Route

Jabalpur— 225 km/4 hrs (via Shahpura)—Bandhavgarh232 km/5 hrs (via Shahpura and Mandla)—Kanha—178 km/4 hrs (via Mandla)—Jabalpur

Day 1 JABALPUR

Most flights to Jabalpur arrive only in the second half of the day. Spend half a day here exploring the city. Shop for Madhya Pradesh’s naturally dyed handloom fabrics like Bagh prints and Behrugarh batik (dabu) at the Mrignayanee Emporium. Visit Rani Durgavati Museum, and browse through ancient excavated sculptures and coins, dating back to the 10th century. Overnight at Hotel Samdareeya.

Abhinav Kakkar
A local artisan makes bamboo crafts in Tala village, Bandhavgarh.
A local artisan makes bamboo crafts in Tala village, Bandhavgarh.

Day 2 BANDHAVGARH

Set out early for Bandhavgarh and settle in at the ultra-luxurious Samode Safari Lodge. Before lunch, explore the crafts at the park’s Tala Gate. At Tala village, watch as families use the locally abundant bamboo to create baskets, and weave thatched roofs and lampshades, which they supply to many lodges in the region. Next, pop in to Malaya Handicrafts and Café on the Tala Main Road. The shop is crammed with handmade crafts from across India: terracotta animals, Gond paintings, kalamkari and Warli prints, and more.

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An iron sculpture made by a local artist on display at Samode Safari Lodge in Bandhavgarh.
An iron sculpture made by a local artist on display at Samode Safari Lodge in Bandhavgarh.

After lunch, head into the park for an afternoon game drive (from 3-6 p.m). Chances of spotting the big cat are high, as Bandhavgarh is home to one of the highest concentrations of tigers in the world. Peer deep into the bamboo and sal forests to catch a glimpse of chital, dhole, gaur, and sambar.

Abhinav Kakkar
Malaya Handicrafts and Café in Bandhavgarh is a storehouse of rare handicrafts and tribal artefacts collected from all over the country.
Malaya Handicrafts and Café in Bandhavgarh is a storehouse of rare handicrafts and tribal artefacts collected from all over the country.

Day 3 KANHA

Aim to reach Kanha well before lunch. Kipling Camp, near Kanha National Park’s Kisli Gate, is the perfect place to stay for those interested in regional art. Browse through the beautiful Gond art display in the central sitting space. These were created by artists from Patangarh village. These artists often visit the camp with collections of their work for interested guests to buy. It’s fascinating to listen to the stories and thought behind each piece.

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Gond paintings on a wall of Singinawa Jungle Lodge, Bandhavgarh.
Gond paintings on a wall of Singinawa Jungle Lodge, Bandhavgarh.

On an afternoon game drive (3-6 p.m) through the national park, watch the landscapes morph from lush sal, mahua, and tendu forests, to thickets of bamboo and wide-open grassland. Watering holes are havens of activity, as barasingha, chital, sambar, gaur, and many bird species congregate here. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot the big cat stalking its prey.

Day 4 KANHA-JABALPUR

After breakfast at the lodge, hit the road to Jabalpur to catch your flight or train.

THE INFORMATION

Hotel Samdareeya

Address: Russel Chowk, Dr. Barat Road, Napier Town, Jabalpur.

Tel: +91 76140 04132

Tariff: Doubles from ₹2,495 per night including taxes.

Samode Safari Lode

Address: Village Mardhari, Post Dhamokar District Umaria , Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh

Open: Oct 1- Jun 15

Website: www.samode.com

Tel: +91 76532 80579

Tariff: Doubles ₹66,550 including meals, drinks, and two safaris; plus taxes.

Malaya Handicrafts and Café

Address: Tala Main Road, Bandhavgarh

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tel: +91 94073 25100

Website: www.cafemalaya.com

Kipling Camp

Address: Morcha Village, P.O. Kisli – Kanha National Park, District Mandla, Madhya Pradesh 481768

Open: October 16 – May 15

Website: www.kiplingcamp.com

Tel: +91 76492 77218

Tariff: Doubles ₹16,600 including meals, village visits, nature walks; plus taxes.

Safaris

Although most visitors choose to book safaris through their lodge it is possible to book independently.

Open: Oct 1-Jun 30

Hours: The park administration runs twice daily open-top jeep safaris from 6 a.m. to 11a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; parks are closed on Wednesday afternoon.

Booking: Book permits online at forest.mponline.gov.in/.

Entry: Permits per jeep cost ₹1,550 for the core zones and ₹1,250 for the buffer zones. Each jeep seats six. Vehicle and guide charges are extra and payable at the gate, shared by all occupants of the jeep. Carry government-approved photo ID.

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