Travel Story Book

Travel stories by a nature lover – stories about nature and life

Pench & Tadoba

 
March 2011

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Pench Tadoba Information Birds & Animals 


I remember I first read the stories of Mowgli when I joined my school Cubs troop in primary school. Mowgli, Sher Khan, Bageera and Kaa were names that weaved stories in my mind. It was also the first time that came to know about Rudyard Kipling. And thus begun a long love for the author and his stories. It may sound strange, but the backdrop of Jungle Book was the forests of Pench.

A parrot takes a peek out of the comfort of the nest - in Pench

A parrot takes a peek out of the comfort of the nest - in Pench


It was almost two years since my last forest visit and the heart was screaming loud for a trip to the forests. March to May is the best time for a trip to the forests if one is interested in wildlife. So this year we opted for the forests of Pench and Tadoba, both these forests situated around the border of the Indian states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and teeming with wild life and birds.
Some amount of pre-planning was done, as my previous experience says that unless you get a good safari driver, you can literally be taken for a ride(pun intended) if you are unlucky. The first effort was to scout for partners. Jungle safaris, specially in MP is becoming expensive and getting somebody to share the cost is a breather for the pocket. This effort failed and so the next task was to identify a good driver for the safaris. I had been in touch with Dr. Abheek Ghosh of Nagpur, an avid wild life lover and spends almost every weekend in the forests around Nagpur. He arranged for the services of the drivers who take him around in Pench (Bablu/Lalan) and Tadoba (Sanjay). This proved to be very effective and went a long way in making the trip a great success.

Pench

We landed in Nagpur one Saturday night and proceeded immediately to our hotel in Turia village by a pre-arranged car. Turia is one of the entrances of Pench MP. The next day was Holi festival – the forests were closed. The day was spent resting after a long flight to Kolkata from New York just a day earlier. Holi in Turia was seemed to be a bit subdued and not many colorful faces were seen. I loitered around the village for some time but nobody even attempted to smear me with color!! Played with some of the village children for some time and then again returned back to catch up with some sleep.

Day 2 in Pench

Ready before six in the morning and rearing to enter the forest, we did not have to wait long before Lalan arrived with the gypsy. All formalities were soon competed at the gate and soon we had crossed the gate and were in the forest.

As close it can get - Collarwali in Pench

As close it can get - Collarwali in Pench


We were in for hardly five minutes, when we were alerted by the assembly of a large number of jeeps in front of us. Even before we could realize what was happening, a huge tigress with a collar around her neck walked by the side of the road and almost in front of us. This tigress is known as Collarwali, because of the radio-active collar around her neck. This collar is used for tracking the tiger when it is not seen for a long time, primarily during the monsoons. The tigress flaunted herself majestically, oblivious of the surroundings, totally ignoring the presence of vehicles and jeeps around her. It crossed the road, circled a jeep and then proceeded along the road. Some of the vehicles followed Collarwali from a distance and those immediately behind her were suitable rewarded when she decided to go for a kill and killed a spotted deer in front of everybody. We missed it, but no regrets. Collarwali is the proud mother of five cubs and we hoped to catch the cubs and mother together sometimes during our stay in Pench.
Pench has a wide variety of landscapes and there are large meadows, water bodies – the backwaters of Pench river, sal forests and thick high grasslands. Even without any wildlife sighting, it is a pleasure to move around the forest. Pench is also the home of a large variety of birds and birding was a great experience for me in this trip. We saw around 50 varieties of birds in Pench and Tadoba. In the rest of the morning drive we saw lots of spotted deer, sambar deer and birds.
Queen of the forest - Collarwali eyes the tourists

Queen of the forest - Collarwali eyes the tourists


Because of the afternoon heat, we started the evening drive a little late, around 3:30. The forest seemed to have withdrawn into a deep slumber and hardly any signs of life were visible. But gradually as the heat subsided, more and more animals came out. Tiger sighting is definitely attractive, but I am also fascinated by the way the guides track the tigers. Alarm calls and pug marks are the major indicators of the presence of a tiger or leopard in the vicinity. Alarm calls are raised by deer and langurs. As the tiger moves about in the forest, the alarms are also raised by these animals and are used to gauge the movement of the tiger. This, along with the knowledge about the location of the water bodies is successfully used to locate a tiger. This evening we moved about in the forest till Bablu, our driver stopped the jeep on hearing alarms raised by deer. The call kept moving, which indicated that the tiger was moving about, but soon the calls became irregular and infrequent. This left everybody around confused and soon some of the cars left. But Bablu wanted to wait and I went by his judgement. After all, he was the one who knows everything about this place. Soon, his judgement proved right as Collarwali once again walked out on the road. Collarwali walked around a bit and decided to lay down bang in the middle of the road. Two cars were in front of her and another four behind her.
It was almost 6:30 – past the deadline by which the vehicles need to be out of the gate. Reluctantly, we reversed and proceeded towards the gate. The cars in front of Collarwali were lucky, really lucky!! They had to wait for more than an hour before Collarwali decided to make way for the cars…

Day 3 in Pench

Another morning safari and Abheek drove in from Nagpur early in the morning to join us in the morning drive. This time we decided not to focus on the tiger but enjoy the forest. It was a learning experience and came to know a lot about the animals in Pench. Almost at the wee hours, we went to the central point of the forest, Alikatta, just to check if any tiger sighting has happened in the morning. It seems that Collarwali along with the cubs has been located by forest department elephants.

Colors of Pench in summer

Colors of Pench in summer


We enlisted ourselves for the ‘Tiger Show’, hoping that we could see the cubs. So it was the customary elephant ride from a point on the roadside to the place where the tiger is. Normally once the sun is out, the tiger takes shelter in a shady area, preferably near a water body. The elephant ride was rough as the tigress had taken shelter quite in the interior. However, we had a good view of it lying down, but the cubs could not be seen. They were nearby, by had hid themselves and were not visible. Nothing significant happened in the morning, apart from waiting and scanning an area near Alikatta for jackal cubs. These cubs were hardly 1 week old and Abheek had seen photographs of them from another tourist. But we could not locate them and gave up after some time.
The evening drive proved to be fruitful in this respect and we could get the jackal cubs. They were hidden in a dead trunk that had fallen down and had a large cavity in it. The hole was home to the cubs (and most probably the mother too) and they playfully moved in and out of their home – much to our delight.

Day 4 in Pench

The morning drive was the last jungle drive in Pench. We would be moving to Tadoba immediately after the drive. Abheek had returned to Nagpur and was back again in the morning. God knows how he manages. We covered some parts of the forest that we had not been to earlier.

The Indian Roller - in Pench

The Indian Roller - in Pench


Palash trees were in full bloom and some parts of the forest looked colorful and bright. Saw quite a few new birds which Aheli noted down in her diary. The list of birds seen were increasing!! Just like the previous day, we made a halt at Alikatta where we came to know that the Tiger Show was on. To go or not to go in Tiger Show is a big dilemma. Ultimately, we again decided to go only if the cubs are there. Fortunately they were, but unfortunately by the time we went there, the mother had relocated herself. One of the cubs was peeking at the approaching elephants from behind a big boulder. The second cub was also hidden behind the boulder. Soon they dashed towards the thick and dried undergrowth and disappeared. Well, it was not a grand sighting, but atleast we saw them for some time. It was almost mid-day and time to leave the forest. Soon after taking some rest at our hotel, we were on our way towards Tadoba in Maharashtra. As the route to Tadoba was through Nagpur, we took a food halt at Haldirams. It was scorching hot and we needed the lassis and cold drinks.

 

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Next Page >>> Tadoba

Pench Tadoba Information Birds & Animals



13 Comments

  1. Dr. A Ghosh said:

    A superb effort of documentation Kausik da.

    Posted on May 22nd, 2011 at 10:57 am

  2. Rajan Kinkhede said:

    Great trip Kausik da. Had a great time with you..Cant wait to join you at Bandhavgarh..

    Posted on May 26th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

  3. Nadeem Khan said:

    It seems you had ‘all inclusive’ trip to Pench; The collarwali, cubs, jackals, birds et al. Loved the narration. Looking forward to more on some of wildlife sanctuaries. Congo!

    Posted on June 25th, 2011 at 4:02 am

  4. admin said:

    Nadeem,
    That’s a good terminology – ‘all inclusive’ :-) . Yes, it was a good trip, by god’s grace. I love the forests (including my 10 year daughter), so its always a pleasure trip for all of us.
    Lets hope that these forests and wild life survive.

    Posted on June 25th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

  5. Tiger Tales – Bandhavgarh | Travel Story Book said:

    [...] Pench & Tadoba [...]

    Posted on July 13th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

  6. Anurag said:

    Superb documentation. Lovely Pictures.

    Posted on February 28th, 2012 at 12:20 pm

  7. dharmesh doshi said:

    pl send booking details for resthouse and jungale safari details send and contac for my mobile no 09975988117

    Posted on January 14th, 2013 at 4:37 pm

  8. admin said:

    Please contact Sanjay @ 7620674918. He is a very reliable person and will help you with booking of safaris, lodges, etc

    Posted on January 20th, 2013 at 12:22 pm

  9. shamil said:

    hi how long does it take to travel by road from tadoba to pench national park?????
    i am in tadoba for 4 nights – should i split 2 nights each for at tadoba & pench or stay for 4 days at tadoba itself?
    thnx v much
    we are sri lankans so need some advise never been to this part of india before.///

    Posted on January 26th, 2013 at 11:44 am

  10. shamil said:

    is there elphant safairs to spot tigers in tadoba & pench both? anybody who did recently & had any tiger sightings on elephant back?……thnx v much
    any idea how much an ac taxi wlll cost from tadoba to pench? also pench to nagpur airport?
    thnx v much

    Posted on January 26th, 2013 at 11:46 am

  11. admin said:

    Tadoba does not have any elephant safaris. Pench had ‘Tiger Shows’ – which is not an elephant safari. If the forest officials could locate any tiger, they would take tourists on elephants to view the tiger. Viewing time could be as less as a minute, depending on the total number of tourists. But very recently I have heard that this has been discontinued, though it is not confirmed.
    Viewing tigers is never guaranteed, but Tadoba has had good tiger sightings in December.

    Posted on January 26th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

  12. admin said:

    Tadoba to Pench would be around 4-5 hours by road, if you travel by car. Public transport will take longer as you have to break at multiple points.
    How you split depends on your preference. If you have 4 nights, you can split 2 nights between Tadoba & Pench. You will have time for 3 safaris at each park.
    Enjoy your trip!!

    Posted on January 26th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  13. Sharang said:

    Hi would like your recommendations for pench or tadoba In December

    Posted on October 19th, 2015 at 6:53 pm

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