Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
Big opportunities to see the big cat
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is the oldest and largest national park in Maharashtra. Created in 1955, the reserve spans 1,727sq.km. Tadoba is home to one of the largest remaining populations of tigers in the wild – according to recent estimates, there are more than 65 tigers in the core and around 58 tigers in the buffer areas.
The national park gets its name from a god called Tadoba, or Taru, and the river Andhari, which meanders through the dry forest that is dense with bamboo and saal trees. According to local lore, Tadoba was a village chieftain who was killed in an encounter with a tiger. He is worshipped by the tribal people in this region.
Visitors can go on safari in both the core and buffer areas, which surround the park on all sides.
Plan Your Trip
The nearest airport is Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, in Nagpur (150km; 3 hours away).
The nearest railway station is Chandrapur (35km from Mohurli gate; 43km from Khutvanda gate; 50km from Zari gate; 95km from Pangdi gate.)
Nagpur railway station is also an option. (130km from Navegaon Gate; 110km from Kolara gate.)
The nearest city from Mohurli is Chandrapur (35km; 1 hour away).
best time to visit
Summer: Summers are intense, and temperatures can reach 48°C between March and June. But it is also the best season to sight the tiger. The probability of spotting other wildlife, including the Sloth Bear and Dhole, is also high during this time.
Winter: The winter months from November to February can be chilly, with temperatures dropping to as low as 5°C.
The park has visitors throughout the year, but during the monsoon only a few gates are open, and a limited number of vehicles are allowed inside.
The park is divided into three zones: Tadoba, Mohurli and Kolsa. Visitors can move from Tadoba range to Mohurli range from within the park, however Kolsa has different entry gates (Pangdi and Zari). There are six entry gates to the core zone: Mohurli, Khutvanda, Navegaon, Kolara, Pangdi and Zari. Hotels are situated at nearly all the entry gates. As the entry gates are far away from each other, it is important to book your hotel based on your park entry bookings, to avoid inconvenience.
High-end: Irai Resort, Swasara Resort, The Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge are all popular high-end options. Prices range from ₹8,000 to ₹15,000 per room, including meals.
Mid-range: Hornbill Resort, Royal Tiger, Tiger Valley, MTDC, Saras, Sarai Tiger (Mohurli), Chava Resort (Kolara), Tiger Heaven (Navegaon), Yellowstone Resort (Zari Gate) are good mid-range options. Prices range from ₹4,000 to ₹7,000 per room, including meals.
Budget: FDCM Resort and Lamghe’s Resort are budget options, which range from ₹2,000 to ₹4000.
The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the main attraction at Tadoba. Here, one of the tigresses of Mohurli, Tara, cools off with her female cub Choti Tara, who went on to become one of the dominant females in her range.
There's a good chance you'll get to see wildlife at close quarters in Tadoba. Carry short- and mid-range telephoto lenses on your safaris.
Summer temperatures in Tadoba can reach a brutal 48°C. This is the best season to sight wildlife, especially tigers.
There are several villages inside the reserve, and people often use the roads inside the forests to commute.
Tigers here share space with other large mammals too, like the Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) and Spotted Deer (Axis axis). When the forest runs dry in the peak of summer, all animals congregate around the few water bodies that remain.
The Sloth Bears of Tadoba are rather bold. In summers, they are often seen in and around Mohurli village, roaming in search of water.
Although there is a sizeable population of leopards (Panthera pardus fusca) in Tadoba, sightings are not that common because of the high density of tigers.
Gaurs (Bos gaurus) form the primary prey base for tigers. A healthy gaur population helps sustain a healthy tiger population.
Dholes (Cuon alpinus) hunt in packs and are highly social animals. Summers are a good time to see large packs in action around water bodies.
A Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) is iridescent in the sunshine. Tadoba is a great place to photograph birds as well.
A Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) with its kill.
A typical monsoon morning at Tadoba. During the rainy season only a few gates remain open, and a limited number of vehicles are allowed in the park.
See | Do | Shop
- There are a few lakes outside the park, located beyond Mohurli gate. Birdwatchers should make sure to hike there between safaris, as the area offers plenty of birding opportunities.
- A temple known as Wagh Mandir (temple of the tiger god) to the locals is a little-known spot that's worth a visit. It is located in the Mohurli buffer zone in Agarzeri village, on the road that leads to Chandrapur. The temple houses a statue of a human and a tiger, and tigers are seen regularly near this area. Locals offer prayers regularly here to keep human-animal conflicts at bay.
- There is a shrine dedicated to Taru, the ancient folk-god from which Tadoba gets its name, beneath a large tree on the banks of the Tadoba Lake. The adivasis frequent this temple often, especially during December and January.
Good to know
- There are no ATM or petrol pumps at any of the entry gates, so come prepared with money and enough fuel in your tank. The nearest ATM from Mohurli gate is in Durgapur, 25km away. From Kolara and Navegaon, the nearest ATM is in Chimur, 15km away; from Zari gate, you will need to travel to Chandrapur, which is 50km away.
- Idea, Airtel and Reliance offer the best 3G service in the area.
- Tadoba is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts; it is best to book your trip at least two months in advance.
- The nearest pharmacies and general stores are located in Chandrapur, 35km away.
What to pack
- During the summer make sure to carry loose cotton clothes, a cap and sunglasses. Pack a scarf to protect your nose and ears from the dry heat.
- During winters, carry warm woollen layers, jackets and gloves.
- At Tadoba, there’s ample opportunity to shoot the big cat. The density of tigers is high here, so sightings in Tadoba are usually more frequent than at other national parks around the country. Other mammals like the Dhole, leopard and Sloth Bear are frequently seen too.
- The buffer area of Tadoba also offers good sightings of tigers and other mammals. Don’t pack up your equipment right after your safari; sightings outside the park areas are common. People have been known to spot tigers on their way back to the city as well.
- Carry a 300mm or 400mm lens or a 70-200mm lens (short- or mid-range telephoto lenses), as many of the tiger sightings will be along the game roads, not too far away from the jeep.
- As tigers approach quite close to the safari jeeps, it’s a good opportunity to make some wonderful wide-angle pictures, so carry a wide-angle lens with you at all times.
- A beanbag support for your lens is a good option, as tripods or monopods are of no use in a moving jeep.
In Between Safaris
- In winters, utilise the time between safaris to go birding at the lakes near the entry gates. There’s a good chance you will sight migratory birds in the area.
- In the summertime, it’s best to stay inside, as the heat waves are quite harsh.
Budget per person
A two-night, three-day trip with four park safaris would cost around ₹25,000-₹30,000 (excluding transportation and tips), if you choose to stay in a mid-range resort. Bookings can be made online 120 days in advance. Visit www.mahaecotourism.gov.in.