I fell in love with the Kanha Earth Lodge at the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh within half a day of getting there. It was liking at first sight, but I wanted to get to know the place further before opening my heart out to it fully.
The last few miles to get to the lodge are a treat to start with: you drive through a forested road for 8 kms (5 miles), allowing you to soak in the environment. The lodge itself is surrounded by agricultural fields and forests – and the only sounds are those of birds and the silence. Snakes and other reptiles (spotted during nature walks) in the fields are a quiet lot too.
True to its name, the Kanha Earth Lodge has an earthy feel to it at the entrance itself. A porch lit by lanterns greets you. A short passage takes you to an elaborate living and dining room – where you can lounge, watch films on a projection screen, read books, chat with naturalists and have a drink. And this is just the beginning of the tour.
The Rooms: The accommodation is as good as it gets. Each room is a standalone cottage. A king size bed fitted with the right mattresses are just what you want to crash on. Alcoves with cushioned seating make for good reading and coffee corners. A verandah opens into a forested landscape, ideal to sit back in easy chairs and soak in the atmosphere. The bathrooms are an elaborate set up too – a double ‘his and her’ wash basin is flanked by independent chambers for the WC and the shower. With a spacious wardrobe area. Toiletries are of high quality, and you get running hot and cold water round the clock. All rooms are air-conditioned.
Housekeeping: The staff does a good job of housekeeping. The property feels very clean at all times. Bedsheets, duvets, towels and other furnishings are of high quality and feel good to touch.
Food: Tops in every possible way. The chefs here can put together different cuisines, and do a good job of most of it. The presentation and service are delightful too. The best part? The spread looks elaborate but does not feel heavy on the stomach. The chefs are happy to consider any special requests.
Safaris: We all go to Kanha National Park with jungle safaris as our primary agenda. The choice of your host becomes important for you to have a fulfilling experience. Pugdundee Safaris, the management company behind Kanha Earth Lodge, do a good job here. They have a pool of knowledgeable and enthusiastic naturalists. Their safari vehicles are well maintained, and are more comfortable than most others in the park. If your group size is small, they even remove a row of seats to enable guests to stand and move around more freely for sightings and photography.
Staff: Very courteous and well trained. Always at hand to cater to your needs and whims. Their positive attitude makes you smile.
Stuff: They offer free Wi-Fi but it’s a bit erratic – not surprising since you are in a forested area. Mobile networks work on and off at the lodge. There is a small swimming pool if you want to splash around. The property is located amidst wilderness and agricultural fields; the naturalists at the lodge can take you on nature walks and point out birds, snakes and other reptiles. An occasional mammal from the reserve might be seen in the area too.
Verdict: Kanha National Park offers a choice of many quality places to stay, but I would strongly recommend Kanha Earth Lodge as the one to pick. Not only do they maintain high standards and know how to take care of guests, but the setting itself is ideal for the mood you have gone to Kanha in.
The lodge is located about 8 kms (5 miles) from Mocha village in Kanha. You have to take a forested road from this village – this trail eventually takes you to the Mukki gate, another entrance to the reserve.
O-29 (GF), South City – I
Tel: +91.124.4222657 / 4222658 / 4222659; +91.8800637711 / +91.9810253436