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The oldest national park of Maharashtra, the Tadoba Andhari National Park is a wildlife and biodiversity hub. The apex of the food chain of the ecosystem comprises the glorious tigers and the other big cats followed by a rich diversity of herbivorous species, reptiles, birds and insects. Also called the ‘Jewel of Vidarbha ‘ the Tadoba Andhari Tiger reserve rightly deserves this title, for its scenic and beautiful landscapes and a profuse and diverse wildlife.
The Gond royalty ruled this region and used the forest area as hunting grounds. In 1955 an area of about 1727 sq km was established as the National Park and the adjoining area was declared as the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary. Both of these were merged and established as a Tiger Reserve in 1995. There is an interesting legend surrounding the name of the Park. It is believed that Taru, chief of the village was killed by a tiger in a mythological fight. A place of worship dedicated to Taru today exists on the banks of the Lake Tadoba. This temple is revered and worshipped by the local tribes and Adivasis. Andhari is the name of the river that passes through this reserve, hence the name Tadoba Andhari.
What to see
The Park consists of three ranges, the Tadoba range in the north, Morhurli range in the middle and the Kolsa range in the south. Larger parts of the reserve lie on the ridges and hilly areas. The lowlands comprising the wetlands and lakes, the Tadoba Lake, the Kolsa Lake, and the Andhari river act as lifelines and sustain the diverse ecosystems.
The vegetation varies from teak forests to open grasslands and meadows.
There are more than 85 tigers in the reserve and hence predominate the list of predators found here. Besides the tiger, leopards, striped hyena, sloth bear, gaur, nilgai, jungle cats, spotted deer, sambhar, chausingha, barking deer and many more animals seek shelter here. Reptiles also live here and the marshes and lake edges are home to the mugger crocodile, star tortoise, Russel’s viper, Indian cobra, and Indian monitor.
The reserve and especially the lakes are flocking areas for a variety of birds and water birds. The crested serpent eagle, hawk-eagle, Indian pitta, crested honey buzzard, stone curlew, golden-backed woodpecker, and many more bird species find shelter here. With around 70 species of butterflies and a whole array of different insects, spiders, and flies, the Park is home to the mightiest and the tiniest of creatures.
Things to do
The main reason for visiting the Tadoba National Park is the safari rides that help to spot the animals and take the tourist along the different paths and areas of the forest. The Tadoba tiger safari is therefore, the foremost attraction of this Park. The forest area has some great sights to visit. Some of these are:
Day 1 – Arrive at the Park and check into the hotel for lunch. Meet with the group and discuss the schedule for the upcoming days. Retire for an early night’s sleep.
Day 2 – Early mornings are one of the best times for a safari. We leave the hotel and venture into the forest at the break of dawn. We return for lunch only to head out again for the afternoon safari.
Day 3 – We start early again for the final safari ride and bid adieu to the forest. Post lunch you may check out some of the temples and spend time in the bordering villages. By evening you may proceed to your onward destination.
How to reach
The reserve is located in the district of Chandrapur in Maharashtra.
Rail – The town of Chandrapur is 45 km away from the Park and is the nearest railway station.
Air – Nagpur at a distance of 140km is the nearest airport to the Park.
Road – Buses, taxis, and private cars run seamlessly from Chandrapur, Chimur (30km) and Nagpur to the Park.
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