After a day and a half of driving on Indian roads during the scorching summer month of June, you can want nothing more than a comfortable place to check into. Thankfully, the King’s Lodge in Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh in central India provided just the comfort I was looking for after a long drive from New Delhi.
A good place to stay becomes all the more important when you are out for jungle safaris. The rides over rough trails of forests in a rickety Gypsy vehicle do your body no favours. King’s Lodge serves as the perfect balm for your shaken body, getting it ready for the next safari.
The Rooms: Many of the rooms are perched up on a flight of stairs nestled amongst trees – go for these. Not literally tree houses, but closest that you can get to one. The accommodation is spacious with ample storage for your luggage. Alcoves with cushioned seating and chairs in the verandah allow you to lounge around as much as you want. And the beds are fitted with mattresses to provide a good night’s sleep. Large windows overlook the greenery around. The bathrooms are well designed, with good quality fittings. You get running hot and cold water anytime at the pressure you want. All rooms are air-conditioned.
Housekeeping: You can be assured of clean rooms, bedsheets, duvets and towels. The staff has your room all made up by the time you come back from your morning safaris. Allowing you to take a dreamy nap before being up and about for the afternoon visit to the forest.
Food: They have good chefs, and they can put together different kinds of cuisines. The kitchen is also happy to consider any requests you have. In fact, they spoil you with an excess of dishes. The presentation is impressive – the food on the table whets your appetite even further. And the waiters are on alert to promptly serve you while you eat. On their super size dining table.
Safaris: We all go to Bandhavgarh 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 King’s 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. And they are the only ones I know who provide bean bags for photographers to support their heavy lenses; this is a small service but means so much to shutterbugs like me.
Staff: Very courteous and well trained. Always at hand to cater to your needs and whims. Their positive attitude makes you smile.
Stuff: The lodge has a very nice library lounge where you can spend hours reading, and snacking over drinks. They offer free Wi-Fi but it’s a bit erratic – not surprising since you are in a forested area. But most mobile networks work well outside the reserve area in the hotels. There is a small swimming pool if you want to splash around. The property itself has paths meandering through trees – making for a nice walk offering chance encounters with mammals and birds.
Verdict: If you are headed to Bandhavgarh, you may want to consider checking into King’s Lodge. They maintain high standards, have a well trained staff and know how to take care of guests. Call up and book now.
Kings Lodge, Village Rancha
Madhya Pradesh 484661, India.
O-29 (GF), South City – I