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Pinaki

From human zoo to monstrous Forest, Hyderabad to Tadoba drive

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As civilization got us out of the jungle, it’s funny – how we keep running back to the jungle floor often to experience the best in life. The package of adventure, thrill, safari and simplicity together have a very different taste. The balance between wildlife and green nature have unparallel beauty to offer for those who enjoy such life.

 

Just when summer was reaching its height, I hit the hot iron to get the best out of it. Without a second thought, I knot Tadoba for one night and brought my untouched experience to an end – burst the balloon of Safari, adventure, thrill, wild life, everything you can imagine in the jungle to enjoy them for next twenty-four hours.

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Tadoba has main four gates for the safari experience. There are many guest house and resorts that will suit your taste and budget. However, it is recommended you do research online before selecting a location for stay. The government guest houses are also neat and decent. We picked Svasara Jungle resort at Korala Gate which is just a stone throw away from the resort.

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The road trip from Hyderabad to Korala ghat just 8 hours’ drive ( 450 KMs)  . The National Highway 44 is not only smooth and brilliant, it has amazing scenic beauty. As you drive as early as the sunrise, you will get smitten by the scenic beauty for most of the stretch of the drive.  I would recommend after Adilabad , take a turn through Maregaon ( SH 6 ) which is equally beautiful and have smooth road till you enter Maharastra. The track from MH border to Tadoba Korala Gata is unfortunately under construction and need your patience . It not only slows down your speed, it can literally eat up your fun and energy for one hour! However remember all comes his way he who waits! Just cross this hell and you are right at the gate of Svasara Resort.

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The resort is very decent and has close to 20 cottages. Best thing is all of them are same , so you don’t need to worry on look and feel. They do have a great social area for meeting all the residents of the resort.

This brings a lot of dialogue and sharing of experience among the residents after or just before the safari. Both Ranjit and Nandita are the managers of the resort and they are extremely down to earth, customer focused ,interactive.

They spend considerable time talking to everyone and build up a rapport.

 

The place is neat, well maintained with modern facilities and antic show pieces. They arrange fresh face towels, lemon juice , tea and water every time they welcome you at the resort. The preparation for lunch, dinner, breakfast are also great!. They do load your jeep with plenty of munching and eating options along with bottles of water, juice, tea and coffee.

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Our First safari was at 3.00 PM. It was an experience to remember, document, repeat and share with all for sure. At the entry gate your ID card is checked for verification if the booking details match with the ID document.

I didn’t go and present myself at the office. The driver from my resort took care of it. If you want you can wear forest dress which one ideally should do during these safaris and go ahead and explore the forest.

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The safari runs you through either buffer zone or core area. The first safari was at buffer zone but we still had an opportunity to see animals in this area. The heat in summer is so so high, it brings almost all the animals type  to the pond or lake to drink water.

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We were lucky enough to spot whole bunch of bears scrubbing against the bark of the trees and howling loud enough to cold your blood. 

Had most close look of wild boar, fox, wild dogs, peacock, monkeys, squirrel, birds of different sizes and colors and of course bison and different variety of deer’s. However, the beauty lies when the action heroine walks in with her cubs and roars !

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The thrill was – aww struckking! Only flash, camera and light glitter for the entire time she is around. The lady walks in, drinks water and goes away as if she sees no one around. We have Tiger Maya, Tiger Junabai and Hero Matkasur.

 

The luck of each one of us was shining just before the sunset and the time we were to step out of the forest floor, we had this opportunity to see the mother and the cubs for 2 minutes or so.

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Rest of the evening went in swimming, having conversations with other residents of the resort and exploring the property and early dinner. The weather was just cool and translated to heavy rainfall later in the evening with thunder and strong winds.

Though we were little disappointed wondering if we can see animals next day but who knows what is in store for you.

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Next day early morning we were ready for Sarafi at the core zone of Korla gate. It was dark and quite breezy from the last night heavy shower and lightning. At the entrance of the gate, your driver collects your ID card for authenticating entry in the core zone.

The core area is almost 16 to 18 kms inside the forest from the entrance and has awesome view.

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The curvy roads with thick forest on both sides, the smell of soil and the waiting surprise of spotting a tiger or any animal is way too exciting for the travelers.

 

Though 90% of the times its your luck to spot the tiger, the credibility lies on our guide too.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the same guide next morning and found tagged with someone who is jack of all trades but definitely master of nothing. He started giving too much details about the forest which was quite engaging but in leading his experience he took us way  to too beautiful spots where no one was driving to spot a tiger. Result? We were the only fools to fool around the forest and see other timid animals all across and enjoyed the scenic beauty of the jungle and missed tiger and tigress atleast twice .

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We parked in lakes, we parked at the edge of a small upside hill, we parked in open farming like space but we failed to spot a tiger. However, whenever we were crossing some spots where other jeeps were parked for spotting a tiger, we spotted the thrill and excitement of the other visitors – because their guide was not our guide and they filmed, clicked, shot photographs of great Maya & Matkasur , every time they were seen and spotted.

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As the clock ticked each time, time was flying away for us to be back on road and return to Hyderabad.

Though we knew we wanted to stay more and have another safari, another experience, another taste, another click, but still went ahead towards our car and started for Hyderabad midday…. Only two excitements were carrying  with us – the on going discussion of the vision of the tigress, her cubs and of course the beauty of the road lies ahead of us again on NH 44 on our way back home.

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Some pictures from other sources. @friends and @resort

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Good One @Pinaki Pictures lost the pixels maybe due to extreme zooming, but still are beauiful. When did you go & what was the overall cost on Accommodation, Fuel, Your Car and Mileage that you have acheived.  I am sure that 1 hour before reaching your stay must have ruined your mileage!

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Beautiful, very nicely composed.

Information is very helpful.

 

12 hours ago, Pinaki said:

We picked Svasara Jungle resort at Korala Gate which is just a stone throw away from the resort.

 

How much does the resort cost?

Safari cost?
Did the resort guys book your safari at Tadoba?

 

12 hours ago, Pinaki said:

The road trip from Hyderabad to Korala ghat just 8 hours’ drive ( 450 KMs)  . The National Highway 44 is not only smooth and brilliant, it has amazing scenic beauty. As you drive as early as the sunrise, you will get smitten by the scenic beauty for most of the stretch of the drive.  I would recommend after Adilabad , take a turn through Maregaon ( SH 6 ) which is equally beautiful and have smooth road till you enter Maharastra. The track from MH border to Tadoba Korala Gata is unfortunately under construction and need your patience . It not only slows down your speed, it can literally eat up your fun and energy for one hour! However remember all comes his way he who waits! Just cross this hell and you are right at the gate of Svasara Resort.

 

8 hours is quick!

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1 hour ago, Sridhar Tandra said:

Good One @Pinaki Pictures lost the pixels maybe due to extreme zooming, but still are beauiful. When did you go & what was the overall cost on Accommodation, Fuel, Your Car and Mileage that you have acheived.  I am sure that 1 hour before reaching your stay must have ruined your mileage!

Tandra, it was so embarrassing to click pictures with my smartphone in front of the professional photographers who were capturing the moments in camera and lens like machine guns.  

 

See the break up 

Toll Gate - INR 730 ( These are the number of times you pay on your way up and down - INR ( 75, 70, 65, 80, 45, 75, 80, 45, 75, 70, 50). This is for Korala Gate. 

Highway Breakfast and Lunch - INR 200 per head

Petrol - Up and Down INR 7000. This is for i10 Grand Hyundai. I got a mileage close to 18 kms almost. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ranger said:

Beautiful, very nicely composed.

Information is very helpful.

 

 

How much does the resort cost?

Safari cost?
Did the resort guys book your safari at Tadoba?

 

 

8 hours is quick!

 

@Ranger Here is the break up

 

Room Stay - INR 10000 . This includes your breakfast, unlimited cold drinks, tea, coffee , lime juice , snacks (  quite a variety compared to the fact we were in a jungle and on safari. They do provide ample of options to eat, munch or eat all afternoon and evening), lunch and dinner. 

 

Safari Cost - To Gate Korala  Gate Buffer Zone for three people - INR 5000

Safari to Core Zone - Weekend Cost for three people - INR 6000

If you are taking a cab to Nagegaon Gate for safari - INR 1800

 

The resort managers are amazing and can guide you over for sure . They do take time out to speak over phone, whatsapp and face to face with all booking, guidance etc. 

You can book safari online. Not a problem at all. However these people do block slots before hand for core zone or go over taatkaal two days before the safari date for core zone. 

You cannot take your private car for safari anymore. 

 

Just one FYI.... People who went a week before and also two weeks later , got to see Black Panther in Tadoba. This is like WOW!!!!

 

 

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4 hours ago, Pinaki said:

Tandra, it was so embarrassing to click pictures with my smartphone in front of the professional photographers who were capturing the moments in camera and lens like machine guns.  

 

See the break up 

Toll Gate - INR 730 ( These are the number of times you pay on your way up and down - INR ( 75, 70, 65, 80, 45, 75, 80, 45, 75, 70, 50). This is for Korala Gate. 

Highway Breakfast and Lunch - INR 200 per head

Petrol - Up and Down INR 7000. This is for i10 Grand Hyundai. I got a mileage close to 18 kms almost. 

 

 

Thanks @Pinaki I am assuming your total spends on this trip is about Toll - 730, Fuel - 7000, Accommodation - 10000, Safari Cost (Buffer + Core) - 11000, Local cab to Nagegaon Gate for safari - 1800 = ~30530. All this in INR for 3 people.

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1 minute ago, Sridhar Tandra said:

Thanks @Pinaki I am assuming your total spends on this trip is about Toll - 730, Fuel - 7000, Accommodation - 10000, Safari Cost (Buffer + Core) - 11000, Local cab to Nagegaon Gate for safari - 1800 = ~30530. All this in INR for 3 people.

Yes , pretty much. I guess for the first time, it worth it . I guess SK went for much cheapter rate at another gate. 

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@Pinaki .. There you go. You've been away from posting for quite a while and are back with a bang. Brilliant and very informative post. I'm in love with the pictures of the Tigers. And looking at your expenses, it is definitely seems like an expensive affair. Accommodation in Tadoba is the only thing which I feel is always over priced be it at any gate. One super good moderately priced stay around this place will turn the tables upside down. Nevertheless, how much expensive these accommodations in the forest are, they always get sold out like hot cakes during half of the year.

What was the time gap between your booking from the time of you made it to the trip ?

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1 hour ago, sagar said:

@Pinaki .. There you go. You've been away from posting for quite a while and are back with a bang. Brilliant and very informative post. I'm in love with the pictures of the Tigers. And looking at your expenses, it is definitely seems like an expensive affair. Accommodation in Tadoba is the only thing which I feel is always over priced be it at any gate. One super good moderately priced stay around this place will turn the tables upside down. Nevertheless, how much expensive these accommodations in the forest are, they always get sold out like hot cakes during half of the year.

What was the time gap between your booking from the time of you made it to the trip ?

@sagar one month time gap buddy however the pricing was much better after negotiation than what was first quoted or published on the website. 

Pictures are not mine and been submitted by resort, friends and other visitors. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

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19 hours ago, Pinaki said:

Pictures are not mine and been submitted by resort, friends and other visitors. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Yeah.. But still, Good that you've shared. They are awesome. Absolutely no words. Every picture of the tigers that you posted carried some emotion and that's the best part of this. Kudos to the photographer!

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18 minutes ago, sagar said:

 

Yeah.. But still, Good that you've shared. They are awesome. Absolutely no words. Every picture of the tigers that you posted carried some emotion and that's the best part of this. Kudos to the photographer!

Check my Thekkady post 😛 😛 

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1 hour ago, Pinaki said:

Check my Thekkady post

 

haha

 

Tadoba accomidations are always expensive.

Is it due to lack of competition? 

Hotels, really worth the price? 

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12 minutes ago, Ranger said:

 

haha

 

Tadoba accomidations are always expensive.

Is it due to lack of competition? 

Hotels really worth the price? 

11 minutes ago, Ranger said:

 

haha

 

Tadoba accomidations are always expensive.

Is it due to lack of competition? 

Hotels really worth the price? 

@Ranger I will be honest! Initially I thought its expensive but after the first experience ever in safari /jungle, the kind of support and welcome we recieved from the resort, their team, kind of customer service done , it was good enough to go for the stay and also have an experience. 

 

However @Krish was in Tadoba recently too and he paid much less for stay at another gate. He can comment on that and we can surely try our luck there. He enjoyed the stay, got a view of the tiger and also had a great experience. 

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To make it economical, all we could do is,  book your rooms in Nagpur and drive down for the safaris :D 

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19 hours ago, Pinaki said:

we can surely try our luck

 

Tadoba is all about luck.

How many Safari's did you guys do?

 

We drove to Tadoba in 2012, that was my first visit to Tadoba.
We don't have a clue about Safari bookings and gates.

We randomly searched "Tadoba forest entrance" in google maps.

We started at 6PM from the office(friday night) and reached the destination around 2AM (Saturday).
We couldn't find a single hotel.

We slept in the car near the entrance gate. (Korla gate)

 

Early in the morning, people started gathering at the entrance gate. 

We rushed as soon as the office is open.

 

To our horror, we got to know that all the gates are booked in advance. 😵

There was not even a single gate available for that weekend.

 

With a huge disappointment, we sat in the car looking at the jeeps going into the forest.

Gates are closed. 

When we are about to drive back, one jeep guy started shouting.

We did not care..he started chasing us.

 

We stopped on the road side, 

He told us the guy who booked his jeep did not show up. Are you interested in coming with me.
You can pay the money to me. 

 

Within a blink of eye, all three of us sat in the mighty Gypsy.
Gates are open, we are cursing slowly, since all the jeeps went off.

 

After some time our driver started shouting tiger-tiger-tiger..

From a distance we can see dust in the air.

Tiger was chasing a wild boar.

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It was very good experience, watching a live hunt. 

Our drive called few other jeeps and all the jeeps turned back.

 

Tiger started moving into the forest. 

 

After the safari, we asked around for the stay and everyone is quoting around 5k+ for a single night.

We decided to drive back to Hyderabad.

Explored kuntala falls and reached Hyderabad by 10PM on Saturday.

 

Overall we spent around 2k per head.

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14 hours ago, Sridhar Tandra said:

Tadoba is gathering priority on my to do list! I am hearing this name almost everywhere these days :) I think I will do this coming Summer 

 

For this, the planning has to be done along with the bookings at least a month before you make it. We shall try to plan one coming summer :) 

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Accommodation in Tadoba is the biggest problem.

I personally feel it is not worth 10k for a single night. 

 

I would suggest following plan:

  1. Book the gate in advance on Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon. 
  2. You can book the jeep at the entrance, if you have already booked the gate.
  3. Start on Friday night after the office.
  4. Reach Korla gate by 2~5AM (Saturday) , sleep in the car for 2~3 hours.
  5. Do the Safari, If you spot a Tiger, drive back to Hyderabad in the morning.
  6. Else, wait till afternoon safari and drive back to Hyderabad.

 

All the above points are valid, If you are not travelling with family.

Make sure you have multiple drivers, who can sleep and switch the driving. 

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This idea of driving back is good but it would seriously need at least two or three drivers in a car! One good thing about this drive would be super duper roads until Adilabad, Average to Good roads until Morwa and Jungle bells from there on. Having as many number of people who can drive in a car would make sense doing this without a break at proper stay! Yes, cannot take this plan up if going with family!!

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