The concept of an ‘uninterrupted forest’ finds its model in Bandhavgarh, a microcosm of what an endless, ancient forest may look like. Dotted by signs of early human presence like rock caves, an ancient fortress, sculptures and art, some of them allegedly dating back to times of one of our oldest Hindu mythologies, nature has overpowered everything and continues to thrive as a rich ecosystem around hillocks, grassy meadows and bamboo thickets. The shooting reserve of Maharajah of Rewa, one of first royals to support the ban on tiger hunting in post-independence India, Bandhavgarh is still one of the best places to see tigers in the wild, the forest replete with over 500 flowering trees, 276 species of birds and a healthy population of mammals including the dhole, otters, leopards etc. The Tala region of the park is drained by innumerable streams and shaded by Sal trees and is ideal tiger territory.
Samode Safari Lodge is in a forest of its own making, at walking distance from the Ghoni gate into the park. Though the Ghoni entrance is closed now, the proximity to the buffer endows the land around with a healthy habitation. The two gates closest to the lodge are the Magdi and Khitauli gates, Tala is but a easy drive away. The lodge is set in about 22 acres of wild gardens –nature in a flourish providing home and sustenance to birds, insects and other animals of the wild. A large central lodge is where you will be welcomed as you drive in through the gate, and in a sense, makes a statement that sets Samode Safari Lodge apart as a serious wildlife lodge. At ground level, you pass by the interpretation room where maps and photographs decode the forests, before a flight of stairs move up to the expansive lounge, bar and sit-out on the first floor. Curious object d’art, antiques, tribal and contemporary art and crafts adorn the walls while books on Indian forests, flora & fauna, wildlife placed on the sturdy colonial furniture provide interesting reading. The lounge is a beautiful space with a terrace that looks over the expanse of the lodge and is perfect for guests to meet and indulge in interesting conversations, or to read and relax between park drives.
A tree-top dining deck leading out from the lounge is where breakfast is served after the morning safari, a magical time with sunlight filtering though a beautiful canopy of trees. At the same level, is the indoor dining perfect for warmer days or cold forest nights. The wilderness around the lodge subtly camouflages the cottages, guest accommodation designed to reflect the beautiful tribal dwellings of central India. You enter though a low threshold into a brief courtyard that leads into the one of the most stylish suites in the jungles of India. A well-lit lounge welcomes you to deep couches, television, mini-bar and coffee station and opens to the bedroom – four poster beds, chaise lounge, reading lights and a picture window showing you the moods of the forest outside. Through a sliding door, you are in a shaded deck with day beds so that you can breathe in the wild outdoors, look out for birds and other foraging wildlife. Ensuite bathrooms are not just bathrooms, but a combination of a walk-in closet, dressing area, twin vanities, a stand-alone bathing tub, shower square, toilet and an outdoor shower open to the forest skies. Gond art depicting animals and birds of the forests and stunning black and white photographs of its people embellish the walls, while antique collectibles from all over the country ranging from textiles to musical instruments sit at strategic spaces to catch the arty eye.
Out in the 22 acres of wilderness is also an organic kitchen garden growing herbs and greens that add flavours and health to the meals served at the lodge – a range of interesting menu options that range from Indian to continental to inspired fusion. A swimming pool shimmers between the cottages on one side, the lodge and a Spa run by Oriental Senses, facilities perfect for days when guests decide to take a break from their intense safari programs. Alfresco dining opportunities both for private dinners and as a group are possible in intimate raised decks close to the lodge, by the pool side and out in the wilderness - forest dining under the stars.
The wildlife experience at the Samode Safari Lodge is defined by the head naturalist and Lodge manager Anshuman who details the forests in its entirety connecting the small, big, awesome and insipid into a composite story of the infinite forest and a sustainable ecosystem where the community is as much a part of the forest as the apex predator. The village walks and visit to the village school are interesting one on one interactions which help in associating with the tribal community around, some of who work with the lodge.
What can I say one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve stayed in - large luxurious and clean with 4 showers. The comfiest bed ever. Great facilities - pool, gym, spa, library. Service was something...
Excellence in the Jungle! Wish I could give more stars than five.! Visited for three days with family. Drive from Jabalpur was very scenic. The Hospitality was excellent and attention to detail is...
A small and luxurious camp, off a small dirt road on the less commercial side of the park. You are looked after with fantastic service, incredible food and very knowledgeable naturalists. This is...
Nearest Airport : Jabalpur-4 Hr
Nearest Railway Station : Katni-2 Hr 15 Min