India has a number of wildlife sanctuaries that attract wildlife aficionados from all over the world, including some that have received a lot of publicity for tiger spotting. Tadoba National Park within which resides the Tadoba Tiger Reserve deserves special mention even though it has maintained a relatively low profile all these years for being able to afford tourists more opportunities for tiger spotting than many of its more illustrious counterparts.
Tadoba has a lot going for it; immense stretches of dense forests with diverse vegetation, a topography that is equally varied, and an animal population that makes it as close to a natural museum as you will ever encounter.
Tadoba National Park has everything that will delight nature lovers. Sprawling over an area of around 1727 sq. km, it is by far Maharashtra’s largest National Park. You can delight in its rolling dense forests of tropical deciduous trees and bamboo forests within which lurk an amazing variety of wildlife; barking deer, sambar, chousingha, nilgai, bison, sloth bear, wild dog, chital, wild boar, crocodiles, leopards, and most famously, the tiger can be spotted.
For those who are inclined, there’s an equally diverse birdlife, an assortment of reptiles and insects that come to life even more during the rainy season. One of the biggest attractions of Tadoba is that despite it being one of the very few parks that remain open the entire year, it is still relatively less visited and the animals not yet so scared of humans.
Since central India can be horrendously hot during the summer, most tourists prefer to visit Tadoba during the winter months of December and January. However, animal spotting is better possible during the summer months because the heat causes the vegetation to dry up considerably and also the watering holes are more frequently visited.
Getting to Tadoba is quite easy as Nagpur that is a mere 151 km. distant is very well connected by air, rail, and road. The nearest railhead is at Chandrapur just 49 km. away. As far as accommodation is concerned tourists have a really wide choice in Tadoba. Accommodation is available on the entire spectrum of budgets right from the inexpensive dormitories at guesthouses operated by the state government to the really luxurious resorts at Tadoba National Park that are privately managed. Apart from the tiger reserve, the other attractions comprise the lovely Tadoba Lake, Urjanagar Lake, Sankatmochan Hanuman Mandir, Durga Maa Temple, Ayyappa Temple, Shiv Mandir, and St. Michael Church.
There is nothing better than hiking and camping to enjoy the wonders of nature from close, however, you need to ensure that you are allowed to do so because there are a lot of areas that are restricted and you can only go in vehicles accompanied by a guide. This is necessary for the safety of visitors as the forests are full of predators. Some basic precautions include telling someone responsible about your plans and schedule so that people will know where to start looking for you in case of any trouble. While maintaining strict silence is the best way of observing animals, it is also true that you should make a loud noise and wave your arms around in case there is any chance of your being attacked. Never make the mistake of trying to run away.
If you are tracking a wild animal then you should maintain a safe distance, especially if there is a kill involved. Wild animals tend to be very protective of their food and will attack anything if they think that the food is in danger of being snatched away. It is best that you restrict your activities in the daytime as moving around in the dark can be quite dangerous unless you are accompanied by an experienced forest guide.
Tadoba is one of the best destinations for wildlife lovers as there is a lot to see and do. It is best to go around with the help of one of the authorized forest guides as they are more familiar with the habits and movements of animals and will be able to lead you to the spots that are best for observing the animals. Make it a point to be responsible when in the jungle and never attempt to do anything that may provoke the animal to attack you.
Bill Williams is a noted architect who also has a passion for ecological and wildlife conservation. His eco-friendly designs have inspired many of the resorts at Tadoba National Park to build facilities that blend into the forest environment to ensure the least disturbance to the animals.