Tadoba gets a new entry gate, water sports in Kolara buffer | Nagpur News

NAGPUR: Away from the routine tiger-centric tourism, it will be a bonanza of sorts for tourists as the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) is introducing a series of attractions including water rafting, boating, nature trail and open one more entry gate at Belara in the buffer zone of Kolara next month.

The three new attractions are slated to open from January 1, 2021. It includes a boat safari in kayaks and rubber rafts in Gondmohadi lake, and a 10km nature trek from Madnapur to Gondmohadi. The new tourism gate at Belara near Palasgaon and Madnapur will be the 14th one in the buffer zone of TATR.
Conservator of forests & TATR field director Jitendra Ramgaonkar told TOI that sports equipment have been procured and the guides operating the show will have to undergo rescue training from National Institute of Water Sports. “These formalities will be completed in 15 days after which we expect water sport activities to start soon,” he said.
“Though we have 13 entry gates in the buffer, most of the tourism activity is concentrated in Mohurli and Agarzari. There is a need to spread out to benefit more stakeholders,” Ramgaonkar said.
“Driven by the benefits of ecotourism and livelihood options in the buffer villages, there was a demand from the locals of Gondmohadi and Belara to start ecotourism activities. They have also given a resolution that for this the local tribals are ready to give up encroachments on around 30-hectare forest land done under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006,” said G Guruprasad, deputy director (buffer).
According to Guruprasad, buffer tourism is drawing packed houses and running parallel to the core area. “At least, 100 vehicles are entering the buffer zone daily from the 13 entry gates. We have also trained six guides at Wardha for the new entry gate,” said Guruprasad.
The show will be run by the village eco-development committees. “In 2019-20, the buffer zone generated revenue of over Rs5 crore. Out of the total ecotourism receipts, 70{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} of the amount directly goes to the villagers’ account, and the remaining 30{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} is used for village development through Tadoba Tiger Foundation,” said Guruprasad.
In Belara, there will be 40km tourism route. Currently, there is only one Gypsy and more are being procured by the locals, hence the delay to start tourism.
TATR has received two four-seater rafts and two kayaks. Four tourists and one crew can go at a time in one raft. There are two-seater kayaks available too. Gondmohadi lake, which has water all round the year, will be a good destination.
Sources said the gate fee will be similar to what is charged at other gates. For the safari vehicle, it will be Rs2,200 and the guide fee Rs350. For rafting, it is likely to be Rs200 per person.
Ranjit Mondal, who runs a resort in Kolara, said, “This is a new ecotourism local community development initiative by the TATR. There will be added attractions for visitors who stay for a longer period in Tadoba. Currently, most of the tour is tiger-centric. The nature walk and water safari will be a new feature away from routine. During the trial run of rubber rafts, we saw 30 species of waterbirds in Gondmohadi lake recently.”

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