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The oldest and largest national park in the state of Maharastra is the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. The reserve is home to more than 130 tigers, which spans across 1,727 sq km of area. It is the largest remaining population of tigers in the wild.
According to local myth, Tadoba was a village chieftain who was killed in an encounter with a tiger. But the reserve gets the name from Taboada or Taru the god, and the Andhari River which flows through the woods of the reserve. Hence the name Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
Today Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is a premiere Tiger park in India and offers the best odds of spotting a Royal Bengal Tiger in the wild along with Ranthambhore national park in Rajasthan and Bandhavgarh national park in Madhya Pradesh.
Location: Chandrapur District, Maharashtra, India
Nearest Airport: Nagpur airport
How to reach: 3 hours from Nagpur airport
Famous for: Prime Tiger territory,
Regular wild dog,
Leopard, sloth bear sightings
Best time to visit: October to June
WHAT TO SEE
Mammals: Royal Bengal tiger, Indian leopards, sloth bears, gaur, nilgai, dhole, striped hyena, small Indian civet, jungle cats, sambar, barking deer, chital, chausingha and honey badger.
Birds: Crested serpent eagle, crested honey buzzard, paradise flycatcher, bronze-winged jacana, lesser golden backed woodpecker, changeable hawk-eagle, orange-headed thrush, Indian pitta, various warblers, black-naped blue flycatcher, crested treeswift, stone curlew, Grey-headed fish eagle,
Tadoba national parkis home to several species such as tigers, leopards, and jungle cats sharing the wilderness with other animals like jackal, hyena, Indian wild dog, civet, and sloth. The reserve is popular because of the spotting of Gaur in the forest as well as large herds of chital and sambar. The langur can also be seen hanging on the branches while flying squirrel making jumps across the trees, and not so far away herds of sturdy nilgai, four-horned antelope and chevrotain (mouse deer) grazing on the fields.
Entomologists will love Tadoba, as the forest is home to 74 butterflies species including pansies, monarchs, mormons, and swordtails including endangered species of Danaid Egg Fly and Great Egg Fly.
Tadoba is an important reserve because it houses countless endangered animals and birds. There are 195 total bird species including three endangered species of The Grey-Headed Fish Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, and the Changeable Hawk Eagle are found in the forest.
The safaris in the reserve happen twice a day. The two slots of the Tadoba Tiger Safari are, in the morning from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and in the afternoon from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm. But the starting time in the morning varies depending on the time of the year. Learn more about spotting Tigers in India here.
There are other ways to enjoy the reserve apart from safari, which are nature walks on Irai dam which is ideal for bird watching and spotting marsh crocodiles.
The three core regions of the reserve (Moharli, Tadoba, and Kolsa) are connected to six entry gates. However once inside the reserve, safari vehicles are free to move around in any tourist region of the park –
Moharli region is to be entered from Moharli gates. It is called Moharli because it is situated in Moharli village and it is the most commercial entrance point as it is closest to Chandrapur. Chandrapur is a village nearby where accommodations and tourist facilities like wildlife interpretation centers, safari vehicles, and forest guides are easily accessible. The majority of the safaris take place from this gate.
Tadoba region is entered by the Kolara, Navegoan, and Khutwa gates. Extending over the Chimur Hills, the Tadoba zone is home to one of the most crucial water sources of the zone, the Tadoba Lake. Kolara Gate is easily accessible from Nagpur and at the moment is under (part) construction. One of the gates closest to Nagpur (2 hours away) is Navegaon Gate, but accommodations are lacking around it. Khutwanda is nearest to Warora and Moharli.
Kolsa regionis a bit quieter area which is at the eastern end of the reserve, whose entry is accessible from Pangdi and Zari gates.
The reserve has 12 entry gates that lead its path to the buffer area, five of which were inaugurated in 2019. The 12 entry gates are Agarzari, Devada-Adegoan, Junona, Kolara, Ramdegi – Navegaon, Alizana, Madnapur, Mamla, Pangdi, Sirkada, Zari/Pet, and Kesalghat.
The gates closer to Moharli are the Agarzari, Devada, and Junona. These gates are connected to the buffer area and the route offers great tiger sightings. Nowadays, tiger sightings are almost as frequent as in the core area. Other entry gates to the buffer area are Kolara, Ramdegi, Madanpur, Mamala, and Sirkada.
Places to stay
Irai Safari Retreat Resort:Located at the Moharli Gate in the outer limits of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and amidst the beautiful Irai Lake, the resort is surrounded by the deep forest. The nature lovers will fall in love with this place at an instant. Apart from the picturesque setting, some activities offered by the resort are bushwalking, biking, barbeque, bush dinners, bird watching, bullock cart rides, and a visit to the local village.
Svasara Jungle Lodge: Stay at the Svasara Jungle Lodge is luxurious and comfortable in the middle of the greenery and wildlife. The lodge offers activities such as Tiger Safari, lakeside sunset picnics, nature walks, and also visits to the local tourist attractions.