The Tadoba Tiger Reserve consists of two north -south forest blocks. The north forest is the original Tadoba National Park declared a Tiger Sanctuary in 1935 and a National Park in 1955 with an area of 116 sq.km. The south forest is the Andhari Game sanctuary with an area of 509 sq.km which together is the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, and is India’s 25th project Tiger Reserve. The reserve is 625 Sq.kms in area. In 2009 another 1225 Sq.km of buffer has been added to the sanctuary making it 1855 sq.km. The national park is divided into three ranges - Tadoba, Mohurli and Kolsa.
TADOBA Tiger reserve, Maharashtra state’s oldest National Park and Tiger Reserve, is today an undisturbed wilderness jungle full of scenic beauty and wildlife. The Tiger reserve and the surrounding forest are home to around 70 tigers. Along with tigers other frequently spotted wildlife are Leopards, Sloth Bears, Gaur, Wild Dogs, Indian Mugger, Sambar, and many species of Indian deer.
A veil of mystery shrouds the ancient history of Tadoba. Various legends have been woven around this mystical place. Once upon a time, dynasties of Gond Kings ruled this part of the Deccan plateau. In the 17th century the tribal king ruled from the fortress of Chanda, which still exists today. When he would travel to his outlying districts, through the forest of Tadoba, the message of his arrival would be transmitted by engineering marvel. There were rock pantheons erected every hundred yards, which had perfectly aligned tops. Over these were drawn inter-connected ropes which rung a bell at the end. The soldier had just to tug the rope at one end and the bell would ring 50 kms away, signaling the approach of his majesty. Many of these rock pillars can still be seen along the Tar road in Tadoba
The name Tadoba according to one legend, is traced back to a Gond King named Taru who was killed by a Tiger. Since the tribals worshipped the King, they erected a shrine in his memory. The shrine situated under a large tree on the shores of Lake Tadoba is still visited by local tribals during their annual fair held between December and January. Clay artifacts of animals exhibited near the idols represent adivasi art and have not changed since the time of Taru. Local people offer their prayers to “Tadoba Deo” and they generally believe that by offering prayers to Tadoba Deo and sprinkling the water of Tadoba Lake on agricultural fields, any disease or pests on the crops would be cleared.
Among the local Gond tribals, the Mahua tree (Madhuca indica), represents life and is also known as the tree of life. It is said that in tribal families, when a child is born the nectar of the Mahua flower is touched to its mouth even before mother's milk, and a promise is made by the parents that the child will look after the tree and all the surrounding forest, all his life long. The creamy white flowers are full of sweet juices and are a feast for animals ranging from Cheetal, Sambar, Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, and Langurs. After digestion the flower generates alcohol, and in the months of April, it is common to find Zapped Sloth Bears sleeping peacefully out in open. Normally, Sloth bears sleep of the day on rocky hills, in caves and crevices. The tribals also value the fruit for its nutritive value and dry store it for consumption throughout the year. Other common trees are Teak (tectona grandis), Silk cotton (Bombax malabarium), Palas (Butea Frondoso), Karanj (Pongamaia pinnatta), Tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon).