Here is my freshly baked wildlife adventure from the Kanha jungles of Madhya Pradesh. I have just come back from a short and sweet indulgence at Singinawa Jungle Resort and my Instagram, Facebook updates are all about that. It was one beautifully curated trip with a special focus on art, culture, food and of course wildlife. If you are crazy for wildlife and you love the peacefulness of the wilderness, I bet you will love to go for this holiday which comes with a beautiful touch of local indulgence. If you thought jungles were only about safari, think again. This itinerary kept me and my gang on our toes. Special thanks to ‘Indian Experiences’ for extending an invite to me for their first press trip!!!
‘SINGINAWA’ means protectors of the sacred forests!
It was an early morning flight (5:20 a.m.) from Indira Gandhi Domestic Airport, Delhi to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur. We started our road trip towards Singinawa by 7:50 a.m. Initially, it came as a long road trip and I was apprehensive about 6 hours but the drive is one of the best. One gets to touch upon two states, Maharastra as well as Madhya Pradesh.
It was a comfortable ride in the Innova and once we had crossed the state border, the buffer area of the forests was extremely welcoming. The twist and turns along with the lush greenery kept us thoroughly entertained.
By 1:15 p.m., we were already at our destination and this had an ambience that resembled that of a jungle. The resort shares its boundaries with the buffer zone of Kanha forests.
A warm welcome and a quick check-in gave a great start to the trip. And I must say I loved my cottage the moment I entered it. Such handpicked and handcrafted rooms are very few.
After eating some good home-like food, I rested for a while to refuel myself for the evening fun.
We did an evening walk with one of their naturalist (Sachin Sharma) at Singinawa. He guided us around the property and made us well-versed with the neighbourhood.
And last but not the least, I was lucky to get the best view of the sunset.
After the walk, we sat down together to watch a BBC documentary on the famous tigress Sundari.
The candle light dinner that followed was absolutely appetising. We chose to sleep early for the morning safari that was planned for the next day.
I was up at 3:45 a.m. even before the wake-up call. That is so unlike me but I was excited about the jungle fun. At 4:30, we were already driving towards the Mukki gate of Kanha National Park.
The morning looked extremely promising.
At 5, the gate opened and without wasting a minute, we drove inside the jungle. I was accompanied by my blogger friends Dipanshu Goyal, Rahul Bhatia, David Raju (naturalist) and Jeevan (forest guard/guide).
This was my first time in Kanha forests and the big, huge Sal trees appealed to the eyes almost instantly.
Soon, we had amazing sightings. Not revealing all in pictures, I must tell you that we saw bison, Tigress with her cub, spotted dears, Barasingha and more.
A handy breakfast in the jungle provided us with a quick fix and we continued with our run-around in the lavish landscape.
We did not want to return but the morning safari ends at 11 a.m. And soon we were back in the lodge.
I ate full and slept like a log to gear up for the evening fun.
At 5 in the evening, we were off to explore the local neighbourhood. We drove down to Lagma village and met a family from the Baiga tribes. These people lived in the jungles initially but were later shifted in the buffer zone and then in the surroundings.
The interaction with the villagers was the highlight of this trip. They showed us the process of making Mahuwa (local drink) and later came to Singinawa to present a dance show. These tribals came dressed up in their colourful attire and made us dance to the local numbers.
We had a barbeque night in the resort and a candle light dinner amidst the wilderness. I must say it was one eventful day.
Bird watching can be extremely thrilling and from my recent experience in Kabini, I couldn’t afford to miss this one. I was up at 5:30 to join the morning trail.
In 2 hours of our morning walk, we spotted almost 30 varieties of birds within the premises of Singinawa jungle lodge. My 55-250 mm lenses could not capture them as closely as I wanted to but it was a real treat to see them through binoculars, learn about their exclusive features and know the names of all of them (checklist).
After a hearty breakfast, I decided to read some books in my room. The rest of the day looked packed with excitement.
At 1 p.m., the session with the artist Shyam Gondpal was very fulfilling. He taught me Charcoal painting and Gond art. Since I have always had a special interest in canvas and fabric painting, this was like going back to my hobby for which I had not been able to find time in many many days.
After the art class, we had a Sunday chaat party. What fun it was to have golgappas in the jungle resort!
Soon, it was time for evening safari. From 4 to 7 p.m., we explored the jungles like never before. Kanha National Park is a treat for the wildlife lovers. Go for it whenever you can plan for it. I can vouch that you will not be disappointed.
Even though we did not get lucky with the tiger or leopard sighting, we returned as happy souls after a thrilling jungle ride.
The dinner was set and we hit upon it as soon as we could. The next thing on our minds was Night Safari. I had never done one and I was totally looking forward to it.
This safari turned out to be the highlight of the trip. I really can’t imagine myself in a jungle in the night but we did this adventure in great company. Thank you, Sachin Sharma, for taking us for this fun night into the buffer area in the wee hours. Every sound made us attentive and our eyes peeled through the darkness. The movement of the animals, their alarm signals and the rustling of the leaves added to our thrill.
By the time we returned, I was dead tired. Each day had been better than the last one.
I could have easily chosen to go for an early morning walk, a spa, or a swim in the pool but I chose to be lazy and stayed in my room.
It was the pack up day and we had to leave for Nagpur as our flight was slated for 7:50 p.m.
After a wholesome breakfast, we walked towards the Kanha Museum of Life and Arts, which is located in the premises of Singinawa.
It was a heartwarming experience to see some amazing works of artists from the Baiga community. The place was buzzing with creativity and lovely art expressions and I was thrilled to see the deep connect between wildlife and art.
Before we started back at 11:30, we planted some saplings in the lodge. This was our way of giving back to nature and it also gives us a great reason to return to Singinawa as well as to M.P.
Though I did not get a chance to see the city of Nagpur but I did not forget to buy some orange burfi (Haldiram’s) and orange rolls (Bhagat’s) from the Snack bar at the airport.
By 9:30 in the night, I was in Delhi with a short and sweet wildlife adventure.
This was a sneak-peek in my daily activities. Now, you must wait for the elaborated pieces around the Safari fun, Gond Art and Singinawa Jungle Lodge as a whole. Until then keep travelling or keep reading!!!