Are you an adventure lover longing for a stroll amongst the wilderness, then experience the nocturnal beauty of woods, experience the beauty of delicate flora and magnificence of diversified fauna, come across thousands of unheard species of flowers, trees, shrubs, birds, animals and extinguishing species? Have you been planning to have a fabulous weekend away from the city crowd and hastiness into woods, campaigning? Experience the mystique wonderfulness of the wilderness and the serene calmness of the nature, which doesn’t only make you feel relieved but gives an unforgettable time for the whole life.
Melghat tiger reserve is what we are talking about. In the state of Maharashtra, Melghat Tiger reserve is situated in northern part of Amravati district, this forest was declared to be a Tiger Reserve in 1973-74, for the first time nine tiger reserves were notified under a project named Project Tiger. This tiger reserve have been developing since then and is now a popular tourist place for both Indian and foreign tourists.
Melghat tiger reserve is embraced to have Tapi River flowing through the northern end of the reserve, it adds a glory to the beauty of the reserve and is also a major water resource to the animals of reserve. Though popular house for the tigers, it is a home of a wide variety of wildlife, flora and fauna. The core area of the Melghat Tiger reserve is formed by Gugamal National Park, which covers the most of the area as much as 361.28 km2 since 1987. Along the boundary of the reserve the three major landmarks, which are present, are Gawilgadh ridge, The Tapti Riverand and Satpura Range.
Situated at the north extreme of Amravati district, Melghat lies in the foot of South-Western Satpura mountain range. The Melghat reserve offers a scenic beauty comprising of all sorts of wonder of nature, the clear rivers passing through the reserve, the large and unending chain of hills and valleys, the mountains are carved with jagged cliffs and steep climbs which makes the tour more adventurous and loving. Extremely close to the nature, Melghat Reserve was declared to be a Tiger Reserve in 1974; the area covered today by the reserve is about 1700 Km2. The concern towards the tiger’s protection and survival is the prime concern of this reserve therefore no villages can be found in the core area.
The forests in the Melghat reserve is tropical dry deciduous type, which is dominated by Teak, moreover the forest covers as much as 70% area of the reserve with dense forests in the core area. The reserve also proves to be a catchment area for five seasonal rivers, which are tributaries of the river Tapti, these rivers are: the Khandu, Sipna, Dolar, Khapra and Gadga. The reserve area is also a habitat for a large population, there are 61 villages, which are in reserve area, but all are outside the core area. The distribution of the villages have been done on the basis of its usage, 22 are said to fall in Buffer Zone while 39 are in an area marked as the Multiple Use Area. Buffer zone is though more close to the core area while Multiple Use Area forms the outer boundary of the reserve.
Human Population of Buffer area is quite less as compared to the Multiple Use Area zone, while only 11024 lives in Buffer zone, Multiple Use Area is home to about 15642 humans according to the 1994 census. This particular zone where the people live gives an entirely different view of the human culture, the inhabitants of the reserve are mainly tribal, the largest tribe being Korku Tribe which accounts for as much as 80% of the entire population, rest 20% comprises of tribes such as Halbi, Gaolan, Wanjari, Gond, Gawali, Balai and Nihal. These tribes survive in a rich heritage of nature away from the gadgets, technology and the city chaos; all the inhabitants of this reserve depend on the forest for their day-to-day requirements and domestic need.
Firewood, medicinal plants, fodder, timber and non-timber products such as gum, flowers, fruits and medicinal plants, all are derived and taken from the forest. The tribal people depend on labor and rainy season agriculture for income. They also depend on wood and their products for earning money by selling the non-timber products such as tendu-leaves, gumcula, charoli, Mahauli, Musali, flowers, dhawada and seeds.
December to May is considered as the best season to visit and witness the soothing and comfortable environment of the reserve, the temperature during the winter season may drop even below 150C. During the monsoon the rainfall is between 1000 to 2,250 mm of rainfall. During the winter season, animals are in most prime condition and make the view extremely adorable. The wildlife viewing becomes a pleasure during this time when the grass is tall enough and Tigers can be viewed lying within just a few meters of forest trail.
The major issue of any Tiger reserve is the accommodation but at Melghat Tiger Reserve, both state and tourism sector has made ample arrangements for a relieved and comfortable stay. Chikaldara Convention Complex is the major staying place, which is located at a distance of 20 Km from the reserve. Other Accommodation Places are Semadoh Tourist Complex, Rest house at Kolkaz, Rest house at Dhakna and various other private and public resorts too.
Located in the catchment area of the five rivers and under the foot of the long Satpura mountain ranges, the Melghat tiger reserve is considered as the most favorable and vital tiger breeding habitats. An increment in the population of Tigers in the last few years has proved to be an extra mile-mark in conservation of Tiger. Melghat tiger reserve proposes an area for preserving Tiger for posterity and survives for eternity. Along with tiger the second most populated species in the reserve is Eagle. For a birdwatcher, it’s like a dream come true when at the dawn the eagle flies all over the clear sky in the major part of the forest. Apart from these two major species, one can witness the presence of a wide variety of animal species such a deer, Bison, Leopard, sloth bear, Lots of Peacock, Saamba, wild dogs, plenty of birds and various other species of animals and birds. When it comes to the tourist, this magnificent leaves an everlasting impact of its delicacy and simplicity on tourists. The enchanting beauty, fascinating landscape and richness of flora and fauna is what makes it the most preferred and visited tiger reserve.
A beautiful and antique chain of the exquisite hill tropical dry deciduous forest extended to miles and moss-covered teaks add up an eternal glory to one of the most Flora rich national reserve. Melghat tiger reserve is home to an innumerably large number of different plant species. The buffer zone of the reserve includes 526.90 km2 of area, which is explicitly reserved and maintained as a reserve forest. An amazing topography in the wilderness gives a spectacular view of different plants, large trees, grass, flowers, shrubs and bushes offering different shades and colors in the bright sunlight. The major part of the reserved forest is covered by Teak.
Any visit to tiger reserve is incomplete without a wonderful and adventurous safari in an open jeep to experience the hidden and antique beauty of the reserve. Come across the tiger close enough and experience the thrill of rugged terrains. While Melghat Tiger Reserve serves to be a wonderful place for experiencing rich flora and fauna, it proves to be one of the best safaris too. Open Jeeps are available throughout the day, which takes you to the deep in wilderness, and guide directs the way and tells the importance and rich heritage of the reserve. On the safari, one can spot Tigers from close enough while herds of bison, wild boar, deer, monkeys and peacock can be seen too. The price of safari is also reasonable and services rendered by the experienced and professionally trained guides are also par excellence. It is advisable to hire open gypsy to add an entirely different edge to your visit and crisp to your experience.
Melghat Tiger Reserve is well connected by all modes of transport. The state of Maharashtra and tourism sector has always been trying to make the journey comfortable and feasible for the visitors.
Air: The nearest airports are Nagpur which is 260 Km and Akola which is 160 Km from the reserve.
Rail: The nearest railway station is Badnera which is 35 Km from the reserve. A number of popular and regular trains such as Ahmedabad-Howrah, Navjeevan Express, Ahmedabad-Madras and Bombay-Howrah arrive here.
Road: Chikaldara is the hub point for road transport and at a distance of 25 Km. from the reserve. It is at a distance of 230 Km from Nagpur, 763 Km from Mumbai and 100 Km from Amravati. State transport buses are regularly available from all of the above-mentioned cities to Chikaldara. On the way to Burhanpur, Dharni to Paratwada, the buses stop at Semadoh. Semadoh is the tourist center for Camping and trekking.