.

Day 5 : It was a slightly chilly October morning, so we wore light winter clothes. As we entered the gate at 6 am, our driver abruptly changed direction and headed towards a deserted area.
The Morning view of the Jungle.
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Exitement in every moment
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Parasite Tree
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Territory Marking by tigers
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The copperwood
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We asked the guide for the reason of secluded path, and to our surprise, he predicted that the female tigress named Mohini would cross our path soon. We were amazed when, as predicted, the tigress crossed our path. However, due to the hazy weather conditions, we were unable to get a clear shot of her before she disappeared into the grassland along her pathway.
Following the pug mark
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During our safari, we were delighted to hear when the driver said the tigress would across the path in the next turn. As promised, she did, and we were able to see the magnificent gesture slowly crossing our gypsy without paying any attention to us.
Entry of Tigress Mohini
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Crossing just in front of our Gypsy
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This was a thrilling experience for us city dwellers who don't often get to see such sights. The photographs we took will better describe the experience.
The refreshment point in Kanha Zone, which also serves breakfast, is excellent and has all the necessary amenities from washrooms to a dining area. We stopped at the refreshment point for some time and then proceeded with our safari, returning to the starting point. On our way back, we were able to spot a few other species as well.
Tasty samosas available at the centre refreshment point at Kanha
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A snap in front of the gate made by deer horns
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Inside the museum
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Full Grown Bison
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Indian Peafowl
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Chital crossing the road
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Barking Deer
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A snap in front of the Kanha Gate
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We kept the day at Kanha, so after coming back from safari, we simply spent the day at leisure and roamed around the peripheral portion to find some birds in the evening.
Yellow Footed Green Pegion
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Last edited by Travelmania : 6th July 2024 at 22:27.
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Old 28th June 2024, 08:03   #3
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re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Day 6: Our next destination was Jabalpur, only 125kms away and an easy drive for our Crysta. We were excited to view the Marble Rocks and Dhuandhar Falls up close. We reached Jabalpur on time and booked Hotel Pride Samrat, a nice property with big rooms and adequate parking. Since we were only staying in Jabalpur for one day, we didn't waste any time and headed straight to Dhuandhar Falls. The ropeway ride above the falls was fantastic.
Hotel Pride Samrat
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The Ropeway
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Dhuandhar Falls from Ropeway
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Later we visited the Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat. It was a new and exciting experience for us to boat deep inside the zigzag path of the gorge. It is an area along the Narmada River where the soft marble has been carved by the river, forming an 8km long gorge. Our entire team thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and we managed to take some beautiful photos of the white stone from the boat.
We at Bhedaghat
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The Marble Rocks
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We could not resist ourselves to visit the Dhuandhar Waterfalls again from front at dusk. So we reveresed our car to head towards the destination fast to take some close snaps in front of the roaring waterfall.
We in front of the majestic background
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Myself with my betterhalf
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Debjit with his betterhalf
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Before leaving the scenic place nobody should miss the sunset on Narmada River at Bhedaghat.
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Our next day journey was to another jungle of renowned fame, the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Last edited by Travelmania : 7th July 2024 at 13:30.
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Old 29th June 2024, 15:38   #4
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re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Day 7:
We reached Bandhavgarh in less than 4 hours and booked Tiger Trails Resort for our stay. We opted for an evening safari at the Khitauli Zone and were delighted with the beautiful property and superb service offered by the resort staff. The food quality was awesome too! The best part was that the resort was located just beside the core zone boundary fence.
My niece at the resort entrance gate
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Our cottage with 2 rooms sidebyside.
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The nature inside the resort
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We didn't waste any time and headed for the evening safari as planned. The road leading to the gate passes through the junction of two zones - Tala and Khitauli. Several fortunate tourists were able to witness a big cat crossing the road that connects the two zones.
The road between Tala zone and Khitauli Zone
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We saw many different species during the jungle safari, and although we didn't see the star species we were hoping for, we were still happy. For me, a jungle safari is a wonderful opportunity to learn about nature from the local driver and guide. They explained the process of jungle conservation to us, including how they leave dead trees in place as they provide food and nutrients to certain creatures through recycling.
Few snaps from our activity in evening safari.
The lake in the middle of Jungle
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Few species from the evening activity
Red Napped Ibis
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White Throated Kingfisher
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Crested Serpent Eagle
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The Family at the end of day
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The Golden Light enhances the beauty of the species
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Golden Light before sunset.
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We spent the day exploring the area until evening, then returned to the resort to enjoy the large property and delicious snacks. The dining area was fantastic, with an open space next to the pool where we could dine under the stars. We heard some fascinating stories from the local staff and security. As my brother and I share a passion for bird photography, they advised us not to roam around the resort before sunrise due to its proximity to the core zone, which could pose a safety risk. We had booked a Morning safari to Tala zone early next morning. So closed the day early to have a good sleep.
Some snaps from the evening.
Timepass in the reception
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The view of the resort after sunset
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Day 8 :
Our team got up early with a lot of excitement for the safari. The Tala gate was very near to our resort and our aim was to be the first ones in. Unfortunately, there were two gypsies in front of us already. However, entering the jungle early in the morning and experiencing the thrill of searching for footprints of the big cat's nocturnal movements is an exquisite experience. This is the main drill of both the driver and the guide.
The Tala Gate Entry point
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Tala is a vast area, and five hours is not enough time to explore it all. We saw a wide variety of species and caught a distant glimpse of Laxman Fort.
The bandhavgarh hill
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Morning View of the Tala zone
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The Tala Zone has plenty of open grasslands that make for an excellent habitat. Our guide and driver did their best to follow the calls and track the big cat, but unfortunately, it was not our lucky day, and we missed it. Although we did come close, we were unable to spot it.
Breakfast in the middle of Jungle
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Myself with my Niece during the break
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Golden Jackal on our driveway.
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Wild Boar
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After a five-hour safari, we were a bit tired when we returned to the hotel. However, the weather was quite soothing and pleasant. After having lunch, we decided to take a drive through the road that connects two zones, Tala and Khitauli, hoping to spot any wildlife crossing over. Later, we spent the remaining time at the resort, enjoying the peaceful surroundings of the resort.
Indian Robin at resort
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On the next day, we had planned to visit the Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve, a lesser-known place with many possibilities for entertainment.

Last edited by Travelmania : 7th July 2024 at 13:45.
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Old 30th June 2024, 16:34   #5
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re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Day 9: The Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve is located just 85 kilometres away from Bandhavgarh, which is less than a two-hour drive. We woke up early in the morning to do some bird watching.
The staff at our resort informed us of a Grey Hornbill sighting within the resort during the morning hours, so we were able to take some close-up photos of the beautiful bird, along with some other species as well.
The beautiful Grey Hornbill in our resort
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Our goal was to reach the Parsili resort by MPT by noon, as we had a safari booking scheduled for 3 pm.
Located in a stunning spot on the bank of the Banas River, Parsili Resort, run by MPT, offers delightful cottage rooms that overlook the river. We had plenty of time before our safari, so we walked along the river bed and dipped our ankles in the water. It was like a natural spa treatment as the small fish nibbled on our feet, massaging them. Some photos can better depict this experience.
The banas River from Parsili Resort
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Enjoying the Banas River
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The cottages at Parsili Resort
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When God wills, nobody can stop it. As soon as we entered the safari gate, our guide stopped the jeep after a kilometre's drive. He saw a forest patrol standing at a distance, doing some activity with the help of patrolling elephants. Within a few minutes, much to our surprise, we saw a big cat slowly marching towards our jeep from a pond to cross over the road. However, to our luck, it changed its path and sat very near to us behind bushes. According to the locals, it is one of the cubs of Mousima, the famous tigress of the tiger reserve in India.
Jungle view from backseat
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Male Sub-Adult Cub
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From the information collected, it seems that the tiger is fully grown and ages between 9 months and 1 year. It displays a somewhat unwelcoming demeanour, which is likely due to its territorial instincts. However, it is essential to proceed with caution and respect its space to avoid any conflicts and ensure everyone's safety.
This vast jungle is home to a growing population of approximately 40 majestic tigers and tigresses, as per the official count. The thrill of spotting one of these elusive big cats at the start of our safari was truly exhilarating. We ventured deeper into the dense forest, eager to see more of its stunning wildlife. As we journeyed through the verdant landscape, we came across a few beautiful species. We captured these breathtaking moments on camera, so we can relive them again and again.
Nilgai
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Indian Roller
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Sunset View while returning from evening safari
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The jungle's environment has a unique allure that beckons us to return again and again, regardless of whether we catch sight of the star species. The tranquillity and lack of traffic in this tiger reserve make it a true paradise for nature lovers.
We kept the stay to one night as our long tour was near to close. We kept Varanasi for one day to visit Baba Viswanath Temple the next day.
Evening View of Parsili Resort
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Day 10: We started the day lazy, as we weren't in a rush. After breakfast, we left for Varanasi and enjoyed the scenic landscape of Madhya Pradesh. The roads were super smooth, and we arrived at our hotel in less time than Google predicted.
The Ghat road on the way to Varanasi
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We had booked Hotel Surya Palace in the Cantonment area, and it turned out to be a beautiful and spacious property with large rooms. We were delighted with our choice.
The View of Hotel Kaiser Surya Palace
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The Parking inside the hotel premises
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Our primary objective was to visit the temple promptly and experience its serene atmosphere. However, the newly constructed temple premises had implemented some new rules which required us to obtain entry passes just before the counters closed. We learned that only cash was allowed inside the premises and that all other items, including car keys, were prohibited. Despite these restrictions, we were impressed with the tight security system which featured multiple checkpoints to ensure the safety of all devotees. Overall, we appreciated the effort put into making the temple a safe and peaceful place for all visitors.
The newly built Baba Viswanath Temple Complex
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The view from the Ghat
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The Ganges Ghat from the Mandir Complex
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Pathway to Mandir from Ghat
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Varanasi Lassi, we love it
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Day 11: The hotel served a fantastic breakfast platter with a wide range of options for guests to enjoy. After a satisfying meal, we promptly packed up and left by 1:30 pm.
A Family snap before leaving Varanasi
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Last Minute Pose of our Crysta on the way back home
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Although we had to navigate through the congested streets of Varanasi during the day, we encountered no traffic jams thanks to the well-divided twin path of the main corridor in Varanasi. We made a few quick stopovers for food and tea before finally reaching home safely before dawn the next day.
The trip was excellent in all respects and we are now in love with Madhya Pradesh.

Last edited by Travelmania : 7th July 2024 at 14:19.
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Old 7th July 2024, 18:46   #6
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th July 2024, 14:12   #7
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

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Originally Posted by Travelmania View Post
According to the locals, it is one of the cubs of Mousima, the famous tigress of the tiger reserve in India.
Awesome photo-essay! Loved the "Male Sub-Adult Cub" pic the most, but all excellent pics. Which lens(es) did you use ?
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Old 8th July 2024, 21:09   #8
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Your penchant for tiger spotting has gone to a different level now. I keep tracking your Facebook profile & the way you frequently visit the national parks for birding and tiger spotting is commendable. I was waiting for this travelogue to come up for a long time. You have impeccably covered every single detail. The pictures you shared here are worth a thousand words. I especially loved the pic of the tiger from the bushes. That pic deserves a special mention.

I did a very similar trip in 2019. Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve is on my bucket list now.

A few pics from 5 years down memory lane-

At marble rocks

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At Kanha

Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta-124834368_4962043010534219_6844116867882441596_n.jpg

Somewhere near Bandhavgarh

Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta-125190761_4971529556252231_7850758824681968256_n.jpg
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Old 8th July 2024, 23:49   #9
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Those wildlife shots are insanely good! What camera and lenses are you using?
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Old 9th July 2024, 10:48   #10
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Nice travelogue with beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 9th July 2024, 21:45   #11
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

And the Innova makes a run for the Madhya Pradesh again. And Travelmania comes up with another delightful log peppered with some fantastic shots to enthrall us again. You have now an added arsenal in terms of your lenses and you are now coming up with fabulous wildlife shots. You have provided a ready reckoner of places to look for and that will be handy for some of us, should we venture into those areas.

About the MP tourism hotels, they are fabulous and take great care of their guests. Being strategically located is also their strong point. Also, Surya Kaiser palace has been my go to place since long. Ample parking and wonderful place in the less crowded area of Varanasi. Love their food as well. Keep travelling Sir, and let the travelogues coming.

Last edited by ABHI_1512 : 9th July 2024 at 21:48.
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Old 11th July 2024, 17:23   #12
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Wow!! Great Tlog. "Brothers in Arms' always together for these road trips. Ever since I have taken up my present assignment at Delhi / Gurgaon, miss the chai and adda sessions of the Kolkata Tbhp group. Hoping to catch up when I visit next. Till then, many miles with smiles!!
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Old 15th July 2024, 22:19   #13
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Re: Exprerienced the Jungles and Temple with Waterfalls in a Toyota Innova Crysta

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHI_1512 View Post
You have now an added arsenal in terms of your lenses and you are now coming up with fabulous wildlife shots. You have provided a ready reckoner of places to look for and that will be handy for some of us, should we venture into those areas.
Love their food as well. Keep travelling Sir, and let the travelogues coming.
Thank you so much, Abhi, for your kind words. Yes, I we are in love with the jungle and its essence. I hope to write more stories about our passion.

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Originally Posted by Kkumar View Post
Nice travelogue with beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you very much for your appreciation

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Originally Posted by Cresterk View Post
Those wildlife shots are insanely good! What camera and lenses are you using?
Thanks for the appreciation. Shots taken on Nikon D7500 and 200-500mm f/5.6 Lens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Your penchant for tiger spotting has gone to a different level now. I keep tracking your Facebook profile & the way you frequently visit the national parks for birding and tiger spotting is commendable. I especially loved the pic of the tiger from the bushes. That pic deserves a special mention.
Thanks for your appreciation. Jungles gives you different scenes in every minute. Spotting usually happens when you are lazy and hopeless on dry safaris. Each species takes a different stance toward photographers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SithDefender View Post
Awesome photo-essay! Loved the "Male Sub-Adult Cub" pic the most, but all excellent pics. Which lens(es) did you use ?
Thanks for viewing the TL keenly. I welcome your appreciation. I used Nikon D7500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALTIMAed View Post
Wow!! Great Tlog. "Brothers in Arms' always together for these road trips. Hoping to catch up when I visit next. Till then, many miles with smiles!!
Thanks a lot for following us. Thanks for the appreciation as well.
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