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Shekar

In search of Big Cat, Hyderabad to Tadoba drive

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This is about June 2016 travel to Tadoba Tiger reserve from Hyderabad. 

 

In Jan-2016 I had traveled Chopta and Munsiyari  in Uttarakand with another three new travelers met first time at Delhi. One of them Mr. Pandey is from Nagpur and he asked me to come down to Nagpur for visiting Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and booked safari a couple of months before for 12th June 2016 . Till then I had no experience of any forest safary and I was excited to see many wild animals. Mean time our travel friends planned for Ladakh tour in the last week of June, 2016 (25-06-2016). It was one of the dream destination and I know it will be difficult and expensive if I go alone and said OK and booked flight/train to Delhi and back. Then started thinking  it will be hectic for two tours in two weeks. But Pandey who is also coming for Ladakh trip did not agree and made me to visit Tadoba.   

 

Day 1

On 11th June we started at 5.00 Hrs in my car from Hyderabad. My wife and son were with me. We are two drivers and had a back seat to sleep if needed. We reached Nirmal by 8.00 Hrs entered town leaving NH44 and had breakfast at Hotel Mayuri. Breakfast was good but when we had lunch next year, it was very bad. We joined NH44 through old NH7 road. Reached Nagpur by 13.00 Hrs and Pandey's home by 13.30. 

 

Roads up to Adilabad were excellent. Four lane work and Underpass works at Hingenghat (about 30 Kms) not completed and have to change lanes and pass through the villages. Road at places in this section also not good. After that till Nagpur roads are good. 

 

One more travelmate Mr. Jagtap from Betul (MP) who is mine safety officer in Western Coal Fields (WCF) and a native of Nagpur was supposed to join us with his family in his car. But due to some fire accident in a coal mine he could not join us. 

 

Our plan was to reach  WCF guest house at Murpar which is about 15 Kms away from Navegaon Gate of Tadoba Reserve and stay overnight and reach the gate early in the morning. 

 

We started from Nagpur at about 17.00 Hrs and reached Murpar by 19.45 Hrs. While entering Chandrapur district at Umred check-post, local police stopped our car for checking and found one whiskey bottle in our luggage which was kept by Pandey.

 

The police told me that alcohol  is banned in chandrapur district and we can not carry. I said I am from Hyderabad and I do not the local rules and never imagined that a particular district will have a ban.

 

He looked at Pandey in the car and asked he is from Maharashtra and how come he do not know. I said he does not know about it and i brought it my self. Some how he took away the bottle and allowed us to proceed further.  

 

So those who are travelling to Tadoba please do not carry alcohol. 

 

By the time we reached Chimur which is a little bigger town close to Navegaon Gate, it started drizzling and when we took right turn at Khadsangi for Murpar, heavy downpour started and visibility was hardly 20 mtrs in head lights. Left turn at Khadsangi will lead to Navegaon gate. Mr. Jagtap booked the guest house at WCF mine area, Murpar. We found one Telugu cook in the guest house and when we told him about Umred check post incident, he said we are too lucky to be let off, otherwise they arrest and harras for carrying alcohol. When we asked about dinner he said other than non veg, he will prepare any thing. Non Veg has to be brought from Chimur some 12 Kms away and it is not possible at that time and that too in heavy rain. We ordered roti, dal and sabji with omlets. 

 

Mean time me and pandey went to Khadsangi in the rain and enquired about safari vehicles. we were told that there is no need to book in advance and Gypsy cars will be available at the gate as per the serial and as many as permitted for the day/session. We had dinner and had good sleep. 

 

Day 2 

 

We got up early and reached Navegaon gate before 5.30 Hrs. We found only one car before us at the gate. We went to gate office and booked a safari car and engaged a Guide. Safari car is for Rs. 600 and Guide Rs.350 (That's what I remember). Sky is clear and we found water of previous night's rain on the roads pot holes. We entered the forest by 5.45. Our guide said it is always advantage of more sightings if your car is first and it proved correct. 

 

DSC_0068.jpg.382050c3fcbdac865982d26961fbddb7.jpgMyself with wife and kids of Pandey

DSC_0073.jpg.93dec8d1c87024f68371918d547251f9.jpg

 

DSC_0080.jpg.232ecbf87c064559633b99d64b8fd5e1.jpgThe first site before entering the core area

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DSC_0090.jpg.066591cac3f4d00a14908cd09adde177.jpgSecond sighting a glimpse of bear  

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  Then a Jackal 

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There were lot of birds and I could not shoot them as I do not have a proper lens. 

DSC_0152-2.jpg.7eceeb974d155693666734ca52deec8e.jpg

 

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The same bear came out of the forest and crossed our path. 

DSC_0159.jpg.943848b025429543d81aa53f919b3d28.jpg

We were told that Tiger will come here but after waiting enough time he did not turned up. 

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There are many deers and Neelgai

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Obviously not happy with our presence

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Canter from Moharli gate 

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Now many jeeps arrived and waiting at a water hole for the arrival of the Big Cat. 

 

But it did not show up and the our morning session ended. Little disappointed and our guide was telling us that people make more than six safaris and go back without seeing a Tiger. We had a booking for afternoon safari also. With a little hope we returned to our guest house. 

DSC_0238-2.thumb.jpg.0d683c9531756649bc48d32f19438411.jpg

 

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On the way back from morning safari

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DSC_0253.jpg.7314a6bbee6aa42f732e8954afbf1ed9.jpg

Padey with our Driver and Guide. 

 

Will continue with after noon Safari.. 

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We had returned to guest house around 10 and had our breakfast. Ordered food for lunch and went to bed to have some rest. Post lunch we packed our bags and reached Navegaon gate by 15.00 Hrs for afternoon safari. Timings are 15.00 Hrs to 18.00 Hrs. It was very hot now and the morning wetness on the ground disappeared. 

 

It was New Jeep and New Guide. We enquired about morning vehicle and guide and we were told that their serial will come on next day only. 

DSC_0260.jpg.ec66e718444d3593d55b4bf73171ffc9.jpg

 

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It was so hot that we could not see any animals on roads like we saw in the morning. 

 

We roamed and roamed in various directions. Our guide got a call from other guides about sighting of Tiger and by the time we rushed there it disappeared in to forest. 

DSC_0292.jpg.89520a78895e1276235969afe9bca36a.jpg

 

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Found some more birds at a water hole. 

DSC_0312.jpg.90b47c0c0597731a3f593bb8bbc37b9f.jpg\DSC_0323.jpg.f7fed1e5985bd45fe268c7989b5218e5.jpg

 Then these

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After shooting this cute one, we got information that a Tiger (I forgot the name of it) is sighted at a specific water hole. We rushed there and found a canter and a half a dozen jeeps are lined up in front of the water hole waiting for the Tiger to come. After waiting for some time at about 17.00 Hrs we gaot another message that the Tiger reached another water hole It was the same where we waited in the morning. By the time we reached there it was too crowded. More than 20 jeeps are there with big big cameras zooming out and clicking the BIg Cat. With great difficulty we squeezed in (Jeep) (None is allowed to get down from the jeeps. Not only here but during entire safari time. And at last we could see a Tiger taking rest in the pond after a belly fool of hunt. 

 

Around 17.30 all the vehicles came from other gates including Mohrali left the place as they have to travel more than 30 minutes to reach their gates. We had an advantage of short distance to Navegaon gate and we stayed up to 18.00 Hrs and left the place. 

 

I do not have proper Zoom Lens and the snaps of the Big Cat are not so good after more cropping. 

 

Here are few... 

DSC_0495.jpg.a6bdea6294835c8380d41b2ea94c8307.jpg

 

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DSC_0506.jpg.b76c5f3b9205c66af710c00673b65684.jpg

 

DSC_0543.jpg.936a644fcdb7ea170debd87be7f44413.jpg

 

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This is the last one away from core area said bye bye to us. 

 

We started at about 18.15 from Navegaon gate and started for nagpur as I have to drop Pandey and his kids. Otherwise we can directly come to Hyderabad. We reached around 20.00 Hrs to Nagpur it rained again reducing our speed to 30 Kmph while reaching Nagpur. We stayed overnight at Nagpur and started after breakfast at 9.00 from Nagpur and reached Hyderabad by 16.00 Hrs. 

 

Summary

 

1. Navegaon Gate is the most nearer to the core area and one can reach the core area quickly and there will be more chances of animal sighting. 

2. Private resorts  like Tigers heaven Resort and Jharana Jungle Lodge are available when we visited in June 2016. Some more might have been added now. We did not stayed in any one of them hence no feed back. 

3. Unlike other gates, very limited vehicles are permitted from Navegaon gate. What I remembered is 10 in the morning and 10 in the Afternoon. 

4. Advance booking (Online) is best option. Direct entry (Booking at Gate) is possible only if permitted quota is not booked online which most unlikely. 

5. Private cars also permitted on condition that a forest guide is available in our car. I do not think it is wise as visibility to rear seat occupants is not good and one seat in the front is occupied by guide. It will be difficult to take photographs. None will be allowed to get down from car, 

6. We can directly reach Hinganghat on NH44 from Navegaon and the distance to Hyderabad will be about 530 Kms. Other option is via Chandrapur but quickest is Via Hinganghat. I am not aware of road condition between Navegaon to Hinganghat.   

7. Road between Nagpur to Navegaon gate is mostly two lane and very good up to Umred (Chandrapur dist border) and good beyond that. Total about 100 Kms. 

 

I would love to share any further information known to me. 

 

Hope I did not write too much. 

 

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Beautiful pictures and very informative.
Thank you for sharing the information.

You are definitely lucky to spot so much wildlife in one safari. 

 

I know few people, who did not even spot a single wild life in the entire safari.

Summer is the perfect time to visit this place. 

 

During our safari around 2010~2011, we spotted a live hunt.
It was a great experience.

14-01.jpeg

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Excellent report @Shekar. Super informative and nice pictures too.. I think the name of the tiger is 'Meenakshi' :) But, you have spotted a lot of wildlife I must say which is very unusual during the time of your visit.

April and May would be very perfect to expect the sighting of the big cat. Just that the chances are more than visits during the rest of the months.

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On 3/17/2019 at 11:43 AM, Shekar said:

was so hot that we could not see any animals on roads like we saw in the morning. 

 

We roamed and roamed in various directions. Our guide got a call from other guides about sighting of Tiger and by the time we rushed there it disappeared in to forest. 

This reminds me of my trip last year. Wildlife experience is really beautiful one... I still can't forget those days in the forest. Last Safari, I spotted a Tigress with her cubs. Beautiful sight it was. Planning more and more trips this year and hope I do it. The pictures are beautiful and the trip report is awesome. What's your car and please attach guest House location and details. 

 

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13 minutes ago, SK01 said:

This reminds me of my trip last year. Wildlife experience is really beautiful one...

 

You being a wildlife fanatic, should do Kanha National reserve drive or a Jim Corbett safari in next. :) 

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20 hours ago, driveking said:

Wow lovely pictures. Any cheap stay options available in Tadoba? 

 

Most of the hotels are over priced around Tadoba. 
Don't expect value for money options. 

 

I'm not sure about the recent scenario. 

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On 3/17/2019 at 11:43 AM, Shekar said:

Summary

 

Very neatly summarised.
 

On 3/17/2019 at 11:43 AM, Shekar said:

Navegaon Gate is the most nearer to the core area and one can reach the core area quickly and there will be more chances of animal sighting. 

 

This is the best gate to visit?

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48 minutes ago, RajG said:

This is the best gate to visit?

 

The spotting is usually seen high at the Moharli gate to enter Tadoba. Refer to the thread below for more detailed information on the gates at Tadoba.

 

 

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On ‎3‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 10:21 AM, Ranger said:

During our safari around 2010~2011, we spotted a live hunt.
It was a great experience.

 

Wow Lucky you. 

 

16 hours ago, sagar said:

The spotting is usually seen high at the Moharli gate to enter Tadoba. Refer to the thread below for more detailed information on the gates at Tadoba.

 

I am not expert in this subject, but what my Nagpur friends who frequent to Tadoba told me that Moharli gate is far off from Core area and too crowded. May be due to more stay options. 

 

On ‎3‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 9:32 AM, sagar said:

You being a wildlife fanatic, should do Kanha National reserve drive or a Jim Corbett safari in next.

 

First I need to upgrade my photo gear, then I will plan those. 

 

On ‎3‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 9:17 AM, SK01 said:

This reminds me of my trip last year. Wildlife experience is really beautiful one... I still can't forget those days in the forest. Last Safari, I spotted a Tigress with her cubs. Beautiful sight it was. Planning more and more trips this year and hope I do it. The pictures are beautiful and the trip report is awesome. What's your car and please attach guest House location and details. 

 

 

I own Toyota Etios GD since 2013 and I traveled a lot in it. It has clocked 97 K on Odo and I am just planning to replace it. The guest house belongs to Western Coal Field and only officers of WCF are permitted to book it. One of travel partner who was supposed to travel with us was Mine safety Officer in WCF and he booked it for us. 

 

The location is https://goo.gl/maps/brHMdoth4aL2

 

On ‎3‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 1:09 PM, driveking said:

Wow lovely pictures. Any cheap stay options available in Tadoba? 

 

Yes all the resorts are expensive as far as I know. But I think there are some budget hotels at Chimur which is close to Navegaon gate.  

 

On ‎3‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 11:49 AM, sagar said:

Excellent report @Shekar. Super informative and nice pictures too.. I think the name of the tiger is 'Meenakshi' :) But, you have spotted a lot of wildlife I must say which is very unusual during the time of your visit.

April and May would be very perfect to expect the sighting of the big cat. Just that the chances are more than visits during the rest of the months.

 

Thank you @sagar, May be due to first rains in June first half, we could saw many animals. 

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9 hours ago, Shekar said:

 

I own Toyota Etios GD since 2013 and I traveled a lot in it. It has clocked 97 K on Odo and I am just planning to replace it. The guest house belongs to Western Coal Field and only officers of WCF are permitted to book it. One of travel partner who was supposed to travel with us was Mine safety Officer in WCF and he booked it for us. 

 

The location is https://goo.gl/maps/brHMdoth4aL2

Thanks for the info @Shekar

Any pictures of the guest house? 

 

The joy of clocking 1l on the odo of our car is something else. I wanted to clock 1l on my WagonR. Clocked 70k kms in 3 years and later had to sell it to give way to the more powerful, safe and fun to drive Ford Freestyle. This time I want to clock the maximum number of kms given in the Ford Owners app i.e., 3l kms. Now it's 8k kms in 5 months. 

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On 3/20/2019 at 7:52 AM, SK01 said:

Any pictures of the guest house? 

I am not finding one

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      (Inside the Masjid)
       
      Came out of fort , there are multiple roadside eateries , all of us are hungry and just stormed into one of the eatery where we all will fit. The eatery is an extension to the home and is managed by father - daughter duo. We had dosas for breakfast , and had coffee right after. The eatery owner told us that there are tents available for rent , and other adventure actives are available to do during evening time. (Campfire, Canoeing, Boating etc , also sleeping bags are also available for rent). 
       
      After breakfast i observed a road split off and going in the direction of the near by mountain and windmills, looked more like a service road. I inquired if tourists can drive up there , and to my surprise , they said yes. Drove to the top of the hill , and view of Gandikota fort from there is pretty awesome. we decided to take some pics before leaving.

      (The view of the fort is towards the left of the pic , with penna reservoir in the background, not quite visible)
       
      We left the place at 9:30 at started towards our next destination Orvakal Rock Garden. The Rock garden is opposite to the Kurnool Airport Gate , we reached the place by 12:30. 
      Google maps took us through a route with is not great  till we reached the Rayalaseema express way, but it was very scenic. Too bad we didnt take any pictures while driving , and just enjoyed the views. 
       
      It was 12:30 , by the time we reached Orvakal Rock Garden. There was a APTDC resort. And entry Fee to enter the rock garden. As it was 12:30 we decided to have lunch before heading into the resort, but each one of us went and bought an ice cream or Kulfi , ( Feels like child , when wife or parents are not around). Went ahead to Orvakal Rock Garden. 
      It was not big, but the rocks have been sculptured by air flow over thousands or millions of years. But since it was 12:30 in the after noon , it felt very big. 

      Entrance to the Rock Garden , stairs are neatly cut , and anyone can reach it without any difficulty

      Once you climb up the stairs , you will be greeted with this statue , and then similar statues of multiple animals






      It was so hot that we settled under the iota of shade available in the entire rock garden. 
       
      Notice Mr.Chennai missing from the picture , he again went to explore every nook and corner of the Rock Garden. We waited till he came back and started off to our next destination Alampur. 
       
      Alampur is one of the 18 shakthipeetas , it is the place where Krishna meets Tungabhadra , and is the place for deity Jogulamba. It is said that when Sati immolated herself , Lord Shiva carried her body across the universe. Vishnu not able to see Shiva's sorrow , cut the body of Sati with his Sudarshana Chakra. Those body parts fell back on earth. And it is said that alampur is where Sati's Upper Jaw/teeth fell. 
       
      The road to Alampur was well paved , and Telangana tourism has provided drinking water and other amenities to pilgrims. Mr.Daddy who was here some years back was surprised to see the roads and amenities provided. 



       
      The temple has Medieval architecture , and even if you are not a religious person , but interested in history , you should visit this place. There is a Museum for History buffs. 
       
      We left Alampur at 3:00 P.M and reached Food Pyramid at 4:30 P.M , had some tea , snacks , and started back to Hyderabad. 
       
      We reached Hyderabad at 7:30 P.M , went to DLF to have chai. And after chai , everyone went their own separate ways . May be all 5 us will together be on a trip in 2019 next. 
       
      Signing Off 
      Mr.Driver
       
      P.S : This is my first post , please provide feedback , on Pics , mistakes , Spelling , writing style , any thing which you felt is out of place.
       
       


    • By Raj1
      Hello guys...
      I'm planning for a Road trip from Hyderabad to Goa.... And back to Hyderabad...
       
      I'm new at this... So would love to hear out suggestions about the route to be taken, places to stay along the way and places to visit!
      Along with approximate time duration for all of the trip!
       
      Thanks in advance
    • By Ranger
      A quick drive to Hidden Castle.
      Place is located around 100 kilometers from Hyderabad.
       
      Road condition:
      4-lane with very few diversions. Once you hit the highway, You will reach the destination in an hour.
       
      Food options on highway:
      Enroute you can find Haritha food court.

    • By KSK
      Intro Rant:

      Summers are always tricky. Most people don't prefer to venture out on a trip in summer, for obvious reasons. So, when I bounced an idea off a trip to Warangal this summer, everyone went nuts. They even ridiculed that I'm not in my senses. But I did not want to drop the idea just because someone feels it to be stupid. I needed a break from my monotonous work life, so I was adamant. I know my wife also wouldn't agree; even if she does, she doesn't come considering the weather, but I have to do the customary - inform. My son's response, quick as a wink, was "Let's do it". Wonderful kid. It took some collective effort by me and my son to get the go-ahead from the home minister. Phew!
       
      Plan and Preparation:

      Being a Kakatiya University graduate myself, I regret not exploring enough of Warangal (capital of Kakatiya Dynasty) for long, which is known for its rich history and heritage. Though it is well within 150 km distance from my hometown and also from Hyderabad, I did not specifically travel to see some of its historical places. So, it's that time again - One-day trip!
       
      There was this understanding with my wife and me that any impromptu trip needs to be done and dusted same day. If it's feasible and possible then she and our daughter would also join. Otherwise, my only soul companion is my son on any given day. He can only match and endure my crazy schedule. But being peak summer, my wife was skeptical and worried about excessively hot weather. Only after explaining and reassuring about all necessary precautions taken, we were given the nod. I feel there is nothing like "perfect" time to travel. There is only convenient time. The more the amount of convenience the better. That's it. Peak season travel can bring expensive price tags, overcrowded tours, accommodation, parking and food problems etc. So sometimes off-season travelling could bring in some benefits. One such benefit is leisurely exploring the place in its entirety without hassle. In the end, it proved to be a wise decision as we could spend some quality time exploring the places (especially Laknavaram which is crowded during peak season).
       
      Once the date (April 15th) was decided, it was only up to us on how many places we can cover in a day. We finalized 6 places. I've gone through Google maps for route and order of visit.
       
      The Route:

      Hyderabad -> Bhuvanagiri -> Yadadri -> Kazipet -> Warangal. 
       
      This is the only route everyone takes from Hyderabad, but little did we know what was in store for us. The four-lane road is under construction from Yadadri (Yadagirigutta) to Warangal, and it is a 99-km section of National Highway–163 in Telangana. Lots of patches, diversions and traffic was allowed only on one side. It was a nightmare to drive with heavy oncoming truck traffic especially at night. It took nearly 4 hours to cover 145 odd KMs for return journey, excluding dinner time.
       
      The Journey:

      Below was the order of places we wanted to visit:
       
      Bhadrakali Temple Warangal Fort Thousand-Pillar Temple Ramappa Temple Laknavaram Lake Pakhal Lake  
      Trip Details:
       
      Total distance covered:  539 KM
      Total duration of the trip:  17 hours
       
      Road Conditions:
       
      NH163 - Yadadri to Warangal:  Quite a few diversions, patchy roads, potholes, and heavy truck traffic (at night). Other connecting roads are good to okay. If travelling to Pakhal lake from Laknavaram then do not blindly follow Google maps. It'll take you through some thandas.  We drove almost 6 KM through a thanda and got lost.  Just take left at Mallampalli and follow NH365 until Narsampet (Ambedkar statue), and then take left and follow Pakhal road till the lake.  
      Food Options:
       
      Limited food options everywhere we visited except Warangal. At Laknavaram, food options available like lunch, but depends on the crowd. Better to carry home-made food to other places.  
       
      Parking Facility:
       
      Limited or no proper parking facilities at all places I visited. It'll be chaos at Laknavaram in peak season unless there is an alternative.  

       

       

  • Gandikota meetup on January 26 and 27th

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