Tiger Central- Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Tiger Central- Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

A large black shape loomed in the middle of the road as I left the park one night. It didn’t get out of the way, so I braked. By the time I came to a stop I realized I was two feet away from a wild, full-grown bear, the red-fruited marks of its last meal still fresh and wet on its muzzle, and close enough that I could reach and it knocked dry through my open window. I don’t know which of us was more surprised.

Of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve offers plenty of opportunities for such close encounters of the kind of nature. And a number of other interesting sights. Like the imposing stone pillars that we saw daily on our way from the MTDC guest house in Moharli to Tadoba. The road is flanked for a good distance by these impressive structures which are believed to have been antique lampposts or some sort of communication device for the Gond king of Chandrapur as he made his regal road through the forest to Nagpur. Coincidentally, the king of Chandrapur was relieved of his royal duties by the Bhonsles of Nagpur in the mid-18th century, but these pillars still remain an intriguing testimony to the majesty of the tribal kings of this area.

Read also: See me if you can Simlipal Tiger Reserve

In Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Photo door Sushilghugul)

It is a lush forested area with a variety of tree species. I was most taken with the strangely beautiful and aptly named ghost trees with their white branches. The mahua is everywhere, with its distinctive smell – if you look around Moharli, you could probably get your hands on a bottle of the mahua’s most beloved by-product, the eponymous drink. Scattered throughout we saw beautiful kusums and flowering silk cotton, which bloom from late winter to spring. Especially around the waterhole at Panchadhara there are Arjuns, for those of you who enjoy trees with their own stories.

The waterholes in the park are a beacon for animals, especially in high summer. Even in January, at the waterhole of Pandharpauni (about 5 km north of Tadoba Lake) in the evening, we saw deer and boar until our eyes bubbled, quietly eating their fill. Another afternoon we surprised a bear at a well and he lurked until we left, for the poor thing hadn’t been drinking.

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Photo by Dr. Caesar Photography)
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Photo by Dr. Caesar Photography)

One memorable morning, I was out at first light, and came along a narrow path through the bamboo, happened upon a gaur in the middle of the road. Looking to the left, we saw two young gaurs and to the right a nursing mother and her young, an almost unbelievably cute thing with huge ears that in no way foreshadows the colossal maturity that will soon descend upon its owner. It was quite something to be in the middle of a family of these huge yet elegant animals, the tightly packed bamboo on all sides of the car breaking the early morning light as it played on the animals. And then, as suddenly as we had encountered them, they were gone. We came upon a huge lone male in the evening and quietly chewed by the side of the road. My guide whispered urgently in my ear that grown men, when alone, know they are suing. This one was in no mood to crumple my car and quietly agreed to be photographed.

Yes, that’s right, my car. The park authorities allow you to take your own vehicle into the park, provided it is a four-wheeler. I saw a recent model of Maruti 800 swinging gleefully across the interior, and the driver said he’d driven that same car all the way from Nagpur, his family gleefully stuffed, many times.

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Photo by Dr. Caesar Photography)
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Photo by Dr. Caesar Photography)

Tadoba is a magical place. Those who bring their sense of wonder and adventure and are willing to peer into the undergrowth will see things they have never seen before. The sheer abundance of animals, the up close view, the abundant beauty of the reserve itself all come together to make the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve a special experience. And the best part is that it is so accessible and yet so far removed from the world around it.

Quick Facts

State: Maharashtra

Location: In Chandrapur district of Vidharba region of eastern Maharashtra

Distances: 142 km SE of Nagpur, 45 km N of Chandrapur

Itinerary from Nagpur; NH7 to Jamb via Bori; SH264 to Chandrapur via Warora; neighbourhood

road to Tadoba NP via Moharli

When to go; The park is open most of the year, but recommended times are November through May. The guides will honestly tell you that high summer is the best time to come. Water is becoming scarce in the park and the animals gather around the water that is available – and provided by the Forest Department, courtly man-made watering holes that are occasionally filled by tankers. You can often see tigers cooling their backsides in these holes. April and May are the best time to spot tigers, but be aware that temperatures in the park reach up to 46 degrees

Go there for Tigers

Read also:

Adventure in Kipling Country- Kanha National Park

A trip to Nagarhole National Park

Manas National Park – Beauty in danger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *