Ranjit at Svasara-Tadoba

Relax & Explore - 5 years ago


#BauhiniaPurpurea is a tree that bears seasonal violet flowers enhancing the subtle beauty of our Teakhouse, when in bloom.

Local Name: Sona in Marathi (local language)
English Name: Purple Bauhinia, Orchid tree ,Camel’s foot tree, Butterfly tree, Geranium tree 
Hindi Name: Kota, Raktakanchan, Khairwal, Karar, Kanchan


Sona a small to medium-sized deciduous fast-growing shrub or tree with a round, symmetrical, moderate dense crown to 10 m tall, young branches becoming glabrous or nearly so (glabrescent). In dry forests like #Tadoba the size is smaller. The bark is pale grey brown, fairly smooth to slightly fissured and scaly.

At #Tadoba, the flowers appear on the trees from October and are a beautiful sight to see, creating a vivid splash of colour in the autumn landscape. The flowers are followed by 12-inch-long, slender, brown, flat seed pods which usually persist on the tree throughout the winter.

There are about 300 species of this genus found in tropical regions. The genus includes trees, vines, and shrubs that are frequently planted for their showy flowers and ornamental foliage.

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Bhautik | Naturalist at Svasara

Relax & Explore - 5 years ago

Nature Walks

We naturalists at svasara enjoy nature walks with our guests. It helps us elevate our senses of spotting, hearing and exploring in general! Moreover, it is simply rewarding to get to observe intricate aspects of nature that we would otherwise tend to miss or overlook on the jeep safaris.


It was one such morning walk, when I noticed something peculiar, a surprise really, there was a green bee-eater bird stuck in the web of a giant wood spider. Birds often eat spiders to gain protein and they also use their web as a material to line their nests, but they are aware how dangerous a trap a web can be and hence, avoid getting entangled. But, today I found the predator helpless and struggling for life.


It was actually an amazing reminder of how nature has provided the “small” species creative defensive means. In most cases, spiders will chose not to eat birds caught in their web as they are normally too large for their tiny mouths! They hence, prefer to cut the web themselves to get rid of the “extra load” on the web. Despite knowing these facts, it still made me wonder the fate of this beautiful bird, we hence, observed for an hour but finding not much action on either of the creatures’ side, we decided to return to the lodge. Being a bird lover, the next day, I was happy and relieved to get the update that the green-bee eater had been lucky to escape!



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Rishin | Naturalist at Svasara

Wildlife Safaris - 5 years ago

The Dholes

Returning to the park after monsoons is very refreshing and this time particularly as we had very good rainfall in the region, the otherwise very arid park was looking absolutely brilliant with lush green landscapes! Throughout the monsoon Tadoba maintained its dramatic sightings. Maya topped the list with the many dominant male tigers invading into her territory and her many attempts of safeguarding her cubs showcased unique aspects of tiger behaviour. Will write about that separately……

Today’s blog is about wild dogs….On 1st October 2016, the evening safari was over cast with rainy clouds, we hence, had a short safari but were still lucky to spend some time with a pair of Indian Wild Dogs (Dholes), one of the Big 5 animals to spot when in Tadoba.

Fifteen minutes into the reserve, at the location called the Jamni Chowk, as soon as we took the turn to go towards the waterhole Pandharpauni we saw a pair of wild dogs walking on the road in our direction. This seemed as a pair who have left their group and now were looking for settling down on their own. They were looking here and there and carried on making merry, hugging each other frequently. Observing them for some time, we moved ahead on the track to find butterflies on a fresh scat of the tiger (source of nutrition for them). As it started getting even darker as the cloud cover increased, we decided to slowly move back in the direction of the lodge. We heard a few alarm calls (warning calls that herbivores use to warn each other of presence of a predator nearby). When we reached back near the Jamni village, we saw the same dhole pair again, they had by this time grabbed a sambar baby and the mother sambar was trying to save the fawn from them. Eventually she had to give up and the two dholes started feasting on it.

While watching this vicious moment several thoughts occurred in my mind, foremost being, nature has its own survival rules and ethos, it is a chance opportunity to get to observe such incidents but best to keep the observation free from human emotions!

Coming back to the dholes, they are considered to be the one of most skilled hunters of the Indian Jungle. There was a time when even the tiger used to be scared of them owing to their large pack sizes in the range 30 to 50 per pack. There are in fact, old records that mention that a pack of dhole killed tigers. Over the years however, their number are diminishing. Mainly due to habitat loss and because of the human proximity they often get the canis distemper virus. Now they are hence, usually found only in smaller packs. Most of the pack has numbers like four to eight dholes. Only during the time the pack has got new pups the pack size goes upto 15-16.

As tigers instinctively kill dholes, the increase in tiger population in Tadoba perhaps has also been an additional reason contributing to the decline of Dhole population here. It is important to note here that tigers kill dholes not out of any “personal grudges” but because of their instincts (to protect their territory, cubs, kill (food) etc.).


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Ratika at Svasara-Tadoba

Relax & Explore - 5 years ago

Forest Tree Nursery

Tadoba famous for its big cat sightings is a beautiful forest home to many diverse species of flora too. When Svasara bought the land on which the lodge is located, it was a barren land with a sole white Siris tree on its premises. The vision of Svasara was to restore the native forest so that it becomes a natural extension of the Tadoba reserve. With the help of Nishikant Jhadav (fondly also called the tree guru) and eco-wildlife consultant Dhruv Singh, Svasara planted more than thousands of saplings and continues to maintain a forest nursery for its ongoing plantation initiatives. Some of the saplings that can be seen in the nursery include Jamun (Syzigium cumini), Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) Sagwan/Teak (Tectona grandis), and Bhirra (Chloroxylone swietenia).

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Swarna | Naturalist at Svasara

Wildlife Safaris - 5 years ago

Nature is Magical

Excited to share excerpts from my first jungle safari post my monsoon holiday! The guests I accompanied were from Mauritius.


Day 1, PM safari, Navegaon Entry Gate:

Our entry inside the gate started with a sighting of a speedy wriggler – A rat snake (non-venomous but often confused with the venomous cobras) appeared suddenly on the road to cross over. This was the first time for me in Tadoba to start the jungle safari with a snake encounter! As a keen herpetologist, this was a great start for my new season at Tadoba. Proceeding further we saw a black shouldered kite sitting on a tree. Tadoba is a great birding destination too and many birds of prey can be sighted here especially around the perennial Tadoba lake and other water bodies. We also spotted four glowing eyes, soon to be identified as a pair of spotted owlets!! Very cute birds and we are lucky to have a resident family at the property too.  After observing these nocturnal birds in broad day light we made our way towards Tadoba Lake. On the way we heard a question seemingly in full chorus- did u do it ? Did you do it !!!! Asked by a pair of red wattled lapwings. We also saw a large herd of grazing deer. Good to see that the last three months of heavy monsoons has created lots of puddles and ample food is available for all our jungle friends. After watching the deer for sometime we moved towards Vasant Bhandara. Over there we found the largest cattle in the wild the very muscular Gaur feeding on fresh bamboo leaves. After “sighting” us the lone gaur walked silently inside the bush.


Day 2, PM safari, Kolara Entry Gate:  This was the last safari for my guests and they were very keen to spot India’s national animal – the Bengal tiger! Good luck was on our side…barely five to six kilometres inside the reserve, we spotted something moving in the middle of the road, our guide was quick to tell us it is a tiger walking…we had sighted “Choti Tara”. She walked in her distinctive majestic sway in front of our jeep. My first tiger sighting of the new season…could not have been better!! After sighting the tigress, we made our way to the spot “Ainbodi”, where we saw over a 100 common rose butterflies sitting on the ground. Our next destination was panchadhara, a spot where we expected to see the Brown fish owl….and so we did! Even got a chance to photograph her. Through the hilltop road we started our return to the lodge. After crossing the jamni  nala we saw a sloth bear who was busy eating termites. While we waited there watching the sloth bear, for some time, another jeep informed us that wild dogs were in the area, we turned to head to the location and there we saw two indian wild dogs or dhole coming towards us.


What an amazing afternoon indeed! A safari of four hours and we sighted Tadoba’s three of the big five mammals!


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Ranjit at Svasara-Tadoba

Wildlife Safaris - 5 years ago

The Morning Chase

Around 620 AM we reached Ainbodi (a waterhole enroute Pandharpani) and found two to three jeeps waiting as they had found fresh pugmarks in the direction of Ainbodi from C97. While we waited too, suddenly Gabbar (one of Tadoba’s famous male tigers) appeared from the left side of the road, he crossed the road and walked inside towards Ainbodi. Gabbar was sniffing incessantly; it seemed to us that he was sniffing the presence of another tiger in the area.

After about two minutes, our speculation turned to reality as suddenly he returned from inside the foliage…running and behind him we saw another male tiger “Matkasur”….the dominant Matkasur Male was chasing him off.

As the chase happened so quickly, we were unable to get both the tigers in the same frame.

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Ranjit at Svasara-Tadoba

Wildlife Safaris - 5 years ago

A dream come true morning!

I had put the alarm and so got up at 5 AM, but as I was not feeling very good, I didn’t get up and slept again. Then I received a call from Prasun (one of our naturalists) at 545 AM to ask whether I will be going for the safari or not? I decided to go… I asked the Guest I was going to accompany to leave for the entry Gate and that I will join him there shortly….. I ran to reach the gate exactly at entry time of 6 AM!

Like all the other jeeps, we reached Pandharpauni meadow and waited there for almost an hour while in between circling Pandharpauni waterholes 1 & 2 and the Navegaon Fire Line. There were a lot of alarm calls at Pandharpauni 2 and all the Jeeps were waiting patiently anticipating that Maya & Cubs may come out anytime but finally the alarm calls stopped. So around 745 AM we decided to drive up to the Tadoba Lake & Panchdhaara creek, we also went to Chital Road to find a female sloth bear crossing the road. An amazing sighting as only 2 or 3 Jeeps were around. We then proceeded to drive down the Kosaikanar route with the plan to check the Pandharpauni area one last time before exiting the reserve.

We were the only Jeep on the Kosaikanar Road and out of a sudden at Rampur Nala we were again lucky to have a sighting of a male sloth bear and this time it was even better as we were the only Jeep around, Superb really!


We then went to C-97 waterhole where there were around 5 to 6 Jeeps already waiting because of strong alarm calls from a sambar, everyone was actually expecting a leopard there. We however decided to go to Pandharpauni as per our earlier plan and so did not wait long at C-97.

The moment we reached at Pandharpauni 1, we saw Maya and one of the Cubs swimming in the water then suddenly Maya came out of the water as she saw a Gaur (Indian Bison) on the other side of the waterhole. She eye-locked the target and started walking towards the Gaur … what a moment as one could really see the change in her body language while preparing for the hunt!

She initially attacked from the back and tore the hamstring so that the Gaur could not move. Then she attacked on the Gaur’s shoulder and neck, one could notice that she actually wanted to train her cubs and hence, she did not kill the Gaur but instead allowed her cubs to attack & hunt.

This entire incident was so thrilling that it still plays almost like a movie in my mind! I have had a hunting sighting a while back (2011) but that sighting cannot compare to this as the male tiger Yeda Anna was inside some foliage while he hunted a huge sambar, in the Vasant Bhandara area.

I always dreamt of this kind of sighting and WOW this was truly my dream becoming reality….I understood one thing for sure that “If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up”- J.M Power.

Some additional pictures from this sighting:


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Sanjay Ramchandran

Svasara Evenings - 5 years ago

Ethnic Dinners

The dinners at svasara is a journey through India’s diverse regional cuisines – the most popular being the local Varadi Menu i.e. cuisine of the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra. Guests not only enjoy the local flavours, but also the freshness of the vegetables from Svasara’s organic farm. Every season, based on guest feedback some menus continue and some get replaced with alternative cuisines. Few of the dinners served this season include Punjabi, Mughlai, Bihari, Kashmiri, Bohri and Anglo Indian.

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Prasun | Naturalist at Svasara

Relax & Explore - 5 years ago


Tadoba has recorded sightings of 200+ bird species in the reserve. At svasara, almost a “mini” Tadoba forest, in the variety of native trees that can be found on its premises has increasingly become a popular home for many of the birds found in the area. Some of the birds that you can easily spot at the lodge are spotted dove, baya weaver, black drongo, black-shouldered kite, white-throated kingfisher, red-vented bulbul, white-browed bulbul, shikra, spotted owlet, indian roller, jungle babbler, asian pied starling, chestnut-shouldered petronia, purple sunbird, purple-rumped sunbird, prinia and lots of house sparrows at our outdoor dining pavilion, The Teakhouse.

Did you Know?
Svasara pronounced as sva-sar is a Sanskrit word meaning “a bird’s nest”

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Swarna | Naturalist at Svasara

Relax & Explore - 5 years ago

Butterfly Corner

The native butterflies of Tadoba: Lime Butterfly

Lime is a tailless, yellow spotted black butterfly. It’s a member of the family named papilionidae. Its wing span is 80-100mm. It is generally very fast and flies at an eye level. This butterfly can be seen in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. Its common name refers to its host plant which are citrus species (cultivated lime). It loves mud-puddling in large numbers on damp patches in summer. It basks with its wings held wide open on the tufts of grass and herbs. It is also frequent visitor of flowers in gardens. In the evening time it also roosts in large numbers on tall grassy area. While resting, the butterfly closes its wings over its back and draws the forewings between its hind wings.

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