Enwreathed by Nature - Tadoba

Written By Om Kokane on Saturday, April 11, 2020 | 4:53 PM

I didn't think that I would write another blog so soon after my first one; but fate insisted in the form of some of my friends, admirers and of course my parents, so here I am with another travelog. But its cool, if someday you find yourself with nothing to do (especially during this lockdown period), give this a read.

You can call this a prequel to my "Mystical Pench" blog. Its obviously a prequel as during current times, stepping outside even to buy a toffee is equivalent to stepping into a minefield. This one's about a family trip to another famous tiger reserve in Central India, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), which we visited during Christmas time last year. For this trip, we were accompanied by my dad's friend, Sachin Pawar (who himself is an excellent wildlife photographer), and his family.

We took Pune to Nagpur Garibrath train (and no, that's not a copy-paste mistake. It seems to be a favorite train to go to Nagpur as I boarded the same recently while going to Pench too). While going to Nagpur, both families were booked on two different trains. Next day morning, Pawars reached Nagpur before us and had to wait for us because our Garibrath was really behaving "garib" speed-wise.

Since we reached late at Nagpur, there was no time left for breakfast so the elders decided to get the food packed and munch it on the move. While the elders were deciding what to pack, me and my younger brother quickly made friends with Pawar daughters, Arpita and Anoushka. We came to know while the elders were talking that we have booked luxurious villas so we couldn't wait to see the resort and were jumping out of our skins with excitement. Soon after, we loaded our luggage in a van and the two families were off to TATR. The distance between Nagpur to Tadoba was expected to be covered in 3hrs but we reached late thanks to our over-cautious driver who gave us 1hr extra ride for free.

The Pugmark Resort Entrance @ Tadoba

By the time we reached our resort, it was almost time for our first safari. So we quickly had our lunch, rearranged our bags, got out our face masks, changed into our camouflage clothes and got out with cameras. Including this one, we were booked on 4 safaris in total spanned over the next 2 days.

For the record, now I have an adequate amount of natural knowledge to call myself a nature enthusiast. But during the Tadoba trip it was lesser and even the most common bird fascinated me. I hadn't taken my camera but was counting on Dad to enhance my natural knowledge. As I sat in the jeep during safaris in Tadoba I peeled my eyes for any natural wonder I could see.

The TATR, the oldest and the largest national park in Maharashtra, is a fine blend of deciduous forest to dense woodlands & bamboo thickets and rolling hills. There's no new animal life that I haven't talked about in the Pench blog, but I did see good variety of vibrant birds.

We spotted a big cat, the main attraction, during 1 of the safaris. The other animal life that we spotted included Wild Boars, Spotted Deers, Sambar Deers with its cute fawn, Barking Deers, etc. Apart from these commoners, we spotted Marsh Crocodiles, Indian Grey Mongoose too near one of the lakes in the reserved area.

Bengal Tiger

Female Sambar Deer with fawn crossing road

Spotted Deer

Marsh Crocodile

Indian Grey Mongoose

The list of avian species that we saw in 3 days is long enough which includes, babblers & doves, Scaly-breasted Munia, Green Bee-eater, the state bird of Maharashtra Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Grey Junglefowl, Rufous Treepie, Lesser Whistling Ducks in large number, Little Ringed Plover, Oriental Darter, Openbill Stork, Red-crested Pochards, Pied Kingfisher, Indian Rollers, Purple Sunbird, Red Avadavats, Golden Orioles, Rosy Starlings, Asian Pied Starlings, Pied Kingfishers, Crested Serpent Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle and White-eyed Buzzard. Next up, as if specially to improve my mood, was the White-throated Kingfisher sitting on a fallen branch. Its calming blue, white throat and red bill were visible from even at a distance, adding to this are its unique hunting skills, it is thus one of my favourite birds.

The state bird of Maharashtra Yellow-footed Green Pigeon (View)

Little Ringed Plover (View)

Green Bee-eater (View)

Male Purple Sunbird (View)

Crested Serpent Eagle (View)

Oriental Darter (View)

Grey-headed Fish Eagle (View)

A raft of Lesser Whistling Ducks (View)

White-eyed Buzzard (View)

Asian Pied Starling (View)

Male Red Avadavat/Munia (View)

As for the resort, it was a really very good experience. There was an arcade though it didn't seem very much fun, there was a campfire site, a film projection setup, other lavish cottages, a high up rooftop for stargazing, a restaurant with the most scrumptious, finger-licking good delicacies, a reception: the only area with (you guessed it) the internet signal within the borders of the resort. (Spoiler: Being teens & a solo tween, this is where me, Arpita, Sharv, and Anoushka were for most of the time). One more important fact about the resort was, it was very close to one of the gates (named Moharli) of TATR. So that way it was very convenient.

The "morning safaris" should have been termed as "very early morning safaris". We had to wake up way too early by my usual standards. We were advised to bundle up, as it would be a bit chilly outside. Chilly, we found out, was an understatement. The cold & the wind was excruciatingly painful, it stung our bodies and frayed our nerves. Weather-wise, unlike mornings & nights, day-time was pleasant.

On our last day, after the last safari and before we checked out from the resort, Dad and Sachin Kaka decided on going for a walk to find an orchid. I readily agreed, I didn't know much about orchids. We did find the orchid on a tree top but Dad was not much interested in clicking its photo as it was not in a flowering stage at that time. On our way back to the resort, we saw a few beautiful butterflies, the Common Rose butterfly, which was a brilliant red. Peacock Pansy butterfly, which had eye-shaped patterns on its wings.

Common Dartlet Butterfly (View)

Common Lime Butterfly (View)

Lemon Pansy Butterfly (View)

Peacock Pansy Butterfly (View)

Common Rose Butterfly (View)

Female Danaid Eggfly Butterfly (View)

The return journey was comparatively way better than what we started with. The van driver was driving at the expected speed and the train was on time. All in all, it was a good trip with some good sightings and two new friends. I would have loved to see Tiger more than once but that was not the case. According to our safari guides, the Summer season is the best time to see tigers in numbers. So, if any one of you (the readers) are interested in visiting Tadoba, try Summer season. Considering the current conditions, a big NO for Summer 2020, but Summer 2021 may be. Good luck!

That's my group

About Om Kokane

I'm not what you are, and not what you intended, I'm Me and I'm going to be the best version of Myself.