Jungle and Remote Village Biking: New Ways to Experience India
December 7, 2016

Eco-Luxury Jungle Lodges on the Indian Subcontinent

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In Hindi, “pugmark” is an animal footprint and “pugdundee” is the trail or beaten path in the jungle used by both wildlife and humans. Pugdundee Safaris is a collection of eco-luxury jungle lodges designed to enhance your experience in the wilds of India and Nepal. From your restful nights in charming bungalows, cottages or tree houses, to your invigorating game drives, nature walks, biking and river safaris, the well-trained and personable Pugdundee Safaris’ naturalists will guide you on your off-the-beaten-path jungle journey.

Feast on delicious food fresh from the organic gardens prepared by chefs who love food. Toast your day’s experiences from their well-stocked bar. Delight in the gracious service from lodge staff who are happy you’ve chosen to explore their country. Pugdundee Safaris will amaze + delight you!

Chitwan National Park / Nepal
Barahi Jungle Lodge, the largest property, has 34 charming cottages inspired by the local Tharu architecture and culp1080689ture. Built on the Rapti River, the dining area, outdoor lounge and pool overlook the river into the Chitwan jungle. If you want to take an elephant safari or go to elephant school, Barahi takes ethical and humane care of their elephants. I especially loved taking the wooden boat across the Rapti River in the early morning thick fog where vehicles await you for game drives. Breakfast in the jungle, amazing sundowners at the convergence of the Rapti and Narani rivers, dinner under the stars and lanterns are all lodge options. Recently named CNN’s top 5 hotels in Nepal!

Bandhavgarh National Park / India
Tree House Hideaway only has 5 stilted, very charming tree houses with forested views out your window and balcony. Rain-head showers with plenty of hot water will delight you. The dining area is open to the grounds with upstairs lounge and bar at tree level. No pool but guests 4can go to sister property, King’s Lodge, for pool time if they don’t find biking, nature walks,  village visits, jeep or elephant safaris enough! Charming staff and I especially loved the morning nature walk and breakfast hide!

 

 

King’s Lodge has 18 luxury, comfortable cottages with large windows that bring the outdoors in. Multiple outdoor dining areas, one in the midst of their large organic garden offer a variety of venues to dine on delicious food. Bikes rides for village visits, nature walks, jeep and elephant safaris, bird watching hide, and crafts workshop all ensure there’s never a down moment unless you chose to lounge by the pool or on your cottage patio. Gudda is one of their top, fun naturalists and you’ll find other naturalists who are butterfly experts and snake handlers..interesting crew!  Love the water lily ponds and the friendly staff!

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Pench National Park / India
Pench Tree Lodge has 6 stilted, very charming tree houses that offer a private, wooded view off your balcony. Large bathrooms with p1090249rain-head showers and a comfortable reading nook add to the overall charm. Two beautiful dining rooms and upstairs library and lounge overlooking the pool are sure to entice you after your day’s activities of game drives, cycling, nature walks, and village visits. While the food at all Pugdundee lodges is wonderful, Chef Pankaj is exceptional as is the rest of their staff!

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Kanha National Park / India
Kanha Earth Lodge has 12 spacious bungalows, each with private porches where the look and decor are inspired by the local Gond tribal villages. KEL has multiple, charming common areas for lounging, pool, alfresco dining, bush dinners along with a variety of activities, biking being my favorite. Delightful local village market during the week and great village rides supported by the charming lodge staff. I especially loved the evening naturalist presentations by the large roaring fire with beverage and hors d’oeuvre service!

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Satpura National Park / India
Denwa Backwater Escape has 8 large cottages and 2 stilted tree houses. The large cottages have downstairs and upstairs porches, large bathrooms, and huge windows looking out at the Denwa River. Truly luxurious with cool, unique furniture, upstairs dining and separate pool area. Must take a boat across the river to your jeep or walking safari. Either a motor boat or row boat birding safari – I recommend the row boat (powered by a park guide) to get closer to the shore with no noise pollution. Many activities here but you may never want to leave your cottage. This very beautiful park is noted for its leopards and sloth bears.  Chinmay, one of my favorite guides anywhere in the world, is the head naturalist here and being the snake expert he is will do a snake demonstration if you find one!

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Panna National Park / India
Ken River Lodge has 6 huts and 6 cottages and is the one rustic property at Pugdundee Safaris. The dining and bar area built up overlooking the Ken River is the main attraction here along with boat safaris and game drives in this small, beautiful national park. Fishing, birding, nature trails are options along with day trips to Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Kalinjar Fort. I especially loved seeing my first ever sloth bear here, the great birding and relaxing with a drink watching the sun set over the Ken River.

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Pugdundee Safaris (website)
All lodges have well-appointed, en-suite rooms, locally sourced toiletries, excellent food, gracious service, first-class naturalists, and yet retain an individual charm, decor and personality. You won’t feel like “you were just there” and will always appreciate the great food and service standards. All lodges except for Ken River ban plastic water bottles, have filtered water stations and metal water bottles given to guests. Great care is taken with eco-friendly practices and they participate in TOFT’s eco-audits. Pugdundee is committed to supporting local employment and buying locally produced goods. Training for naturalists and staff personnel is an ongoing and important component in Pugdundee Safaris’ pursuit of excellence. Their mission is to ensure that every guest has an amazing wildlife / jungle experience and the opportunity to interact and connect with the lovely peoples of India and Nepal.  I was truly blessed to experience all 7 lodges, meet the incredible team, see tigers, sloth bears, and the stunning beauty of the various national parks, each with its own ecosystem and splendor.

kiki paris (oct/nov, 2016)

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