Morachi Chincholi

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About Morachi Chincholi

Monsoon brings with itself a plethora of experiences and opens new horizons for a traveller and nature enthusiast. This isn’t surprising as it implies to all the creatures in nature as well. This is the season of procreation and reproduction for variety of different species from insects to birds. Monsoon gives rebirth to the components of ecosystem, that have been flushed out by harsh and dry summers. It’s the time for new green shoots of grass which covers entire landscapes and mountains with their lush green colour and texture. This description of monsoon is incomplete without a hot, spicy meal in the laps of nature. We can actually hear the variety of birds chirp around you and see the peacock dancing, fanning out the feathers, displaying the magnificent plumage to attract peahens. It suddenly starts to rain and as a spectator, I am enthralled to witness this epic display of nature.

This all can be actually experienced at “Morachi Chincholi”  Very popular picnic spot for nature lovers & shutterbugs. The place has lots of Tamarind Trees & lots of peacocks hence it is called as “Morachi Chincholi”  in Marathi.

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How to reach

It is around 50 KM from Pune. There are two routes to reach this place.

If you are starting from Bhosari, Aundh, Nashik phata, Khadki or Chinchwad it is  around 40KMs drive.

a) Drive on Pune-Nasik highway (NH50) up to Rajgurunagar ( Khed ).  Turn right from Rajgurunagar towards Khed – Shikrapur. Drive straight towards –> Kanhesar –> Pabal –> Morachi Chincholi.

There are also other routes to reach Morachi via Alandi or via Shikrapur.

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Indian Peafowl : Green Peafowl / White Peafowl

Binomial name is Pavo Cristatus. Peacocks are omnivores. They eat termites, ticks, plant parts, locusts, ants, mice, scorpions, flower petals, seed heads, and other reptiles, arthropods and amphibians. Peacocks are quite sociable birds. Peacocks can fly for short distances. A wingspan of peacock can be of six feet. A young peacock is called a peachick. Peacocks’ lifespan is up to 20 years.

The males use their sparkling tail display, containing large, small feathers, in their manly maneuver for the best mate. The train of feathers is supported by smaller, shorter tail feathers. These colorful tail feathers do not develop till the peacock is three years old, and the trains are shed yearly, usually during the winter months. Males make loud weeping cries, when detects any risk approaching.

Their sparkling tail gets shed in winter, so one can see all the peacocks without feather till February. It start developing after that & completes in rainy season when peacock marches to have a mate.

When a peacock feels like to have a mate, he will show his train and march by the nearest female [peahen], puffing out his chest and shaking his tail feathers. During mating period, the peafowl are also very vocal, making “minh-ao” cries that can sound like a kitten. Mating season coincides with the monsoon season.

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Resorts in Morachi Chincholi

Once you reach Morachi Chincholi, you will be able to see lots of Agro Tourism resorts like Mayur Baug,  Mauli Krushi Paryatan, Jai Malhar Krushi Paryatan etc.

Overall this place is serene village life experience very close to urban city.

The resorts here are nice place to visit for a day with family and friends. There are many games and shows for both kids and grown up people. Food is nice with all the Maharashtrian dishes. Off course the Peacock is main attraction.

Best Time to visit is June to September. You will be able to see Peacocks with complete grown up colourful feathers as seen in above picture. All the resorts have tractor ride as a part of their package & this ride takes you to nearby places in the surrounding fields & houses. You will see lots of Peacocks & Peahens.  I got a chance to click one Peacock in flight. It was heavenly experience to watch.

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We have stayed in Mauli Krushi Paryatan Kendra, it is MTDC approved Agro Tourism Resort and we were satisfied with the arrangements. Below are some pics from the resort.

Mauli Krushi Paryatan Kendra ; Contact Nos. 07507602271 & 7020652790. It is advisable that you book the resort in advance so that better preparations can be made.

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Apart from dancing peafowls, you can also see lots of beautiful birds. This place has huge tamarind trees & mango trees. We could spot Oriental White Eye, Red Vented Bulbul, Indian Robbin, Brahminy Starling and Golden Oriole and White Breasted Kingfisher. You can see some the bird pics below.

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Brahminy Starling & Indian Robbin

Oriental White Eye enjoying semi ripe mangoes direct from the tree.

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Overall it is refreshing & energizing experience.

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Tadoba Jungle Safari

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About Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve TATR ) is situated in Chandrapur district in Maharashtra. It is app. 150 km from Nagpur. TATR is the largest and most beautiful project for Save Tiger. Tadoba is the name of the God worshipped by local tribes. Andhari is the name of the river flowing through this jungle. Hence it is called as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

How to Reach there

You can reach Chandrapur via train and from Chandrapur local transport is easily available on the railway station. The distance from Chandrapur railway station to Tadoba jungles is 44 km. You need 2 hrs travel from Chandrapur railway station to reach Tadoba buffer area. You can also reach Nagpur via train or Flight and book a private taxi from Nagpur to Tadoba jungles. Travel time is 4 – 5 hrs.

Stay at Tadoba

There are number of resorts in Tadoba for comfortable stay. I prefer to stay in MTDC resort. It is very close to Moharli gate and surrounded by lush green forest. You can book MTDC resort online.

It is important to book your gate entry well in advance. Normally online booking starts 3 months in advance and the booking is full immediately. There is daily quota number of vehicles entering the gate, hence it is very important that you plan your trip in advance and book your gate entry as well as your Safari in advance. You can check more info by clicking the link : Tadoba Jeep Safari Booking

The reserve is divided into three zones, each having different access gates:

Moharli (Mohurli) Zone: This zone is known for the best tiger spotting and is also popular for offering good accommodation facilities to the tourists. The Moharli Gate is easily accessible from other two zone of Tadoba namely Tadoba Zone and Kolsa Zone.

Tadoba Zone: The Tadoba Zone is popular for offering diverse wildlife and scenic locations to the tourists. It is also accessible from four gates at Moharli, Navegaon, Kolara, and Khutwanda.

Kolsa Zone: The Kolsa Zone is much liked for its striking forest landscapes as the possibilities of spotting the wild animals are relatively lower in this zone. Entry to this zone is possible through gates at Moharli, Pangdi, and Zari.

I have visited Moharli twice and Kolsa once. I was lucky to spot tigers during all the safaris.

Tadoba Landscapes

Tadoba jungles are treat for nature lovers. You can hear different sounds of birds & trees. There are also special insects all the time making loud noise which is piercing sometimes in the peaceful environment. Overall the tall trees & bamboo forest surrounded by grasslands make a beautiful landscape frame as you can see below.

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Bio-diversity at Tadoba Jungles

Tropical dry deciduous forests that are typical to South India dominate the canvas of Tadoba. Teak, crocodile bark, wodier, arjun, black plum and bamboo are among the common trees. The park is home to many trees used for herbal medicines and some of them include bija, hirda, beheda and kach kujali. Grassy patches across the park complete the picture.

Divided into three zones, Tadoba, Moharli and Kolsa, the park boasts of splendid natural vistas like rivers, lakes, hills and valleys. There are many machans (perches) in the park, two popular ones being Panchdhara and Vasant Bhandara, from where one can enjoy breathtaking sightseeing of animals and natural beauty. Waterholes near to these points attract wild creatures and it is your chance to explore the best of the park.

Tadoba Wildlife

Park’s core and buffer areas jointly accommodate nearly 65 tigers that are easy to spot. Tiger safari trips in gypsy or mini-bus take the tourists close to this majestic jungle beast. Just few minutes in the park and you will find one or two or more tigers crossing your way. Wildlife travelers who fail to encounter tigers at the very popular Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves get fortunate at Tadoba. Maya is very popular Tigress of Tadoba & also called as queen of Tadoba, there are many others  like Gabbar, Scarface etc.

Tadoba is an internationally famed wildlife spot where one can watch extraordinary Indian fauna and few migratory birds. Keep your binoculars and cameras ready for wonderful sights of:

  • Mammals like Indian leopard, Indian bison, dhole, sloth bear, stripped hyena, jungle cat, civet, spotted deer, chital and four-horned antelope.
  • Marsh crocodile (mugger) in huge number.
  • Indian python and other reptiles like Russell’s viper, cobra and Indian monitor.
  • Orange-headed thrush, Indian roller, lesser golden-backed woodpecker, crested honey buzzard and many other species of beautiful birds and raptors like crested serpent eagle and grey-headed fish eagle.
  • Nearly 75 species of butterflies like swordtails and pansies.

Mammals of Tadoba

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Birds of Tadoba

Your Gypsy drivers & guides will be always chasing for Tigers but Tadoba jungles also hosts huge bird species. Very commonly seen is Indian Roller called as नीलकंठ in Marathi and Rufous Treepie. You can see in below picture Mottled Wood Owl, Open Bill Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Open Bill Stork & Crested Serpent Eagle. Commonly seen birds in Tadoba jungles are Kingfishers, types of Eagles, Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Laughing Dove, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon. Wetland birds like Storks, types Ducks are also seen.

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Photography at Tadoba

There are ample photography opportunities in Tadoba jungles. Remember following tips before you plan your trip :

  • Wear light color clothes, preferably camouflaged
  • You must carry Cap if you are visiting in Summer and off course also Sunscreen lotion.
  • Do not forget that you are entering the world of wild animals hence they get first priority always. Do not disturb their living.
  • Carry adequate water with you in the jungles to keep your body hydrated.
  • You can enjoy nature & other animals & birds if you don’t see Tiger.
  • If you want to photograph only tigers you can use 100-400 mm Lens. For bird photography you may need 150-600 mm.
  • Carry a Bean Bag with you because it helps to keep your camera steady in the gypsy. Tripod may not help in the gypsy.
  • Keep your camera covered with a cloth to prevent from dust.

Happy Clicking.

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Bhigwan – Bharatpur of Maharashtra

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Greater Flamingos

About Bhigwan

There are some places that God created for beauty & diversity, Bhigwan is one such place. A paradise for number of migratory birds Bhigwan stands out in the list of Must Visit places around Pune, especally in Winter times. Bhigwan is a small dusty town around 100 kms away from Pune and is also referred to as the “Bharatpur of Maharashtra”, as it becomes a hotbed of migratory birds during the winter. Bhigwan is at one end of the huge Yashwant Sagar reservoir, forming the backwaters of the Ujani dam. The water catchment area is spread across around the town of Bhigwan. It is an amazing place to see wetland migratory birds like Bar-Headed Goose, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, many species of ducks , Painted Stork , Grey Heron and many more birds.

One of the main attractions during the migratory season is the arrival of the Greater flamingos also called as अग्निपंख in Marathi. During the months of early December till  March every year this place is crowded by Bird Watchers & Bird Photographers from all over Maharashtra.

How to Reach Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

One can travel to Bhigwan by various means of transport. 1) State Transport Buses bound for Solapur and onwards from Pune take you to Bhigwan in 3.5 hours. The obvious advantage of ST bus, is that one need not drive. However Bhigwan is a vast area. The birding spots are as far away as 10 to 15 kms from Bhigwan main town. So this mode is not convenient. There is also a train station at Bhigwan. However both ST bus and train are not convenient. The best way is your own vehicle or hired vehicle.

To reach Bhigwan, the easy way is from Pune to Hadapsar and then join to Solapur highway. After about 100km from Pune on Highway you will reach Bhigwan village. Do not use Bhigwan flyover.  Take service road from Bhigwan village and then turn  left after crossing the flyover. Drive 3 to 3.5km – Take right for sanctuary. There are two main villages Kumbhargaon & Diksal. You can go to either village. More or less there are same chances of sighting the birds.

I visit Bhigwan almost every year and my favourite place is Kumbhargaon bird sanctuary. It is better if you book your Boat ride in advance. I am normally booking with “Kranti Flamingo Point”, Mr. Datta Nagare – Mobile No. 8087767691. There are many other boat operators who also provide guide. You can also order Breakfast & lunch with them. It is delicious Maharashtrian Food. For Bird Watching or Bird Photography it is recommended that you reach Bhigwan before Sunrise & start your Boat ride latest by Morning 7.00 AM OR afternoon 4.00 PM. Boat ride takes 3 Hours minimum.

Sunrise @ Bhigwan
Sunrise at Bhigwan

I am always excited to visit Bhigwan for one reason : You are welcomed by colourful Painted Storks flying overhead or flock of Pink Flamingos or the Cormorants flying in the sky in large numbers. I still remember my first visit to Bhigwan. Our boat reached deep inside the water  about 6 – 8 Kms. inside from the Boating point. We were curiously looking at Flamingos busy in fishing in large numbers away from us, suddenly our guide pointed towards the sky and the scene was mesmerizing.  Complete sky was full of Pink colored birds gliding above our head. For a moment we forgot to click the pictures & kept looking at the beautiful play of colors in the sky. Then the shutterbugs started clicking. After a while the flock of hundreds of Flamingos landed in the water & started looking for their favorite food i.e fishes. The beautiful tall birds with long neck & long red legs were in front of us busy in their own world, ignorant of onlookers.Once they land in large numbers at one place near the water, normally they remain there for hours. You can photograph them peacefully in all angles & moods.

Once you are finished clicking Flamingos, you can look around for other birds and you can see variety of wetland Birds like Grey Herons, Open Bill Stork, Grey Headed Gulls, River Turn, Black Headed Ibis, Glossy Ibis and various Ducks like Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Coot, Bar Headed Goose, Rudy Shel duck etc.

Bird Photography

The diversity of Bird species found in Bhigwan is incredible. Large number of migratory activity Birds come to Bhigwan for Nesting. These birds include Greater Flamingos, variety of Ibises, Storkes, Egrets & Seagulls. Apart from these wader species, Bhigwan has large variety of local terrestrial birds. All in all Bhigwan boasts of more than 400 different species of birds through out the year.

Bird Photography is comparatively easy in Bhigwan since the Birds are accessible to you. Even 100-400 mm telephoto lens is adequate. You only need Ultra Telephoto Lens for Flamingos since we can’t go very near to them. You can go very near to Painted Storks since they do not shy away with Boats. However you should always remember to wear dull colored clothes & carry hat or cap. Camouflaged clothes are preferable. Huge bird activity is seen during Morning & Evening in the middle of water. Normally you see ample quantity of Grey Headed Gulls and River Turn fighting for the prey. Flying up & down with their prey. There are ample opportunities to photograph these moments. Your guide cum boat driver helps you to locate & identify various birds.

On the return journey to boating point, we clicked all these birds & many more which  you can see in the pictures below.

After getting down from the Boat, you can spend some time on the nearby grassland for photographing grassland birds like Common Hoopoe, Green Bee Eater, White breasted Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Yellow Wagtail, Bush Chat, Shrike, Black Drongo etc.

We finished our bird photography & returned to Kranti Flamingo Point at @ 11.30 am. It was time for breakfast. You can either enjoy breakfast at Kranti Flamingo Point – They normally serve Poha or Omelette. OR if you are Misal fan, you can drive down to Bhigwan village & try famous Spicy Misal at Hotel Jyoti near Hotel Jagdamba which is on the right side of road when you are driving towards Pune.
On the way back to Pune, you can also visit Mayureshwar Wildlife Century to photograph Black Buck aka Chinkaras. You can refer below table for list of Bird sighting at Bhigwan.
Happy Clicking.
Purple Swamphen Ruddy Shelduck Little Cormorant
Common Moorhen Spot-billed Duck Common Kingfisher
Small pratincole Common Coot White Throated Kingfisher
Glossy Ibis Comb Duck Pied Kingfisher
Black Ibis Garganey Duck Wire-tailed Swallow
Oriental White Ibis Pallas Gull Common Swallow
Asian Open bill Stork River Tern Red Rumped Swallow
Painted Stork Gull billed Tern Purple Rumped Sunbird
Woolly Necked Stork Grey Heron Yellow Wagtail
Common Sandpiper Purple Heron Grey Wagtail
Spotted Sandpiper Pond Heron Greater Flamingo
Curlew Sandpiper Cattle Egret Osprey
Black Tailed Godwit Median Egret Western Marsh Harrier
Black Winged Stilts Large Egret White-breasted Waterhen
Northern Shoveler Eurasian Spoonbill

Madheghat Waterfall

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About Madheghat

Madhe ghat is located around 55 km from Pune bordering Raigad district. On the way you can see Torna Fort, Rajgad, Raigad and backwaters of Bhatghar dam. From this place, you can have a view of vast area such as Raigad fort, Lingana, Varandha ghat and Shivthar Ghal.

In history, when the great warrior Narveer Tanaji Malusare died in the Sinhagad battle, his body was to be taken for last rites in his native village Umrathe near Poladpur. Tanaji Malusare’s funeral procession was taken to his native place from this Madhe ghat route.

The drive is very scenic and beautiful. Most of the drive is through dense Jungles & paddy fields. If you visit this place immediately after monsoon, you can see lush green all over and  colorful flowers on the road. It is must visit place for Nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. The photographers can’t resist stopping frequently on the road to click beautiful landscapes & flowers.

We ( Myself & my friend Abhijit Pore ) visited this place on 28th Oct 2017. We went by the route :

Pune –>  Khadakwasla Dam –>  Pabhe ghat –>  Velhe village –>  Madhe Ghat –> Velhe village –>  NH-4 –>  Pune.

After Velhe village, we took left turn for Madhe Ghat. Forest was very dense and sometime it was difficult to spot road after taking some crazy curves.  After crossing few mountains we saw spectacular view of Sahyadri ranges. You need to cross at least 5-6 Mountains to reach at Kelaad village.  Sign board helped us to spot the Madhe ghat route and we took a left turn and crossed a small bridge. From here onwards either you can go on bike for last 1.5km road patch or you can have a walk. You can try taking you car till the waterfall but it is risky. Many people prefer to walk after that small bridge. We preferred to take our car because my friend Abhijit Pore was a rider and very confident for his Skoda Fabia. Off course it was fun to drive through the big stones & mud but the driver’s skill was needed. Finally we reached the point where you can see big table land and an amazing view. You cant see waterfall from this side & you have to walk to the opposite side of waterfall. We walked with our Photography Gear ( Camera + Lenses + Tripod ) to the other side of table land & the view was  amazing. We kept looking at the table land & water falling through the edge of the rock. It was mesmerizing.

We returned after clicking lots of pictures in various angles. I used Canon 10-18 mm Ultra Wide Angle Lens to capture the wider view. The flowers below are captured with Canon 55-250mm Kit Lens.

We were very hungry by this time and stopped at one Hotel for the lunch. They served us nice Pithala Bhakari & Akkha Masur. Finally reached home with a satisfied Phototour.

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#madheghat #photography #waterfall

 

 

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It was my long awaited dream, that I share my travel stories & photographs with like minded people. I am a Nature lover & likes to travel around. Wildlife photography is my passion. Though I am hooked to corporate job working with metals & machines, I am always excited to be with the Nature.