Trip to Melghat Reserve Forest

Journey to Kolkas Forest Rest HouseWhenever I go somewhere, I enjoy the journey as much as the final destination. This time the destination was Melghat but the journey till there had pointers to a bad trip. Well the pointers were misleading and it was an amazing trip. Melghat Reserve Forest is located in the Amaravati district in Maharashtra. The AP State Transport bus took us to Amaravati from Hyderabad. In Amaravati we booked the Forest Guest House at Kolkas and we were on our way to the reserve forest. Being ignorant of the place, we took State Transport buses to Semadoh (the entry point to the forest, all the necessary permissions are to be taken from here). On reaching the guesthouse we (Arun [as usual the planner πŸ™‚ ], Alosh [the pro photographer] and me) came to know that without our own vehicle it is impossible to do anything. And the guest house at which we were staying had no phone connection (forget about cell phone connectivity, that would be an alien concept in the jungle); and being at a distance of 2 kms from the main road – where the ST buses ply – it was not easy to go the 12 kms to Semadoh to find some transportation. It was already 5 in the evening and darkness was descending fast. As I was ruing our bad luck, the watchman of the Rest House helped us find a bike, and Alosh went with him to find some wheels. Two hours later we had a Jeep for the journey, albeit a bit expensive, but at least the trip was not heading towards the trash-can.

BisonNext day morning we were up at 5 in the morning as the jeep was to come at 5:30. The jeep did not arrive till 7:30, but the two hours were spent fruitfully with the photography extravaganza. All three of us were avid photographers with the other two being proper pros, and me having a simple point-and-shoot 😦 I made as optimal use of it as I could. Anyways the jeep was almost two hours late, and we immediately set out to find the elusive tiger. The tiger remained elusive, but we were able to spot a bison. That was the only success story of the morning, although I could attribute hearing the tiger’s call as a semi-success too. We waited for a long time for the tiger to make an appearance, but it disappointed us. Waterfall Back to Semadoh we had a breakfast, visited a small waterfall, did proper mountaineering and set out to visit Chikhlam Point – a watering hole. The jeep-top ride was sure fun, but that was the extent of it. Our guide found an acquaintance of his, and their talk at the top of their voices would have driven away any animal. Next we visited Bichchu Kheda Fata. Without a doubt it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Next on agenda was the evening jungle safari. The start was great with two bison saying “Hi” and immediately saying “Bye” by running full gallop across the road on the behest of false monkey calls. To see two 900 kg animals accelerating to over 40 kmph within seconds was scary. The bison is anyways much more scarier than a tiger, as it would attack without provocation. A tiger needs a reason to attack a bison does not. The evening drive through the jungle was hugely successful with multiple sightings of the bison and a stag sighting. Trying to shoot good shots with one hand while trying to steady yourself with the other hand clinging to the carrier on jeep top was impossible, and I had no good shots of the evening safari. Though the highlight of the day was spending better part of the day on top of the jeep driving through the forest.

Trek through the ForestNext day we planned a trek through the jungle. The guide asked us how long would we be willing to walk, we decided on 15 kms. The only animal we saw through the 15 kms of jungle was Man. the villagers from the adjoining villages were inside the jungle cutting the grass. That being the core area, it was illegal, and our guide warned everybody. But because of the villagers the plains that would be filled with deer, was empty. The trek took us through beautiful scenic places with us being at places that could be only termed as wallpaper-material. During the trek we heard the calls of the stag and our guide saw the Barking-Deer (all three of us missed it). We met people who were repairing the road and they told us they had seen a bison few hundred meters from where they were working few minutes back. We made our way quickly to the place of the sighting, but no bison was to be seen. Through the trek we could see the paw-prints of many chital, stag, bison, and a leopard family. But that was the extent of the sighting, only the trails left behind. We completed the 15 km trek in about 5 hrs. Our jeep awaited us at the end of the trail. The lunch did prove to us that Cricket is indeed a religion in India. In places where there were no telephones, every house in the village of around 200 people had Dish TV installed. We were having lunch in one of the houses in the village, and the small room apart from being a host to us, was seating 5-6 more people all glued to the idiot box where the Pakistani bowlers were bowling to the Indian openers. Every shot, every ball was analyzed comprehensively. The lunch done, we went for our last safari through the jungle. The bison were now normal to us; we wanted to see a tiger. The bison we did see, but what we heard was the call of the hunting tiger. I have never heard anything as scary and as strange as that. It sounded like someone is in extreme pain, and trying to scream but unable to do so. The guide was scared on hearing the call and asked us to leave the place as soon as possible. Coming between the tiger and its prey could be nothing short of being extremely foolish. Even though we wanted to wait, the guide insisted on leaving the place. We listened to him and left the place immediately.

Satpura Mountain RangeThat was the end of the trip. I would term Melghat as a combination of a forest and a hill station. The hilly terrain makes it really difficult to spot the animals. But I would love to go back there in April during Buddha Purnima. That time the census takes place and you are left in the middle of the jungle with a guide and forest official for the night. Our guide told us that in this year’s census he had counted nearly 80 animals in one night. I’d surely love to go back that time πŸ™‚


How to reach, Where to stay, How to book guest house etc etc

The guest houses can be booked from the Forest Office located at Amaravati. As far as I heard from the locals the best guest house is the one at Kolkas. An info regarding Kolkas – if you are taking the public transport, it is around 2 kms further in from the main road, so you’ll have to walk that distance. And also since it is about 14 kms from Semadoh (from where you get permission to enter the jungle, and vehicles too) it is better if you book the vehicles and take the permission before going to Kolkas. Kolkas has no landline and forget about the cell phone connectivity (Tata Indicom is supposed to have connectivity at the hill top where Kolkas is situated, but none of us was a Tata Indicom user, so no way to verify that). We stayed at Kolkas and I can vouch for it that it is a decent place. For 200 bucks a night, it was a steal.

From Amravati take the State Transport buses, I forgot the number of the bus we took (ask and anybody can give that information there), but I do remember that Paratwada was on the way.

The forest officials do not have any jeeps. We hired a jeep from the locals at Semadoh, but it was pure luck that we got it. If you are not short on budget, it is any day better to hire a vehicle from Amravati and then proceed. It would make your stay much much more comfortable. The forest officials at Amravati would help you if you want to hire a vehicle from Amravati – they have contacts.

In case you decide to use the public transport, and hire the jeep at Semadoh try contacting Sanjay Giri (as far as I remember, I think that is the name) at 07220 202284. We were using his jeep throughout the trip.

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21 Responses to “Trip to Melghat Reserve Forest”

  1. 1 paresh December 10, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Looks like you had a gala time. I didn’t think u missed the tigers very much havign visited Kanha Kisli and the Sunderbans.

    ps : why the repeat tagging ?

  2. 2 Kunal December 10, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Paresh, I missed the tigers 😦

    the repeat tagging is due to both pointing to different locations. one set is the Technorati Tags, other set is the WordPress Tags πŸ™‚

  3. 4 Sreejith December 11, 2007 at 11:03 am

    a jungle is something i have been wanting to do for so long. Though you didn’t make the post sound too dangerous but i am sure it certainly could have got really scary! and i saw the picassa album.. seeing your face after years! 😦

    where are arun and alosh’s pics uploaded?

  4. 5 mythalez December 11, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    now .. this is the kind of trip i always wanted to go on …. if only i had been in hyd .. wud have accompanied u πŸ˜‰

  5. 6 sanyam December 11, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    who can see all the pics?

  6. 7 alosh December 12, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Some of the places there are the most scenic places I’ve seen till now! And yeah, after seeing the bison gallop, I do respect the animal now. Earlier, my backup plan if we came across a bison was to shout “Hurrahh.. Hurr.. Hurr” and I thought the animal would move on πŸ˜€

    Game for summer?

  7. 8 Kunal December 12, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Ankit, πŸ™‚

    Sreejith, it was scary. walking through a jungle that houses 2 species of the big-cat, wild dogs, and more is surely dangerous. and yeah dude it has been a long time since we met 😦 and I have sent you the link to Arun and Alosh’s pics πŸ™‚

    Rama, no jungles in UK? next time you are here, catch me – we can plan something πŸ™‚

    Sanyam, dude my gtalk status πŸ˜€

    Alosh, “Hurr Hurr” would have never worked πŸ˜› and I yeah I am all set for summer πŸ™‚ we can plan much better this time …

  8. 9 Rakesh December 12, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Ultimate travelogue… Raipur ke aas paas koi jungle hai ki nahi ?? may be we can plan a safari there ??

  9. 10 nipun December 13, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    That’s some trip man πŸ™‚

  10. 11 Kunal December 14, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Rakesh, plan for Kanha near Raipur πŸ™‚ it is awesome ..

    Nipun, yeah it was πŸ™‚

  11. 12 Proto December 24, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Nice post, Kunal!

    I managed to snoop into your pix album (thanks to Arun; don’t get wild at him:) to compare how a simple p&s fares against the mighty Lumix. I must say, your camera has done an excellent job, though it just falls short of the quality of Lumix at times (but, hey, who has the time or inclination to control 3 different settings/knobs before taking each shot ;).

    I am subscribed to your blog after reading two of your posts — the Sunderbans story from long back and now this. You sure have a way with words. Keep up the good work.

  12. 13 Kunal December 28, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Proto, thanks for the praise… and yeah even I am surprised that my simple P&S could keep up with two other mighty cameras. although I have to admit, I stopped taking photographs after a while – I was thinking that if two pros are doing the job, I’ll just enjoy the jungle πŸ˜€

    Keep visiting πŸ™‚

  13. 14 subhadip bhattacharya June 24, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I’ld be greatfull if someone mail me how can i book Semadoh forest resthouse at melghat from kolkata. also i want to know the charge of staying there.

  14. 15 Kunal June 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Subhadip, you can book the resthouse through the forest office located at Amaravati. All bookings are done from there only.

  15. 16 hasnain khan niyazi September 13, 2008 at 6:49 am

    i have read your unforgettable journey and i like this, i remember my college time when we were gone there so many time.,…..thanx lord bro

  16. 17 Kaushal November 12, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Hi Kunal,

    I am planning to go to Melghat this December. Request you to give some details about how to visit, how to get rest house booking, possible cost.

    Thanks in advance.


  17. 18 Kunal November 12, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Kaushal, I have updated the post with the details I had πŸ™‚

  18. 19 Pankaj Wankhade October 8, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Gud 2 hear dat u came all d way frm hyd to melghat tiger reserve,i am working for melghat in the conservation of tigers from the past 7 years.If u hav 2 sight a tiger there then u hav 2 stay there for atleast 3 to 4 days with proper guidance(with lot of patience)
    Believe me the tiger is there.
    Tell ur collegues to visit melghat & u too visit MTR during the tiger cencus during Buddha purnima.
    U may contact me on +91-9371317232

  19. 20 Pankaj Wankhade November 20, 2011 at 12:06 am

    If you are planning a trip to MELGHAT TIGER RESERVE then contact me: PANKAJ WANKHADE +91 93713 17232 or mail me on Our special features:1) Provide Accomodation 2) Arrange Vehicle (Jeep/Bolero) 3) Jungle Safari 4) Arrange Lunch & Dinner 5) Visit to Scenic places 6) Provide Guide through out the trip. 7) Maximum exposure to Melghat Tiger Reserve(condition apply).

  1. 1 Trip to Kerala « Something about Nothing Trackback on June 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm
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