Pench Tree Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris: A Must Have Experience

“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.

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

Sit-Out 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.

Warm Hospitality

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.

Special Mention

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. 

Getting There

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


Disclaimer :

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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11 Comments

  1. Archana

    I have stayed in a tree house lodge before but never at Pench National Park. It definitely looks like a great experience. I am going to put it on my to-do list.

    Reply
  2. Bhusha

    Madhya Pradesh is literally playing hide n seek with me. After almost finalizing to visit there twice, the plans flopped both times!
    Whoa! The place is indeed luxurious, esp to be in the middle of the jungle..
    It would indeed be a thrilling experience to be in a stilted house that sways with wind!
    Bhusha recently posted…Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (Brussels – Belgium)My Profile

    Reply
  3. Shaily

    Wow! What an incredible experience! Pench Tree Lodge looks fascinating with its rustic look and wild tranquility. I like their ownership towards the environment – no plastic policy and dim lights at night. The Bush Dinner looks so romantic. Staying in a treehouse is my dream and hopefully I’ll get a chance to fulfil it some day. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Clarice Lao | Camping for Women

    This is such a beautiful place. An ideal experience as well as a destination for those who would like to take a break from a fast-paced life. It is a must-visit to for all nature lovers.

    Reply
  5. Dada

    The Pench Tree Lodge sound like a dream come true for me who is nature lover! Although I am not into luxury, I think its awesome that Pench Tree Lodge is environnement friendly! How lovely wouldnt it feel that the bungalow on the stilt swing you to sleep every night?? And then waking up to the sound of pure nature…wonderful!
    Dada recently posted…Étang de Gruère and the Wind turbines in Mont Soleil, SwitzerlandMy Profile

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  6. Medha

    What a beautiful experience, though I can imagine it being a bit daunting to be there alone! I guess if you’re staying in the middle of the wilderness, you have to accept the insects and rodents that are going to be a part of your stay lol, though I wouldn’t want one rummaging through my suitcase! I’ve stayed in a tree house once, in Sri Lanka, and it was an amazing experience. The deck in the tree house here looks amazing, but for me, the highlight is the swimming pool! I’d love to swim in that pool, with that view!

    Reply
  7. Avanish Maurya

    It really looks great. Hope to visit it one day to experience the life in a tree house. The natural surroundings and ambience looks great.

    Reply
  8. Marilyn Blanco

    This is something I need to try in my life! Looks a very special and unique experience!

    Reply
  9. Natalie

    Ok, I had to laugh at the thought of a rodent unzipping a suitcase. I had no idea they were so smart! I guess you need to lock it? This would be a really relaxing experience getting away from the hustle and bustle of our normal lives and especially unplugging from all the electronic devices!

    Reply
  10. Abhinav Singh

    Wow, it has been my dream to stay in a tree house. Lucky you! The property looks amazing. I was in MPTM and was impressed to see Pugdundee bagging many awards. They deserve it. I am happy to see that they have taken enough safety measures.

    Reply
  11. Rachelle

    Isn’t it every child’s dream to sleep in an actual treehouse?? I love that they were able to build these without damaging the ecosystem around it. I can almost hear the nightly chorus of birds!

    Reply

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