Inspired by a blog post of Mridula, last January of 2014 I decided to visit Bagh Van Taj Safary Resort in Pench. Pench is located in the border of Maharasthra and Madhya Pradesh. One can approach it from Nagpur or from Bhopal.
We flew from Delhi to Nagpur. Our flight was in the morning around 7 am. We were apprehensive that because of fog in winter mornings our scheduled flight may not take of. Nothing of the sort, however, happened. We took off on time and reached Nagpur by 9 in the morning. Nagpur was much warmer compared to Delhi. We were driven from the airport in a Tata Innova, registered in Delhi, driven by a driver from Andhra Pradesh. Nagpur has a population of 25 lac, a far cry Delhi’s 2 crore. Roads were less crowded. Though people drove haphazardly without any regard for traffic rules. Nagpur being capital of Maharasthra, we found roads to be reasonably clean and free of dirt. We, however, drove through main thoroughfare and did not venture into interior.
We hit toll highway soon. For a while road was good beyond Nagpur. Thereafter, it started to deteriorate with big potholes and craters. We were surprised inspite of many tourists travelling through the road, why it was in such a state of disrepair. We were told, road is even worse if we come via Bhopal. In that section, any small vehicle is bound to damage its shock absorber. A journey of one and half hour from Nagpur, easily takes two hours or even more if one is caught in an unfortunate circumstance like traffic jam on highway.
We left highway at Sheoni and started moving towards Pench. Even few years before forest used to be much advanced. Now advancing civilisation has shrunk forest. City people and wealthy people have purchased farm houses and forest has moved back. Villagers say, tiger still strays out in these areas. Baghvan is also located almost at the periphery of now truncated forest, may be 10 km interior from highway.
As we entered through the gate, we saw staff members lined up to welcome us by waving their hand. I naively assumed may be they are not getting enough guests. So staff is really happy to see us. Later I learnt, this was the general practice in the resort.
We were introduced to our naturalist, a person who seems to be knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the forest. This person would also drive us around in the forest, along with a guide allotted by government. We were also introduced to manager, chef and a few other staff members in the resort. We were told, resort has a swimming pool, it has a computer room for people who cannot live without looking at their e-mail. There were also few cycles. Enthusiasts can borrow cycles and bike around the resort.
We were allotted two independent cottages. Cottages were scattered in the campus of resort. A narrow trail leads guests from lobby to their cottages. Trails are lit by solar power during evening and night. Resort is by the Pench river. Resort is fenced. One can occasionally see animals on river bed.
Each cottage had a bed room, a deck overlooking forest, a bathroom and a machan. Shown below is the front view of one cottage.
Shown is the bed room of the cottage. This room was equipped with a double bed, a study table and a sofa. Room was air-conditioned. There was a battery operated torch and cold water and lemon squash provided in the room.
A view of the deck. There was a swing, a yoga mat and some weight lifting equipments. Most importantly, one can sit on the deck and soak up environment.
A view of the machan. One can sleep there, have a party and dinner on the machan. I did not sleep on the machan because it was cold. But I spend some part of an afternoon there on the machan.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner, one had to walk back to the lobby. Dining hall was there in the same building as the resort lobby.
Shown is a shot of dining area. Hotel staff keep shifting dining area for each family for different meals. This we were told to promote intermingling as well as to give a feel of different areas of the resort.
We spent three nights in the resort. We enjoyed our stay. In the next part, I shall describe our experience of jungle safary, the main reason for visiting Pench.
Tags: Baghvan, Taj Safary,TIger Safary, Pench, Resort, Cottage, Machan, Nagpur, Bhopal, Maharashtra, Madhy Pradesh