Tadoba, often referred to as the ‘Jewel of Vidarbha’ is a Tiger Reserve in Central India. It is the oldest and the largest National Park in Maharashtra. Located in Chandrapur district, it is one of India’s 43 “Project Tiger” Tiger Reserves. The total area of Tadoba Andhari Reserve 625.4 square kilometers. This area includes the Tadoba National Park and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary.
The tropical dry deciduous forest is blessed with hill ranges, lakes and extensive grasslands. The Tadoba lake acts as a buffer between the forest and the farmland which extends upto the Irai water reservoir. The lake is a perennial water source which offers good habitat for crocodiles to thrive.The north and the west side of the forest is bounded by densely forested hills and it is relieved by smooth meadows and deep valleys as the terrain slopes from north to south. Because of such a terrain, a safari ride through this forest can never get boring.
The name Tadoba is the name of the God “Tadoba” or “Taru”. Taru was praised by the tribal people living in the dense forests of the Tadoba and Andhari region. Legend holds that Taru was the village chief who lost his life in the mythological encounter with a tiger. A shrine dedicated to God Taru now exists beneath a huge tree, on the banks of the beautiful Tadoba Lake.A fair is held at this shrine during the Hindu month of Pausha, which is between December and January when the adivasis visit this shrine. The Andhari region of the forest got its name due to the Andhari River that flows through the forest.
Tadoba has a very interesting history. It is said that the Gond Kings once ruled these forests in the vicinity of the Chimur Hills. The road that goes from the Mohrali range to Tadoba via Khatoda has 8-10 feet tall pillars along side. The adivasis sent the message of the King’s arrival by tying a rope through the rings on each pillar which was directly connected to the shrine. So, everytime the king started off for the temple, his army would pull the rope to ring the bell and send a message to the temple that the King is on his way. Thus, the King had his personal telegraph line between the Capital and the interiors of the jungle. Quite a lot of these pillars are still in shape and you might see Langoors hanging around them.
Coming on to the wildlife, according to the 2010 census, Tadoba has about 43 Tigers.It is home for other mammals including Leopards, Sloth bears, Gaur, Nilgai, Small Indian Civet and the deer family. Reptiles here include the endangered Indian Python. The Tadoba lake is a paradise with a wide diversity of water birds and raptors.
Even though it is located in the hottest region of the country, the temperature in the forest is quite bearable. Bamboo thickets grow throughout the reserves and Palas, adds an amazing vibrant colour to the forest. Teak is the predominant tree species here. The lush green expands and the bright colours of the Flame of the Forest leaves one speechless.
The forest is packed with action and every moment you spend here becomes a memory that you will cherish all your life.
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