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RARE India : Showing off our wild side - Part II : Dec 2019 | December - 2019

Some traditions are forever and we love Calvin’s indignation which is much like our own.

And hence the RARE ethos to promote ‘conscious luxury travel’ continues as our resolution in the new year. Can you make it yours too?  To look at travelling in luxury while being conscious of being light-footed and creating positive impact.

Here’s wishing you a New Year 2020 of harmony, happiness and evolution.

 

WE SALUTE THE SUPER NATURALISTS

 
 

Birder, tree lover, zoologist, an eternal student and storyteller all rolled into one, these young men and women are game-changers. From an era that only looked at forests, national parks and safaris through success in ‘sighting’ the tiger, these are passionate men and women who unravel the forests for you, weaving in geology, anthropology, botany, zoology, animal behaviour, environment and conservation science into one swell narrative. The result is a power-packed, interesting and action-filled experience in the park on your safaris or just walking around the lodge. Each walk and safari is then a transformative experience, one that provokes your interest and makes you fall in love with the jungle. The lodges and wildlife retreats of the RARE Community are ‘fertile breeding grounds’ and laboratories where Super Naturalists are born and continue to flourish.
 
Continuing from our November edition, the community has some more experiences in the wild that will appeal to wildlife lovers. Are you out looking for single species that is on the high alert list? Are you that compulsive twitcher willing to travel to remote locations? Do you seek to experience all the big cats in India in their natural habitat? Or you’d just like to explore different forest ranges in India to see passionate conservation efforts? The RARE Collection will definitely help you find the right destinations or will lead you in the direction you want to take for your exploration.
 
As we move from the Centre to the North and further towards the Himalayan Terai and Trans Himalayas, the diversity of India and the subcontinent expands to include Elephants, Otters, Fishing cats and a great number of birds, some of them on every birder’s must list. Further to the Trans Himayalas, one may seek the elusive Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Urials, Ibex, etc.  The Terai is a bio-diversity hot spot and an extremely interesting habitat both for exploration, study and photography.
 
The fun lies not only in gazing into thick foliage and canopies but staying in classic jungle lodges, riverside cottages and chic hotels, all of them with a single-minded focus – conservation of the wildlife and an unforgettable experience for the traveller. We must issue a famous disclaimer here - Our lodges and nature retreats are fabulous examples of re-wilding, creating natural wild gardens, small sacred forests and including spaces for nature and the wild.
 
No wonder, we love each one of them as part of the RARE family!

 

Located in a remote valley 4000 m above sea level, the Snow Leopard Lodge is the only dedicated wildlife lodge in Ladakh, equipped for sub-zero temperatures of trans Himalayas in winter and focussed on wildlife. Started by a top Snow Leopard tracker, Tchewang Norbu, as a conservation tool for the preservation of Snow Leopards, this was originally a homestay. Its latest updated version comprises of 11 rooms set in two Ladakhi homes repurposed with attached bathrooms, dining and sitting rooms overlooking the valley and surrounding mountains. The magical landscape of deep valleys and perennial rivers with yaks and dzos on pastures are just some of the magnificent panoramas around. At Snow Leopard lodge, you’re in the heart of ibex, urial, wolf, Himalayan fox, bearded vulture, Himalayan griffon and golden eagle country. They stand vigil on the craggy peaks, giving you short glimpses into their world till the ‘grey ghost’ saunters down and cameras go crazy, for the Snow Leopard is the ‘big cat’ of these regions.
 
Lodge Operations: Targeting the Snow Leopard season which is mostly the winters, the Lodge opens in late October and closes in late April.
Wildlife: Ibex, Urial, Bharals, Wolf, Himalayan Fox, Bearded Vulture, Himalayan Griffon, Golden Eagle Country, Snow Leopard

 

Jaagir Lodge melds a stellar wildlife and outdoor experience with a beautiful colonial lodge set in the middle of farming acres and fruit orchards. Stilted cottages, villas and a dining cottage offer an intimate ambience and first row seats to wildlife in the Terai region that extends through Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar right into the hills of Nepal. The lodge acts as a gateway to the Terai’s four distinct forests reserves of the great Dudhwa Tiger Reserve - Dudhwa, Katarniaghat, Kishanpur and Pilibhit. One of the few protected areas in the country, the park is inhabited by 38 species of mammals, over 90 species of fish, and a great variety of birds. It is also home to the Big Five of the region. Connected with Corbett and Pilibhit on one side and over the border at Dhangari and Bardia and further into Nepal, Jaagir Lodge helps create some fascinating itineraries.
 
Dudhwa National Park: November 15 to June 30
Lodge Operations: November to June
Wildlife: Tigers, Leopards, One-Horned Rhino, Elephants, Swamp Deer, Crocodiles, smaller mammals like the Otters and over 500 species of Birds.

 

North India’s first and the most famous tiger focussed national park, named after hunter turned conservationist, Jim Corbett, is for all nature lovers. Located on its fringes, Jim’s Jungle Retreat celebrates each aspect of this sprawling hub of biodiversity. Spread over 15 acres and just a stroll away from a seasonal river, the lodge has the company of native shrubs, trees, myriad birds, jackals, deer, wild boars, and on occasion, stray tuskers too. One of the most mindful addresses close to the park, the lodge focussed on encouraging local employment, sustainability and help travellers fall in love with the forests. And falling in love is easy when all your wildlife experiences in and outside the park are led by ‘super naturalists’ who are as excited to show you the relevance of a termite as well as that of the majestic tiger in a thriving eco-system. Aspects of sustainable tourism are all around the lodge, but the travellers’ first tryst is at check-in, where they are urged to ‘seek the tiger, find the jungle’.
 
Corbett National Park: November 15 to June 30
Lodge Operations: All year
Wildlife: Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, Monitor Lizards, Martens and over 50% of the Bird species found in India.

 

The  Kalagarh Tiger Reserve is a prominent buffer zone of the Corbett National Park ideal for the recluse who loves nature and wildlife. Your choice of stay can be safely pegged on Vanghat, which is far away from the gates of Corbett and tourist droves. It offers a deep dive into the thriving forest with a number of interesting experiences. You can explore every trail of the community forest on foot. Each season paints the landscape differently and has various birds and wild animals to encounter. Campfire nights get increasingly exciting as the night progresses when you can hear animals calling in the darkness and stories of the wild unfold with naturalists. A birder’s paradise and what we like to call as a forest exile, this is one place which we recommend for a digital detox as well as an immersive wildlife experience. For a 360 wildlife immersion for the family, look no further than Vanghat.
 
Corbett National Park: November 15 to June 30
Lodge Operations: All year
Wildlife: Leopards, Elephants, Tiger and a great variety of Birds, virtually a birder’s paradise.

 

Heritage and nature come together at the boutique homestay located in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is named after its last known inhabitant Ms. Mary Budden, a missionary who lived with her brother in these hills in the 19th century. Now, in the able hands of Ashwani and Serena Chopra, the estate lets travellers experience the mountain life on five acres of land, perched at 8000 ft. with two cottages, each with 3 bedrooms. One of the five privately owned estates inside the sanctuary, the artistic interiors blend the 19th-century architectural nuances, a very strict conservation strategy and natural surroundings. The sanctuary itself is teeming with oak, rhododendron and pine forests where leopards, deer, mountain goats, foxes and birds roam with abandon. Apart from oxygen-filled air, excellent food and nature-filled days, one can explore hidden villages and even choose to stay at the Dalar Village Homestay for an authentic Kumaoni experience.
 
Binsar Sanctuary: All Year
Lodge Operations: All year except July, August and September.
Wildlife: Leopards, Mountain Goats, barking Deer and over 200 species of Birds.

 

The constant background score of the Kalsa River relaxes one right away on entering Soulitude. This could well be the only reason to stay here, but you have scores more to choose this to unwind and be close to wildlife. The superbly welcoming stay with spectacular views and jungle on your doorstep makes for a memorable experience. Chafi is a birding hot spot in this region, Travellers can expect to see an array of indigenous birds from their bedroom windows and the living room, but stepping outside on the nature trail awards many more sightings. Sunbirds, Roufus babblers, Paradise flycatchers, Woodpeckers, Buzzards, Parakeets and more ensure that your neck is constantly thrown back to gaze at them on high canopies. Chanfi is an undiscovered gem for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who have a soft corner for birds and nature trails. Depending on the season, one can get a glimpse of birds like the Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Himalayan Griffon, Black-headed Jay, Eurasian Jay, Brown Wood Owl, Crested Kingfisher, Blue-winged Minla, Spotted & Slaty-backed Forktail, Rufous-bellied Niltava, thrushes and pheasants. The area has over 200 bird species so it’s best to keep cameras and binoculars ready at all times.
 

Lodge Operations: All Year
Wildlife:  A birding hotspot

 

The Belgadia Palace in Baripada, in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, carves out experiences that highlight the legacy of the erstwhile rulers. A tangible presence in the attitude of the present generation of the Bhanj Deo royal family and their relationship with the people of the district is a fascinating insight for travellers. One of the attractions of The Belgadia Palace is its proximity to the Simlipal National Park, famous as the biosphere reserve and a UNESCO listed site. The 2750 sq. km spread of the intensely green jungle is home to Bengal tigers, elephants, deer, Chausinghas (four-horned antelopes) and other wild animals. Dissected by several rivers, sal and silk-cotton trees, the forest offers stunning vistas even without the stir of animal life. Yet, the anticipation of spotting wild inhabitants always keeps interest levels high. The Barheipani and Jaranda Falls in the vicinity are veritable hooks who like the suffusion in nature and its many slants.
 
Simlipal National Park: October 01 – June 15
Lodge Operations: All year except July, August and September
Wildlife: Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants, Chausinghas, Chital, Porcupine, Flying Squirrel, Gaur, Leopards, Langur, Sloth Bears and Mugger Crocodiles apart from hundreds of species of Birds.

 

Wild Mahseer lies on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra River and is named after the well-known game fish. Surrounded by the Balipara division of 1864 established Addabarie Tea Estate, the lodge is always in green company. Five independent bungalows totalling to 14 double bedrooms and suites with ensuite bathrooms make for the atmospheric lodging, all named after varieties of tea like Silver Tips, Golden Tips, Second flush and Ambrosia.  Wild Mahseer is a part of the Balipara Foundation set up as a conservation incubator which believes in a community-focused approach to conservation. It is deeply rooted in social mobility and long-term sustainability. It is springboard to two of the most important national parks of the region, Nameri National Park (1 hour) and Kaziranga National Park (2 hours ).

Kaziranga & Nameri National Park: November 01 to April 30
Lodge Operations:  All Year
Wildlife: Elephants, Tigers, Leopards, Wild Dogs, rare Reptiles such as the Assam Roof Turtle and over 200 species of Birds.

 

The Brahmaputra River travels for 2900 km across China, India and Bangladesh enriching the lands it traverses and sparking life into the regions it flows through. The ABN experience of the Brahmaputra is encapsulated in 4-10 nights of adventure, nature and wildlife, and eye-opening cultural trysts on ABN Chariadew II. This trip has been rated among the world's top 10 most adventurous cruises by the CNN. The cruise starts at Guwahati wending its way past Tezpur, Majhuli - the largest river island of the world, Jorhat, Shivsagar, Dibrugarh. This cruise route allows access to Pobitra National Park, Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and home of the One-Horned Rhino, and Nameri National Park - a paradise for birders. The traveller is a world away from the frenzy of the rest of India, but right in the midst of fascinating backstories illuminated by historically evocative towns and well-preserved national parks.
 
Kaziranga National Park: May 01 to October 31
Cruise Operations: October - April
Wildlife: One-Horned Rhino, Tiger, Elephants, Hoolock Gibbon, Water Buffalo, Gangetic Dolphins and Birds.

 

The 1000 feet high mountain top perch of the property awards a spectacular Himalayan backdrop to Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. Travel here for an undisturbed time to relax or rest weary legs post a Himalayan trek. Spread on and around a ridge the central lodge is perfectly positioned to catch the best views and houses all the common areas. Marcus, the captain of the ship is very serious about sustainability and community outreach and participation, the cottages are inspired by the local homes and run with a great eye for detail in design and service. The location of the lodge sets it away from the busy city of Pokhara and offers day walks exploring local communities, bird-watching and seeing glorious rustic Nepalese villages close by. Tiger Mountain Lodge is a property with a soul, focussed on responsible tourism, through support for Community Forest User Groups, local schools, health posts, local national and international charities, environmental research and monitoring, advocacy and media.
 
Lodge operations:  September - July.
Wildlife: A birding hotspot

 
Join us to share learning, cheer our partners and see the crème of conscious Luxury partners at The RARE Showcase 2020 in just over three months. Watch this space!
RARE Showcase 2020 is our annual celebration of the community to be held at The Imperial in New Delhi. On invitation only, the event focuses on the futuristic ideal of conscious luxury travel. Find detailed information on our website: www.rareindia.com and to register, mail us at shoba@rareindia.com.
 

For detailed itineraries please write to
bookrare@rareindia.com

www.rareindia.com
RARE India is the finest collection of palace and heritage hotels, wildlife and nature lodges, homestays and retreats. The community endorses ‘Conscious Luxury’ as the perfect example that marries luxury, experience and sustainability.
 
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Copyright © 2019 RARE India, All rights reserved.
U-26A/6, Ground Floor, DLF Phase III, Qutub Enclave, Gurgaon
Haryana - 122002, India

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