Nagzira Tiger Reserve- A Trip Report

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#1 May 23rd, 2011, 12:14
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Nagzira Wild Life Sanctuary & Tiger Reserve is situated in Bhandara district of Maharashtra (India). The nearest railway station is Gondia over Howrah- Mumbai railway, which is around 40 km away. Chorkhamara and Pittejhari gate are the main entry points of the forest. Chorkhamara gate is nearest to Gondia and Pittejhari gate is nearest to Sakoli town over NH-6.Name:  forest path.jpg
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We spent our nights in forest rest house (Holiday Home No-1), which is deep inside core area and adjacent to the forest office of Nagzira. These Holiday homes (forest rest house) of Nagzhira have a drawing room, a bedroom and an extra room which looks like a kitchen or pantry. The toilets are out of the room, in the small, open courtyard surrounded by a wall (the design is like old railway staff quarters) and covered by the green foliage of the sal - mahua tree grown outside of bungalow. There are 10 such holiday homes and two 3 & 6 bed room rest house named Latakunj and Madhukunj. Name:  Holiday home complex, Nagzira.jpg
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Size:  64.6 KBFood is available in the canteen which is run by forest department. The complex is in the core zone and situated in the bank of famous Nagzira Lake. A log house and a VIP bungalow named Nilay is also present, and both are also built in the bank of Nagzira Lake, the other side of our complex. Name:  log hut, nagzira .1copy.jpg
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Size:  41.0 KBthese are situated inside forest core area none have electricity. The complex of holiday homes, canteen etc have no proper fencing around them. Spotted deer & Langurs are the common visitors of the complex. One night I have heard alarm calls of spotted deer from some close locations which indicates panther or tiger, nearby. Chorkhamara village just outside the forest gate have two private accommodations in March’11, the time we visited. Name:  Nagzira lake.jpg
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It took nearly 2 hours to reach Chorkhamara gate from Gondia railway station by car, which we reserved for the whole tour and kept inside the forest for safari. In Nagzira diesel cars were not restricted at that time, and petrol hoodless Gypsies were not available. As we had reservation of holiday home, we were permitted to enter the forest and stay there at night, after paying the entry fees, guide charges (who will stay with us for next 2 days inside forest) and camera fees in the Chorkhamara gate. Day visit from 6 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm is also allowed. Tourists who have permits of forest rest house are also permitted for safari in this scheduled time, only.Name:  daughter,nagzira.jpg
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During our stay inside, we never met any tiger or panther though we were very close on his heals. During day 2 safari just after a km from Forest office we met a forest guard on bicycle, who stopped our car with some anxious gesture. He was nervous and heavily sweating and told us that a few yards away, where the forest path have a sharp bend, he met a tiger just a few minutes back, strolling towards the bend from our direction. Both were surprised and stared at each other for some moments when the beast turned and faded behind the dense undergrowth of bamboo grove. Our overzealous driver Latif bhai silently followed the path towards the bend which leads to a water hole.Our guide indicates that the tiger is still nearby as the deer and langoors have vanished from the location. Suddenly the rain came, and we lost our chance of sighting. We spent 2 nights inside the core area. We have heard the alarms calls of frightened chital and langoors while waiting at the Nagzhira lake near our forest rest house, where we spent most of our time sitting over those black rocks and watching the birds, while my daughter enjoyed sketching pictures. We have spotted Neelgai, Sambar and Cheetal Wild Boar and Gaur(Indian Bison) while in safari. Crested Serpent Eagle, Red jungle fowl, Peacock, Plum headed Parakeet, Rose ringed Parakeet, Indian Roller or Neelkanth, Racket tailed Drongo, Black Drongo, Barbets, Tailor bird, Tree pie were sighted. One evening we have spotted a large Brown fish owl just came out of its day hide out and perched over a dry trunk across a waterbody.Name:  Indian Roller, Nagzira.jpg
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In Nagzira, tourists are restricted on Thursday and no booking is allowed inside. So we came out of the core area and arranged a local guest house with the help of Latif ji and a local guide, outside Chorkhamara gate. The guest house has a large open compound. A concrete one storey house with two rooms along with attached bath and a common verandah is built in middle of the ground. The other side of the road is covered with dense forest. Village and forest gate both are within a distance of 5 minutes gentle walking. The rest house has electricity. Another attraction is food. To a non-vegetarian Bengali forest lover it’s really a pleasure to have delicious deshi - chicken (village grown fowl) curry in the dinner plate along with local grown rice after 2 days of complete vegetarian diet inside the forest.Name:  forest office copy.jpg
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An old banyan tree which was full of blossom in the month of March is the point of attraction to a large number of birds, like barbet, redwhiskered bulbul, tailor bird and parakeets. One afternoon we found a herd of 6 neelgai in the pond nearby. Name:  courtship feeding_plum headed parakeet, nagzira.jpg
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Size:  25.0 KBOur guide informed us that the forest opposite to this rest house is frequently visited by tiger and leopards & his claim was confirmed at that afternoon when I heard repeated alarm calls of Langoors from the roadside jungle. Name:  peacock, nagzira.jpg
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Next evening was eventful. A little thunder shower that followed the scorching heat of the day has stopped by 8 pm. I heard 4 or 5 sharp ‘Koo’, the alarm calls of a spotted deer followed by a strange cough like sound from a close distance. The sounds died suddenly just as it started. It was pitch dark in that cloudy night. Some time later our car returned from the village and our guide who ran to us, and told to get into car fast, as a tiger over the kill was spotted by two local bikers on the main road outside forest area. We three were excited. Rupsa, my little daughter who is a fan of the stories of Kenneth Anderson, Jim Corbett and Buddhadeb Guha’s Rijuda along with her scared mother and excited father ran towards the jeep while Latif ji started the car. Half kilometers away, we spotted the sign of blood over the road and then the abdominal wastes, liver and intestines lying in a pool of blood. A spotted deer was laying a few feet away, close by the road, but the tiger has vanished. The whole atmosphere is tensed and unusually quite as if all creatures are frightened and waiting for the horrible fate, the unlucky deer met some time ago. I’ve seen tiger many times in the jungle, but this experience was quite different. We drove away to the highway nearby and after 10 minutes we returned. Suddenly in the field, where in that morning I roamed to get the snaps of a female Purple Sunbird, at a distance of 10 or 15 feet from our car two large eyes sparkled in the powerful light of my maglite. They are quite larger than the eyes of a deer or bison seen at night. The large round head of a tiger with blood allover its whites were clearly visible, who was also watching us anxiously. We decided to leave the spot immediately. Though the area is out of tiger reserve, but it’s unfair to disturb him from his rightful meal. Next morning we drove to the site. The daylight has erased our horror of last night and we got down from the car to examine the foot prints. The pug marks and the deep hoof marks of the frightened deer were allover in the rain soaked ground. It is a rare and exciting experience to a jungle lover. I found the intestine and other part of abdomen with the mark of dried blood and froth of the dying deer over the road. I’ve read that it’s a common practice of a tiger to clear the abdominal wastes and put it at a distance apart before starting the meal. The tiger was hungry and spared no time in devouring the meal beside the road when accidentally the local biker spotted it. After we left the spot yesterday night it carried away the deer in some nearby forest where no human nuisance could disturb its supper. We left Nagzhira that day to catch a train from Nagpur which is approx 4 hour drive through NH6.Name:  nagzira tiger feed.jpg
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Some important information about Nagzhira:

Chorkhamara gate of Nagzhira Tiger Reserve is approx 40 km (2 hrs drive) from Gondia Rly. stn over Howrah Mumbai (via Nagpur) railway. Other entry point is Pittejhari gate which is about 45 minutes drive from Sakoli town at NH6 (Kolkata-Mumabai National Highway)
Car : It is essential to keep the vehicle inside, which will be also used in Safari. We booked it from Sonali Travels (Gondia, Maharashtra); contact No-09422830601. Mr. Mahesh Ji, owner of the company, whom I talked many times over phone but never met him in person, is a gentleman in nature, with an attitude of helping the tourists. Our driver Mr. Latif is an excellent person I’ve ever met. He is helpful and an enthusiastic forest and bird lover.
Nagzhira is one of the cheapest forest of Maharashtra. Charge of all types of FRH is Rs.400/- per day. Log hut is the best. Niloy another guest house is allotted only to the VIP s. The forest Holiday Homes are ill maintained and in a worst shape. The floors are carpet covered, but with a lot of holes in it, which accommodates large contingents of rats who come out after night fall and roam freely all over the rooms including the beds of helpless tourists. So be sure to put a mosquito net which should be carried by you because, two mosquito nets for two beds which are provided by the forest department are full of holes. But the experience of staying inside the core area of a tiger reserve without the faintest hint of electric lights at night is something unique and romantic. I’ve heard that all these accommodations will be closed and moved outside the core area like other Tiger Reserves in near future. The men who run the canteen are good host and most accommodative, food which is strictly non vegetarian, are tasty and cheaper than Kanha, Bandhabgar or even Tadoba. For Booking of Forest Rest House : Depty Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Bhandara, at Gondia, Mulchul Road, Ashirwad Road- Ashirwad Bhawan; Gondia- Maharashtra; India; PIN-441601. Phone- +91 7182 226399.
The private guest house outside the Chorkhamara gate is also a nice place to enjoy the forest and have electricity. It is well maintained. Rooms are not large but clean with tiled floor. Both have attached bath with western toilets. For booking, contact- Mr.Puresh Kodape of Chorkhamara village (he is also a famous guide of Nagzhira and a nice person who will take care about all of your needs) Ph No- +91 9158265860.
#2 May 23rd, 2011, 12:48
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#2
Nice trip report.
#3 May 23rd, 2011, 15:06
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#3
Good trip report & photos.

Ronak.
#4 May 25th, 2011, 17:49
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#4
Thanks for sharing this info on Nagzira. Very good report with lovely pictures
Regards,
Safique
#5 May 25th, 2011, 18:03
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#5
That was really amazing trip.I like those beautiful picture of nature and wildlife.
#6 May 25th, 2011, 18:17
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#6
well written and good photos!
#7 May 25th, 2011, 18:41
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#7
Thank you for the trip report. I was wondering about this place for a while now. I am hoping to visit it very very soon. You report was quite informative.

Cheers,
Kartik
#8 May 25th, 2011, 21:41
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#8
Thank you all for these encouraging messages.
#9 May 25th, 2011, 23:56
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#9
Thanks for theses informations. A french friend went there last year, stayed outside the sanctuary for 3 days, saw tigers and sloth bear...but he had a problem the last day when the sanctuary director stopped him at the gate when he went out. The director closed the gate, asked him for a tip...he had to pay 3600 Rs after sometime and then went out...
#10 May 27th, 2011, 21:32
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#10
It should be reported in proper forum and these types of unwanted incidents must be stopped immediately.
Last edited by indrajit; May 29th, 2011 at 10:34..
#11 May 28th, 2011, 10:22
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#11
thnx for sharing this lovely trip report on one of my favourite wilderness place!!.i had been visiting this wls for a lont time!!!.wat it Gazelle INN resort out side chorkhamara gate?.
@ didi india.well Nagzira does not have a Director its being controlled by the DCF from Gondia.
have you taken up the matter with proper authority b'cause its a serious allegation ,Ihave friends there who runs NGO & monitors continuously Nagzira which includes a journalist .so if you give detail then it can be exposed!!.
LAso Nagzira spreaded into Gondia dist also
#12 May 28th, 2011, 21:25
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#12
Outstanding trip report.good photographic documentation.waiting for another.
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#13 May 29th, 2011, 00:00
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#13
I'll ask my friend to have more details.
#14 May 29th, 2011, 11:50
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#14
please do !! it should be exposed!!.i 'll ask my friends there
#15 Jun 8th, 2011, 02:25
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#15
I change some words of my first post. My friend payed 3600 Rs after 2 hours speaking to a forest official (which seemed to leave just inside the park on the left of a big house).

Is it possible that a moderator cancel my precedent post in this thread.
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