Bhopal . It’s the time when winters moves swiftly out while the summers starts stepping in , during this weather shift you see lot of Indian travelers moving to National Park like Kanha, each one of them likes to have a stay at the jungle which is luxurious however makes them feel close to nature.
While travelling this time of the year with my family I found a place in Kanha national Park which is hardly five kilometers from the Mukki Gate, ‘Bagh Tola’.
Well, I didn’t have my homework done this time before travelling as I usually do hence I have just picked this place up out of a reference which one of my wildlife lover friend gave me over a quick call near Baihar before I could lose the network.
With limited info I called up Mr. Eric who takes care of the resort and with a very welcoming tone he helped me out reaching from Baihar to the resort with all intel info that one should have along with precise direction however I used google map navigation which dropped me exactly over there door.
Reached tired with two days of drive from Indore, to my surprise Mr. Eric along with his team was waiting for me at the entry gate of the resort in the dark, it looked that he was a little worried as it was dark and most of the cell phone networks doesn’t work inside the Jungle.
As soon as I parked my car , his team rushed like a pit stop team and pulled out the luggage for giving us a quick relief followed by a wet towel and a coconut water which worked as an instant recharge .
Though we were too tired to take a walk inside the property but as soon as we stepped inn it looked like a natural camp set up beautifully inside the core area of the jungle with minimal foot print strategy. Canopy tent type cozy library at the entrance followed by state of the art restaurant set up reflecting true colors of Kanha along with just perfect dining arrangements immediately made up our mood.
Room was huge with high quality deco and wooden interiors and bathroom size was equal to an average room size with toiletries and other stuff being setup very elegantly.
Roof was made up for hut type cemented sheets which gives you a Camp look while king size bed was with cozy mattress along with all size and sets of pillow with a sitting area where you can enjoy the drinks after a tiring day.
It was noticeable that the place wasn’t much commercialized property where you have lots of walkins or voices disturbing the night sounds of the jungle, it’s the place where you can actually feel the nature right outside your door.
By eight thirty we were welcomed on dinner where again Mr. Eric along with his wife JD and with Naturalist Akshay were waiting for me as if we are a family , served with home cooked, authentic, low spice Indian dinner which we just loved over a long session of talks about the jungle stories, the fauna and the flora where we spent another hour, it was truly overwhelming.
Morning we woke up with chirps of birds which were coming from the trees in the resort area and we decided to take a brief morning walk.
To our surprise it was an all natural beauty outside the main room campus which was approx 17 acres covered by Sal, Bija and Saja trees where unexpectedly we spotted Spurfowl on the barks which was a great start of the day.
Later on breakfast table out of my curiosity I asked about the resort and Mr. Eric verified what I saw was undisturbed, unmodified and unaltered forest inside the Bagh Tola which was almost 17.5 acres while the resort was used only 1.5 acres to keep the soul of the forest and to minimalize the footprints where more than 100 species of birds can be spotted along with Spotted dears and Jackals in the night which turns it to a Jungle inside the Jungle .
This is what which triggered me to write about this place which was though owned by a professional hospitality group Viridis Domus Estates owned by Mr. Rajmukhi based of Mumbai but it has not ripped the soul of the jungle from this property to earn any additional butter which most of the resorts do by using 90% of the land having large number of rooms, bars, pools etc.
Later over the discussions I learned that Mr. Eric D’Chuna was there from last 32 years who was the first to publish the ‘Checklist of Birds’ in Kanha National Park, has lot of mentions in ‘Outlooks Traveler’ and has enormous knowledge about the park.
In photo : Sitting on Bar Stool Left Mr. Erich D’Chuna and on the right Mr Akshay with their team
He told me that only the core area is 917 sq kilometers and the park consist of 110 Tigers spread all over the zones. Other then tigers we have sloth bears, leopards, swamp dear, barking dear, sambhar,Gaur etc along with 300 spicies of birds. In another discussion with Naturalist Akshay herale he told that there is a corridor between Kanha nad Pench which male tigers use to travel and expand their territory.
The food served is absolutely fresh cooked the same day, stuff being bought from nearby farmers and markets, poultry is carefully handpicked and while cooking spices and fats are kept moderate to accommodate everyone with Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisine added as per the guests.
Mr. Eric believes and suggests that ‘All travelers who comes for weekends should do a brief research before coming as it’s just not a weekend getaway , the park is like an open book where you see a live demo of nature in front of you and our children should know how to care and conserve the mother nature as it’s our future, offcourse you come back to lodge to enjoy the day end but the purpose should not be only an outing, the park teaches us as to how and why we coexists. Also travelers should keep in mind that by seeing the Tiger only their purpose is met, other animals are equally important, have a same amount of respect from them.
The experience was truly mesmerizing, it was not just a resort or Hotel, it was a Hometel where a family is there to take a very good care of you, where you rest yourself in the lap of Mother Nature, where you have live Jungle around you, where you have exactly what you need for an amazing Safari trip.
‘Tola’ means a well organized village or a settlement and ‘Bagh Tola’ lives up to the name in the heart of the Jungle.
-Dr. Saurabh Mathur