Jamtara Wilderness Camp is a RARE lodge in Pench, away from the busier gates inundated with tourists and a number of lodges. Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh has a unique eco system – undulating topography, varied tree expanse, dense green under cover, varied fauna including aquatic life and avian fauna. It is no wonder then that Pench is set apart from other popular parks andfeatures high on the check list of nature and wildlife lovers.
Located in the Northern part of the National Park well into Madhya Pradesh, the camp stands isolated from all other lodges, in the rural village of Jamtara, giving you an exclusive access to the park via Jamtara gate, just 2 minutes away from the camp. Tracing back to what the British had in mind when they set up lodges in the jungles around the country, Jamtara offers an exclusive space for unwinding while setting you up to experience the jungles at close proximity.
This dry deciduous forest is visually fascinating, unlike Kanha and Bandhavgarh where the forest is thicker and denser, Pench allows a visibility, depth and an open habitat that is more engaging. Declared as a Tiger Reserve in 1992 the National Park gets its name from the Pench river that flows from North to South literally dividing the park into two, also allowing safaris from Jamtara gate as exclusive drives into the national park that has fewer vehicles out on safari. Ecologically, the forest is teak dominated but supports other assorted species many of which are evergreen. A favourite of many is the Indian Ghost tree or the Kullu gum tree las it is locally known. This tree has a papery bark and glows under the moonlight adding a dramatic dimension to forest drives. Pench is known mainly for leopards and wild dogs and also supports a healthy population of dholes, civet, tigers, sloth bears, sambars, wild boars, nilgai, langur, macaque and other carnivorous and herbivorous fauna along with a variety of birds.
The essential element of the experience at Jamtara is the generosity of the spirit. The Banyan tree at the entrance sets the tone for one’s stay here – as the arms spread out in welcoming you to Jamtara. What follows is an experience where the hosts, the staff, the naturalists, the friendly villagers and even nature come together in prefect harmony for a joyous exploration of the jungles.
Enveloped by the buffer zone on one side, rural farm lands on the other, the 10 acres of the camp feels as an extension of the forest dotted by Teak, Arjuna and Kusum trees, criss-crossed by a dried river-bed, with only birdsong and insect chatter punctuating the stillness of the day; few settings can be as enchanting as this. Artistically and Intelligently designed, the promoters live up to their conservation-pedigree and maintain a careful balance between sensitivity to nature and an archetypical luxury jungle camp experience. The camp has cleverly divided itself into three main areas with all the common areas for guests (lounge, library, swimming pool and dining) lying just at the entrance to the north of the camp, the main service area, staff quarters and organic kitchen garden in the south and the tents find space in the west side along the buffer zone and dried river beds.
The décor is simple yet stylish with striking colours splashed as cushions and bed covers (this is quintessential A V Singh design, he is the creative partner in this project), an interesting mix of elements, stories around furniture and its sourcing come together to give the tents a RARE character. Where else would you hear of living spaces designed with weathered wooden flooring sourced from a ship recycling yard in Gujarat and writing tables that once served in the offices of the Supreme Court of India.
As you board off the transport your curiosity is piqued as you walk through a very Indiana Jones jungle setting - kachcha roads, a timber bridge over a dried river bed, past an ancient banyan tree; till you are greeted by warm and friendly camp staff with a welcome drink and cold towels and you instantly know that the Jamtara jungle adventure will have a fair share of pampering.
Each of the 10 African safari styled tents occupy a private quiet thicket with patios that are large enough to allow one to stretch out for an afternoon snooze or look out for birds. Tents are rather large and extremely comfortable with a choice of king-sized beds or Hollywood twins, a writing desk, a two-seater couch, ample charging points, subtle lighting and many such small and thoughtful details like books, torches, bottled water etc. just serve to enhance the camp experience.
The Star Bed is a concept borrowed from Africa put to use in the Indian context as a unique conservation opportunity. The proceeds from the overnight use of the star beds goes to the farmer who owns the land,constantly ravaged by wild boars. Keeping it wild and true to the jungle is one of the foremost responsibilities of a conservation based lodge. Hence the star bed is also a romantic stay under the stars in the wild, an opportunity for star gazing and to view the nocturnal movements of wild animals and birds. Set on stilts, away from the camp, this machan located on the farmland, adjoining the bufferzone area is a fairly comfortable accommodation with double duvets, hot water bottles, simple washroom facilities on the ground level and an attendant on call. Highly recommended for die-hard nature lovers and lovers of the wild.
The food experience at Jamtara is superlative. The menu is an interesting mix of recipes both from traditional and modern Indian kitchens, so expect breakfasts that serve eggs to order (highly recommended, near perfect Masterchef quality scrambled eggs), sausages, marmite, grilled tomatoes with an addition of a local nashta/breakfast thrown in. Main meals are mostly Indian and leaning towards vegetarian since the kitchen is committed to mostly using fresh and locally sourced produce.
Explore Jamtara’s village that is remote and still uses minimal means of transportation, electronics and machines, truly transporting you back in time. Their features are farming, growing corn and jaggery making allowing for a photographic opportunity.
Important to Know
Every RARE Lodge is conceptualized by conservationists who continue to actively participate in the jungles and lay great importance on a comprehensive jungle experience, giving guests new perspectives to view the jungle and its landscape. Jamtara is founded on the same belief system and the lodge’s star naturalists have the unique ability to rub off their enthusiasm and passion for the jungles and nature on to the guests. Naturalists are encouraged to spend time with guests sharing stories and experiences and understand their interest and inclinations to plan the next safari route, jungle or nature walk and village activities.
Great ForCouples who love the wilderness, and like the active life of safari oriented camping. Cycling around exploring villages and life around the buffer zone are other activities for people to explore around
Open from October to April end.
60+ is the new 40+
Early morning safaris on 4 X 4 are the norm at any wildlife lodge. Jeep safaris can be long and tiresome for those who are unwell.
For the Young
For the young and tireless there are many walking trails as well as cycle visits to nearby areas where they are.
Take scheduled safaris by 4X4 through the Karmajhiri or Jamtara gates accompanied by Jamtara’s fantastic naturalists. Highly recommended is exploring the natural world on a nature walk around the hotel. An overnight stay on the Star Bed is a ‘must-do’.
Keeping in mind the location Jamtara ticks many attributes for responsible tourism. With a legacy of conservation, the camp operates with a gentle touch.
Based on self-evaluation of the RARE Touchstones, Jamtara Wilderness Camps ticks the following attributes:
Eliminating Single Use Plastic
Safe Garbage Disposal
Low Impact Tourism
Local Community Engagement
Sensitive Destination Discovery
Wildlife, Nature & Habitat Conservation
The Human Touch
Beginning with the largeness of the estate to the small number of rooms to deliberately choosing a location far away from the ‘popular’ location, Jamtara Wilderness Camp chooses thoughtfully and has taken the tough route to success.
Being the grandson of Kailash Sankhla, the Owner Amit Sankhla has been born into the idea of conservation being the grandson of Kailash Sankhla, the man who fashioned Project Tiger, no less! The host on most occasions is Neel, a consummate Naturalist and is the manager at camp.An exclusive Luxury tented camp close to the buffer area of Pench National Park.
Jamtara is a hidden paradise, set amidst the natural wonder of Pench Forest. From the moment you enter through its secret shaded path you know you have discovered something extraordinary. The large...
Awesome place amazing food and at night the sky is unreal. The naturalists are really knowledgeable and the entire staff is super accommodating. It can get cold in the winter but they give you hot...
I had the most extraordinary experience at Jamtara in March of this year, we were the last group for this season as the world was coming apart. The staff were amazing during these extraordinary...
Nearest Airport : Nagpur- 130 km
Nearest Railway Station : Chindwara - 35 Km