Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Jungle an Addiction: Tadoba Wildlife Reserve

Green Rustic Exciting TADOBA
This is what I felt when I first entered “The Real Land of Tigers” as the gate at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) describes it.  About 180 kms from Nagpur via Chandrapur, this wildlife sanctuary is a well known reserve for tigers and other wildlife species.
On this trip to Tadoba in the monsoon, I was accompanied by Shalik and Manisha. The journey from Nagpur to Mohurli was marked by flooded fields and broken bridges and Shalik’s tales of the jungle. When he accidentally spotted a tiger; when sometimes his instincts would push him in the direction of the royal animal or when he saw wild dogs going for a kill of Sambar fawn.  Exciting!
After a four hour drive, we checked in at the MTDC hotel which is easy on the pocket with decent rooms. A pre- booking for safari and hotel is a must.
The next day, we were the first ones to enter the park. The jungle as always is beautiful. It is lush, alive and bright. We were greeted by thick vegetation and trees on both sides of the road and the cold fresh breeze. Manisha christened the little streams on the road as “baithe hue jharne” or sitting streams. We remembered the owlets who greeted us at a particular tree at Kanha National Park. And I longed to see owlets even here (which I happened to see the same night just outside our room).
Bison.Pic by Manisha.G
Being in the jungle gives me sense of freedom. I taste it when I stand on the jeep and feel the breeze across my face. At that moment there is no office or nagging colleagues; worried parents or a tensed me to pay rent. When I am in the jungle, I just am. Nothing exists before or after. It’s just is.

On our safaris we saw numerous birds and animals. A beautiful huge eagle welcomed us on almost all our safaris. The ‘Stork-billed Kingfisher’ greeted us thereafter. We were told it is a difficult site but well, as luck would have it, we caught it on camera FIVE TIMES on that day!

Picture by Shalik Jogwe
I wondered if it was for real, the jungle, rustle of the leaves, chirping birds and insects. It is so amazing that such beauty exists. We spotted a mongoose crossing the road and soon after a number of peahens. Manisha prayed to see a peacock and we saw one that day. She then prayed for a dancing peacock. But hello! When do all prayers get fulfilled! The treat of the day was the bunch of wild dogs we saw in the evening. 

Wild Dogs. Pic by Manisha.G
Villagers in Melghat call the wild dogs the real king of the jungle; a thought fiercely challenged by Shalik- a royal tiger lover.

During one of our safaris, the sky poured its heart out to us. The jeep splashed the water on us driving through the “baithe hua jarne”. We shivered against the wind and water. We got drenched. We just loved it. 

Even though Tadoba is known as the land of roaring tigers, we didn't spot any on this trip. But no regrets as the beauty of the jungle made up for it. Tadoba is rustic and beautiful. The villagers here have been employed as guides or drivers for the safaris. If you know the right people, you may be welcomed for homestays where you can experience the simple life of the village. We had the opportunity to visit Ganesh’s house, who was our driver.

We visited Tadoba to visit again. To organize your trip to Tadoba Wildlife Reserve get in touch with Shalik Jogwe, who organized this trip for us. His email is