Banjaar Tola Tented Camp

This safari lodge is situated along the banks of the Banjaar River overlooking the heart of Kanha National Park. Two intimate camps of nine tents each are built on the banks of the still river overlooking the national park. Each elegant camp boasts its own pool with outdoor as well as indoor lounge options and interactive dining areas. Bastar bell metal work, Gond artwork and intricate stone carvings adorn the guest areas and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region. The Kanha Resort is nestled amid 90 acres of private Sal forest interspersed with grasslands and a seasonal lake. The cuisine at the camp celebrates tribal flavours presented with all-time favorites to titillate every palate.

Revel inchic and glamorously designed tented suites at Banjaar Tola at Kanha National Park. Each of the jungle lodge’s stilted tents features spectacular glass doors that lead out to a floating verandah with a stunning view of the Banjaar river and the core zone of Kanha National Park

Designed with a light footprint to protect the surrounding riverine environment, the 18 tented suites at Banjaar Tola are set on raised platforms. Wide glass doors open onto private decks overlooking the river, offering panoramic views of the wilderness beyond. Pressed bamboo floors and wall panels combine with fabrics in delicate tones of saffron, forest green and earthy cinnamon to create a light and airy feel. A king-sized bed with a multitude of pillows and a couple of lounge beds on the deck offer guests indoor and outdoor lounging options. A cleverly located butler hatch allows butlers to place freshly plunged coffee in the mornings without an intrusion on guest privacy. Selected pieces of Gondi artwork and bell metal figurines from the Chattisgarh region nearby, lend the dwelling a local flavour. A gigantic sink-in ottoman, canvas wardrobes with leather detailing and handcrafted driftwood furniture notch up the glamour quotient of a luxury camping experience. Air-conditioned ensuite bathrooms feature a shower area and a bath, both screened by delicate blinds that can be drawn to view the lush green forest around. Wrought iron chairs, a tall floor lamp and a driftwood tree trunk for a table holding organic bath salts; are all evocative of a safari camp from yesteryears.

Jeep Safari Drives
Twice daily Safari Drives 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. Shortly after day break, the guests at Banjaar Tola get comfortable in specially designed safari vehicles and make their way towards the Kanha National park. Driven by an experienced naturalist the guests are greeted with dense jungles, grasslands laden with mist and a deep orange orb for a sun in the sky; – a typical mystical Kanha morning. Misty cool mornings are a trademark of the region even during the warmer months and make for fabulous photographic opportunities. Kanha is rich in biodiversity with an excellent population of tigers and leopards. The Barasingha (hard ground swamp deer) are the mascots of Kanha and herds can be seen in grasslands as well as in Tals or ponds feeding on aquatic plants. During the breeding season in winter, it is interesting to watch the big males decorate their antlers with leaves and grass to attract a doe. Bird enthusiasts find Kanha a treasure box of winged gems. Scarlet Minivets, Rosy Starlings and the vibrant blue of Indian rollers are startling in their beauty, while some others have amusing calls.

Village Visit
Visiting a tribal village on the periphery of the Kanha National park is like taking a step back in time. Gond and Baiga are the two prominent tribes found here. These were a hunter –gatherer, forest dwelling communities that practiced a harmonious coexistence with nature. Remnants of that lifestyle can still be glimpsed here, although the younger generations are fast adapting to modern ways. Even today the primary source of livelihood of continues to be farming and cattle rearing. Baiga Tola and the nearby Manji tola (tola meaning settlement in Gondi) are two tribal villages that guests often visit. The house proud tribes have artistic mud plastered homes decorated with motifs from nature. Each home is equipped with an animal shed, a wood storage area and a kitchen garden. Tattoos in geometric patterns are sported by women laden with traditional jewelry. Interesting keepsakes can be purchased from the travelling fair that moves from one village to another, each day.

Bush Dinners
The bush dinners at Banjaar Tola have a fairy tale quality. Multitudes of lanterns light up a clearing in the forest while gentle aromas from clay ovens fill the air. A rustic wooden cart serving refreshing drinks beside a bonfire is a wonderful start to the evening revelry. Dining tables are scattered about and a row of interactive live cooking counters are stationed at one end. Some local delicacies like the ‘Baiga’ chicken and desserts like ‘malpuas and rabdi’ are greatly relished. The Baiga dancers in traditional dress move lithely as the compelling drumbeats make guests want to join in. A sumptuous feast, jungle tales and tribal dancers are ingredients for a most memorable dining experience.