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Last weekend, We went a on a small drive from Hyderabad to Srisailam.
Since, we have multiple logs on Srisailam drive. I don't want to share more information on it.
I will concentrate more on Akka Mahadevi Caves (few people call it Akkamadevi devi Caves)
There are two ways to visit Akka Mahadevi caves from Srisailam:
AP Tourism boating Private boating
Akka Mahadevi caves boating start point:
Both the boats agencies start from same location : Pathala Ganga
To reach Pathala Ganga, you need to either take rope-way or steps.
If you have a bike you can ride down via steep path.
Cars cant go down. Need to park them at rope way entrance. (designated parking is available)
Distance and time taken to visit Akka Mahadevi caves:(Applicable for both Private and Government operators)
Boat ride takes around 90 minutes (one way) Distance is around 16 kilometers (one way) Boat speed is around 14 km/hr Total time for entire ride (including caves visit) : 4~5 hours
Both government and private agencies provide life jackets.
You may catch up cross winds at few locations but nothing to worry about them.
Ride is smooth through out.
AP Tourism boating:
AP Tourism boating is managed by government.
It is a big boat with 50 member capacity.
Boat starts between 9AM~10AM from Pathala Ganga. (only one slot)
You need to reach the point by 9AM and book the tickets for boating.
Once you book the tickets, you need to wait till the boat is full (50 members) .
Boat usually starts between 10AM~11AM.
Price: 350/- (per head)
Private Tourism boating:
These are managed by private operators under government control.
They have around ~15 member capacity boats which are small.
Boats are basic as shown in the above image.
These boats don't have any fixed timings, they are available from 6 AM, according to locals. (I feel that is the best time to visit)
These guys close their operations before 2 PM.
Food and Water
Carry food and water, they are available just before boating point.
Near the caves they charge x3, sometimes they may not be available.
About Akka Mahadevi Caves:
Once we get-down from the boat, we need to walk around 500 meters, path is neatly laid.
No washrooms are available at the caves, plan accordingly.
Caves are very small, don't expect them similar to Belum/Borra caves.
But the stone formation outside the caves are amazing. Boat guys act as a guide, they will tell about the history of the place.
Foot wear are not allowed into caves.
Once you enter into caves:(approximate numbers)
Walk : 100 meters Crawl: 50 meters Walk side ways : 20 meters Once you reach dead end you will find a Shiva lingam.
Only one person can enter at a time (for Crawl/walk side way)
Bats, it will stink inside the caves.
Some people may feel suffocated inside the caves, due to narrow passages.
Fine dust inside the caves, not a place for people with dust allergy
Overall, I would say it is a must visit for nature lovers.
Not an ideal place for Instagram crowd.
Visit only during monsoon(Cloudy) and winter(December, low temperatures).
Avoid this place, when the sun is out. Summer is completely ruled out.
If you are taking AP tourism boat, try to occupy the last row. It has best view.
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.
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.
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.
Myself with wife and kids of Pandey
The first site before entering the core area
Second sighting a glimpse of bear
Then a Jackal
There were lot of birds and I could not shoot them as I do not have a proper lens.
The same bear came out of the forest and crossed our path.
We were told that Tiger will come here but after waiting enough time he did not turned up.
There are many deers and Neelgai
Obviously not happy with our presence
Canter from Moharli gate
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.
On the way back from morning safari
Padey with our Driver and Guide.
Will continue with after noon Safari..
A day to be remembered forever, 2016 is the year that I have joined in this beautiful group since then Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve was always on my bucket list. many attempts planned since then and nearly after two years, I got the chance to go.
I don't want to stress more on the routes and other details as there are enough threads regarding the same. rather I would like to share my favourite photos that I have shot in my three days stay and safari at Pangdi and Madnapur gate. never the less I will share with you people some necessary information like stay, safari details, gates, and some knowledge of wildlife that I have gained.
Started at 6:00 in the morning from Kompally and reached by 3:00 in the afternoon. remember that no one can help you with the routes. it's always better to contact someone at the resort and ask them to guide you in person. except for Jio, no other sim card is going to work. I stayed at Mahua Tola Resorts, I can say that it is the best in the place. a bit on the higher side, yet friendly staff, manager and good food. we were the only family the three days and never we felt insecure. Manager Shukla is a very nice person, he will come with us to the Safari and make it a very memorable and enjoyable one.
Coming to the safari, it's always good to ask the resort people to book. because at the gate I have seen few facing some problems. if it's the resort people, its hassle free. this is personal opinion though.
As people say, it's not so easy to spot a tiger. a tiger spotting depends on our luck. a tiger mainly sits just beside or few meters away from us inside the forest, yet not visible most of the time. it's just because of the bamboo trees. Tadoba is full of bamboo trees and that makes it very difficult to spot one even if it near us. you will be tempted by the pugmarks, but not always you'll see a tiger. I was really lucky to spot Tigress Junabai with her cubs on my last day safari with the resort manager Shukla at Madhapur gate. Ultimate sightings I can say. It is my father who spotted her while she was resting under a tree shade few meters away from us covered with bamboo trees.
I'm not a pro, yet telling my experience with the camera focusing modes and how I got a perfect focus mode settings by experimenting and with the knowledge I have on focus modes which I have learnt studying few books, articles and discussing it in our WhatsApp group.
The device, Sony Alpha A6000 with 55-210mm zoom lens. manual mode, shutter speed around 1/500 and above, ISO range 4000 (thanks to my cameras high ISO range ie, 25600), Aperture F:6.3
Focus Mode: Auto, Focus Area: Wide, Metering Mode: Multi
This was the mode that I have shot at first only to get the defocused face of a tiger. Thought "this is over, I'm not going to get any more beautiful photos". thought of the focusing modes and settings I have learnt before and adjusted it again to try my luck.
Focus Mode: Auto, Focus Area: Centre, Metering Mode: Spot
And then I got some amazing pictures.
Used Auto Focus Continues while the subject was moving and I can say that this is the camera for super fast autofocus. never missed a detail while shooting with this in AF-C mode.
You can check out the langur monkey and male spotted deer jumping. shot in AF-C mode with shutter sped around 1/1000 or above. couldn't get a zoomed one because of the lens.
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