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WRITTEN BY: NITYA GOEL AGGARWAL

TRIP DATE: 19th, May, 2015 to 27th May, 2015

DESTINATION: TADOBA, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA

 

It started way back in June 2010. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve had just started coming in the limelight due to its frequent tiger sightings. We had plans to go then and I was all packed and ready. But one day before we were supposed to leave I found out I was on my family way. It had been 5 years since and I had been to numerous other sanctuaries and parks since Ayaan (my son) was 2 years but Tadoba continued to elude me like it was some forbidden fruit. Numerous stories of different sightings by my father and younger brother only increased my curiosity more and more. So this May 2015, when I got the chance even the high temperatures of 50+ degrees C could not have shaken my resolve. During the six days of safari, my mom and me decided to go only for the morning ones as it was too hot in the afternoon and I did not know how Ayaan would have handled the heat. In the first 5 safaris we had already seen 5 different tigers, a sloth bear, a rare tree shrew (squirrel like animal), chausingha (a very rare and shy deer), spotted deer, barking deer, sambar deer, nilgai, gaur, numerous birds such as Asian paradise flycatchers (male, female, juvenile), Indian pitta, grey jungle fowl, Indian roller, kingfisher, changeable hawk eagle and many more. Just before we began our last safari, we asked Ayaan what he liked the most? and he innocently replied “I like Tigers and I want to see 10 tigers before we go back”. I asked him to pray for it and he did. And then the magic started. Our prayers were answered and the forest opened up, to us, to reveal its secrets. It started with a sloth bear sighting, followed by 4 different tigers at different places, then another sloth bear (This place has to be a sloth bear haven, almost impossible to see them anywhere else) and lastly a pair of male and female tigers in courtship. Our little wild lifer’s joy knew no bounds. Anyone who has been in the wild knows the importance of a tiger sighting and we had seen 11, one more than my son’s wishes.

Here I am sharing a few of my pictures, clicked from my point and shoot camera, taking you through our journey in the Tadoba wilderness. I have added few of my father Vinod Goel’s, and brother Bharat Goel’s, (both are known Wildlife photographers) pictures to complete my story. Hope you will enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed clicking them….

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Khatoda gate

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Queen of the forest: Our first sighting in first safari

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Machaan

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Indian Gaur: Look at my packs

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Please don’t disturb

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Wild dogs/ dhole

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Lush green bamboo tunnel ( a rare occurrence in the month of May)

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Territory marking on a tree by a tiger

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Perfect camouflage by a forest lizard

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Grey Jungle Fowl (Male)

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Spotted deer

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Asian paradise flycatcher (male): One of the most beautiful bird

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Asian paradise flycatcher( juvenile)

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Peahen incubating her eggs

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Chausingha (four horned antelope)

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Wildfruit

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Indian roller basking on the road

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Langur relaxing

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Sambar deer

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Appropriate use of solar energy to fill water holes inside the jungle

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Oriental Honey Buzzard at Tadoba Lake

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Ibis and Bronze-winged jacana

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Indian Tree Shrew (A very rare sighting)

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Wild boars quenching their thirst

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Sloth bear markings on the tree. They climb up on the tree to eat honey from the honey comb.

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Crocodile bark tree/ Ain / Saj/ Terminalia elliptica

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The famous tigress ‘Maya’ who was photographed with her cub in her mouth in 2014

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Indian Pitta

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State transport bus on the main road inside the core area.

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Usual crowd in peak season for entry at 5:30 am in the morning near the entry gate at Moharli.

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Sloth bear, Just out of shower

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Red headed agama lizard

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Tiger in Kolsa Range

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Pugmarks of tiger cubs who played in the morning

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Changeable hawk eagle (juvenile)

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One of the four tigers cooling himself after having a meal of Indian Gaur

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Leaving the waterhole after quenching her thirst

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Butterfly on our naturalist’s foot during safari

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Tigress crossing the road

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Couldn’t expect to have a better ending than this to our last safari. Tiger and tigress in courtship

 

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What a wonderful trip report @@nitya goel aggarwal - thank you very much for sharing this information.

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Thanks for the wonderful report! Of course the tigers and sloth bears were exciting but as a birder I was thrilled to see that you saw Indian Pitta, wow! One of my most-wanted :)

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@nitya goel aggarwal welcome on Safaritalk.

Thank you so much for sharing your TR with us. You have wonderful pictures, I love the one of the asian paradise flycatcher! I could not take any when I traveled in the indian subcontinent in 2012.

This short report clearly shows the huge potential of Tadoba for tiger safaris.

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Welcome to Safaritalk,

 

@@nitya goel aggarwal, I've always loved pics of the tigers - yours were wonderful as well as the others. The only thing that could prevent me is those stacks of vehicles waiting to take off. I wonder if there is any way to avoid that on a tiger safari. Or, perhaps it is well worth it.

 

Several great tr's on India's tigers lately! Thank you for sharing.

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@@nitya goel aggarwal Welcome to Safaritalk with such a great post from India: when you get time, take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us more about you by starting a new topic in the Introductions Subforum.

 

Matt.

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@@nitya goel aggarwal, "even 50+ degrees C could not have shaken my resolve", phew, I think it may have shaken mine a bit! Interesting to see the crowds at the gate even in that unbearable heat, I had naively thought that would have put most people off. The waterhole activity must have been amazing with everything looking for some respite. Lovely sightings, lucky you.

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Thanks everyone for appreciating :) . Along with Tigers and Sloth bears, Tadoba is a great birding place too.

And yes, our passion didn't stop us from going in so much heat too. but one can avoid summer months and explore this jungle in another season also if one is not accustomed to bear the heat.

About the crowd, according to new regulations, the no of cars are restricted to each gate. So it's not that bad. My only purpose for including that picture in this blog was to show everyone's sheer madness to get up so early and be present at the entry gate much before the entry time :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

@@nitya goel aggarwal

I have not visited Tadoba yet and plan to do so. could you share best visit period as well as stay choices?

btw, excellent asian flycatcher photos. Try as i might i have never been able to get a shot that has satisfied me....Yet!

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~ @@nitya goel aggarwal

 

Thank you for preparing such an informative trip report.

The dhole image and the agama image are especially appreciated.

It's so nice of you to have taken time to share considerable information with Safaritalk.

With Appreciation,

Tom K.

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@ Thanks Tom for your appreciation.

 

@ Earthian

 

Thanks for appreciating pics.

The best period for Asian paradise flycatcher and tiger sighting is May and June. But from photography point of view, winters are better as the lighting conditions are better in winter season. Also weather is pleasant in winters and not as harsh as summer season.

For stay options, Irai Safari Retreat is the best luxury eco resort and is located near Moharli gate. Apart from this, various homestays are available which provide decent accommodation and service. All the other properties such as Royal Tiger, Sarus, Tiger Heaven are average.

We stayed at Irai safari retreat as its location provided us opportunity to explore different zones. A similar luxury hotel Svasara is located at a different gate but safari option becomes limited from there.

For any other details or bookings, please feel free to contact Bharat at bharat@wildnest.in / or check out his page for more photos at /bharat-goel-photography/.

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@@nitya goel aggarwal

Thank you for your response. yes, in the Gir forest the APFC seems to be a migratory bird being seen during hot months, which probably is their breeding season.

Thank you also for the info on Tadoba. Look forward to more TRs and photos.

 

ps: when you type @(mention name), do not leave a space between the "@" and the "name". Secondly, don't put in any other word between the"@"and the name. lastly, the name has to be exactly as the one given. The reason for this is when you do it, the way explained above, it gives an alert to the person you are addressing, allowing her/him to respond.

If done correctly, when you post it, the colour of the @mention changes.

Cheers

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  • 1 month later...

@@nitya goel aggarwal

There you go. A simpler way is to click the "@mention" given under the photograph of the member in her/his post.

Just so that the matter is clear, i got the alert but Tom would not since you have not mentioned his full name ie Tom Kellie :wacko:

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@nitya goel aggarwal

 

I am wondering why you say "Svasara is located at a different gate but safari option becomes limited from there." We are booked to stay at Svasara in February and I know several from this forum have stayed there with good sightings. In fact everything I've read says that the Kolara gate is best for tigher sightings. I am curious why you say this is not the case.

Edited by janzin
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I will put a little info into this post if that is OK.

 

I have travelled to Tadoba for 2 visits. 6 days Safari in total,

 

I normally stay near Moharli gate.

 

Tadoba is not a very large Indian National park in comparison to other parks. Also once you are in the NP whichever gate you enter from you can normally traverse all of the area. Therefore which gate you enter from is not a deal breaker. Other Indian NPs can be very different. Also the roads(trails) in Tadoba are very good,the best I have experienced in India.So rapid speed can be attained.

 

I have traversed many times from Moharli to Kolara gate whilst looking for wildlife.Have talked to Svasara on several occasions but for myself I find them a little too upmarket(expensive) but they have a good reputation.

 

I had very good Tiger sightings last March in Tadoba(also sloth and leopard,plus much more) ,fingers crossed this year should be (hopefully)(double wish) exceptional. A lot of Cubs were born within the last year if they have all survived it should be very very good.

 

The main benefit myself for staying at Moharli gate, is that obviously I now have good contacts. But also the Buffer zone close to Moharli gate can be easily accessed, when the NP is closed.

The première Male Tiger in Tadoba(Wardha) was living outside NP last March,he was in the buffer zone. I did not see him,despite several hours spent in the heat of the day!!!. Maybe I should just having taken a Taxi to the local town. He was spotted on the main road during the evening and caused some concern by supposedly challenging vehicles!! Such is India. Enjoy.

 

I am hoping to be back there in February 2016,if any ST peeps wish to meet up.

Edited by Johnmac
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Thanks @@Johnmac for the info, this is pretty much what I've heard--that Tadoba is small enough to cover it all from either gate. We are there four nights (Feb 18-21) so we should be able to do both sides. Since this is our first trip to India and the first park we will visit, a little upmarket is appreciated, lol, although normally we are not that fussy about accommodations.

 

Great to hear that there are new cubs!! Fingers crossed they make it.

 

If you plan to be there those dates let me know :)

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@@janzin Tadoba is divided in three ranges i.e Moharli, Kolsa and Tadoba. As of now, from Moharli range you can access all the ranges from inside the park during safari. Also as @@Johnmac mentioned, 2 buffer zones can be visited from Moharli on Tuesday when the core area is closed for safari.

 

Same is not possible when one is staying at Svasara lodge at Kolara gate. While staying here, exploring Kolsa range from inside the jungle is not advisable as the entire safari time gets over in just reaching there and coming back. But otherwise the property is excellent and opportunities for exploring other two ranges i.e. Tadoba as well as Moharli range are same from here.

 

If you want to particularly explore Kolsa range, it is around one and a half hour drive from Kolara gate to Pangdi gate (entry to Kolsa range) from outside the jungle.

Therefore, in my earlier comment i was just comparing the overall safari opportunities while staying near both gates.

Very good tiger sightings are expected in coming months in Tadoba as well as Moharli range so please don't worry about staying near Kolara gate.

 

Wishing you all the best for your trip and may you have wonderful sightings and overall safari experience.

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Thank you @@nitya goel aggarwal for the clarification. We have made sure to organize so that we are not in Tadoba on Tuesday. I'm sure we will have a fantastic trip!

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  • 6 months later...

hello

I'm probably too late on this now, but I'll give a go. I absolutely loved your trip report, magical! To see Tigers and also the Indian Pitta would be a dream come true!
My girlfriend and I did a package trip from the UK to India with the main aim of seeing a Tiger a couple of years ago. We did 1 day in Ranthambore and then multiple in Bandhavgarh and Kanha, but didnt see a single Tiger; we were absolutely gutted. I am planning to go again as I so would love to see a Tiger in its natural habitat.
I just wanted to check that you booked the trip with Wildnest, as that's what I understand from your report?
Even when we went there were major access restrictions on the reserves, hence I'm interested to know how you booked the trip, and for any other advice you may be able to give.
Thanks again
Adam
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