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The lodge is situated along the banks of the Banjaar River, directly overlooking the heart of Kanha National Park. The eco-friendly safari lodge has a perfect luxurious setting for those wanting to go for an adventurous safari. The luxurious, yet lightweight, ensuite tents have been designed in a contemporary style, with pressed bamboo wall panels, gorgeous bamboo floors and locally crafted furniture hewn from the timber of exotic Indian trees. The atmosphere is light, ethereal and organic. Banjaar Tola has its own unique identity, celebrating the Bastar and Dogra art that hails from nearby Chattisgarh.
The safari lodge is situated by the side of Kanha National Park, in the Maikal Hills of the Satpura Hill range. Apart from the Jungle Safari, there is also a museum at Kanha National Park, which the tourists can visit. Bamani dadar, also known as Sunset Point is not to be missed. The distance from Jabalpur Airport is approx. 165 km and from Jabalpur Railway Station is approx. 154 km.
Banjaar Tola consists of two elegant camps containing nine tented suites, each featuring its own intimate private deck overlooking the river. The lightweight tents have been designed in a contemporary, chic camping style using locally sourced sustainable materials. Each tented suite features bamboo floors, a canvas roof and walls, and glass doors leading out into a spacious deck overlooking beautiful views of the river. Interiors showcase the rich block-printed cottons and silk handwork that is native to Madhya Pradesh. Woven textiles in shades of bleached saffron, forest greens and earthy cinnamon surround guests in the colours and textures of the region.
Conservation efforts at Banjaar Tola start from the ground up; each suite is set on raised structures, supporting the tent at only seven points on the ground, allowing natural growth and drainage under all the buildings. Instead of conventional electrical units, the tents are designed with double layers of canvas with insulation materials and air gaps to keep them cool. In winter, hot water for the bathroom is piped under the insulated bamboo floor. The eco-friendly air conditioning system uses a reversible cycle to efficiently deliver both cooling and heating. Taj Hotels has reinvented the safari tradition with an earth-friendly experience that’s also unforgettably luxurious.
Dining in Banjaar Tola is as wonderful and exotic as the safari itself. No menu is ever the same and great care has been taken by the chef and the staff to celebrate the unique flavors and styles of the region.
As guests arrive, they are seated in the sitting lounge and served the signature welcome drink and snacks while the Chef introduces himself and enquires as to the dietary preferences or tastes of each guest.
Choose to lunch on a private deck overlooking the river with discreet butler service. Or gather as a group on the beautiful lounge deck where special menus are displayed on the blackboard.
At dinnertime, enjoy a wok style dinner by the poolside, an “Angithi” dinner in the dining room, where guest assists in cooking their meals, or a riverside dinner on Chowkis, which are specially-created decks. Private dining by the tents is always an option as well.
Jungle Banquets are lavish affairs with bullock carts loaded with kitchen treats. Guests will be given shawls to wear and the area will be heated by sigris (traditional coal heaters). Hyderabadi cuisine is featured, with the food cooked in the traditional degs and haandis and sealed with Atta (whole wheat flour dough). Each guest will be presented with their own sealed haandi that will be opened with a flourish, releasing the aroma of the spices. At the end of the meal, the Chef pedals in a dessert cart filled with signature Banjaar Tola sweets served with South Indian coffee.
For the adventurous couple, a special Bush Dinner is available. This intimate dinner would take place in a secluded jungle spot of your choosing. you will be left with a wireless set for communication, so that the butler only has to appear when needed.
Breakfast is served in hot boxes during the morning game drive or as a picnic on the verandah for guests who forego the morning safari.
The naturalist and perhaps the odd macaqau greet you on arrival. Then the excitement begins - after proper refreshment of course. After suitable orientation, you depart on an afternoon drive in a rugged 4X4 through Kahna’s timeless landscape, traversing lush green meadows and skirting large bamboo stretches while keeping an eye out for tigers and barasinghas, a type of deer found exclusively in northern India.
The heart of the Banjaar Tola experience is the interpretive safari and wildlife excursions brought to the lodge by the expertise of conservation specialists, &beyond. Taj Safari guides undergoes an intensive 14-20 week training programme, the first of its kind in India. As a result, these expert naturalists are able to provide wildlife enthusiasts and adventure travellers with distinctive, interpretive wildlife experiences which are based on a proven and sustainable eco-tourism model. The jungle is brought to life by their skilled interpretation during nature walks and jeep safaris.
Herds of animals are found in the central parklands where approximately 22 animal species are regularly spotted, including the more unique species such as the three-striped palm squirrel, common langur, jackal, wild pig and black buck. Striped hyena, leopard, mouse deer and porcupine also reside here, as do the chinkara and ant-eating pangolin. It is also home to the highly endangered barasingha, as well as sambar, chital and gaur.
With over 300 recorded bird species, Kanha is a birdwatcher’s paradise - species include storks, teals, pintails, pond herons, egrets, peacock, pea fowl, jungle fowl, spur fowl, partridges, quails, green pigeons, cuckoos, rollers, bee-eater, hoopoes, drongos, warblers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, finches, orioles, owls, and fly catchers.
Featuring over 70 tree species, the forest is mixed and given the high rainfall precipitation one finds extensive stretches of Sal, Crocodile Bark, MadhucaIndica, Arjun (distinct for its pale bark and thick girth), Axle wood (locally referred to as Dhaoda) and Flame of the Forest or Palas – known for the glorious sight of its flowers in the drier season. Also on the list are the beautiful Mango and Jamun evergreen trees. Bamboo thickets are common and rolling meadows of grass and grassy plateau are integral for the herbivore population.
Naturalists are more than just guides. Vigorously trained by &beyond, they have an encyclopedic knowledge of every inhabitant of the forests, and every secret nook and pathway of the wilderness. Warm, personable, and genuinely excited about sharing their knowledge, they are an integral part of what makes the Taj Safari experience unique.