Moments with Maya and wildlife at Tadoba National Park
Maya is a tourist-friendly and worldwide popular tigress of Tadoba National Park. Her zone is defined in Moharli core zone. She greets to all the visitors whoever had been there during summer. She was born in 2010 and delivered her third litter in last November. There are lots of emotions are attached on Maya's struggling story to survive. She lost her mother at the early age less than 2 years and 2 consecutive litters. Her mother was tigress Leela who died of snake bite.
In big cat family tigress keep caring their cubs till three to three and half years old.
The above photo is now a postal stamp released on 29th July 2016 on the occasion of World Tiger's day. Here the tigress Maya getting an adorable hug from her cub and this photo was taken by Amol Bais. He is a wildlife photographer and headmaster of a school at Durgapur on the periphery of Tadoba Andhari National Park. He took this picture on 1st Jan'2016.
|Matkasur on the way towards the artificial water body, @Moharli Core Zone.|
Now Matkasur is the partner of Maya and since 2017 they have been seen together and Maya delivered her third litter. Now Maya is the mother of 2 cubs namely Surya and Meera.
The freelance cinematographer Subbiah Nallamuthu working on Maya since last two years in Tadoba and spending approximately 45K per day on the shooting.
Compare to Maya, Sonam is not tourist friendly at all. You can see her only while she is crossing road or partially forbidden any bush.
Her partner is Bajrang and she is 7 years old. One of her cub Rocket in his young age was chasing the Gypsys' during safari. But now he managed his territory in Tadoba.
Two female Barking deer aka Muntjacs are small deer native to south Asia. They are also found in the lower Himalayas. They are thought to have begun appearing 15–35 million years ago.
The gaur aka the Indian bison, is the tallest wild cattle. This largest mammal species is native Souther part of Asia. It has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list since 1986. Population decline in parts of its range is likely to be more than 70% during the last three generations.
|A Gaur herd at Moharli Core Zone, Tadoba.|
The Sambar deer aka Philippine deer or Sambar(Rusa unicolor) is a large in size of deer family. This species is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia that is also listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list since 2008. Populations have been declined substantially due to severe hunting and industrial exploitation of habitat. Generally their height ranges from 100 - 160 cm and the females are smaller than male. Their antlers are typically rusine in nature, large and rugged. Alike other deer species the male only posses the antlers.
This elephant family can easily be seen near the water body of MTDC resort. Whole day they were at the marsh area with their calf. I have seen them for he 3 days in this area only having herbs, drinking the water and taking their daily bath. The temperature was varying from 42 - 43 degree celsius.
The Indian Peafowl famously known as Peacock, is native to the Indian subcontinent but now introduced to many other parts of the world. The male with bright blue spoke-like crest with the spatula where the feathers forming a wired structure which spotted with colourful eye-catcher.
The red jungle fowl, the progenitor of domestic chicken. The species were domesticated before 5000 years in Asia and now it is domesticated globally for the productive food of eggs and meat.
Legend holds about Tadoba that long back one parson Taru was the chief of village was killed mythologically encounter by a tiger. Incidentally this forest was named Tadoba - as a mark of respect for him.
This is my first time visit in Tadoba. It is located 35 km far from Chandrapur one of the hottest city in Maharastra. You can go via Chandrapur or Nagpur.
There are some buses and a train (Friday going and return on Sunday) running from Pune to Chandrapur. I went by train from Pune to Chandrapur and from Chandrapur to Moharli by a local state corporation bus. It was really a adventure to me. The bus fare was only 35 INR.
|The Entrance of Tadoba jungle from Chandrapur.|
|The guest House of Forest department|
The distance from Moharli gate to Maharastra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) resort of Tadoba is about one and half km. I walked that distance around 2:45 pm amid of May and was completely roasted. If you wana have adventured in summer can do this easily.
|The peripheral boundary of Tadoba.|
I did 3 safaris, one @Junona buffer zone and 2 @Moharli core zones. My first safari experience of Tadoba was disappointing. The safari timings are twice in a day, one is in early morning and another is in afternoon. The entry time is varying based on season. During monsoon the core zones are closed only buffer zone is being open. The Tadoba National Park is divided into three zones, Moharli (most tiger spotting area), Tadoba and Kolsa zone each zone having different gates to enter. There are 6 core gates i.e. Moharli, Khutwanda, Navegaon, Kolara, Kolsa-Zari and Pangdi and 6 buffer gates i.e. Alizanza Zone, Devada Adegaon, Agazari, Junona, Kolara and Ramdegi to start safari.
If you booked your accommodation in FDCM then no need to book seat in Van for safari. The fare per seat in van is 500 INR. I was carrying DSLR of 300 mm lenses and paid 250 INR separately. The charge of camera depends on the lens. Upto 250 mm the rate is 200 INR and more than 250 mm the rate is 250 INR.
|An open hooded safari @Junona buffer zone.|
There are three types safari are available, one open hooded Gypsy operated by Maharastra Eco Tourism need to book prior in online.
One open hooded canter used to run every day twice from Chandrapur to Moharli core zone and 16 seater safari Van opiated by FDCM. The Tatkal safari booking also available in online. The Van of FDCN running at Moharli core zone during both morning and evening safaris.
The jungle remains closed on Tuesday so, plan according before heading towards. Try to book safari online prior 45 days to get into the core zones at amid summer.
By the first safari I could see Sambar deer, Barking deer and spotted deer only. Throughout the jungle you can see some artificial water bodies running by solar power. The wild animals coming to that area to drink water and tiger or tigress used to sink for 1 hour to 2 hour in day to regulate their body temperature as due to having raw meat tiger heated with too high of temperature.
I was quite disappointed during Junona buffer zone safari as Junona is the territory of Lara and Madhuri, the 2 tigresses unfortunately I couldn't see them. The barking deer continue the 'peak peak' calling near Dewara lake but they didn't come.
|Fireline or firebreak, a moderate gap in forest acts as a barrier to slow or stop the speeding of bushfire in wildlife.|
|The villagers of Aregaon collecting the Tendu leaves. Photo Courtesy: Internet.|
The guide Raju Mishra from Junona village told that during this season the villagers started to collect Tendu patta from the buffer zone so the big cats become quite scary to get close to human. Tendu leaves are used for wrapping the tobacco and making "beedi" or Indian cigar.
During safari in Moharli core zone you can see some ancient pillars around 34 in numbers of 100 meter intervals on road side.
Those pillars are used send the message for the king’s arrival. Our guide of 2nd safari Amol shared an interesting information about these pillars. Each pillar is about 8-10 feet tall and is made of stones.
On top of the pillars are tapering and there is a visible cut (half circle) to hold rope which is used to ring a bell to spread the message.
Indian Ghost tree, pale looking with unusual colors and shape. The tree's bark is white and almost no leaves. The tree somehow carrying no resemblance with other trees and stood in a contrast view as it will give you the goosebumps if you see them in the lesser lights of an afternoon or evening.
The jungle is dense with Teak, Mohua, Crocodile bark tree and bamboo trees.
Where will you stay in this jungle, right? There are 2 resorts operated by government i.e. MTDC and FCDM in Moharli.
The MTDC resorts are categories on number of beds in a room. These rooms are with more number of beds.
|Entrance of MTDC resorts|
There is separate accommodation for personal car drivers.
|The interior of twin bed room @MTDC resort.|
|The wardrobe with mirror decorated with cane design.|
|The entrance of Forest Development Corporation of Maharastra (FDCM) resorts.|
You may also book your stay per bed at Youth Hostel of FDCM campus.
|The Fish fries, the preparation and recipe are quite different. It is only the pieces of fish with bones and dipped in batter of spices flour to deep fry in oil.|
Other than these you can find some private operating resorts and home stays near Moharli bus stand. Those are quite cheap compare to these resorts and middle of the both Moharli and Junona gate.
Take a cycle from MTDC resort and you can try early morning cycling in the village.