“Welcome to Pench National Park -The land of Mowgli”– This was the first thing I saw on opening my eyes after a short power nap. I asked my driver about the lodge and how much further we had to travel to reach there. He replied, “Another 10 minutes”. I heaved a sigh of relief, since I was travelling from Kanha National Park and was on road since the last three hours. Suddenly, my face brightened up with a smile as I was close to my destination, the Pench Tree Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris.
What a grand welcome by the lovely staff upon my arrival. I was greeted by the lodge manager, Mr. Harish Arya and the head naturalist Chinmay Deshpande. Soon I was briefed about the lodge, its surroundings, Dos and Don’ts. The very first impression of the lodge was overwhelming. It felt as if I was in the midst of a forest. I could only see wild dry grassland and Mahua trees around with dotted Tree Houses in between. The whole scenery looked straight out of the Jungle book. If you ever imagine a tree house in a grassland, it would look exactly like the Pench Tree Lodge.
I was highly impressed by the idea of constructing tree houses without disturbing the surroundings, vegetation and the forest. My long cherished dream of staying in a tree house had me super excited. As I was escorted towards my tree house, the orange hue painted sky added to the charm of an alluring landscape.
Located in the picturesque village of Sarahiri, near the Karmajhiri gate of Pench National Park, the Pench Tree Lodge is one of the luxurious Eco lodges, setup in 40 acres of land amidst the wild grassland. There are six stilted tree houses, built of Sal wood, perched on 18 feet above the ground. They have recently added six cottages in the premises.
Surrounded by the deciduous forest, the Pench Tree house is a perfect combination of the luxury with wilderness. Spread across a large area, the six tree houses are located around the central dining and common area.
Table of Contents
The Tree House
As I climbed the wooden stairs of my tree house and the door was unlocked, the very first look was impressive. I was ecstatic to find a bedroom with large French windows that opened to a private sit out deck. The interior is tastefully designed with an earthy tone.
The aesthetically decorated corners make elegant design statements. Your attention will span out to every single detail in the tree house. Whether it is the royal look of the bed with fine cotton linen and soft mosquito netting, the color-coordinated cushions in the sitting area, study table with antiques, paintings of rare birds, or the elite bathroom with a chair in the corner, the tree house is certainly a luxurious abode.
My most favourite part was the large private deck where I spent a considerable amount of time literally doing nothing but listening to the chorus of the house guests, i.e., the birds, admiring the well-spread grassland and indulging in a lot of thinking.
Though, it could be a daunting idea of staying in a tree house alone in the forest if you are not attuned to the forested land and its surroundings. But what really amazed me was that I never thought that it would turn out to be the most thrilling experience for me.
I was also highly impressed by the fact that the house was well sealed off from any outside elements. It’s commendable how the staff is maintaining the safety and security of their guests from any unwanted occurrences and wild surprises in spite of being in the wilderness.
My Breakfast Table
Swimming Pool Area
Library cum lounge area
The Bush Dinner
Whether it was waking up in the wee hours to embark on a morning safari, watching the rising sun through the dry teak forest in the park, listening to the orchestra of birds or the sound of the forest at night, the experience of staying in a tree house was undoubtedly an exceptional one, unlike other forest lodges anywhere.
Why should you experience Pench Tree Lodge?
I can give numerous reasons why you should experience the Pench Tree Lodge at least once. Unlike other forest lodges, the tree house is one unique set-up in the wilderness. The concept of the tree house dates back to many ages. Especially the hunters, who have been using tree houses to keep a close eye on the wild animal movements in the dense forest from many centuries. However, the whole idea of staying in a tree house, way above the ground and in close proximity of nature is always fascinating. If you have a dream of experiencing the tree house in the wilderness, the Pench Tree Lodge can be the best choice.
Not just an accommodation, but an experience
Staying in the stilted house, up close to the nature and that too in the wilderness is undoubtedly one of the unique experiences. The Pench Tree Lodge is the ideal set-up to experience it in a peaceful forested land. If you are someone who loves to spend quality time in the lap of nature, enjoy wildlife and also prefers the most rustic environment, you will definitely enjoy the serenity of this place. This is certainly the perfect place for creative souls.
I have been to numerous wildlife lodges in India and abroad, but the hospitality I received here was beyond comparison. For me, People play a very important role during my travels. I keep them way above material luxury in any place. I can vouch for the genuine and warm hospitality I received here at the Pench Tree Lodge. The most courteous staff with smiling faces make sure that you are having a great vacation at their property. If needed, they can go an extra mile to make your holiday experience an unforgettable one. The humbleness and the sincerity of each member left a lasting impression on my mind.
Believe in Responsible Tourism and Wildlife Conservation
The Pugdundee Safaris is recognized as one of India’s leading responsible safari companies and they believe in responsible tourism, sustainable practices and wildlife conservation. There are many commendable initiatives that have been taken by the company in order to sustain wildlife conservation. One such initiates is volunteering for No Plastic policy, which means that guests are given travel-friendly stainless steel flasks in order to avoid the use of plastic bottles, which can be filled at the water station and can be carried during safaris. The rooms are also lit moderately at night so that the wild animals, who are in transit, don’t get disturbed. The pathway is also lit minimally to avoid any disturbance.
Also, they have their own organic garden to encourage local and healthy produce. The chef ensures that they use organic vegetables as much as they can.
Though I have already talked about the polite staff of the lodge, but there are a few who deserve special mention.
Harish Arya – Manager
A very keen birder and a naturalist himself, Harish Arya is the manager of The Pench Tree Lodge. He is one of the most humble personalities I have ever met. No wonder that he is from Uttarakhand. Soft spoken and always with a smiling face, he impressed me with his warm behavior. We indulged in lot of conversations about wildlife, forest lodges, my eternal love for the hills, food and many more. He made sure that I was well taken care of during my stay at the lodge.
Chinmay Deshpande – Head Naturalist
Chinmay Deshpande is one of the charming personalities who will impress you at the very first glance. One of the noted naturalists with a wealth of knowledge about wildlife, Chinmay is a very keen observer. He is the head naturalist at Pench Tree Lodge currently. He has been into wildlife conservation and snake rescue for the last 12 years. He accompanied me on my safaris and I must tell you that he became my lucky mascot. I not only saw Tigers but had a close encounter with a Leopard in the park. He is also a good wildlife photographer.
Pankaj Fulera – Executive Chef
Pankaj Fulera will literally floor you with his amazing culinary skill. He is the star chef of the lodge. His fusion food delicacies are absolutely delectable. I had the best gastronomic experiences at the lodge. Whether it was the refreshing drinks like M Malang Rasa, Egg Sunshine, Spinach Corn Ravioli, Traditional Indian Meal or my absolute favourite Chicken Biryani, I can’t stop raving about my food expedition at the lodge. Pankaj’s continuous efforts to bring innovative dishes to the table makes him one of the most popular chefs among the guests. He is a very keen birder and also loves to capture rare birds into his lens during his free time.
Things to Remember
There are a few things you need to know before you decide to experience the Pench Tree Lodge.
- Food is not allowed inside the tree house. Though you will find Tea bags/Coffee sachets in the room.
- Don’t be surprised if your tree house sways in the wind or if there is any other movement, because you are in a stilted house.
- Don’t step out alone after dark. Call someone from the team whenever you feel like stepping out after sunset.
- Be prepared to hear a constant chorus of birds. You are in the middle of wilderness.
- Keep your door closed all the time. You wouldn’t want any insects inside.
- Keep your luggage locked. Don’t be surprised if you find your luggage unzipped, because the rodents can open your luggage easily.
I admit that two days were not enough to soak in completely the Tree House experience. It’s rare that I fiercely want to stay back in a place when I am all set to leave with my bags packed. But this time was different. The urge to stay back to live some of my treasured moments in the most rustically gorgeous surroundings, in complete wilderness, was dominating my mind. I SHALL COME BACK SOON.
I was invited by Pugdundee Safaris on a Press Trip.
All my thoughts and opinions about the property are based on my own experience.
By Air : The The nearest airport is Nagpur which is approximately at a distance of 130 kms. It will take around three and half hours to reach the destination. You can also opt for Jabalpur airport which is approximately 210 kms from Pench.
By Train: If you choose to come by train, Nagpur is the nearest railway station. The distance between Nagpur and the Pench is around 130 kms. You can check the details on www.irctc.co.in
The Watermarked photographs are owned by the writer and are copyright protected. Reproduction of any of the contents, including the photographs without prior consent/permission of the writer, is strictly prohibited and a violation of the same will attract legal action.
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