If you are a nature lover then you should visit this sanctuary near Bhandara. It is around 120Kms from Nagpur. This sanctuary is truly a jungle lovers delight. One may not see a tiger here but will definitely enjoy jungle with dense forests, wild animals and birds. The jungle covering an area of around 164sq Km is rich in biodiversity.
The safari timings are from 6-11 in the morning and 2-7 in the evening. The timings change as per seasons and one should verify the same from their site while online booking. In the morning the vehicles are not allowed after 8 and after 4 in the evening. We reached Chorkhamara gate at sharp 6 and started safari after completing necessary formalities. There are 3-4 other gates also from which one can enter the sanctuary.
We were welcomed by the calmness of the jungle and light chirping of the birds. As we move ahead, one peacock crossed by but it was so sudden that we could not spot it. One racket tailed drongo followed us for some time and then disappeared in the jungle. I was amazed by the dense greenery all around. The atmosphere was amazingly refreshing and completely pollution free. There was lot of birding opportunity I could visualise. As we moved ahead, we spotted crested serpent eagle, lesser fish eagle and plum headed parakeet. What an aura of these eagles as they stand/fly courageously in their jungle world with great attitude which is reflected in their eyes and their behaviour. Indian roller, drongo and small green bee eater was a common sight. As we moved inside the jungle we saw bison, neelgai and deer around. There were no signs of Tiger any where. We also went through Gaur galli where usually tiger is sighted, but returned with disappointment. We took a small break inside jungle near canteen for refreshments. This is the only place where we can get out of vehicle. There were many deer roaming around freely. There is small Nag temple and lake near it. Lake is place where we can find some aquatic birds and if lucky wild animals if they came to drink water. Our guide told us that many times leopard has come near the canteen while roaming in the jungle. We again started our quest for the jungle and its beauties. This time it was rufus treepie and golden Oriole which drew our attention. The deer were again spotted sparsely roaming here and there suggesting that the big cat is not around. While returning our guide was swift enough to spot a Giant Lizard or Ghorpad in Marathi language. This was the nice jungle trip and I would recommend anyone with interest in the jungle to visit the place. Amazing natural biodiversity.
The sanctuary is closed on Thursday and in monsoons.
Private vehicles are banned now inside the sanctuary which I have heard, need to check with authorities before planning.
Do online booking and carry your ID card as mentioned since they do not accommodate additional or replacement bookings. Also, they are not able to accept spot bookings especially on holidays/weekends. So plan accordingly in advance.
If you are planning to come by air, Nagpur is nearest airport from where public buses or taxis are available.
Nearest Railway stations are Gondia 50Kms , Bhandara road 50Kms, soundad and tirora 20 Kms from where again taxi should be taken.
I never stayed there but there are decent options available inside the sanctuary and resorts near it. Book online before going. Also budget hotels are available in Bhandara, Gondia and Nagpur with a little bit added travel.
Please do not expect comfortable ride in jungle Gypsies or comfort and luxury of city hotels and resorts. Decent Food is not a problem in these cities.
Lastly, be a responsible traveller, please do not litter or disturb the natural beauty of our jungles and also do not disturb its calmness and peace by your wild behaviour. In jungles wildlife can behave wild but humans should not.