MELGHAT TIGER RESERVE
This famous tiger reserve is situated in the Amaravathi district of Maharashtra. It is about 760kms from Mumbai. Located in the wide area of 1674 sq.km it is a home of about 80 tigers. Melghat wildlife sanctuary was declared as a tiger reserve in 1974. This reserve is engulfed by tough rocky terrain and located on the banks of River Tapti. The rocky terrain prevents poachers from entering the reserve to a major extent.
Tigers, sloth bear and flying squirrels are the major attractions. This important tiger breeding place also houses about 2000 gaur, which is the second largest in the country. Visitors can also witness huge number of eagles here.
Early mornings are the best time to enjoy the colourful fly of the various species of birds. One can also notice several birds and animals quenching their thirst in a near by pond. Fortunate ones can also spot leopards and owls in the evening. 30 sq km area with grass and shrubs is reserved for plant eating animals.
The prime area where the sloth bear is located is near the Wad Pohe waterhole which is close to the big banyan tree. Semadoh to Raipur is the prime Gaur country. One can spot many Rhesus monkeys near Gawilgarh fort. Machans at the Fitakaripani waterhole is the best place to spend some time and wait for the majestic tigers to come up to the pond and showcase its grandeur. In the nalla bed a small waterhole called Umber Pani is located where peafowl, junglefowl, langurs and gaur pay frequent visit.
Narnala and Gawilgarh forts are the prime locations where sloth bears can be spotted. Sambars can be spotted at Chikaldhara hill station. Several colourful waterbirds can be seen in the Sipna and Tapti waters. The Brown fish owls can be sighted in the old trees. Spectacular Eagles and falcon sitting atop cliffs and rocks are the true pride of Melghat.
Gawilgarh, Narnala and Asirgarh forts magnificently fringe the reserve. Close to Makhala village is the spectacular Jarida waterfall which is located amidst the backdrop of lush greens and majestic peaks. Korku, Gond, Nihal, Balai, Gawli and Gaolan are some of the prominent tribal groups who dwell in this area. The famous and delicious Sweet-Rabdi is prepared by the Gawlis.