The Best National Parks in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh, India’s central province, is one of the best places in the world to go on a safari tour! Virtually, the whole place is a collection of national parks, helping preserve the rich biodiversity that people from around the world flock to see. A Madhya Pradesh safari isn’t your walk around the zoo — it’s a raw and riveting experience, putting you right smack in the bosom of nature.
But that doesn’t mean that you’d have to leave the cultured lifestyle of the city behind. There are many luxury lodges in Madhya Pradesh, most of them found in the midst of these wildlife-rich regions themselves. Here’s all you need to know about the national parks of the area, along with the five-star accommodations waiting for you there.
Bandhavgarh National Park – Madhya Pradesh Safari Lodges
Bandhavgarh. Turned into an official tiger reserved back in 1993, Bandhavgarh, in the Umaria district, used to be royal hunting grounds. Located in the Deccan Plateaus, the mostly elevated grounds offer good sighting opportunities for tigers and leopards, along with different kinds of monkeys. It is also closed from June to September.
King’s Lodge Bandhavgarh
Bandhavgarh is also the location of Pugdundee’s King’s Lodge, located between the area’s hilly forests and a tribal village. It’s just 10 minutes from the park’s gate. The luxury lodging is a collection of 8 stilt cottages and 10 regular cottages with modern amenities, combining comfort and privacy.
Treehouse Hideaway Bandhavgarh
Another Pugdundee property here is the Tree House Hideaway, which is a collection of five tree houses in a 21-hectare property. Like the one in Pench, these accommodations come with their own set of fauna, and provide easy access to the tiger spotting grounds beyond.
Panna National Park – Madhya Pradesh Safari Lodges
Panna. This is located in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts. The area is known as a tiger reserve, being declared such in 1994. It is also home to other carnivorous creatures like hyenas, leopards, and wolves, along with various birds like vultures and storks. Its forests and plateaus are also home to a wide variety of flora. The place is best visited from January to May, when the weather is fine and its wildlife is easily spotted.
Ken River Lodge Panna
Panna is the site for two luxury lodges. The first is Ken River Lodge, operated by Pugdundee Safaris. I’ve already talked about Pugdundee in previous posts. They operate some of the best safari tours in the region, and they also have some of the best naturalist guides. These folks really know what they’re doing, able to track almost any jungle creature with accuracy (yes, even the tiger!).
Ken River Lodge is one of the pioneers of the nation’s wildlife tourism industry and is set in 50 acres of protected land. Like all Pugdundee lodges, the materials used for the cottages are naturally and sustainably sourced. There are 6 huts and 6 cottages in the luxury lodge.
Pashan Garh Panna
The other one is Pashan Garh, operated by Taj Hotels. It is a set of 12 stone cottages atop a hill, with various amenities including a pool and a lookout tower. Like Ken River Lodge, the structure draws inspiration from its immediate surroundings, using architectural cues from Panna’s local dwellings.
Kanha National Park – Madhya Pradesh Safari Lodges
Kanha. This National Park is found across the Mandla and Balaghat district. It is among the parks where you can get a view of the elusive tiger, as it was made a tiger reserve as far back as 1973. The place is known for its many species of deer, along with various types of snakes from pythons to cobras.
There are also various canines, such as wolves, jackals, hyenas, and wild dogs. Located in Central India, the place is home to both dense jungles and wide grasslands. Kanha is best viewed from October to May, and it closes from June to September.
Kanha Earth Lodge
Kanha is home to Pugdundee’s Kanha Earth Lodge, a luxury accommodation which offers visitors 12 open bungalows in charming earth-tone colors and local village architecture. The lodge is located close to the park gates, making it easily accessible.
Kanha Jungle Lodge
There is also the Kanha Jungle Lodge, operated by Singinawa. Instead of adopting local architecture, this lodge exhibits a more theater-like quality in its 12 structures, imitating the design of more city-bound accommodations.
Satpura National Park – Madhya Pradesh Safari Lodges
Satpura. Located in Hoshangabad, the Satpura National Park has one of the most geographically rich features in India. It boasts tall mountains, gorges and ravines, waterfalls, and dense forests.
Aside from tigers, Satpura has other unique creatures such as the bison, flying squirrel, giant squirrel, and more. There are also various birds of prey here, including different species of eagles. The park is best visited from October to April.
Satpura – Denwa Backwater Escape
Pugdundee has staked its own portion of Satpura with Denwa Backwater Escape, overlooking a dam in the area’s Denwa river. Aside from offering stunning views of the river and surrounding hills, the luxury lodge fuses local materials with handcrafted modern design.
Forsyth Lodge Satpura
Another well-known luxury lodge in the area is Forsyth Lodge, standing on the edge of the tiger reserve. This lodge offers a more intimate experience, with its modern-minimalist design contrasting with the raw and open environment around it.
Pench National Park – Madhya Pradesh Safari Lodges
Pench. Pench became a National Park in 1983 and stretches through Seoni and Chhindwara. It has a diverse geography, with many hills, valleys, and rivers. Aside from tigers, one can spot many interesting animals here such as cheetal deer, sambar deer, sloths, four-horned antelopes, chinkara gazelles, and more. Its jungles are formed mostly of sal trees. Pench is closed from July to September but offers great options for Madhya Pradesh Safaris the rest of the year.
Pench Tree Lodge
Pench offers one of the more unique luxury accommodations, in the form of Pugdundee’s Pench Tree Lodge. Located in one of the more uncharted areas of the park, the tree lodge opens up to a private forest. Perched atop Mahua trees and built from sal wood, the six tree houses provide great views from which to appreciate the Pench landscape.
Another good luxury lodging in Pench is Jamtara Wilderness Camp, which offers 10 tented properties surrounded by picturesque banyan trees. These tents provide an open view of the jungle and also provides an option to sleep in the patio (Jamtara provides mosquito nets for the bugs that come with the landscape).
Jamtara also has other activities, including a village tour where you can join the locals in their daily activities. This includes taking care of and harvesting their corn crops, and making jaggery, a type of unrefined sugar. This way, Jamtara helps the community as well.
Why are luxury lodges the best option during your Madhya Pradesh Safari?
What’s better than seeing nature up close and personal? Doing it in style, of course! That’s what’s waiting for you at a Madhya Pradesh safari. Of course, you will always have the opportunity to stay in five-star hotels if you wish. But these lodges offer something different.
More than comfort, they offer an experience that can’t be replicated. They prove that you don’t have to get down and dirty just to be able to enjoy Nature’s embrace, and you don’t have to spend all your time in a man-made cocoon just to enjoy. It’s the best of both worlds, and in a perfect reality, this is how it’s meant to be.
So plan that vacation, book that Madhya Pradesh safari trip, and go on one of the best tours of your life courtesy of the Indian safaris.
safari trip, and go on one of the best tours of your life courtesy of the Indian safaris.
A big thank you to Pugdundee Safaris for hosting and introducing me to your beautiful luxury safari lodges in Madhya Pradesh.
Text and Photos for Tips for Indian Safari ©Photos Karla Ramos 2018