Madhya Pradesh, India, By Gillian McLaren
For that perfect holiday in India, Singinawa Jungle Lodge is a wonderful choice, being close to Kanha National Park Tiger Reserve, as well as to several fascinating villages of indigenous tribal groups
There are twelve stylish cottages tucked away in a secluded part of the hundred acres of grassland and forest which comprise Singinawa’s property.
Each tastefully decorated cottage has a lounge area, a shady veranda, and a spacious bedroom with an en-suite bathroom featuring a double vanity. The quality tribal art which is used in the décor is also on display in the art gallery on the premises.
Central Indian cuisine is a highlight of the lodge, with a variety of superb dishes, all prepared with fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers. Lunch is served on the balcony of the communal area, with pleasing views of the forest, teeming with birds like the rose-ringed parakeet.
As the soft morning light streams through the trees in Kanha National Park, you may go on safari in an open jeep, with a knowledgeable naturalist from the lodge and a guide from the reserve, . Thick with a tangle of mahua and sal trees, the jungle reverberates with sounds. Alarm calls of Hanuman langur, Sambhar (the largest Indian deer), or India robin may alert possible prey to the presence of a leopard or a royal Bengal tiger. You may also expect to see flamboyant Red Junglefowl, the progenitor of modern poultry, or see the impressive one metre wide web of the Golden Orb Spider! Who knows, you might discover a variety of beautiful butterflies too.
Easily spotted are herds of Barasingha, or Swamp deer: spotted deer, with soft velvety antlers are often seen, , plus the largest extant bovine – the majestic Gaurs.
There is the opportunity to meet members of the Baiga tribe, who claim to be the forefathers of the human race and the first people of India. They believe in one God, Bhagwan, whom they say handcrafted them. Although their lifestyle is very minimal, with simple clothes and undecorated houses, women wear large silver necklaces which have been handed down from generation to generation, and tattoo their faces and body. Men collect bamboo leaves to fashion crafts.
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