Encounter With Tigers? I don’t mean that literally! Seeing that magnificent animal is one helluva experience. Maybe because it was my first time seeing them in their own habitat. Of course the Discovery and Animal planet binge watching was always there!

Tigers! Tigers in Asia are extremely rare and far more secretive. Spotting them is another task, you need to spend plenty of time visiting the most prominent places where they are found quite often, our local guide told us in the evening tigers are spotted near the tadoba lake, we were lucky enough to spot a tigress on the first day of our safari itself. “Maya”, highly renowned with tourists. Most celebrated tigress. Trip to the tiger reserve was a part of my curriculum in the final year of degree college. That point of time when college is nearly over and you part your ways. That happened. But you never seem to forget that one

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is an infinite treasure trove situated in Chandrapur District in Maharashtra, Central India. Being the largest tiger reserve in Maharashtra, and probably the best sanctuary in india for tiger sightings. Tigers in tadoba are so used to the presence of people that they seem unconcerned by their close proximity. If you get lucky the tiger sightings can be very brief, in our case it lasted for 5-6 minutes and it was “Mayas” prey time with numerous alarm signals “Yelping calls” from monkeys (Grey Langur) and spotted deers (Chital) they make specific sounds, which rise in pitch when in danger.

Spotted deer, Sambar and Wild boar are found in abundance, they are literally present everywhere in the forest, being the easiest prey of the tigers. We also happened to spot some other large animals including Indian Bison (Gaur), a massive bull, a full grown male can weigh upto 1000 kilograms, Golden jackal, Sloth bear, although the chances of spotting a sloth bear is slightly low. They are nocturnal in nature. We were fortunate once again. Also these animals offer good photography potential to the discerning wildlife photographers. Leopard and Jungle cat are hard to spot, there is a fair chance of coming across the rare and declining Dhole (Indian Wild Dog).
The reserve holds a rich selection of avian fauna with migratory birds coming in winters. Black drongo being the highlight.

Mumbai to chandrapur was a 15 hour long train journey, filled with rambling conversations, horror stories at night and speaking your heart out sessions. Long train journeys sometimes can get mundane, but this journey was different. It was buzzing!!

We visited tadoba in mid january, took a stay in youth hostel/dorm, only the students. Our teachers were treated royally with a private guest room. The hostel had bunk beds lined up which were nice and cozy. It was in an area right besides where the ‘man-eater’ leopards were kept. Scary? The same day in the afternoon we kickstarted our expedition with a tiger safari and were given certain instructions.
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Camouflage? #Hiss&Fuff
  • Not to wear too flashy clothes.
  • Tourists are not allowed to get down from their jeep at any cost.
  • Do not litter.
  • Stay safe.

We were six of us all stashed in open-topped jeeps to explore the wilderness of tadoba with skilled local guides who are experts on the geography of the park and they have an idea of tiger movements which doesn’t work sometimes. Riding through the endless forest was embracing, quite symbolic, the smell of sweet oxygen, birds singing in choir felt like a big warm welcome to us. After riding around for half an hour or so, our guide found out that there was a tigress spotted in a different location, without any further ado we quickly transported ourselves to that place, already there were dozens of jeep’s waiting to see a glimpse of her! And bam there she was!! Mighty mighty ‘Maya’ walked being the most dominant tigress!!

When a tiger walks, the jungle stands in attention.

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Talk about grace 

Early morning safaris are recommended, only downside is that it’s super cold in the morning. So much that it makes you numb! But what to expect in middle of the jungle? PS – Make yourself fully covered with wolly clothes (if in morning). These guys in the picture below shared hand gloves and they were frozen in the whole safari. It was funny seeing them do that. Stopped over for breakfast on the top of a hill, we took packed breakfast with us, tigers may think the same 😉

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Memories.                                                          

We went on a bird trail/walk to a nearby village. I am not fascinated seeing birds. Ended up clicking some pictures instead. Those bird enthusiasts of our group were more than happy seeing so many different species of birds. We returned after a while, lunch was served in the dining room with typical maharashtrian food, but it failed to satiate my hunger.

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Fishing?
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Reflections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two hours drive from tadoba is Anandwan (Forest of happiness) it is a well developed city with a community rehabilitation centre which was mainly built for leprosy patients and disabled from downtrodden sections of society. The leprosy patients here are self sufficient and the land is maintained by using organic farming techniques. In addition the ashram has various home-based, small-scale industry units run by the residents that generate income to cover additional requirements. They believe in waste recycling and using minimal natural resources. There’s a hospital, an orphanage, school for the blind and deaf. In all it’s a well equipped city.

PS- Make prior bookings for the safari.

Best time to visit – Anytime in winters, summers are unbearable there.

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Hello!

That brought us to our journey’s end with innumerous memories for lifetime. Also college ended soon after that. Writing this post made me nostalgic. It took me back. I hope reading this post reminded you of your last trip you had with your friends in college, irrespective of the place visited.

High resolution pictures are photographed by my lovely friend jenefa 🙂

Hop over to eattravelrepeatweb.wordpress.com for more of this! Thank you for reading!!

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