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Tawa-Madhai River Cruise: Central India’s Tourism Pride
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Tawa-Madhai River Cruise: Central India’s Tourism Pride

‘It is better to see something once than to hear about a thousand times’----Anonymous

Post by on Tuesday, June 21, 2022

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The world over, from times immemorial humans have been on the move with utter disregard to physical barriers. Being a social animal occupying the topmost rug of the pyramid representing the living beings on this planet with a very high sense of his surroundings and awareness, the history of man has always been choc-a- bloc with such daring exploits as to leave the world flummoxed. Tourist whether from any part of the world is an ambassador of his place carrying with him loads of experience in culture, food habit, traditions typical of him.We have had in the past tourists cum traveller & scholars in the form of Chinese Hiuen Tsang and FaHaien making their epoch journey to India in 629-645 CE. They carried with them the wisdom of Chinese Buddhism and took back 627 Indian texts back to china. FaHaien in particular stayed for more than a decade in India savouring our riches in terms of art, culture, cuisine and last but not the least walked the world famous corridors of education at Nalanda .Thus effectively they were their country’s brand ambassador opening new vistas of insight to Indian scholars of repute too across the Himalayas.

Across the globe tourism potential has been gaining new traction with new and newer countries irrespective of their geographical size scripting stories of success in terms of drawing the much needed equity in their country’s economy as also catapulting the country’s self-esteem in the comity of nations. India is no exception to the above phenomenon. As for any other country, tourism is important for India’s economy which is on an upward curve.As per the ‘World travel & tourism council’ the business of tourism has generated the world over approximately 16.91 lakh crores (USD $ 220 Billion) or 9.2% of India’s GDP in the last three years or so. Moreover as per the GOI data about 2.74 million foreign tourists landed on Indian shores in 2020 to partake in our country’s tourism pie with the country’s  earning shooting past 50,136 crores. A whooping amount indeed. Having said that, it is contingent upon India to adopt a strategy of creating  better tourism  infrastructure with much more visibility across all the media platforms to boost its tourism potential befitting its shape and size.

Towards this end the so called ‘ heart of India’ i.e Madhya Pradesh has gone few notches up in seizing this opportunity of greater awareness and raised  tourist aspirations of a tourist and accordingly come up with a never used concept in  central India. The state has marshaled two of its departments, the MP tourism & MP Ecotourism development board to come up with an excellent idea to harness the natural proximity of ‘Tawa resorts ‘ with that of ‘Madhai/Denva backwaters ‘ and churned out a hitherto unknown concept of ‘River water cruise ‘ all along the way to Madhai /Satpura tiger reserve. The state has developed a most adventurous wild life safari through the river route from R Tawa to Madhai. By undertaking a River cruise along the Tawa reservoir a tourist will have the opportunity of capturing the green views of the entire fresh and resplendent scenarios unfolding in front of him alongside the river front of RTawacruising in a powered boat.This unique chance was not at all available to an avid travellerearlier who used to go to the ‘Denva back waters’ and Madhai tiger reserve via road which was a total drab journey.

I have had the unique opportunity of cruising in a powered boat in R. Tawa way back in 2011 along with family while posted at CPE,Itarsi . But that time it was just restricted to cruising in the Tawa reservoir only up to a certain distance. Tawa reservoir was formed by the construction of the Tawa dam on this river located in district Hoshangabad of MP. It is nestled between the western boundary of ‘Satpura national park /reserve and ‘Bori wildlife sanctury’. There is a beautiful resort known by the name of R Tawa maintained by MP Tourism offering decent accommodation in two house boats, and 06 AC rooms along with 04 air cooled ones. The jaunt has an attached restaurant along with a mini cruise called as ‘Jalpari’. On this journey it is a 3 hours enjoyable river water cruise to Madhai’, gateway to ‘Satpura tiger reserve’all along the river front meandering its way interspersed with fantastic views of wildlife, tribals of Satpura with their villages thrown in between finally ending up at ‘Denva backwaters.

Since I was posted at CPE,Itarsi while in service most of the high profile official visits had a slice of this enchanting visit to Tawa resort and reservoir. Till mid 2015 anybody wishing to visit Madhai/Satpura tiger reserve had to take a road route from either of the places like  Pachmarhi ,Madhai, Churna, Sehra, or Pathai. I had taken the route from Itarsi to Sohagpur on to Madhai and thereafter Pathai , a distance of about 70 odd kms. In 2011 this road route was quite a cumbersome one bereft of any facilities. But it is no longer now with the commissioning of River water cruise.Madhai or Satpura tiger reserve offers a raft of activities which were neither heard of nor seen earlier before in this part of central India making it very special for a discerning guest. The management at the park has taken a special effort in developing a unique tourism model enhancing the wilderness to its extreme. The guests can now enjoy Jeep safaris, boat safaris, kayaking etc. The unique 2 and half hour ferry experience from Tawa dam to ‘Denva backwaters escape’ via a river cruise is an exciting experience to be treasured for posterity.

The ferry drops the guests directly to the ‘Denva backwaters escape’ while as the tourists can experience the joy of enjoying the Satpura landscape. The vehicle that drops the guests to the ferry site returns to the lodge with their baggage. This entire activity can be available for a max of 10 persons. Lunch with soft beverages are made available on board on prior booking. An ideal tourist itinerary for 3 days will involve the following-

·         Day-1. Drive up to the Tawa resort /dam taking the Bhopal –Betul highway. Stay overnight at MP tourism facility and enjoy the night time views of Satpura hills from Tawa resort.

·         Day-2. Depart for the river cruise (2.5 hours) ,visit Satpura tiger reserve in the afternoon and stay overnight at forest guest rooms over there.

·         Day-3.   Depart for Pachmarhi by road, sight-seeing and overnight stay.

Since I was permanently located at Itarsi, I did the above itinerary on two different occasions with few months thrown in between. But for a tourist hard pressed for time the above plan would be most suitable. All in all MP government by bringing together MP Tourism and MP Eco tourism development board to do their bidding in developing the river water cruise at Tawa has done a total facelift of its  state tourism policy in central India . It remains to be replicated by the rest of India in all its sincerity to give a fillip to showcase its tourism versatility to a discerning world.


(The writer is a retired army officer)

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