The Gilded Iguana

Located just 100 kms away from Nagpur, a two hour drive brings you to Baghvan, which literally means the ‘tiger forest’. Only a few minutes from the national park entrance these 12 charming stand-alone bungalows are built alongside a picturesque ‘nullah’ (dry riverbed), that demarcates the lodge premises from the national park. Each bungalow comes with its own rooftop machan, indoor and outdoor shower areas and a private sit-out surrounded by the woods. A colonial theme is nuanced in the guest areas with a vintage radio, crystal candelabras on the dining table and metal chandeliers. Delicate Parsi tiles on the live food counter, woven hyacinth furniture and giant ebony chests add to the elegance of the hall. The Taj Safari Lodge in Baghvan has a delightful infinity pool shaded by trees and overlooking the forest. A tiny cottage across the safari shop houses a small library, computer and a television for guests, with the adjacent room being a tasteful serene space for massage treatments.

Each spacious bungalow has a 1950s ambience with indoor and outdoor shower options. Pale cream cement screed floors against the contrasting hues of indigo, green and turquoise lend a cool tranquil affect. A life sized portrait of a traditionally attired Indian lady dominates the wall behind the bed. A small alcove forms a perfect reading nook guarded by two forest angels carved in wood. The bedroom opens out into a veranda beyond which is an open wooden deck. A metal vintage toy car sits atop dark wood chest and gives this outdoor space an element of fun. A cushioned swing for two with the teak trees in the background makes for a perfect picture. Follow the stairs to the alluringly beautiful wooden machan (a covered jungle rooftop platform) complete with day bed and an overhead fan. It is a perfect spot to spend the afternoons looking out at treetops and birds. By night it is transformed into a comfortable double bed with a mosquito net for a jungle camping experience albeit with the luxury intact.

Hiking

A Nature Trail in the wilderness is ideal for adventurers looking for a closer communion with nature. Be it the nature trails offered in the buffer zone of the park or a leisurely nature walk, it is an opportunity to get acquainted with the smaller creatures. Butterflies, dung beetles scurrying about and multitudes of wildflowers are a few of the many delights best discovered on foot. Pench is a teak forest which is an advantage of sorts when walking on a nature trail in the buffer area. The teak trees are sans leaves for most of the year and poor undergrowth enables better visibility through the forest. Accompanied by naturalists who are excellent trackers, guests get an intimate understanding of nature and animal behaviour. Large middens or communal toilets of Blue bulls; the naturalist will explain, are one of the ways for these antelopes to mark territory. Deep scratch marks high on a tree trunk would mean the party were walking on a tiger’s turf. After an exciting nature walk, guests delight in getting back on familiar ground and being welcomed with cold towels and a refreshing drink

Jeep Safari 

Twice daily safaris are conducted by expert naturalists in specially designed 4X4 vehicles with theatre style seating. Morning safaris start shortly after sunrise. Along with the thrill of tiger tracking, is a memorable stop for a picnic breakfast. Afternoon safaris last a couple of hours and end at sunset. A safari drive in Pench is a study in contrasting habitats made very interesting by the interpretation of an expert naturalist on the importance and role of each region. While the rocky areas have been known to have good leopard sightings, the riverside offers panoramic views and many birds to tick off. Tree hollows are favoured roosting spots for the Indian Scops Owl. They sit unmoving and so well camouflaged that it usually takes the trained eyes of a naturalist to point them out. Jungle owlet and the Spotted Owlet are some of the other smaller owls seen frequently on a safari. Some of the biggest herds of spotted deer and Gaur are seen grazing on succulent grasses along the backwaters of the Pench National Park. In recent years the boost in tiger numbers has made them more visible, leading to some excellent tiger spotting for visitors in the park. Malabar pied hornbills perched usually in twos on dry branches make for a lovely photograph.

By Air : Nagpur - 100 KM| Jabalpur - 220 KM

By Rail : Nagpur - 100 KM| Jabalpur - 220 KM

For more information on the Baghvan Jungle Lodge click HERE 

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