Tadoba-Andhari Tiger reserve was inaugurated in 1995. The area of the Reserve is 625 sq. km. This includes Tadoba National Park, created in 1955 with an area of 116.55 sq. km. and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary created in 1986 with an area of 508.85 sq. km. Tadoba is named after the local God, Taru, or Tadoba Deva, whom the locals appease.The name Andhari is from the river which flows through the Sanctuary. This lesser known Tiger reserve is in the district of Chandrapur in the north eastern part of Maharashtra. The place is only three hours journey from Nagpur - the city of oranges. Due to its very rich flora and fauna it is often referred to as The Jewel of Vidharba.
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Sanctuaries & Parks
The Reserve forest remains open throughout the year. However the best season to visit the park is from February to May. During this period the water in the lake reaches its lowest level and other water sources in the Jungle are dry. The Forest department has created cemented tanks along the road for animals and this allows viewers to see animals in their natural realm.
Hills form the northern and western boundary of the Tiger Reserve. To the southwest is a vast expense of lake which acts as a buffer between the park's forest and the farmland and is home to several marsh crocodiles. There are 80 species of mammals, 280 species of Birds, 100 species of Butterflies, 26 species of spiders, 30 species of Reptiles (including 25 species of snakes), 5 species of Amphibians, 23 species of Fishes recorded from the Reserve.
The reserve houses around fifty tigers. Bamboo grows everywhere in the Jungle and it makes an ideal cover for the striped predator. The lazy yet regal tiger is a crepuscular species, most active just after dawn and just before dusk when it is the best time to attempt to see them.
Other frequently spotted wildlife are Leopard, Sloth Bear, Gaur or Indian Bison, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Wild Boar, Four-Horned Antelope, Wild Dog , Langoor, Nilgai. Ratel, Flying Squirrel, Palm Civet, Indian Civet, Leopard Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat, Pangolin and Jackal are also reported regularly. Tadoba is also an ornithologist's paradise with 280 species of Avifauna recorded including 50 species of migratory birds and 158 species of resident bird including Raptors, Grey Headed Fish Eagle.
One is permitted to drive in one's own vehicle in this park. It is fascinating to follow the alarm calls of various birds and animals when they spot the mighty creature. The guide can decipher the call and move from one water hole to another following the calls. Whether one has to wait for mere minutes or hours to glimpse the regal tiger is a matter of luck. During the fourth day of our stay, late in the evening, news came that a tigress had had made a kill. The next day we could watch the animal with her kill. After she had her fill, wild dog and wild boar entered into the arena to finish the remains of the carcass. This was an unique opportunity to view the beasts at feast.
Maharashtra Tourism has comfortable cottages where the nights come alive with alarm calls of deer when the tiger is on a nocturnal tour. The trees inside the complex are also a birdwatchers' paradise. At night if you see shining eyes through the window, donít get scared, it is only a herd of deer who are enjoying the comfort and security of human habitation.
Protection of wildlife is the most important task within the Reserve. A novel method of protecting the forest with the help of tribal youth has been adopted here. Joint patrolling parties with the village protection force are assigned duty in different parts of the Reserve. This has helped in curbing illegal activities. Nature awareness camps for children from nearby villages and towns are also taken up periodically with the help of local nature clubs at Tadoba.
The tiger is the ultimate in grace, with a raw power and sheer magnificence, an awesome regal presence in the jungles. If you have not seen a tiger in the wild, please do visit Tadoba. Here the tiger rules supreme, and reminds us of nature's ways of conservation, teaching us truths forgotten in the maze of city living.
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Photo Credit: Dhruba Banerjee
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.