Nagzira

Introduction
The Nagzira Tiger Reserve locked in the arms of nature is a beautiful tiger reserve rich in bio-diversity. Nagzira is on the Eastern part of Maharashtra, which borders Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Situated between the Bhandara district and Gondia district of Maharashtra, it is a place of real scenic beauty. The sight of freely roaming animals in the area astonishes you. The pure and fresh air of the region is nature's priceless gift. A trip to this place will mesmerize you with the picturesque landscape and the natural vegetation. The Nagzira Tiger Reserve area encloses five protected areas: New Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, Koka Wildlife Sanctuary, Navegaon Wildlife Sanctuary and Navegaon National Park. The forests of Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary were once ruled by the Gond kings. The area was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1970. The sanctuary was brought under the charge of Deputy Conservator of Forests, Nagpur in the year 1984. The state government of Maharashtra announced in 2012 to include this region under Project Tiger. The sanctuary has 36 species of mammals and 14 out of these are endangered. There are around 49 species alone of butterfly along with common Mormon, common Indian crow, lime butterfly and black rajah. This small wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 152 sq km in the north east corner of Maharashtra in the Bhandara district. Nestled within the Vidarbha mountain range, it is often referred to as the ‘green oases of the region. Its rocky and undulating terrain is covered with thick Teak forests that support healthy populations of some of India’s most endangered floral and faunal biodiversity. The scenic beauty of this park is absolutely mesmerizing, as one drives through thick and lush green vegetation, with a view of tall mountains in the backdrop. sightings of animals such as the Bengal Tiger, Common Leopard, Jungle Cat, Mouse Deer, Indian Gaur, Sloth Bear, four horned Antelope, and the Spotted Hyaena to name a few mammals.

The charm of Nagzira lies in the forest department’s simple accommodation located on the banks of the central lake. In the absence of electric supply, basic lighting is provided by solar energy. But this has meant that there is no loud music and only the interested and motivated tourists come here. So if you are thinking of a great wildlife holiday, you should really consider Nagzira. Birding in Nagzira holds a special magic with a number of birds flocking to the lake side by the afternoon. A number of eagles descend on the waters for a drink, while orioles, drongos and ground thrushes can be seen bathing. The calls of the hungry chicks of the resident grey headed fish eagle need to be experienced once in your life time. There is a Naag Temple in the Miiddle of Nagzira and a temple of Mahadeva too. A village named Nangthana is also in the forests. The name of Nagzira comes from this temple and Zira in Marathi means a perennial source of water that comes out from a hill in pongezara, Nagzira.

History
Nagzira Forest region was a hunting ground of the Gond Kings. Later, it was converted into a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1970. It was merged with a few other forested regions to establish Nagzira Tiger Reserve in 2012. The forest was ruled by Gond Kings in the vicinity of Bhandara. 116.54 km2 are declared as a wild life century in 1970. The state government announces to merge this century in another National Park in 2012 to include in saving Tiger project. The Sanctuary is part of the proposed Nagzira-Navegaon Tiger Reserve, and is an important forest area that provides connectivity to the southern forests of Maharashtra. It is amongst the lesser known forests of central India, and therefore not severely affected by large scale tourism. It currently attracts only hard core wildlife lovers and wildlife photographers, who enjoy observing the wildlife as much as the pristine landscape, and simply being one with nature. This century has a great importance from bio diversity conservative point of view. This sanctuary is locked in the arms of nature and adorned with picturesque landscapes, luxuriant vegetation and serves as living outdoor museum to explore and appreciate nature. It is really a boon to us and we should realize the real worth of nature. Nagzira is often referred to as the Green Oasis of Vidharba. Tigers, leopards, dholes, jungle cats, sloth bears, hyenas, jackals, wolves and herbivores like gaur and sambar have made this their home.

Wildlife
Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary has diverse of Fauna Species that is very rarely seen in regular life. There are about 34 species of mammals, 36 species of reptiles and 4 species of amphibians found in at the wildlife sanctuary. The commonly seen animals in the park include - Tigers, Panthers, Leopards, Bison, Sloth Bears, Sambar Deer, Four-Headed Antelope, Blue Bull, Chital, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Civet Cats, Jackals, Jungle Cats, Spotted Hyena and Hare. This sanctuary is better known for its bird sanctuary as you would get to see different migratory birds that fly above the lake. Besides, the bird lovers can spot some beautiful too including Peafowl, Grey Jungle Fowl, Red Spur Fowl, etc.
Invertebrates
It is the home of innumerable other insects and other species. Approx 49 species of 9 families belongs to this sanctuary. The important species among them are Common Rose, Common Mormon, Lime Butterfly, Common Sailor, Common Indian Crow, and black Rajah etc.
Mammals
Nearly 34 – species of mammal belonging to about 8 natural orders and 16 families are seen in this sanctuary, out of which about 14 species are of endangered status. A strong herbivore population of spotted deer, sambar deer and gaur has supported a healthy predator presence. Tigers and leopards can be frequently spotted – but the main appeal of this forest lies in understanding their presence. Pugmarks on the mud roads, droppings by the roadsides, territory marking on trees and bushes – similar to that the dogs do on the tires and poles, indicate the presence of big cats. Often the alarmed calling deer, langurs and peacocks tell us that a predator is on the prowl. They keep the jungle denizens posted of the lurking danger. This calling can also lead you to a lucky sighting of an exclusive big-cat.
Birds
Birding in Nagzira holds a special magic with a number of birds flocking to the lake side by the afternoon. A number of eagles descend on the waters for a drink, while orioles, drongos and ground thrushes can be seen bathing. The calls of the hungry chicks of the resident grey headed fish eagle need to be experienced once in your life time. Over 166 species belonging to about 16 different orders and 47 families have been recorded here. Also as many as 15 species of migratory birds and about 42 species of local migrants are reported. There are 13 bird species of endangered status including peafowl and the birds belonging to "Accipitridae" family.

Flora
Nagzira is blessed with rich biodiversity and it has varieties of forests. Semi ever-green Forests, small patches of grasslands, bamboo forests, teak forests and medicinal plants can be seen at Nagzira Tiger Reserve. It is the exceptional attribute of this reserve is the presence of varied vegetation which ranges from moist forest to dry mixed forests. This reserve has a living repository of different aromatic, medicinal, economical, and ornamental plant species. The Navegaon Tiger Reserve has particular Southern mixed dry deciduous forest while it has some main species of Bhor, Bhel, Ain, Mahua, Kawat, Jamun, Haldu and Teak.

Nagzira Tourist Attractions
Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary is located in between Bhandara district and Gondia district of Maharashtra and it is a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary in Maharashtra. The Nagzira Sanctuary has a large number of different types of species like mammals, reptiles, birds, fishes and also some amphibians. There are many attractive places to visit near to Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary. Such as Chulbandh Dam, Navegaon National Park, Tibetan Camp, Itiadoh Dam, and Hazara Falls.

How to reach
Lets check how to reach Nagzira wildlife sanctuary by various means of transportation. It lies in North-East of Maharashtra state, close to neighboring states Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Nagzira is easily accessible by train, road and flight options. It is in south of Madhya Pradesh, close from Kanha national park. It is in West of Chattisgarh.
By Train
Nearest railway station for reaching Nagzira wildlife sanctuary is Gondia station, at a distance of 40kms. It is a medium size railway station having direct train connectivity from many big cities and tourist places. Second best option is Nagpur railway station at a distance of 120kms. Further journey is possible by tourist taxi cabs.
By Flight
Nearest airport for Nagzira is Nagpur airport, at a distance of 130kms. It is a large airport having very good flight connectivity from rest of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc. Further journey from Nagpur to Nagzira is possible by tourist taxi cabs.
By Road
Navegaon Tiger Reserve is well connected by road and can be reached by using any private or public transport bus or cab. Navegaon is the nearest bus stand which is 10 kms away from the park. The nearest bus-stand is also at Sakolii (22 kms) on Nagpur-Calcutta National highway. Other modes of transport are available from the district headquarters Gondia and tehsil headquarters of Arjuni. Tourists visiting Kanha national park, Pench tiger reserve or Tadoba national park may easily visit Nagzira as it is at manageable distance and well connected by road.

Best time to visit
Nagzira National Park is open from October to June for visitors. It is closed during the Monsoon season when the wind velocity is also at a maximum. The average annual rainfall is about 1,100-1,500 mm. February to May is the best season for a visit of the Nagzira National Park. The summer temperature maximum may rise to 45°C and the winter temperature minimum may drop to about 6°C. Best time to visit is during April and May due to increase chances of wild animal sighting. Here tourism remains active throughout the season as public from nearby towns and cities are fond of wildlife and prefers to spend their weekend holidays in wildlife destinations, easily accessible from their hometowns. Similarly, as we know that Nagzira wildlife sanctuary is surrounded by many popular tiger reserves like Tadoba Andhari tiger reserve, Pench tiger reserve, Kanha tiger reserve etc. During season time large number of tourists visits them and many time they get sold out. Under such circumstance, presence of Nagzira is a great relief for those wildilfe lovers and photographers. It is another options for tourists to visit and enjoy wildlife as here, we can easily get safari tickets and undertake jungle safaris.

Nagzira Safari Timing
Just like other national parks of India, here also safari timing is fixed by park management. All the safari activities are carried out in day-time only. After sun-set, jungle safari is not allowed. Nagzira safari timing is very much similar to Tadoba safari timing i.e. two rounds of safari drives are allowed in a day. One is in morning time and second one is in evening hours.

NAGZIRA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Time Period Morning Safari Evening Safari
15 October to 30 November (Post Monsoon) 06:00 to 10:30 AM 02:30 to 06:30 PM
01 December to 28 February (Winter) 06:30 to 11:00 AM 02:00 to 06:00 PM
01 March to 30 April (Autumn) 6:00 to 10:30 AM 02:30 to 06:30 PM
01 May to 30 June (Summer) 05:30 to 10:00 AM 03:00 to 07:00 PM
01 July to 15 October (Monsoon) CLOSED CLOSED

Nagzira Safari
In above given table, we have shown Nagzira safari timing information. Just like many other neighboring tiger reserves, here also jungle safari is carried out in open gypsy vehicle. These safari vehicles are registered with park management and only registered vehicles are allowed for jungle safari drives. For Nagzira jungle safari tourists are required to pay three fees i.e. Ticket fee during ticket booking, safari vehicle fee and safari guide fee payable at the time of entrance. Here all the tourists are required to carry their original Id documents during all safari drives. Camera fee is paid separately, as per size and dimensions of camera-lens. Sanctuary have different safari entrance gates like Pitezhari gate, Mangezhari gate, Chorakhmara gate 1, Chorakhmara gate 2, Umazari gate, Chandrapur gate etc. Resorts are located nearby few gates thus few gates like Pitezhari, Chorakhamara gates are more popular among tourists.

Accommodation
Nagzira wildlife sanctuary is an upcoming wildlife destinations. Here leopard and sloth bear sighting is good. At the same time birding is also very good. All these factors will make it more popular and will attract more and more tourists. As if now, we have limited Nagzira hotel options. Here few privately managed resorts are serving to visitors. Maharashtra Forest Department is also having some accommodation options. As if now, we can expect budget and standard category of resorts and camps. Here deluxe and luxury accommodation options are not available. In future, we may expect some more resorts and lodges in Nagzira wildlife sanctuary.

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