Last Updated on July 7, 2023 by asoulwindow
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47 Top things to do in Tadoba National Park
There are so many amazing things to do in Tadoba National Park, which is also known as the Jewel of Vidarbha. The scenic destinations in and around Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve make for an ideal picnic spot, best enjoyed with friends and family. Spread across a whooping 1727 square kilometre, Tadoba National Park, located in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, was created in the year 1955. It was integrated with the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1995 and this is why they are together known as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary was created in the year 1986. The Andhari part here is christened after the gorgeous Andhari River.
Every time my friends ask me to describe in detail my visit to Tadoba National Park, I just share this detailed guide to the best things to do in Tadoba National Park. It is the most comprehensive guide on Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve ever.
Jeep Tiger Safari in Tadoba National Park
Tadoba National Park, sure lived up to its reputation for great wildlife sightings when I experienced it myself. It was my first ever visit to Tadoba National Park and I was rewarded with a good view of the tigers and other wild animals and birds.
For the morning safari, I visited the core zone of the popular Khutwanda gate and for the night safari on the next day, I explored the buffer zone Navegaon Ramdego gate.
The total number of vehicles that are allowed to drive through each of the six gates are limited. These rules are strictly monitored which is why, you must book a safari jeep way in advance. In my case, Pugdundee Safaris booked the jeep for me much before I even landed in the Nagpur airport. This, despite the last-minute request and low availability of the jeeps. Pugdundee Safaris is a leading chain of wildlife hotels and one of the best safari operators in India.
It is mandatory to hire a guide from the gate. Their place in the jeep is designated and strictly monitored, so do not ask them to shift their seats. The local wildlife guides are aware of the movement of tigers and know the best places where the probability of spotting tigers is high. This is why tiger safari is the top thing to do in Tadoba National Park.
Chase the leopard in Tadoba
While spotting a leopard is super thrilling, nothing compares coming face to face with the star of Tadoba National Park, i.e. the melanistic leopard known as Blackie. The Black Melanistic Leopard is very hard to spot but not impossible. Many tourists have spotted blackie which has only added to the popularity of Tadoba National Park as a top wildlife destination in India. A melanistic leopard is a rare breed of leopard which is seen off late in Tadoba.
Thanks to the excess melanin in its skin and fur, Blackie appears to be entirely black in colour. But you will realise that is not the case when you observe the skin tones attentively. Pictures and videos of Blackie keeps going viral on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. You can see the videos and pictures of Blackie on the Instagram handle of Pugdundee Safaris.
Do a canter Safari in Tadoba National Park
If you are in a large group or on a budget travel, you can also book a seat in a canter, which is a larger bus like vehicle, often without a roof for better viewing. Many people on low budget book the 22-seater mini buses or canters to drive around the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. The canter vans provide good views of the wildlife though it can be a bit problematic if the tiger chooses to appear on one side of the canter, blocking the view of those sitting on the other side.
Hire a telephoto lens for wildlife photography
I had also hired a 100-400 mm lens from a local service provider. It made all the difference. I do not shoot wildlife more than 1-2 times in a year, so it makes sense for me to rent a lens than to buy one and maintain it, protect it from fungus etc. I hired the lens from the local service provider in Tadoba, and not from my home city New Delhi as it saved cost for me. I would have had to pay for 5-6 days, had I hired the expensive telephoto lens from New Delhi, while I just paid for 1 safari when I hired from Tadoba National Park itself.
Appreciate other wildlife of Tadoba
Observing the wild animals and birds in their natural habitat is indeed a satisfying experience. Yes, tiger is important but jungle safaris are not only about the tigers. I also equally excited to be able to spot gaurs, marsh crocodiles, fungoid frogs, tree frogs, wild boars, dancing peacocks, Hanuman langur, spotted deer (why not? Do you know them well?), sambar, Indian roller, Indian pitta and others. Keep your eyes and ears open and the jungle will surprise you.
Which animals and birds are found in Tadoba National Park? Apart from Royal Bengal Tigers, you can also spot the below
Mammals of Tadoba National Park
- Wild boar
- Sloth bears
- Striped Hyena
- Jungle Cats
- Indian Gaur
- Barking Deer
- Striped Hyena
- Indian leopards
- Nilgai or blue ox
- Small Indian Civet
- Hanuman Langoor
- Dhole or wild dogs
- Black Panther (Rare)
- Chital or Spotted Deer
- Flying Squirrel aka Indian giant squirrel or Malabar giant squirrel
Reptiles of Tadoba Andhari Tiger reserve
Which reptiles are found in Tadoba National Park?
- Indian Cobra
- Russel’s viper
- Indian Python
- Marsh Crocodile
- Indian star tortoise
- Indian monitor lizard
Birds of Tadoba National Park
A whooping 195 species of birds have been observed in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. 3 endangered species of birds also call Tadoba home. Some of the most easily seen birds in Tadoba National Park are as under.
- Indian Pitta
- Indian roller
- Stone curlew
- Common iora
- Indian nightjar
- Red-naped ibis
- Rufous treepie
- Brown Fish Owl
- Indian white-eye
- Painted francolin
- Crested treeswift
- Mottled wood owl
- Black-hooded oriole
- Common woodshrike
- Crested Serpent Eagle
- Black-naped monarch
- Tawny bellied babbler
- Yellow-wattled lapwing
- Grey-headed Fish Eagle
- Crested Honey Buzzard
- Indian paradise flycatcher
- Bronze winged Jacana
- Orange headed thrush
- Changeable hawk-eagle
- Lesser Goldenbacked woodpecker
Spiders and others creatures in Tadoba Andhari Tiger reserve
Monsoon is a good time to spot below spiders and insects:
- Lynx spiders
- Crab spiders
- Wolf Spiders
- Signature spider
- Giant wood spider
- Stick Insects
- Jewel beetles
- Praying mantis
Butterflies in Tadoba National Park
74 various species of butterflies have been observed in Tadoba National Park. Some of them are as below:
- Lime butterfly
- Pansy butterfly
- Danaid egg-fly
- Great egg-fly
- Monarch butterfly
- Mormons butterfly
- Swordtails butterfly
- Common emigrant butterfly
Soul Window Firsts
Though, I was not lucky enough to spot the pack of wild dogs or dholes in the Tadoba National Park, I had my first views of the dholes on my 2nd morning safari in the nearby Pench National Park on the same road trip. I even saw my first leopard in wild in Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Do read my detailed guides on things to do in Pench National Park and birdwatching in Pench.
Birdwatching in Tadoba National Park
The rivers, rivulets, lakes and ponds in and around Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve are great hot spots if birding excites you. It is very easy to spot raptors such as white-eyed buzzards, Oriental honey buzzards in and around the lakes of Tadoba. In fact, I had very good sighting of Indian roller and Indian pitta from a close distance. You can also spot angelic paradise flycatchers by the lakes. In winters, you can also see migratory birds apart from the endemic birds at the lakes of Tadoba. Herons and egrets are also commonly seen.
The hide at Waghoba Eco Lodge provides ample opportunities to enjoy birdwatching without going very far. I noticed countless barn swallows resting in the shadow of the swimming pool area of Waghoba Eco Lodge. I also noticed several sunbirds restlessly flitting from one branch to another. Nightjars are also commonly seen in and around the property. The Waghoba Eco Lodge has incorporated a small pond in its design which attracts birds and even mammals like a fox family who live nearby. I saw an otter too. Also, keep your eyes peeled for crested serpent eagle and crested hawk eagle while doing the jeep safari in the core zone.
On a morning birdwatching trail, led by Mr. Mandhar, the in-house naturalist, we spotted many birds such as parakeets, ring dove, spotted dove, Indian robin, yellow throated sparrow, weaver birds, pallied harriers, and also many wild hares scurrying about hurriedly as a bonus. Rose ring parakeet, plum headed parakeet and Alexandrine parakeet are also commonly spotted here. We did the birdwatching on foot, right outside the Waghoba Eco Lodge. I saw many Alexandrine parakeets residing in the walls ofthe imposing Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Visit Butterfly World
The open-air butterfly garden and the information centre, located near the lesser-known Agarzari gate is one of the best offbeat places to see in and around Tadoba National Park. I remember visiting the Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden in Thane near Mumbai. The butterfly park of Tadoba is a must-see place for adults and kids alike. There is so much you can learn about butterflies within few hours. Many people skip butterfly due to lack or prior information or paucity of time. But now that you know that butterfly park indeed is a hidden gem of Tadoba, you may want to plan and extend few more days to include this lesser-known tourist attraction.
How to reach the butterfly park of Tadoba? The butterfly park called as butterfly world falls on the route as you drive on the main road from the Moharali gate to Chandrapur. Thanks to the numerous host & nectar plants which are thoughtfully chosen for this park, it attracts various endemic species of butterflies. Some of the 74 species of butterflies found in Tadoba are the pansy butterfly, swordtails butterfly, monarch butterfly, lime butterfly, common emigrant butterfly, Danaid egg-fly and Mormons butterfly.
Admire the landscape of Tadoba National Park
The dense forest area, smooth meadows, grassy knolls, umpteen lakes, random water bodies and deep valleys of Tadoba National Park are itself a destination. So even if you fail to spot the Royal Bengal tigers (which is unlikely) then admiring the beauty of Tadoba alone is worth it. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is so vast that various areas look dramatically different from each other. For example, while Dhauna, is a dirt road flanked on either side by a steep vegetated cliff and the Bhanuskhindi river, the area around Tadoba Lake and Telia lake is drastically different. It is also common to see vast patches of grasslands interspersed with dense vertical jungles.
Night Safari in Tadoba National Park
Night Safari is one of the top things to do in Tadoba National Park. Ever since it was launched, it has gained popularity with the wildlife enthusiasts. There are very few national parks in India where night safari is allowed and Tadoba Andhari Tiger reserve is one of them.
The exciting night safari we did in Tadoba Tiger Reserve was once in a lifetime experience. It was my first night safari ever. Call it beginner’s luck or something else, I was lucky enough to see my first wild civet cats (2 of them) and jungle cat. I also spotted uncountable Indian wild hare scurrying about in the undergrowth besides some easy spotting of wild boars and Indian gaur. A large species of owl flew right above our head.
Read more details in my complete guide to night safari in Tadoba National Park.
Hire a naturalist from Waghoba Eco Lodge
The experienced set of well-educated, English-speaking naturalists of Waghoba Eco Lodge besides accompanying you on wildlife safaris (on request) in Tadoba National Park, also hold daily presentations, sessions at the bird hide and storytelling hours with kids.
Shaheen Shaikh, the resident naturalist at Waghoba Eco Lodge giving us company on all the jeep safaris in Tadoba made all the difference. She was smart, erudite, English speaking and never leaves a question unanswered. Impressed with her vast knowledge on wildlife, I even suggested that she should write a book on the wild. I have done wildlife safaris in many other Indian national parks but never before did I come across such brilliant naturalists. Gaurav and Mandhar were equally knowledgeable about wildlife and local flora.
Apart from interesting information, hard facts and trivia which Shaheen shared about the wild animals, birds and plants, she also regaled us with stories from the jungles. The story of the famous Maya tigress for example kept us hooked. Do you need more reasons why you should hire a naturalist during safari?
Visit Waghoba Temples
Not many know that people from the Gond tribal community who live on the periphery of Tadoba National Park worship Waghoba. The purposely kitschy idol of the tiger, locally called as Wagh caught my attention as I ambled through the dirt paths. Needless to say, the Waghoba Eco Lodge is christened after the local tiger deity Waghoba.While Wagh means tiger, ba is a common local suffix which is used to convey respect.Roaring on a raised platform, on a green slab, Waghoba is surrounded by metallic trishuls or tridents.It is a reminder of how the local people of India have always co-existed with the wild peacefully since times immemorial.
There are many such stone idols of tigers who are worshipped by the locals in the forests areas and village squares that surround Tadoba National Park. You may even club visiting a Waghoba temple while returning from the morning safari. Alternatively, leave early for the evening safari to include a visit here in your Tadoba National Park itinerary.
Soul Window Observations
It is one of the most unusual temples I have visited, much like my visit to the unusual Om Banna Temple near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Whether it is the people’s comfort living with the Cobra snakes in Agumbe or several villages which were once located inside the Tadoba National Park, Pench National Park or Jim Corbett National Park etc. Much of the fear towards wild animals is in the media and movies. In the real jungles of India, local people respect, protect and worship the wild.
Study local fauna of Tadoba National Park
The local fauna of Tadoba National Park which enables great sightings and good visibility of wild animals and birds is one of the reasons why Tadoba National Park is so popular with wildlife lovers. Shaheen Shaikh, our in-house naturalist from Pugdundee Safaris, told me that its mostly teak trees and bamboo which dominate the landscape of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve which is mostly southern tropical dry deciduous forest with dense woodlands.
Thanks to the dry forests and open grasslands of Tadoba National Park, it is comparatively easier to spot tiger and other wildlife in Tadoba. This was proven when I had a clear sighting of the famous tigress Bijli with her two cubs in the grasslands of the Jamni Lake.
There are many such interesting trees found in the dry deciduous forest. Each of these trees play a role in the ecosystem and merit a separate study.
Below are the trees and other plant lives found in Tadoba National Park
- Black Plum
- Kach Kajuli
- Karaya gum
- Wodier Tree
- Mahua Madhuca
- Various species of Bamboo
- Ain, aka black murdah or crocodile-bark tree
Learn about medicinal plants of Tadoba
On a nature trail in and around Tadoba National Park, you can also get well versed with the natural medicinal benefits of certain plants and trees. For example, climber kach kujali, which is also known as velvet bean which is abundantly found in Tadoba National Park is a medicinal plant used in the treatment of the Parkinson’s disease. Beheda also has immense medicinal value. Similarly, Bija is a medicinal gum and Bheria leaves serve as natural insect repellent. The local indigenous tribes around the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve have been aware of the medicinal usages of such endemic plants and trees since times immemorial. This is one of the best things to do in the Tadoba National Park.
Stay in a luxury resort in Tadoba National Park
Where to stay in Tadoba National Park? The vast stretch of grassland extending on all the sides of the Waghoba Eco Lodge was my favourite feature of this eco conscious property. What makes Waghoba Eco Lodge one of the best hotels in Tadoba National Park is the balance they strike between environment and luxury. In my opinion, it is the best example of responsible luxury.
The beautiful and minimalist interiors have nicely assimilated local aesthetics into the design. The dark reclaimed teakwood used in the furniture sits well with my taste. The hanging lamps help in modifying the ambiance in the room. The writing desk is located right behind the king-sized bed. I also spent time reading in the alcove in one of the walls of the cozy room. The best part is that there is no TV here. The idea is to keep you focussed on the wildlife instead of the routine things you do back home. It works out well for me as I have purposely not owned a TV since the year 2007.
My personal favourite is the sit out area separated from my spacious room with a sliding glass door. “Overlooking the kitchen garden, it looked gorgeous few days ago, when the field was full of sunflowers” Shaheen told me.
What I also found worthy of my attention was the fact that Waghoba Eco Lodge has taken conscious steps towards rewilding the land with native species. Large water bodies have been incorporated well in the design of this property which spreads across a whooping 12 acres.
I have visited many luxury resorts in most of the well-known National Parks of India and rarely have I seen something like this. Instead of manicured gardens and pathways paved with tiles, the property management made a conscious decision to keep the things wild, untamed and natural. Wild grass is allowed to grow and the pathways are all dirt tracks, keeping it as close to nature as possible. This is also why room service is not available in the villas, as the leftovers may attract insects and small animals. Most of the trees planted across the resort are native. What is also impressive about Waghoba Eco Lodge is the fact that it aims to employ at least 50% females, preferably from the neighbouring village. I have rarely seen any other property commit to gender equality.
To add, the staff here made special effort to make my stay memorable. Whether it is the naturalist Shaheen Sheikh (from Hyderabad), Gaurav and Mandhar, Mr. Ghanshyan Singh, Shreya Parab (front office) from Mumbai the chefs, service team or the alert housekeeping staff, everyone went out of their way to make our experience smooth.
What sets Waghoba Eco Lodge apart from the other hotels in Tadoba National Park is the fact that instead of crowding near the Khutwanda Gate, it is built on a land where you can see only wilderness, green mountains, open fields. Located in the Bhadravathi tehsil of the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, there is no other nearby building in sight. Though located in the buffer zone and at walking distance from the border of core zone, it truly is akin to staying in the jungle, much like my stay in the offbeat Kidepo National Park in Uganda. “Watch out for the lion when you go to the restaurant.” I was told by my African host.
Address of Waghoba Eco Lodge: Waghoba Eco Lodge, Wadala Tukum Village, Bhadravati Tehsil, Chandrapur District, Maharashtra – 442906
Be a responsible traveller in Tadoba
Reform. Coexist. Sustain. This is the mantra that Pugdundee resorts follows and inspires us to follow as well. Waghoba Eco Lodge, which was my doorway to the tiger country promotes responsible and sustainable eco-tourism in Tadoba National Park. This is one of the reasons why Waghoba Eco Lodge, committed towards minimizing their carbon footprint, is undisputedly one of the best resorts in Tadoba National Park.
Their commitment to green architecture has already won Waghoba Eco Lodge many awards and accolades. When Mr. Ghanshyam Singh, the manager at this beautiful hotel in Tadoba National Park escorted me to my spacious villa, he diverted my attention to the handmade adobe earth bricks made from local soil and vaulted ceilings made from handmade conical tiles. As I lied down on my bed, I noticed the unusual Guna vault roof tiles on the ceiling. These interlocking earthen tiles made from locally available materials help keep the rooms cooler. This is much needed respite because temperatures in the Vidarbha region can soar up to 50 degrees centigrade in peak summer months.
These structural features of the room in this sustainable safari lodge are in tune with the local customs and architecture. You will find many similarities in the homes of the local tribal villages and the villas of Waghoba Eco Lodge if you pay attention. Mr Ghanshyam told me that each bedroom in the villa faces east and the bathrooms face west. Thanks to this architectural design, the rooms doesn’t get very hot in the summer. I noticed the same as I visited in the peak of summer in mid-June. This also helps in reducing the power consumption because only 2 tons ACs are required instead of the 4 tons ones. Since the room is huge, this comes across as a good design element.
This style of architecture also keeps the rooms cooler even in hot weather outside. The water management systems which include Phytroid Sewage Treatment Plant, Rain Water Harvesting and ground water recharge also keeps the environment healthy.
What’s more? Much of this 14-villa property was constructed by local workers using the locally available raw materials. Not only did this provide employment to the local people but also kept the carbon footprint low, which is one of the primary goals of Waghoba Eco Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris. Add to this, the energy-efficient cooling and sustainable lighting fixtures and we have a winner at hand.
The folks at Waghoba Eco Lodge aren’t merely doing lip service. They walk the talk. They mean it when they say that responsible tourism in Tadoba National Park is their priority. I was able to notice the sustainable approach they have through small details. For example, I was pleasantly surprised to see a reusable rubber bathroom slipper in the wardrobe instead of disposable ones. Most hotel rooms keep ‘use-and-throw’ flip flops which only add to the carbon footprint.
Similarly, instead of plastic bottles, we were gifted a nice reusable metallic bottle which could be refilled again and again with safe, filtered water upon request. 100% organic linen & toiletries stocked in the cherry only add to the steps Waghoba Eco Lodge has taken into consideration. I didn’t see a single plastic bottle or container. The bath gels, shampoos and hand wash are stored in a glass dispenser. Even the dental kit is made entirely of the eco-friendly bamboo. Not only are the dustbins lined with newspapers instead of plastic bags but the carry bags are also made up of newspapers here. The khaki-coloured tissues made from recycled paper also caught my attention.
Besides 4.5 acres of land where they grow their own vegetables and herbs in a sustainable manner, the property also makes some good use of the freely available solar energy. The solar energy plant is located next to the kitchen garden. It meets their power requirements easily as this region gets ample sunlight throughout the year.
What’s more? The washroom area also has a small pebbled area with a plant which receives ample sunlight through the glass window in the ceiling. I didn’t even switch on the lights during the day. Even the room has a huge sliding door which allows ample sunlight, reducing the need to switch on the lights. Now you know why Waghoba Eco Lodge is one of the best sustainable safari lodges in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. They even won the Indian Responsible Tourism Awards 2022. They are counted as sustainable leadership hotels for a reason.
See lakes of Tadoba National Park
The probability of spotting a tiger lying lazily in the natural or man-made water sources of Tadoba Ntaional Park is high, especially in the peak of summer months such as April, May and June. I visited Tadoba in mid-June, which is why we headed to Telia lake near Moharli gate in search of Tigress Sonam and her young cubs.
There are many natural lakes, rivers, rivulets and man-made ponds in Tadoba National Park which serve as abundant water sources for the wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects and amphibians. The beautiful Kolsa Lake, and Tadoba River are also major attractions of Tadoba. Telia lake, the huge Tadoba lake and Jamni lake are the three major lakes of Tadoba which are also known for great sightings of tigers and other animals and birds. For example, we saw the crocodile in the scenic Tadoba lake, tigress Bijli in Jamni lake and darter in the picturesque Telia lake. Tadoba lake is so huge and full of water in even the peak summer months that it alone meets the daily needs of all the local creatures. People also head to Irai lake for birdwatching. It is also easy to spot crocodiles here. These are some of the most popular tourist attractions to see in Tadoba National Park.
Cycling in Tadoba National Park
Cycling is a must-do in the array of activities in and around Tadoba National Park. It is a good idea to hire a cycle from the Waghoba Eco Lodge, and explore the forest and the village area surrounding the resort for a more immersive experience. Watch out for the nightjars, sitting camouflaged on the roads though. Alternatively, you can also enjoy cycling on a 7 km long nature trail at the buffer zone at Pardi near Mohurli Gate. A scenic stretch beside the famed Irai Lake is also popular with cyclists. In summers, early morning or evening is the best time for cycling as it gets very hot in the Vidarbha region in afternoon.
The eco tourist cycle trails are the best way to enjoy Tadoba without leaving any carbon footprints while keeping you physically fit. The feel of the cool breeze on your face while listening to the chirps of the birds out to forage food is cherry on the cake. On a previous wildlife trip, I enjoyed cycling in Jim Corbett National Park too. Enjoying few hours with nature all by myself is so soul satisfying.
Go trekking in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
The small hill of Jamunbodi, descending sharply to a pool ringed by trees, is a popular trek route which you may want to take. A day trek through this elevated grassland is one of the top adventurous activities you can do in Tadoba National Park. There are many such routes which have immense potential for exciting hikes and walks through the forest but are not formalised yet. You may want to check locally about the official trekking trails around Tadoba because they keep adding new ones. Some trek routes may even close if tiger movement is observed.
Go for a swim
It can get very hot in summer months. The Virarbha region of Maharashtra is anyways known for its hot summers. What better way to beat the heat by jumping into a plush swimming pool during afternoon when safaris are not conducted. The Swimming pool of Waghoba Eco Lodge is located right below its lounge area and overlooks mountains and open fields. And who knows which animals you may end up spotting while you take a dip in the comforting waters of the pool? Birds and animal sightings are very common around the pool area which is strategically located next to a pond and hide.
Sample local vegan and vegetarian cuisine
The organic herbal and vegetable garden of Waghoba Eco Lodge gives a meaning to farm to table. Much of the ingredients used in the kitchen of the sole restaurant here is sourced from the home-grown kitchen garden where they grow Indian and exotic vegetables and herbs. The best part is that you can also customise your meal, if you want it to be free of nuts, gluten or dairy etc.
I sampled three thalis at Waghoba Eco Lodge, namely
- Varadhi thali from the Vidarbha region
- Maharashtrian Thali
- Hyderabadi Thali
My vegetarian Varadhi thali included dishes such as dry garlic chutney, carrot koshambir, besan kadhi, Patwadi rassa or patodi rasa (barfi shaped dumplings made with dahi and besan), paneer dahi masala, batata bhindi bhaji and jowar papad.
My vegetarian Maharashtrian thali included usal, amti (lentils cooked with tamarind and jaggery), cabbage, tomato, moong dal koshambir, groundtnut chutney, mixed vegetable, papad and salad.
My vegetarian Hyderabadi thali included tomato pickle, creamy Burani Raita with fried garlic and roasted cumin powder, salan, mixed vegetable, paneer do pyaza, fried karela aka Kakarakaya Vepudu (I will try this at home!), Hyderabadi Kachchi Biryani topped with fried onion,
I was impressed when the service staff served me the local dishes in the traditional hand-made Kansa thalis with the beverage of the day such as the mauve-hued, digestive Solkadhi made with Kokum. You can sample the spicy Saoji curries in the Varadhi thali.
For the dinner, you can order Indian, Oriental and Continental cuisines from the à la carte menu. What’s more? They even have a menu for the kids. We had paneer rezala, mixed vegetable and the Bengali sukhto (my favourite!) on the first dinner in the restaurant.
For breakfast, I was delighted when the chef told me that he has made Sabudana Khichdi and thalipeeth, my favourite Maharashtrian dishes. I lived in Sanpada, Navi Mumbai for 7 years and this is why I love Maharashtrian food a bit too much! Now that Indians are waking up to the benefits of adding millets to our diet, it has also started to show up in the menu of luxury hotels such as Waghoba Eco Lodge. For example, jowar chila, millet salads and ukadpendi, which is cooked with Jowar atta is regularly served for breakfast besides the homemade porridge and delicious snacks of Maharashtra such as Kothimbir vada and batata vada. Their in-house bakery also ensures a constant supply of muffins and fruit cakes etc. The packed breakfast to be had inside the Tadoba National Park, included cheese sandwiches, rolls, fruits cakes, muffins, cookies, tea, lemonade etc.
The beautifully presented desserts here are worth writing home about. No wonder, I used to look forward to the desserts on each day. On the first night at Waghoba Eco Lodge, the coffee ice cream and mishti doi served in a clay pot transported me to a food coma. The mildly sweet millet barfi served with kesar pista ice cream was served after the thalis. You may want to request for their delicious modak too!
Waghoba Eco Lodge serves authentic Saoji cuisine. I love spicy and fiery food which Saoji cuisine is famed for. However, being a vegetarian, my options were limited because Saoji cuisine is traditionally meat heavy. Available in Nagpur, roadside dhabas on highways and various hotels and restaurants around Tadoba National Park, Saoji cuisine is very popular. However, not everyone finds it exciting because Saoji dishes are very spicy.
Soji cuisine comes from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Members of the Halba Koshtis tribe, a community of weavers are credited with the inventors of Saoji cuisine. Aeons ago, they migrated from the adjoining Madhya Pradesh to Nagpur in Maharashtra seeking jobs in the Empress Mill. Needless to say, brought along their food culture.
Unique to this region, Saoji is referred to a particular style of cooking. What makes Saoji cuisine so unusual is the unique blending and balancing of wet and dry spices. Cold pressed linseed oil is used to prepare authentic Saoji dishes. Thanks to the popularity of Saoji cuisine, many restaurants claiming to serve authentic versions have mushroomed up in the Nagpur and Vidarbha region. Some have even toned down the spice levels. This is why, be warned of the fake versions of Saoji cuisine.
Visit Tadoba Lake: Best place to see in Tadoba National Park
Tadoba Lake itself is so beautiful and vast that it merits a visit. Even if you fail to spot a tiger, the stunning scenery around Tadoba Lake will make up for it. Though you are not allowed to step out of the safari jeep, you can still appreciate the tranquil lake from a distance because it is located within the core zone of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. And who knows, you may end up spotting a marsh crocodile or two, like we did. Tiger sighting is also very common around the Tadoba Lake. This is why Tadoba lake is one of the top places to see in Tadoba National Park.Tadoba lake is located very close to the Khutwanda gate from where we entered the core zone.
Climb atop a watchtower or Machan
I noticed a machan or watchtower at one of the shores of the enchanting Telia lake with crystal clear water near the Moharli Gate. There are many such machans where tourists can climb for a better view of the landscape or wildlife of Tadoba National Park. You must also check out the machans located in the area of Mohurli and Palasgaon ranges in the buffer zones. At Panchdhara, a small clearing, you can climb atop a rickety watchtower. Some people love to spend as much as 2-3 hours at watch towers anticipating good wildlife sightings. It is actually a greener alternative to engage with the wild, because no fuel is burnt when you spend 2-3 hours in a machan.
I had climbed atop machans in Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh and Manas National Park in Assam and it did reward me with great sightings from a safe distance. Thanks to the elevated height of the machan, spotting wildlife in the dense jungle becomes easier besides facilitating a greater visibility of the surroundings.
Nature Trail: Top Thing to do in Tadoba National Park
There are many exciting nature trails in and around Tadoba National Park. You can learn a lot about the local fauna, flora and the unseen micro-life. The miracles of the miniature world are best revealed by a trained naturalist such as those who work with Waghoba Eco Lodge. For example, I discovered amusing facts about easy-to-miss micro-life on one such nature trail led by Mr. Mandhar, who is an in-house naturalist besides looking after the kitchen garden of Waghoba Eco Lodge.
While we walked around the sprawling luxury property, secretly hoping to spot foxes and jackals, if not tigers, he asked me to look down. “There is a quick sand, right next to your feet”, said Mr. Mandhar. “What is a quick sand?”, I wondered. It looked like a small well in the ground, but it was more sinister than it looked. Also known as sinking sand, it is built by small insects to trap other insects and ants etc. Once another small insect falls in the well-like conical shaped quick sand, it is nearly impossible for them to climb up and escape. The way up is slippery, resulting in the insect becoming a quick meal of the lurking predator.
And we thought humans were the only intelligent creatures of God. There is so much going on in the micro world, easily missed by our eyes manipulated to obsess with spotting a tiger. This is why, hiring expert naturalists from Waghoba Eco Lodge, one of the best safari operators in India, makes all the difference. During this nature walk around Waghoba Eco Lodge, we also saw ground being dug up by wild boars, hoof marks of wild boars and even few wild Indian hares scurrying around in the bushes.
Appreciate plant life while you go on nature trails. 6-8 feet tall dense bamboo groves, tall teak trees and eerie white bark of the ghost tree dominate the landscape of Tadoba. The Tendu leaves are used for making beedis while mahua is used to making liquor and other things. And did you know that the Axlewood (Anogeissus latifolia is a fire-resistant species? You can learn more such interesting facts about Tadoba National Park and its flora fauna when you go on a nature trail here. Walking along the shores of Irai Lake is also pleasurable and safe. You can reach Irai during a buffer zone safari. It is located outside the core zone of the Tadoba Tiger Reserve.
Visit local Tribal Villages
Tadoba’s tribal hamlets merit immersive exploration. You must spend at least half a day if not full day interacting with the local tribes who live around in and around the vast Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. On a guided tour, you can learn about the lesser-known aspects of the local customs and traditions of the tribes who have residences near the buffer zones of Tadoba National Park. A mere village walk in the tribal settlements around Tadoba will acquaint you with their lifestyle. We came across various houses of Gond people while covering the short distance between Waghoba Eco Lodge and Tadoba National Park.
Some of the main tribes which call the Tadoba region home are
- Gond tribe
- Kolam tribe
- Korku tribe
- Andh tribe
Out of these, the tribal people of Gonds are the most dominant and familiar to the general public. The local tribal people are very friendly. With permission, I even explored their homes. I was amused to see some of them use both gas stove as well as the traditional chulha (mud stove) in their kitchens. Since the local tribal people are skilled craftsmen and artisans and are deft at making products out of bamboo, it is likely that you may catch them making baskets, swings, handicrafts, bamboo art, show pieces, furniture and even lamp shades and swings, right outside their homes. Exploring the tribal heartland is one of the top activities to do in Tadoba National Park. You may also want to consider visiting the beautiful Khosla Village in Chandrapur district.
Soul Window Facts
Did you know that Tadoba is christened after Taru or Tadoba, who happens to be the local god of the tribals? As per the local folklore and legend, Taru was a brave village chieftain of the Gond tribe in the yesteryears. While combating a tiger, Taru was killed unfortunately, following which he was deified. You can also visit a temple devoted to Taru, under a huge tree on the banks of the pristine Tadoba Lake.
During the Hindu month of Pausha (December–January), the temple is inundated with visits of indigenous adivasis during an annual local fair. I noticed many such forest shrines during my visits. These are built by the adivasis who have co-existed with the wild and have called Tadoba their home since much before it became a protected national park.
Learn Warli Art
Traditionally, the tribal people of Maharashtra paint their homes with beautiful Warli paintings. There are some resorts and hotels in Tadoba who not only have their walls decorated with Warli paintings but can also help arrange a workshop on the same upon request. You can also talk to the local artist regarding the same.
This art form dates back to 10th century C.E. The cultural intellectual property of Warli paintings preserved across generations is worth admiring for sure.
Discover Hidden Gems
There are many other hidden gems and offbeat places hiding in the corners of Tadoba National Park. I would suggest that you ask around and try to visit those places. The local guides and the folks at Waghoba Eco Lodge are the best people to tell you about the lesser-known places in and around the Tadoba National Park. Do let me know in the comment section and if I find it worthy, I will add it to this complete list of things to do in Tadoba National Park Maharashtra. I am sure, you had no idea that there are so many activities in Tadoba.
Boating in Irai Lake
Much like I boat ride I enjoyed in the visually stunning Satpura National Park of Madhya Pradesh, also in Central India, I was delighted to discover that boating on the backwaters of the Irai lake (pronounced Erai lake) is also made possible by the forest department. Spread across an area of 51 square kilometre, Irai lake is one of the best places to see in and around Tadoba National Park. The battery-operated boats with GPS trackers mostly operate in the buffer zone of the Tadoba Tiger Reserve.
Boating in Irai Lake is one of the top things to do around Tadoba National Park and is a major tourist attraction popular with nature photographers and avifauna lovers. Boating here is also very popular with family and kids. What’s more? Various picturesque islands, inlets and bays within the jungle adds to the visual delight.
Needless to say, that apart from crocodiles, it is also possible to easily spot many birds such as Cotton Goose, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Grey Heron and Crested Pochard during the boat ride in Irai Lake. You can also spot many rare migratory birds during the boat ride in the winter months. This is why, do not forget to carry your telephoto lens during the boat ride. North Indian and Central Indian winter months are November, December, January and February
Boating in Irai Lake is not allowed during the rainy season because it is unsafe due to rising water levels. It is mandatory to wear the unsightly but life-saving life jackets during the boat-ride. Boating is accessible from near Moharli gate. The boating club is situated at Sitarampeth, which is located around 4 kilometres from the Mohurli Gate. Needless to say, this eco-tourist activity is very popular.
Timing of boating in Irai Lake is 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also see a stunning sunrise and sunset if you select your timings wisely. The orange glow of the sun, shimmering on the calm water can make even the dullest man a poet. Though the standard boat ride lasts only 30 minutes which I feel is way too less. I would recommend a 2-3 hours long boat ride in Irai Lake because that allows tourists to venture into the buffer area of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve for exciting wildlife sightings. Keep your eyes peeled for the aquatic plants, water birds and the wild animals that come to the riverside to sip water or cool themselves off in the summer months.
Visit the Irai dam
Apart from the boating in Irai lake, you may also want to visit Irai dam. Situated near Chandrapur and Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project, Irai Dam is a popular picnic spot for the locals and tourists alike. It was opened in the year 1983. Also, spelt as Erai dam, it is a must-visit place near Tadoba. People visit the gravity and earth filled Irai dam for fresh air, lack of pollution, wide open spaces, birdwatching opportunities, photography, greenery and cool breeze. In winters it is not very hot in afternoon, so you can use this time to visit Irai dam before the evening or night safari.
Enjoy glorious Sunrise and sunset
“This reminds me of the sunrise I saw in the Kidepo National Park of Uganda.”, I told Shaheen and Ami, my co-travellers, as we headed towards Khutwanda gate from Waghoba Eco Lodge for the morning safari. Indian Nightjars camouflaged on the tar roads flew one by one as we wheeled away, my neck still craned as my gaze transfixed on the ethereal sunrise. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I had seen. The sunsets here were equally beautiful. Maybe we have similar sunrises and sunsets in the big bad cities too, but their beauty perhaps is clouded by pollution and skyscrapers.
While wheeling away for the night safari in Tadoba National Park, we also paused for a moment to appreciate the primal beauty of the ethereal sundown with a dramatic foreground of the backwaters of the Chargaon Dam, near Varora in the Chandrapur district.
Stargazing in Tadoba Andhari National Reserve
“Aren’t there more stars here than what we see in the cities? I asked my friend as I craned my neck to admire the night sky. Stargazing in such clean skies would be perfect especially on an amavasya or New Moon night. Do check with your property if they can arrange for a stargazing session for an extra fee. It is, after all not every day that we travel in such virgin places. Situated far away from the urban lights, this is the perfect place to do stargazing. Some hotels in Tadoba do have the facility of telescopes for stargazing. “On some nights, you can even see the milky way clearly here with naked eyes.” Shaheen told me as I admired the star-studded sky during the night safari.
Soak in the rains of Tadoba
Monsoon is the offseason in Tadoba, says who? I personally feel that the jungle looks even more beautiful after a few rains. Though I visited Tadoba in mid-June (which doesn’t receive much rains), it had rained a few days ago. And since luxury properties of Tadoba such as Waghoba Eco Lodge are open during the rainy season, you can still spot animals because jeep safari is allowed in the buffer zones of Tadoba even during monsoon. Having freshly fried pakoras and masala tea while admiring the green mountain and blue skies from the al fresco sit out area in the lounge of Waghoba Eco Lodge is a great idea too. Tadoba in monsoon is an experience for sure!
Pick Souvenirs: Things to buy in Tadoba National Park
What can I buy in Tadoba National Park? Do not forget to pack in a bottle of the locally made mahua liquor. It is easily available at shops of Moharli etc. The aftertaste of mohua liquormay not appeal to some though. It doesn’t cost much anyways, soit makes sense to buy some bottles for friends and family.
How to figure out if the quality of mahua drink is good? Here is a test to determine the quality of mahua drink. If the flame turns blue upon lighting a small piece of cotton cloth dipped in mahua liqueur, then it is said to be worthy of consuming.
Buy heeng or asafoetida from Hinganghat. You can also check out the souvenir shop of the luxurious Waghoba Eco Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris. They sell jungle themed T shirts, caps, magnets and even pillows etc. I particularly liked the small bird replicas they sold. It was great to see that they included local birds instead of any random birds. It is also a good idea to pick local oranges of Nagpur and local mangoes. The Nagpur airport itself sells a variety of orange flavoured sweets and other edible items.
Do Yoga in Waghoba Eco Lodge
I was delighted to see a rolled Yoga mat in my room of Waghoba Eco Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris. That was a first! The property management has thoughtfully placed Yoga mats in each room. The silence and peace that this place offers, it is apt for a yoga session.
Do meditation: Offbeat things to do in Tadoba National Park
The tranquillity of Waghoba Eco Lodge will inspire you to practise maun (silence) and meditate. On the mornings you are not going for a jeep safari in Tadoba, you may still want to wake up at 4 a.m. at the Brahma Muhurat and use the time to do some deep meditation. Located far away from the circus of the urban centres, visit to places like these are great opportunities to reconnect with yourself and the nature around you.
Watch wildlife documentary
The Waghoba eco lodge plays interesting documentaries on Tadoba National Park and wildlife regularly. They documentaries are mostly played in the lounge area under the company of a highly trained in-house naturalist. The main documentaries shown here is about the local tigers, biodiversity and geography of Tadoba National Park. However, you can also select from the other wildlife films and documentaries they have on board.
Spend time in library
There are also many wildlife themed books in the library section of the lounge, for both adults and kids. Burying your nose in a book in the balcony of the lounge during good weather is a nice idea! And wait, there is even a bar counter at the lounge.
Observe the firelines during jeep safari in Tadoba
The tendu and mahua trees of Tadoba National Park are often the cause of forest fires. To avoid fire in the forest, the government employs the local villagers who make ‘firelines’ in the jungle. These open swathes of land help in combating the forest fires by discontinuing its spread. This helps contain the fire, if it erupts in a limited area. The fire lines also help in launching fire-fighting operations. I also observed trees marked in colourful rings. This is used for patrolling.
Read a good book on wildlife and local fauna and flora
Below are some excellent books on wildlife and plantlife by some renowned authors. These are suggested by the naturalists of Pugdundee Safaris.
- Hidden life of trees by Peter Wollebhen
- Trees of Delhi: A field guide by Pradip Krishan
- Jungle Trees of central India by Pradip Krishan
- The Secret network of nature by Peter Wollebhen
- The secret life of Indian mammals by Vivek Menon
- A Naturalist’s journal by M Yuvan Aves, a Chennai based writer.
- Sacred plants of India by Nanditha Krishna and M. Amirthalingam.
- Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp.
- Snakes of India -The Field Guide by Romulus Whitaker and Ashok Captain is an encyclopedia on the Indian snake species.
Stop at the visitor’s center
There is also a visitor centre here where you may want to stop for someone. Watch out for the stuffed maneater here though it will not make up for the (unlikely) lack of sighting. You can request your jeep driver to stop at the visitor’s centre for few minutes, ideally during the safari or at the end of morning safari and beginning of evening safari.
Study the Map of Tadoba National Park
Despite the Google maps, I still find it exciting to study the paper map of places I visit. There is so much you can learn about the place by just studying its map. Thankfully, the huge map of Tadoba National Park at Waghoba Eco Lodge helped me understand how vast this place is. It also helped me figure out my location and how far are other destinations. I am attaching the map of Tadoba National Park here so that it may help you plan your travel better. The reception also has a large pictorial depiction of how the Waghoba Eco Lodge was constructed.
Stay in a log hut in Tadoba
If you fancy staying deep inside the jungle, then this adventurous activity is for you. You may even perhaps listen to the midnight calls of the wild, as you bury your nose in a book in your room. Built above the forest guard check posts in the buffer zone, the log hut accommodations are very popular with those who seek adventure and thrill of staying in a jungle.
While listening to the calls of nocturnal birds such as nightjars and various species of owls is pretty common, sometimes you may also listen to the night calls of deer and langurs if tiger or leopard movement is observed.
For your own safety you must carry torches as it gets very dark here in night. Also, do not expect luxury or even regular modern-day frills. The accommodation type is very basic and so is the service. It is more of an experience of staying deep inside a real jungle. You must also carry mosquito repellent, a good stock of water, finger foods and snacks before arriving here because there are no shops and fancy restaurants nearby. It also gets a bit colder inside a forest, so please dress accordingly. Pick and drop on authorized jeeps can be easily arranged for.
Visit Ramdegi Temple
Located in the Chimur Taluk of Chandrapur, Ramdegi is off the tourist trail. What makes Ramdegi such a pious place is the fact that Shri Ram Bhagwan spent some time here during his 14 years of exile with Maa Sita and Lakshman ji. Many pilgrims visit Ramdegi on a regular basis. Off late, tourists have also started to visit Ramdegi. A casual conversation with the local pujari who head the Ram Mandir near the Ramdegi forest can leave you with many interesting tales. Do not forget to offer some donations at the temple. A drive here during the rainy season is delightful.
If you enjoy visiting charming rural places with high spiritual significance, then you must include Ramdegi in your Tadoba itinerary. Do not miss the beautiful Buddha sculpture by a banyan tree at the nearby Buddha Vihar. The sleepy countryside and huge swathes of green fields make it a popular picnic spot for tourists. But what really adds to the fame of the temple are the stories told by local people about how tigers often pay a visit to the temple complex and even spend time here, mostly in night. Now, who wants a night safari here? By the way, a healthy population of sloth bears also call the Ramdegi region their home. This is why, Ramdegi makes for a great day drive from your hotel in Tadoba.
Soul Window Ruminations
Thanks to their antiquity, sheer grandeur, rich history, intricate carvings and awe-inspiring architecture, the ancient Hindu temples have always attracted me. No wonder, I have written so many detailed guides to Hindu temples such as Brihadeeswarar temple, Lepakshi temple, Baijnath temple, Shore temple, Anantswami temple, Shankaracharya Temple, Martand Temple, Maa Biraja Temple, Sri Ranganathaswami Temple, Baleshwar Mahadev Temple etc.Do read my detailed blogs on these amazing temples.
Ramtek Garh Temple
Ramtek Garh Temple is located roughly 4 hours and 194 kilometres from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve via NH44.
Ramtek Garh Temple is located only roughly 1 hour and 38.6 kilometres from Pench National Park via NH44.
Doctor APJ Abdul Kalam Garden
The charming little gardens and parks of Chandrapur are loved by the kids because of the play areas for children. Adults can chill on the stone benches, watching over the kids or striking a conversation with friends and family. There is also a view tower here which allows you to soak in the views of the surroundings. It is located in Babupeth area of Chandrapur. Timings to the park is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Long leisurely walks on the tiled pathways in a pollution free environment also appeal to many.
Also known as Doctor APJ Abdul Kalam Nisarg Udyan, it also has some unusual sculptures dotted along the park such as 2 tigers killing a blackbuck, farmers with bullock cat and army-men. Even the gate of this park is embellished with life-size images of astronauts, missiles, farmers, ox and a globe. It is one of the lesser-known places near Tadoba National Park.
Suresh Chopane Rock Museum
Some of the most underrated archaeological discoveries of India can be seen at the personal educational Museum set up by Shri Suresh Chopane. The museumdisplays ancient fossils, a variety of rocks and stone age tools for general public.
Worth a dekko is the microfossils from the Chandrapur area, known as Cyanobacteria. These date back to a whooping 150 crores years. Ancient rocks from 8000 B.C.E. and Colmnar Basalt, a rare finding in Yavatmal District is also worth observing. If you love going off the touristy trail, you will enjoy spending quality time at the unexplored Suresh Chopane Rock Museum.
Who would have thought that Chandrapur, which is located at the confluence of the Zarpat river and the Irai river in the Vidarbha region hides so many secrets? I have always found it rewarding to go offbeat on my travels. Not many people are aware of the ancient stone age sites in Chandrapur District. This is why, make time for this unusual place to see near Tadoba National Park.
Visit Hirapur Dolmen
Another lesser-known place to see near Tadoba National Park and Suresh Chopane Rock Museum is the mysterious Hirapur Dolmen. I am sure you didn’t know about this place. As per the study of the archaeologists, the structures here are as old as 3rd and the 2nd century B.C.E. Though some dispute that this historical site can even be older.
The height of dolmens’ stones roughly 10 feet and the weight is estimated to be around 100 tons. Copper coins and mysterious antiques have been unearthed from around the dolmen burials. The 4 dolmens found here are ancient burials.
What makes it special is the fact that it is the first ever dolmen in the world where evidences of iron and iron smelting is observed. What’s more? It is the only dolmen discovered so far in this region which was used for both burial as well as worship. The other dolmens served solely as burials. This mysteries site is still a matter of study and new discoveries and conclusions are still being made. Do not miss this unusual place to see near Tadoba National Park.
Apart from the Hirapur dolmens, other significant megalithic sites of Vidarbha region include Mahurjhari Stone Circles with 200 megalithic stone circles, Takalghat Khapa, stone circles of Junapani sepulchral megaliths and Naikund (evidence of iron smelting found). Most of these immensely important ancient archaeological sites are located near Nagpur. The region in and around Chandrapur is overflowing with such ancient objects. It’s a pity that most tourists are not aware of such hidden gems.
Even today the local tribal community worships the double-chambered megaliths discovered here. Hirapur Dolmen is one of its kind of a place. Hirapur Dolmen is situated in the obscure Hirapur village on NH-930 in the Chimur tehsil of Chandrapur district. Does it remind you of the better marketed Stonehenge in England?
Hinganghat, known for producing good quality heeng or asafoetida is located near the gates of Tadoba Tiger Reserve. Hinganghat is also known for its cotton industries. Nestles in the fertile lands of Wardha, Hinganghat is a must-visit place near Tadoba National Park. Surrounded by the pristine Vana River, some of the top major attraction in Hinganghat are Shahlangdi Hanuman Temple, Shri Gajanan Maharaj Samadhi Temple and Amba temple. Located approximately 88 kilometres away from Tadoba National Park, Hinganghat can easily be covered in a few hours as a day trip.
You can reach Hinganghat, a 1500 years old city in the Wardha district by bus or car. You can also go on long nature walks here. Do not miss the 52 feet (16 metres) tall statue of Lord Pandurang. It is the world’s largest statue of him. The Jain temple constructed in 1955 is worth visiting for its decorations done in glass. Did you know that the world-famous Baba Amte, an activist and a renowned social worker, who devoted his life helping leprosy patients, was born in Hinganghat on 24 December 1914?
Go on long drives around Tadoba
There are several quaint little towns and cities around Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. These merit a visit as they are easily accessible by a road trip. The long drives after a few rains are even more exciting as you will likely pass through lush green open fields and overflowing water bodies. The good part is that the road conditions in this region is excellent which makes it pleasurable to drive on these roads. There are many exciting excursions from Tadoba which you must visit if time and budget is not a constraint.
Visit Sevagram Gandhi Ashram
Not many know that from the year 1938, to 1948, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi spent quality time at the Sevagram Gandhi Ashram which was set up by himself. Located on the outskirts of the village, it presently houses a museum where you can see objects related to Gandhi and the Indian freedom movement. It reminds me of my visit to the spartan Sabarmati Ashram of Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
How to reach Sevegram Gandhi Ashram? You can make a day trip here from your resort in Tadoba National Park. But I suggest that you can plan to visit Sevagram while you drive to or from Nagpur. A small detour from the highway can get you here. This way you can save time and fuel.
Sevagram Gandhi Ashram is located merely 8 kilometres away from Wardha and roughly 3 hours and 117.5 kilometres away from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra via NH 347A. The distance and time taken may vary depending upon where in Tadoba you start from.
You can also visit the major attractions of Nagpur such as Shri Ganesh Temple Tekdi, Zero Mile Stone, Sitabardi Fort, Deekshabhoomi, Telangkhedi Hanuman Mandir, Futala Lake, Narrow Gauge Rail Museum, Ambazari Lake, Dragon Palace Temple, Shukrawari Lake and Khindsi Lake etc. If not all, then you can surely visit some of these tourist attractions. It is wise to plan this sightseeing tour either when you arrive or depart. Exploring Nagpur sure is one of the top things to do near the Tadoba National Park.
Where is Tadoba National Park located?
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve or Tadoba National Park is located in Maharashtra in Central India. The Karmajhiri gate and Waghoba Eco Lodge by Pugdundee Safari is located only 2.5 hours away from Sonegaon airport Nagpur also known as Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport.
Tadoba National Park is also merely 5 hours of cab ride away from the Turia gate, Khutwanda gate and the amazing Pench Tree Lodge, also by Pugdundee Safaris.
What is the cost of jeep safari and camera fee in Tadoba National Park
Please see the attached picture of the signboard of the Tadoba National Park. It clearly mentions entry fee, safari cost and camera fee etc.
How many days are sufficient in Tadoba?
I spent 2 nights and 2 days in Tadoba. After driving for 2.5 hours from the Nagpur airport, I reached the Waghoba Eco Lodge after dark. The next day I did morning safari in core and evening night safari. On the 3rd day, I went for a nature walk and birdwatching session around the property and at around 10 a.m., I left for Pench Tree Lodge, which is located just 5 hours of drive away.
You may want to spend more time here if you want to do more safaris or dig deeper into the local flora and fauna. You will also need more days if you want to visit the nearby attractions (which I highly recommend) such as Ramdegi, Ramtek, Suresh Chopane Rock Museum, Hirapur Dolmen, butterfly world, Hinganghat and Irai Lake etc.
What are the safari timings in Tadoba National Park?
Jeep safari timings in Tadoba National Park are as below
5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.
6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Timing for Night Safari in buffer zone
7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Why phones are not allowed in Tadoba?
It is strictly prohibited to use mobile phones inside Tadoba National Park for the peace of the wild animals and birds and to maintain the decorum and sanctity inside the jungle. Do not try to sneak in a phone and use it. If a jeep driver or guide on the other jeep see you with a phone, they may complain about you and it will lead to unnecessary hassles and fines.
How to reach Tadoba National Park
It was a pleasure to be driven on the 8-lane Nagpur – Hyderabad Highway. I am impressed with the massive infrastructural changes seen with respect to good quality road network in India. Not only will this improve trade but will also boost tourism in the area surrounding Nagpur and Pench National Park. It took us around 2.5 hours to reach Waghoba Eco Lodge from Nagpur airport aka Sonegaon airport or Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport.
Buses are also available from Nagpur or Chandrapur to the nearest bus station which is situated at Bhadravathi. Distance between Nagpur and Waghoba Eco Lodge is 140 kilometres.
Stop at Jamb food court
While arriving from the Nagpur airport, we also made a pit stop at Jamb, the local food court. Since I love Maharashtrian food, I was delighted to see Misal Pao, Sabudana Vada, Sabudana Khichdi, Vadapao, Kanda Poha, Dabeli etc. While I loved the Sabudana Vada and the spicy Misal Pao here, the Vada Pao was lacklustre and not authentic (get your paos done right, people! It is not Portuguese enough!). There is also a shop in Jamb from where you can buy local food such as kokum, aam papad, assorted Maharashtrian style chutneys etc. You can also buy various varieties of local mango at food stalls here during summer months. Clean toilets are also available. I also saw a Mumbai style restaurant across the road nearby but we were already full by then.
Best Time to visit Tadoba National Park
October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May and June are the best months to visit Tadoba National Park. Many regulars vouch for the months of March, April, May and June for better prospects of Tiger sightings. I visited on 10th June and was rewarded with a successful tiger sighting. I was surprised to know that jeep safari is also allowed in the rainy season in the buffer zone of Tadoba national park. You can also plan a visit to Tadoba in the low season of July, August and September to appreciate the green landscape. You can also spot animals in monsoon. Rainy season is also a good time to take great macro shorts of insects, small amphibians, butterflies etc.
Which month is best for Tadoba?
What is the best time to visit Tadoba National Park? I visited Tadoba National Park in mid-June because there are higher chances of spotting a tiger at the peak of summer. Below is a complete guide on the best time to visit Tadoba National Park, based on my personal experience:
I visited Tadoba National Park in mid-June, the peak of summer in the Central India. Perhaps that is also why I had great sightings of not only tigers but also other wild animals such as my first jungle cats and civet cats. March, April, May and June are considered summer months in Tadoba.
Having said that, the winters months are equally good for sightings in Tadoba. Many of my friends have had amazing sightings of tigers and other animals and birds in the month of January etc. Winter months in Tadoba National Park are November, December, January and February.
Until I visited, I had no idea that the jeep safari is allowed in the buffer zone of Tadoba in the rainy season. The core zone remains closed in the months of July, August and September. The park reopens in October. However, you can still do safaris and spot animals in monsoons.
What not to do in jungle of Tadoba National Park?
- It is strictly prohibited by the forest department to harvest any flora and fauna of Tadoba National Park. Neither, it is allowed to step out of the jeep during the entire tiger safari for the safety of humans and the wild animals.
- Do not take back any plant or animal body parts such as peacock feathers, deer antlers, timber, leaves, twigs or even honey.
- I was immediately asked by my driver to keep my legs inside the jeep, when I tried to stretch and rest it outside the jeep. I readily obeyed. You can alight at the designated viewpoints if your guide and driver allow such as cafeteria, forest rest houses and machan etc.
- Do not leave behind your waste. The Pugdundee Safari team responsibly collected all the trash after we had the breakfast in the jeep and disposed it off sensibly after we left the jungle.
- Use of Mobile Phone is strictly prohibited in Tadoba National Park.
My experience of Tadoba National Park
First things first, it was the first time I ever saw a male Indian peacock dance from such a close distance. I had always waited for that moment and it finally arrived. The best part is that we saw similar scenes the next day during the morning safari in Pench National Park. In both instances, the peacock wasn’t affected by our presence despite us being so close to him. Also, the peacock didn’t hurry up his act and allowed us to watch (and click) to our heart’s content. As they say, the more time you spend in a jungle, the luckier you get!
I also got amazing sightings of the tigress Bijli and her cubs. I hardly ever get unlucky in a forest. Most of my safaris have been successful with sightings of tigers and other animals. I also saw my first jungle cat and civet cat in the night safari on the same day. I couldn’t have asked for more! I saw most of the major mammals over 2 jeep safaris on a single day.
Which gate is best for Tiger safari in Tadoba National Park?
We entered the Tadoba National Park from the Khutwanda Gate, which is merely 8 kilometres and 20-30 minutes of jeep ride away from Waghoba Eco Lodge. Moharli zone gate is located around 45 minutes ride away from Waghoba Eco Lodge. In fact, we entered through the Khutwanda gate and also visited area near the popular Moharli gate. We even passed through the Kolara zone gate of Tadoba National Park.
The three separate forest ranges of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve are Tadoba north range, Kolsa south range, and Moharli range. When we drove towards Moharli range from Jamni lake, Kolsa range did fall on our route.
There are six gates with entry to the buffer zone and 12 gates for the core area. Some of the gates of Tadoba National Park are Moharli gate, Kolara gate, Navegaon, Pangdi, Zari and Khutwanda gate. The jeep safaris may drive you on Navegaon Road, Waghai Road, Kollaradhari Road or Satyanau Point etc.
Conclusion: Is it worth going to Tadoba National Park?
Yes, Tadoba National Park is already very popular with wildlife enthusiasts such as me for tiger safari. Jeep Safari for Tiger and wildlife sighting in Tadoba is highly rewarding. Not only did I see the tigers on the jeep safari in Tadoba but I also see many other animals such as wild boars, gaurs, sambar, crocodile, darter, dancing peacocks, Indian hare and my first civet cat and jungle cat.
Being one of the most popular tiger destinations in India, Tadoba National Park attracts travellers from not only different parts of India but also from other nations such as Unites States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy etc. Being one of India’s few project tiger reserves, Tadoba National Park is also very important for the protection and conservation of the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers in the wild. This is the biggest guide to top things to do in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. Do share it with your friends and family and inspire them to embark upon an adventurous wildlife holiday.
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