Tadoba – An enticing jungle

Episode: Drive towards tadoba & Jungle book experience in imax

A yearly trip to Tadoba was planned by Prashanth and team without further delay I gave my acceptance. The plan was to drive in 2 cars, we started on 21st March 2016 at 3.00am.

Priya (Goldie’s Wife) was generous enough to prepare breakfast for all of us Puliyogre and Curd rice with lot of sweets and mixtures made our early morning drive pleasant. We continued towards Hyderabad, after long debate it was decided to visit Shah Ghouse restaurant for biryani and mango falooda.

An evening plan was to watch The Jungle Book in Imax theater. It was my first experience in Imax I thoroughly enjoyed. Now we are off to TADOBA….

Goldie cruised towards Tadoba. We reached check post at 4.30 am. I was so much excited to be in the wilderness for next few days.

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Episode: Encounter of Wagdoh male

In all my past visits to Tadoba, I had never spotted massive dominant male Tiger Wagdoh which ruled Telia lake of the Moharli range for a while.

Without further delay, we rushed towards buffer zone gate by 6.00am we were lucky enough to park our jeep in a promising position, silence had taken over after an hour of wait, the leaves crumbled under his claws…the birds flew for life… the growl shook the ground… a huge figure was behind the bush… there came the Big daddy of Tadoba. Phew, I had never seen such a massive tiger in my life, his stare made everyone dumbstruck. Slowly he moved towards the water hole and settled down to quench his thirst. Thanks to the sun, the big fellow spent the next full hour cooling off in the water.

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The tiresome journey was superseded by the sighting. The next 2 hours was spent in lodging. A heavy meal gave us enough energy for the evening safari.

Our evening safari was again in the buffer zone, but this time it was in anticipation to sight charming “Sonam” and her cubs (though I hate calling tigers with names, I am following the crowd J). The scorching heat and previous day’s travel made us fatigue. The hot breeze and bumpy roads made my eyelids shut effortlessly with great difficulty I was awake J. We came across a jeep which was halted near the waterhole, after enquiring we came to know that one of the subadult tiger crossed the road and vanished inside the jungle.

Even after 2 hours wait we could not see any wildlife, then decided to exit the gate as all of us were very tired. While having dinner Nirav called up and told a kill has been made by tiger. With lot of hope for next morning we snugged under the blanket.

Episode: Tigers feasting on Sambar kill

Next morning by 4.00am we were ready near the gate the news about sambhar kill had spread like a wild fire. All the Jeeps headed towards the same place everyone was eager to see some action. Unfortunately, our jeep was behind the crowd after putting lot of effort we managed to see sambar half eaten. I could recollect a narration by Kenneth Anderson on how a Tiger devours its kill.

The quietness was killed by acceleration of jeeps hurriedly they moved out of the place, I was very curious to know what was happening my mind was already questioning me did they see the tiger?? Are there any cubs?? Is it a male Tiger ?? the answer was…None. They all moved towards Pandarpowni waterhole in search of Maya & cubs. Our fellow group also took the decision to follow the crowd.

The guide wanted to know if we should do the same by following the crowd? my answer was no, we decided to wait for some more time, being the only jeep in the vicinity we took an opportunity to park our vehicle in the most favorable position for photography. Finally, the moment set in my heart beat thumped, I felt a sudden adrenaline rush and I am sure my heart skipped a beat, there came a Tiger after Tiger after Tiger !!! J what a way to thank our patience.

The next one hour with this family was invaluable…. it started enjoying the meal and we enjoyed the priceless gift in front of us watching them shear the meat into parts… cubs playing… a friendly snarl. Few minutes later range officer arrived the jeep sound disturbed the happy meal time mother tiger lifted its head and growled. I must say it was a life time experience seeing the blooded canines…

Even after 2 hours wait we could not see any wildlife, then decided to exit the gate as all of us were very tired. While having dinner Nirav called up and told the tiger has made a sambar deer kill. With lot of hope we snugged under the blanket.

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The evening safari ended up in sighting gaurs and few birds like Black Shoulder Kite, sambar deer’s, Indian Scoops Owl and Lesser Fish Eagle.

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Our only talk at dinner time was about the sighting we had regrettably our friends missed the show, they consoled themselves by seeing the pics.

 Episode: date with tigers @ Kolara zone

The passion kept us moving we were all set for morning safari J. Most of the crowd and our fellow mates wanted to visit the sambar kill, but we decided to wander around kolara gate. I recollected my memories of sighting Tigress and the Tiger within span of 30 mins (read here) in the same game road.

A jeep had halted heeding strong alarm calls, as we approached they left the place and we stayed back. Being watchful we scanned each nook of the forest.

I caught a moment in the bush it took me few seconds to realize it was the tiger, within no time I whispered “Tiger!! Tiger!!” everyone looked at my direction, but none could spot until it came out of the bush.

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We had nice time watching her game of in and out for almost an hour. Our presence didn’t bother her the crowd started coming in to see the charming female.

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Everyone were busy clicking the photos, I accidentally turned to my left for no reason ahhh another tiger standing in the bush. I couldn’t believe my eyes I again whispered “Tiger!! Tiger!!” my friends thought I am referring to the same one, until I completely moved to my left and started clicking the photo. There came a huge male tiger from the bush J what a luck J no words to express. The male tiger crossed the road and vanished into the jungle.

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We returned from the safari with big smile on our faces, the other group had to satisfy themselves by watching our pics.

Episode: Action in Buffer zone

It was our final day left with 2 safaris; early morning schedule was to visit buffer zone where a tigress and 3 cubs made its territory. Guide drove us straight to a waterhole the weather was gloomy an hour of wait with patience dint fetch any sightings apart from roller, lesser fish eagle.

Then we decided to hit the game road to try our luck while roaming the forest Nirav got a call from his dad saying they had spotted the cubs in the other water bed within 10 mins we reached the waterhole and got to see the glimpse of the cubs playing in the water, the mother was resting in the thicket which was very difficult for us to spot.

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Episode: Maya & cubs Pandurpowni meadows

The evening and final safari started with guaranteed sightings of Maya and cubs in Pandurpowni meadows.

By the time we reached the meadows the place was crowded with jeeps the cubs were already in the water playing happily, with so many people we dint get chance to sight the complete family however I was really happy about the overall sightings at TATR the count went up to 14 individual tigers …. 🙂

We signed off from Tadoba and started our journey towards Bangalore.

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