Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve
Not too many people are aware of a beautiful haven of wildlife called Tadoba, just 205 kms from Nagpur airport. Probably Nagpur’s more famous neighboring National Parks (Kanha,Pench) tend to dominate the attention. After a friend mentioned it, I had decided to explore this ‘Jewel Of Vidharbha’. Notwithstanding the sweltering heat of summer, decided to visit Tadoba. The Tadoba-Andheri tiger reserve, situated in the Chandrapur District of Maharashtra, will enthrall you with its rich bio-diversity. The reserve was created in 1995. The area of the Reserve is 625 sq.km. This includes the Tadoba National Park created in 1995 with an area of 116.55 sq.km. and Andheri Wildlife Sanctuary created in 1986 with an area of 608.85 sq.km.
The Reserve is named after the Local tribal king called ‘Tharu’. ‘Tharu baba was the king of the local tribal community called Gond. Legend says he was killed by a big wild animal. A temple is constructed at the ‘scene of crime’. Interestingly no Gond temples are open, without a roof.
Anyway, after a 3 hour drive from Nagpur airport, I reached the resort. Quickly grabbing a light meal geared up for my first game drive into the park. The terrain was tough-sun decided not to show any mercy, but the hope of spotting the’ Lord’ was too captivating. I am a small miniscule being in the vast expanse of Universe. Who am I to know what lies ahead of me. Though I keep telling myself that since I have had the privilege of seeing the KING quite a few times in the wild, maybe this time it is okay if I don’t see a Tiger. But, I must admit the desire to see Him again is too overpowering. Also I would like to add that each sighting is special and God gifted. But this alone cannot deprive me from the mystic and other beauties of the jungle.
After a few kms into the park, saw a pair of Chausingha or the Four Horned Antelope, the smallest antelope found in Central India. The Sambhar, the Chitals, the Langurs and of course huge herds of Wild Boars made their presence felt. One noteworthy thing, I have never seen so many wild boars at one place! Probably the abundance of prey species is the key to the thriving of the predators.
When the sun already decided on its descent, we saw HIM! Sitting peacefully, wonderfully camouflaged by the tall grasses. My vehicle (the only) stopped and I was completely in awe of this wonderful creature and was admiring his (yes, it was a full grown male) huge head..he stood up.Omigosh!! What a beauty! What gait..I was as usual bereft of words. The tiger stood up, looked at us for a few seconds, and then decided to venture into a more private territory. Sorry, My Lord to invade your privacy, but what to do, your sheer magnificence keeps pulling me back to the jungles.
Next few days enjoyed all my game drives. On one afternoon drive, I told my guide that I really wish to see a Sloth Bear in the wild as I had not seen one and Lo Behold1! One huge handsome male right in front of me. I had to pinch myself..Was it real..What a moment. Should I have asked for something else that day? Nah…No two ways about it. The sighting of my first Sloth Bear in the wild is absolutely priceless. Came back to the lodge, floating in the clouds on a hot summer afternoon, completely in awe of Mother Nature.
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