DAY 1 - Arrival at Nagpur transfer to Tadoba (105 Kms- 2 Hours) and first safari
As we arrive at Nagpur early morning, a two hour drive takes us to Tadoba National Park. We transfer to the serene resort upon arrival. Lunch is served at the resort, post which we head for our first jungle safari to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and experience the majestic wildlife.
Dinner and overnight stay at the resort.
DAY 2 - Morning and Evening Jungle safari
The day starts early as we leave for a morning jungle safari. Upon return, breakfast is served. Post some leisure time, and after lunch at the resort, we leave for another exciting jungle safari.
Overnight stay at the resort.
Day 3 - . Morning safari in Tadoba Post Breakfast departure for Pench (200 Kms- 4 Hours)
Morning safari at Tadoba and post breakfast transfer to Pench (200 Kms- 4 Hours). Arrival in Pench and check into the resort.
Day 4 - Morning and Evening safari at Pench
Leave early morning for jungle safari. Return to resort for breakfast. Some free time for relaxation. After Lunch, again we shall leave for a jungle safari. Overnight stay at the resort.
Day 5 - Post morning safari transfer to Nagpur Airport (120 Kms, 2 Hours) to take a flight back to Mumbai.
Leave for early morning jungle safari. Depart for Nagpur post lunch. Take the evening flight back to Mumbai.
Tadoba - Andhari Tiger reserve is a pristine and a unique eco-system located in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra.The reserve contains some of the best forest tracts and has emerged as a wonderful habitat for the Royal Bengal Tiger. It is also one of the 28 pPoject Tiger Reserves. With almost 50 tigers on the reserve and an area of 632 sq. km.; this bamboo forest is rightly referred to as "The Jewel of Vidharba".
The name 'Tadoba' is the name of the God 'Tadoba' or "Taru", worshipped by the tribals and is famed to live in the dense forests of Tadoba and Andhari region. Tadoba’s southern tropical dry deciduous forest of Deccan Peninsula comprises of teak forests with bamboo thicket, which are wildlifer's dream. It lies in Chandrapur Ddstrict and is Maharashtra's oldest National Park created in 1955. The National Park is 623 sq. kms in area, consisting of two forested rectangles of the Tadoba and Andhari range. The best thing about the park is that it remains open all round the year, even in the monsoons.
The terrain is undulating with panoramic views of hills, lakes and meadows. The Tadoba lake is situated more or less in the middle of the park. It is sometimes also referred to as the "Heart of Tadoba". The National Park is 623 sq. kms in area, consisting of two forested rectangles of the Tadoba and Andhari range. Thickly clad hills form the north and western boundary of the Tiger Reserve. To the southwest is a huge lake, which acts as buffer in between the Park Forest and the extensive farmland extending right up to the Irai Lake. Tadoba Tiger Reserve is an undisturbed forest as it is not visited by many tourists.
Winters stretch from November to February. Day temperatures range between 25°-30°C and the park is pleasantly green. Summers are hot in Tadoba, with day temperatures rising sometimes to 47°C. However, it is the ideal time to view mammals near water sources, as vegetation is also scarce, enhancing visibility. The monsoon breaks in June with rainfall of about 1,275 mm. and humidity at about 66 per cent.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Tadoba is the oldest National Park of the state of Maharashtra. The rich deciduous forest mainly consists of bamboo & teak. The other trees are gardenia, satinwood, mahua and jamun. The other trees which are found within the protected area are, ain, arjun, behada, bija, bhera, bor, bel, chichwa, dhawada, kusum, mowai, phetra, rohan, salai, semal, shisham, sisoo, shivan, surya, sirus, tendu, etc.
Other than the tiger, Tadoba Tiger Reserve is home to rare Indian wildlife like leopards, sloth bears, gaur, wild dogs, hyenas, civets, jungle cats and many species of the Indian deer like sambar, cheetal, nilgai, and the barking deer.
The Tadoba lake sustains the marsh crocodile, which were once common all over Maharashtra. Tadoba is also an ornithologist's paradise with a varied diversity of aquatic bird-life, and raptors.
195 species of birds have been recorded, including three endangered varieties. The grey headed fishing Eagle ichthyophaga icthyaetus and the crested serpent eagle amd the spilornis cheela are some of the raptors.
Other interesting species include the crested tree swift hemiprocne longipennis, stone curlew burhinus oedicnemus, honey buzzard pernis ptilorhyncus, paradise fycatcher terpsiphone paradisi, bronze winged jacana metopidius indicus and the lesser goldenbacked woodpecker dinopium benghalense. Warblers and the Bbacknaped blueflycatcher exist here and the call of the peacock pavo cristatus may often be heard. The reserve also shelters over 70 species of spiders and butterflies.
IN AND AROUND TADOBA
The road around the Tadoba lake provides for good wildlife viewing. Chitals are commonly seen in the grasslands, around the lake and near the tourist complex. Gaurs also exist in large numbers near the lake. Large populations of marsh crocodile reside in the lake, but they can also be seen sunning themselves on forest path, near the lake. Good activity around the lake ensures presence of carnivores.
The sloth bear prefers hilly terrain, and you may often see them behind the tourist complex or near Vasant Bhandara. Lairs of the bear, leopard and tiger may be seen en route from the reception center to Vasant Bhandara. The sloth bear is also found in the heart of the forests at Katezari, which now forms part of the core forest. Dhole is seen ubiquitously throughout the reserve. Hyenas are not as common, but you may occasionally be surprised by one of them near thickets. The black- naped hare is commonly encountered along a route called Sasa road. ('Sasa' is for 'hare' in the Marathi language).
Bhadravati - near the city of Chandrapur - is an ancient temple, situated at the heart of the city. Devotees throng the temple throughout the year.
Vijasan Hills is the place where you will find several Buddha Temples which capture the imagination of many a visitor.
Conservation History of Tadoba
The Gond kings once ruled these forests in the vicinity of the Chimur hills, in the Chandrapur district. Hunting was completely banned in 1935. Two decades later, in 1955, 116.54 sq.km. was declared as Tadoba National Park under the Madhya Pradesh National Park Act. The area was ceded to the state of Maharashtra in 1956. In 1986, an area of 509 sq. km. adjacent to the reserve was notified as the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary. The two sanctuaries were subsequently integrated and in 1993, and it became a Project Tiger Reserve.
The name Tadoba according to one legend, is traced back to a Gond King, named Taru, who was killed by a Tiger. Since the tribals worshiped the King, they erected a shrine in his memory. The shrine situated under a large tree on the shores of Lake Tadoba is still visited by local tribals during their annual fair held between Decemberand January.Clay artifacts of animals exhibited near the idols represent adivasi art and have not changed over the years.
Among the local Gond tribes, the mahua tree (Madhuca indica), represents life and is also known as the tree of life. It is said that in tribal families, when a child is born the nectar of the mahua flower is touched to its mouth even before mother's milk, and a promise is made by the parents that the child will look after the tree and all the surrounding forest, till his/her death. The creamy white flowers are full of sweet juices and are a feast for animals ranging from cheetal, sambar, sloth bears,wild boars and langurs. After digestion the flower generates alcohol and in the months of April, it is common to find zapped sloth bears sleeping peacefully out in the open. Normally, sloth bears sleep most of the day on rocky hills, in caves and crevices. The tribes also value the fruit for it's nutritive value and dry store it for consumption throughout the year.
The Gond kings once ruled these forests in the vicinity of the Chimur hills in Chandrapur district. Hunting was completely banned in 1935. Two decades later, in 1955, 116.54 sq.km. was declared as Tadoba National Park under the Madhya Pradesh National Park Act. The area was ceded to the state of Maharashtra in 1956. In 1986, an area of 509 sq. km. adjacent to the reserve was notified as the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary. The two sanctuaries were subsequently integrated and in 1993, and it became a Project Tiger Reserve.
The local population comprises mainly Gond tribes who speak Marathi and Gondi. The tribes use the forest for several natural products. In these families, a newborn child is fed the nectar of the Mahua flower even before mother's milk to symbolize that the child and the tree will support each other all their lives. The adivasis also sprinkle the sacred water of the Tadoba lake on their crops during the rainy season, in the belief that it would protect their crops from pests.
Pench Tiger reserve is fondly recalled as the true Kipling country- it is named after the Pench river which flows across the entire park. Pench's claim to a wild tiger country comes from the fact that it has the highest density of herbivore population like the chital, sambhar etc.. and the unique teak forest.
The Pench Tiger Reserve and its neighborhood is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling's most famous work, The Jungle Book.
Pench shot to celebrity status when the BBC wildlife team filmed the brilliant documentary "Tiger- Spy in the Jungle" detailing the life of tigers in Pench.
An area of 450 sq.km. in Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh was protected as Pench Sanctuary in 1977. 292 sq. km. was upgraded as Pench National Park in 1983. In 1992, a total area of 757 sq.km. was declared as Pench Tiger Reserve, India's 19th tiger reserve.
Gonds, the local tribe revere Mansingh Deo, a legendary figure who was believed to be a magician who had supernatural healing powers. He would ride into the local bazaar on his tiger. There are two temples dedicated to him, the Chhota Mansingh and Bada Mansingh temples.
Pench is the True Kipling Country, and has been mentioned by naturalist like Captain J. Forsyth in very high regards. The terrain of the park is undulating with mainly gentle slopes criss-crossed by streams and nullahs, though most of these water courses are seasonal. Many of the hills are flat-topped and allow fine vistas of the forests around- best known of these is 'Kalapahar' with an altitude of 650 mts. The Pench river flowing from north to south-west through the center of the Reserve dries out by April but a number of water pools locally known as 'dohs' are found, which serve as waterholes for wild animals. A few perennial springs also exist. Recently a number of earthen ponds and shallow wells have been developed leading to well distributed sources of water all around the reserve.
CLIMATE & WEATHER
The Pench National Park experiences a tropical kind of a climate and there are drastic variations in the climatic conditions in Pench. It has hot summers and cold winters. Early July experiences heavy rainfall and the rainy season continues for the next two months. The average rainfall annually is around 1300 mm in the months of July and August and as such the national park is shut down. The winters are the jungle blossom season and is a photographer's fantasy. The minimum and maximum temperatures recorded in Pench National Park are 4° C and 40.5° C respectively. The winters also experience chilly wintry winds that lower the winter temperature in Pench National Park
FLORA & FAUNA
Experts term the Pench forest as southern tropical dry deciduous and dry mixed deciduous forest with other species of shrubs, trees and climbers. Teak and its associates moyan, mahua, mokha, skiras, tendu, bija, achar, garari, aonla, ghont, baranga, amaltas, kihamali, khair, palas are in abundance. Bamboo occurs sparsely, restricted to some valleys.
With the distinction of a reserve with highest density herbivore population, Pench will definitely not disappoint in terms of game viewing. The tiger and the leopard are the predators who claim fiefdom in Pench.The sloth bear and the leopard cat co-exist with the four-horned antelope and mouse deer. Spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, nilgai and wild boars may also be encountered. Langurs and the wild boars are most commonly sighted. Reptiles like crocodiles, monitor lizard, turtles, Indian pythons, cobra and viper are also found here.
Pench is a bird watcher's paradise, with more than 170 bird species already recorded. It never fails to disappoint a keen eye.
Birds : Hornbills, roofus tree-pie, painted storks, wolly neck storks , black storks, flame back woodpeckers, pied woodpeckers, varieties of kingfishers like common, white breasted, pied, stork-billed, Indian and European rollers, bee eaters, cuckoos, parakeets, Asian palm swift, varieties of owls like dusky eagle owl, collar scof owl, spotted owlet, nightjars, crakes, snipes, sandpipers, gulls, terns, eagles like serpent eagle, changeable hawk eagle, darters, cormorants, orioles, cuckoo-shrikes, minivets, drongos, pittas etc.
IN & AROUND
Some say this is the prettiest spot in Pench. As the winding track comes to a dead end, it brings you to the bank of the river Pench, dotted with rocks and weird looking trees. In the summer months, bushes with white flowers run all along the bank. To see these flowers in full bloom, it is a must to visit the spot in the morning hours, as they close by early evening. The evening though has a charm of its own here with the light of the low sun painting an amazing scenery with shadows and highlights playing their own game. It is a good spot for bird lovers. Make sure you have your binoculars with you.
The Ali-katta area appears to be the hub around which the park is planned. All tracks seem to wind their way in different directions only to end at Ali-katta. It is a fascinating expanse of grassland, where it is possible to come across any of the animals found in the park. It is one of the few places left in the country where every evening one gets to see the amazing spectacle of large grazing herds of spotted deer. Where there is prey, there will be predators, so keep your eyes open here. It is also the location from where the elephant rides commence.
Ali-katta is also home to Saraswati, a recently born baby elephant (in June 03), who will surely keep visitors enthralled with her antics for a few years to come.
Pench Tiger Reserve was created in 1992, becoming the 19th Reserve in the Project Tiger network. The core zone of the Reserve, Pench National Park was created in 1983. This was carved out of the Pench Sanctuary created in 1977 with an area of 449.39 sq. km. The area of the Park is 292.85 sq. km., which is divided almost equally in two districts - 145.36 sq. km. in Seoni and 147.28 sq. km. in Chhindwara. The area in Seoni is all Reserve Forest whereas the area in Chhindwara includes 138.24 sq. km. of Reserve forests, 6.26 sq. km. of Protected Forests and 2.78 sq. km. of Revenue Land. The total area of the reserve including the buffer zone is 757.86 sq. km.
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