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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Address: Morcha Village, P.O. Kisli – Kanha National Park, District Mandla, Madhya Pradesh 481768
Open: October 16 – May 15
Tel: +91 76492 77218
Tariff: Doubles ₹16,600 including meals, village visits, nature walks; plus taxes.
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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