सतपुड़ा के घने जंगल।
नींद मे डूबे हुए से
ऊँघते अनमने जंगल।
As someone who has spent a large part of her life around the Satpura forest, this is home. And while I have lived around for years, at different places in different times, I have visited the forest only thrice. The most recent was last month, Feb 2018.
This time around, we were looking for a relaxing vacation where we could just stay in the property, laze around, recuperate and spend some us-time. Denwa Backwater Escape – Satpura Tiger Reserve worked as a perfect getaway and even after a week since our return, we keep talking about the lovely property, the friendly staff and the food we cannot seem to forget.
Before I talk about the property, let me tell you how to reach there. I realised this is important after many people messaged me asking how to get here, after seeing my pictures on various social media platforms. Do you follow me on Facebook and Instagram? I say you must, for regular amazing updates! 😉
So to reach Bhopal, the easiest thing to do is to fly down to Bhopal. You can also take a train to Hoshangabad. We had driven down from here. While the distance is only a little above 130 kms, it takes a good 3 hours and sometimes a bit more if you get in traffic jams like we had. Lodge Manager Nipun had called us to check on us and our tentative time of arrival. So yes, Bhopal or Hoshangabad should be where you go first to reach Denwa Backwater Escape – Satpura Tiger Reserve.
About 15 kms before the resort, and a little after entering the forest area, we lost network in our phones. Only BSNL mobiles get network coverage here, let me warn you! Anyhow, this was exactly what we had in mind, to disconnect from the world and connect with each other, so we had no qualms.
We were welcomed by Nipun, Swanand (Naturalist) and representatives of the staff. The welcome drink was a lemon grass sherbet which worked as a charm to our dehydrated bodies. Here, we were handed two steel water bottles and learnt something amazing about a policy followed at all properties of Pugdundee Safari. In their resolve to conserve nature to their optimum capability, all the properties are
plastic free zones and discourage usage of plastic bottles as well. The metal bottles are gifted to all visitors to use while in the property, going for nature walks and safari, and to talk back home with them, to use in their own cities, minimising the use of plastic there as well. Impressed, we allowed Nipun to lead us to our cottage.
We could see that the land has been left as was, in most of the places, keeping disturbance of the ecosystem to minimal. Here, you’ll be actually right in the middle of nature and not man-made landscapes. Except for the areas where cottages and tree houses have been constructed, the remaining area, barring from narrow pathways, has its trees, plants, shrubs, everything intact.
As I said, the property has been built on minimum amount of land, only the sections absolutely required and the rest of the area has been left as was. The cottages are made of rocks, stones and wood, mostly. So much so that there are steps which are slabs of rocks and, the beds and side tables are slabs of stones placed on an elevated area. The interior of the cottages are done tastefully and keeping the ambience close to nature. There is a lot of use of wood in furniture and other interiors. Below are few pics of the inside of the cottage we stayed in. The place was cozy, homely and right on the lap of nature. Exactly what we overworked souls needed to recuperate in.
At the backside of the cottage was a porch with a view to the river and the mountains beyond. While the view needs to be witnessed first hand, but first, let me give you a glimpse of how the porch looks. The chairs are straight out of a book cover and lazying here, watching the sun go down and the sky light get dimmer was a pleasure.
The bathroom is made of stones and wood, even to the dustbin and hangers which were made of bamboo. The wash and toilet areas are separated and surrounded by slabs of granite which ensure that we spent quite some minutes exploring the decor. Here is a short video taken on the phone.
After a short rest, we headed for lunch. The lunch room is stylish and cozy. Outside is a verandah with a beautiful view of nature, with light breeze blowing, making it ideal to sit and read a book along with enjoying a drink, or just sitting with friends and having jolly time.
Food was a delight and what we loved was that there was no wastage. Most places have buffets or guests order from the menu. They eat what they can and a lot of food gets wasted. Here, a pre-decided, three course meal is cooked and served to the guests on the table. Servers are ready with repeated servings if the guests want, and this way everyone eats as much as they can. Not only does this save us from overeating, it minimises wastage of food too. I will be doing a separate post on the food at Denwa Backwater Escape – Satpura Tiger Reserve because it truly deserves one, and link it here. In the meanwhile, sharing few of the food pics.
The food cooked is light, delicious and I must add that leaves you with a delicious aftertaste. It’s been more than ten days since I have been back and I wish I could get Chef Vijaylakshmi’s signature dish, Burmese Khousuey! Oh yes, that reminds me, imagine our surprise when we met her and learn she was the fourth in Master Chef season 2 and is now the Corporate Chef for all the resorts under Pugdundee Safaris.
We were celebrating an anniversary the night we were at the lodge and Nipun & his team gave us a surprise we shall always cherish and remember. When we went for dinner that night, we were met by him outside the building and he asked us to follow us to somewhere behind the building. The thrill, the uncertainity and the surprise that followed, deserves a special post and I shall be doing so and linking it here. Wait for it, we had an experience of a lifetime!
The next morning, we went for a nature walk with Swanand, the in-house naturalist with the property. We also learnt about the camping trips that Pugdandee provides and were curious to know more. Nipun patiently told us everything that happens in the camping trips, including describing the entourage that goes along. At the nature walk which was a little more than an hour, Swanand took us through a trail where we learnt about birds, trees and animals, a lot of which we didn’t know before.
The property has eight cottages and two treehouses. The staff is most courteous and helpful. With there being a dearth of options for places to go to for long weekends from Bhopal, Denwa Backwater Escape – Satpura Tiger Rese seemed like a great option to us.