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Reaching Tadoba National Park from Pune: My Experience and Tips

As a wildlife enthusiast living in Pune who loves visiting national parks around the country, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve has long been on my bucket list. Known for its rich biodiversity and healthy tiger population, getting to this gem of a forest in Chandrapur district right in the heart of India's tiger territory did take some planning.

how to reach tadoba national park from pune

Why I Love Visiting Tadoba

The first time I visited Tadoba National Park, I was awe-struck by its lush green forests and the sights and sounds of the wilderness. Spotting tiger pugmarks on the very first safari remains etched in memory.

Unlike many other national parks in India that get crowded with tourists, Tadoba offers a more serene experience in the company of the species that call this place home.

As I have returned to Tadoba over the years, I've grown to admire this ecosystem that allows predators and prey to thrive side by side. People visiting from metros like Pune can find much-needed calm and a chance to reconnect with nature here.

The smiles on the faces of the local guides and forest department staff when a tiger safari yields great sightings are a testament to communities living alongside forests.

Reaching Tadoba from Pune

Reaching Tadoba National Park involves just a little planning from Pune. Though multiple routes and modes of transport are available, I have found taking an overnight train to Chandrapur and driving to the park gates the next morning to be the best way.

By Overnight Train

My preferred way is to board the Vidarbha Express from Pune Junction at around 8:30 PM which reaches Chandrapur early next morning. From Chandrapur, you need to arrange a taxi to drive 45 km to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve's Moharli gate.

I book AC 2-tier or 3-tier tickets on trains like Vidarbha Express in advance for the overnight journey. The train is convenient as it reaches Chandrapur at an ideal 5:30 AM, just nice to freshen up and have breakfast before heading to the forest.

By Flight

You can also consider taking a flight from Pune to Nagpur Airport and then driving to Chandrapur and Tadoba. Flights like Indigo and Air India operate multiple daily flights on this route. It's a journey of 150 kilometers from Nagpur airport to the Moharli gate taking around 3 hours by car.

While flights are faster, reaching Chandrapur from Nagpur late evening may mean missing safaris the next morning. Overnight trains sync better if your main aim is taking back-to-back morning and evening safaris.

Local Transport at Chandrapur

I arrange a taxi from Chandrapur's Ballarshah Junction well in advance through my hotel in Tadoba. The best is to plan for the same taxi to also drop you back after your trip for a Round trip. Approved vehicles with valid permits are allowed inside Tadoba Reserve so booking well in advance is highly recommended.

Early October through June is the best season for Tadoba wildlife sightings. For hotels located inside the reserve buffer areas, booking 6 months ahead is ideal for these peak months. Online booking sites for hotels make it easy to reserve your stay before your travel dates.

Tips to Plan Your Tadoba Trip

Based on my multiple trips to Tadoba National Park from Pune, here are some top tips worth keeping in mind:

Pack Light Yet Smart

Carry a small backpack or light bag with essentials when entering the forest for safaris. It gets quite dusty, so having a scarf or bandana helps. Wear earthy colors that blend with nature and comfortable shoes for forest walks. Do carry sunscreen!

Mornings Bring Delight

Whether staying inside the MTDC property or a resort in the buffer area like I have, don't miss the morning safaris! You'll spot deer, langur monkeys, wild boars, and beautiful birds to start your day. And if luck favors, maybe even the majestic tiger on a stroll or leopards and sloth bears.

Respect the Wildlife

Whether sighting the Lilac-breasted roller or chasing tiger pugmarks, one needs to ensure keeping a safe distance from all animals. Any provocation by noise or attempts to get closer for that perfect selfie leads to unnecessary troubling of wildlife. A responsible traveler keeps the well-being of this reserve and its denizens in mind.

Travel Ethically

I consciously choose to book local tour guides approved by the forest department and stay at eco-friendly resorts when visiting the park. Buying local handicraft items also helps support communities living alongside forests that make co-existence sustainable.

Luxuriate in Simplicity

Staying without a mobile network and TV in this jungle does take adjusting initially. But gazing at the starry night sky or hearing peacocks dance transports you to a meditative space. Let the rhythms of wilderness consume you.

The Road Ahead

Revisiting Tadoba National Park over the years, it fills my heart to see both tigers and tourists thriving. This is a shining example of sustainable conservation that benefits ecological richness as well as communities.

More such community-owned ecotourism models rooted in local empowerment are vital. People-first approaches that tap into technology to balance human needs and environmental concerns could be the way forward. Eco-stays with solar energy harnessing, responsible water usage, and plastic-free premises also align consumer demands with sustainability.

National parks face dual challenges of guarding wildlife corridors from fragmentation due to developmental activities while also fighting poaching rackets and human-animal conflict in the buffer villages. More young minds need to lead biodiversity conservation movements.

Technology platforms for tracking illegal activities as well as apps that benefit forest-dependent households foster a culture where the jungle is not apart from us but where we nurture nature, and nature nurtures us.

Tadoba indeed epitomizes this interdependence. As I look forward to many more trysts with the tigers at this haven, I hope that we each play our own small part in keeping our jungles and wildlife thriving.

After all, being one with the wild lets us find the wild within us.


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