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Ratika at Svasara-Tadoba

Relax & Explore - 4 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 - 4 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 Mandal

Wildlife Safaris - 4 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 Mandal

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!

sloth_bear_ranjit_svasara_blog

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


Bird-Watching

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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Paramjit Ahuja

Svasara Evenings - 5 years ago


The Teakhouse

The Teak House is modeled after garden pavilions popularized by the Maratha kings of yore who ruled Central India. Pavilions are an answer to the tropical wet and dry climate of the region where it is so important to harness the wind for comfort. Therefore, The Teak House is oriented NW – SE so as to catch the predominant SouthWest wind. This orientation also keeps the summer sun out while allowing the winter sun in. Deep roof overhangs provide further comfort by ensuring that even low rays of the setting summer sun are kept out.

The Teak House owes its name to an extensive use of teakwood. A conscious decision was taken to reuse wood from old dismantled buildings. Even the white ‘Allahabad’ roof-tiles is from old dismantled buildings. The reuse of old building materials and of locally available materials such as stone contributes to a smaller carbon footprint and is our way of showing that we care for the environment.

Traditionally, pitched roofs are supported on trusses. In an innovation of sorts, trusses have been done away with; with the ridge member being propped up by a strategically placed central post and by hip ridges at its two ends. This has been made possible because of the steep pitch of the roof. The ensuing result is a high and uncluttered roof.

Be it broom finish plaster on walls, motifs on pedestals and brackets or a chamfer here and a groove there on teakwood posts and rafters, it is the subtle attention to detail that gives The Teak House that enduring quality.

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Ratika at Svasara-Tadoba

Svasara Evenings - 5 years ago


Jungle Cinema

Besides the outdoor dining, The Teakhouse also contains an open-air Jungle Cinema. Here the guests, every evening can catch a presentation on Tadoba by the Lodge’s Naturalists or a BBC/Discovery Channel documentary on Tadoba with the sound of crickets chirping in the background. As the Lodge sits very close to the Tadoba forest, every once so often, the roar of the Tiger in the Cinema is replied with a real roar or an alarm call from the forest!

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Ratika at Svasara-Tadoba

Relax & Explore - 5 years ago


The Spa at Svasara

Why orange is a key ingredient in a number of our treatments?

Keeping to the lodge’s eco ethos, we wanted our spa to feature local ingredients. As oranges are known for their innumerable health and beauty benefits, and are cultivated in the region, orange was selected as one of the key ingredients. All the spa products used for the therapies are made with 100% natural ingredients and pure Ayurvedic or herbals oils.

Did you Know?
The city of Nagpur is affably called the orange city owing to its importance as a major trade center for oranges.

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