ECO FRIENDLY VILLAGE BECOMES THE MUSE OF A HIGH ENDED LUXURY SAFARI LODGE
This article is Chapter 4 in my series titled: BANDAVGARH: LUXURY, A VILLAGE and THE TROPIC OF CANCER. If you read them in sequence your pleasure and understanding will be enhanced.
Mardari ( i hope i spelt is right) is the tiniest but sweetest of villages located on the fringes of the Bandavgarh Tiger Reserve.
While it has many unique features two are closest to my heart. It’s an ECO FRIENDLY ORGANIC VILLAGE. As you see the pictures you will see the extensive use of natural materials in the construction of each houses. The result is the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.
Hope the zoom in helps.
Can anyone identify this tiger striped insect? Is it food for the bee eaters?
The second aspect is the absence of garbage . No plastic bottles and plastic bags .
Look at the lovely bullock cart , construction is unique to the region.
The village and its architecture have been brilliantly cloned at the luxurious Samode Safari Lodge. The pictures will help you see the similarities in the detailing.
There are some features however which can be found only at the VILLAGE MARDARI.
The name of the shop, Village name and timings of this shop are mentioned on the wall in blue on the left .
The last but not least is this cow with quite a character.
This is the third in the series on Bandavgarh: LUXURY, VILLAGE & THE TROPIC OF CANCER .AS is human have not set off to the village from the lap of luxury.
Digressed a bit into Paintings & Artifacts. Though i think now , I shall make it a part of each place I visit as I loved the diversion.
However they were are so fascinating as they reveal stories ( fact and mythical) of the past. While you carry memories of the forest with you in the form of pictures or thoughts, artifacts on the other hand can be placed in our homes.
The Artifacts are but a few of the treasures you can see at this resort. Most of them bring to the fore the rich heritage of the region and the arts and crafts practiced by the skilled craftsmen who reside in Central India.
The Samode Safari Lodge is one of the very few and rare places which merges beautifully in its sylvan surroundings.
I relive the moments as i take you for a tour.
The stone wall, quaint windows and terracotta roof of the GUARD ROOM at the entrance to the sprawling property.
Do check the features which draw entirely from the neighboring Village”Mardari “( feature follows in subsequent blog).
I call him Snoopy ( from the comics of Tintin) as he bears a striking resemblance ( do you agree?) . For reasons best known to him, his preferred watch was the Dining Room
The principal or main building has two levels with the lobby, reception , bar ( watering hole), fireplace on the first floor.
Striking similarity to my office table. This is the reception. Mark the high techie typewriter and other nick knacks.The red books ( “Bahi”) are the traditional accounting books of the local businessman.
Not a trophy, its made of brass by the Tribal craftsmen of Chattisgarh. Bulk of the artifacts relate to the forest.
Most homes in the village have an auspicious drawing/ saying on the exterior front walls. This one reads SITA RAM and is inscribed on the walls of the cottages.
Inside view from the rooms keeps you connected to the forest outside .
Tastefully done bedroom. Do note the bedside lamps.Do see the earlier article/blog where there are additional pictures of the cottages.
This lovely elephant walks on the traditional dinner plate, the Thaali.( in brass)
These wooden peg coat hangers can be found in every home in the village. The wooden bell adorns the necks of cows so they remain within hearing range.
The wash rooms are delightful with an option of bathing indoors or under the open skies.
They have traditional heaters powered by logs.
Food and drink are essential to a fun trip and can make or break properties.
The painted wooden statues showcases the customs, society and fashionable attire of the people.
The featured image of Lakshman with the bow is from the epic Ramayan.
The name Bandhavgarh comes from him. “Bandhav” meaning brother of Ram ( the perfect God Hero of the epic Ramayan) and “garh” meaning fort. : bandhavgarh.
Walkway from the Main building to the Dining Room.
Best is to eat outdoors as the weather in December is divine.
Menus in the spotlight.
For those who do not wish to share with the inhabitants of the forest, the indoors is an option.
The wooden beams are from a ship in Alang ( a port where old ships are broken up) in Gujarat.
The interiors are aesthetically done incorporating many articles used in Indian homes to date.
The table top is an Indian Thaali ( a large plate made of metal). The food is then served in small bowls of metal placed on the plate. Each region in India has its own unique Thaali and food.
Breakfast with the birds.
Lions ( or are they tigers) adorn the walls of the swimming pool. The walls made of stone are so much as in the village.
The bar at the pool . The metal figures are tribal craft at its best .
View of property from the Spa. The sails cover large beds near the pool.
Many flowers bloom at this time of the year.Walking to the spa.
The spa is made like Indian homes of the past, with a large open courtyard forming the centre.
The spa has a central water body, a lily pond
Villager carry water in such utensils. Lovely shapes and sizes.
Care to detail is so important to the impression it leaves on the human mind. A fire extinguisher has a coat as well.
As the sun sets, the lamps are being primed to find their place . It’s also time for me to say ” goodbye”
Our destination is the SAMODE SAFARI LODGE which is a gorgeous stand alone property in the buffer zone of the forest.
Do tell the driver to drive slowly as a forest can give you glimpses of its treasures anytime anywhere.
I would recommend a romantic getaway to this ultraluxurious quiet and peaceful lodge in the midst of a jungle even if you are not a wildlifeenthusiast..
The entire premises are beautifully merged into the surroundings and the construction is inspired in large measure by the neighboring village. No manicured gardens, all are permitted to wander without restraint. There is total Freedom.
The large metal containers are used to store grains.
A short walk and we see glimpses of the charming mud cottages ( suites) assigned to us.
Each cottage ( suite) has a unique private entrance modeled after a home in the village next door.
The cottages are the ultimate in Luxury. The artifacts and furniture are very carefully selected and i shall write on them in chapter two of this article.So follow my blogs to be updated.
For now i stick to three topics: Luxury: Village & the Tropic of Cancer.
Utter bliss: what can be better than a sun-downer, a book and the fabulous forest that envelopes you.
As i dream of the lovely Samode safari Lodge while i write ,I do realize I will be compelled to add a Chapter two as well .
So lets get out of these luxurious rooms and go for a walk to the neighbouring village to see the life of an Indian village on the fringes of a Tiger Reserve.
Do compare the pictures to those posted above.
A terracotta tiled roof cottage in the village.
The verandah of this cottage is so similar to the luxury resort.
Edible roof ? Hansel and Gretel
Do keep a watch out for more stories on this amazing destination in the days to follow.
Umaria is also known for an important key geographical feature.
The TROPIC OF CANCER, passes through the eco-friendly village ,Samode Safari Lodge and the sleepy town UMARIA.
The black line on the maps in geography classes in school had suddenly sprung to life.