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CLONES : A VILLAGE AND A LUXURY RESORT

ECO FRIENDLY VILLAGE BECOMES THE MUSE OF A HIGH ENDED LUXURY SAFARI LODGE

Rub your eyes, its the village
Rub your eyes, its the village

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.

Cottages with terracotta tiles
Cottages with terracotta tiles

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.

Bee Eater ( can you spot them) and mustard fields
GreenBee Eaters ( can you spot them) , Machan and mustard fields

Hope the zoom in helps.

Bee Eaters  (Merops orientalis )
Bee Eaters
(Merops orientalis )

Can anyone identify this tiger striped insect? Is it food for the bee eaters?

An insect and the bud of the hibiscus
An insect and the bud of the hibiscus

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 Main Boulevard of Mardari Village
The  clean Main Boulevard of Mardari Village

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.

Cottage suite?
Cottage suite?
The watering hole
The watering hole
outdoor bath
outdoor bath

There are some features however which can be found only at the VILLAGE MARDARI.

The cow sheds
The cow sheds
happy lady of the house
happy lady of the house
A goat in the porch of the school
A goat in the porch of the school
 school girls
school girls

The name of the shop, Village name and timings of this shop are mentioned on the wall in blue on the left .

Grocery shop
Grocery shop

The last but not least is this cow with quite a character.

Very inquisitive as it why its being photogarphed
Very inquisitive as to why its being photogarphed

Hope you enjoyed reading, as i had  a  blast typing , the last in the series will be an article on the BANDAVGARH TIGER RESERVE for which you need check out :http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com

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Artifacts and Luxury in Bandavgarh Tiger Reserve

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).

Loved the guard room at the entrance
Loved the guard room at the entrance

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

Vigilant Guard Snoopy
The ever Vigilant Guard Snoopy

The principal or main building has two levels with the lobby, reception , bar ( watering hole)  , fireplace on the first floor.

The Main Building in the resort
The Main Building in the resort
A gorgeous  TIGER lobby in the principal building
A gorgeous TIGER lobby in the principal building

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.

The Reception table in the lobby
The Reception table in the lobby

Not a trophy, its made of brass by the Tribal craftsmen  of Chattisgarh. Bulk of the artifacts relate to the forest.

brass wild boar
brass wild boar

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.

SITA RAM
SITA RAM

Inside view from the rooms keeps you connected  to the forest outside .

wooden birds and costumes
wooden birds and costumes

Tastefully done bedroom. Do note the bedside lamps.Do see the earlier article/blog where there are additional pictures of the cottages.

patchwork quilts to keep you warm
patchwork quilts to keep you warm

This lovely elephant walks on the traditional dinner plate, the Thaali.( in brass) 

an elephant in marble
an elephant in marble

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.

cow bells and  wooden coat hangers
cow bells and wooden coat hangers

The wash rooms are delightful with an option of bathing  indoors or under the open skies.

They have traditional heaters powered by logs.

Bathe in the open
Bathe in the open

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.

staircase to food
staircase to food

Walkway from the Main building to the Dining Room.

Walk through the trees
Walk through the trees

Best is to eat outdoors as the weather in December is divine.

Dining in the trees
Dining in the trees

Menus in the spotlight.

Lunch Menu
Lunch Menu

For those who do not wish to share with the inhabitants of the forest, the indoors is an option.

will you share your plate with me ?
will you share your plate with me ?

The wooden beams are from a ship in Alang ( a port where old ships are broken up) in Gujarat.

Indoor dining area
Indoor dining area

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.

the tradiotal indian thaali converted into a table
the traditional  indian thaali converted into a table
Birds on a leaf
Birds on a leaf

Breakfast with the  birds.

lord Ganesha mask
lord Ganesha mask

Lions ( or are they tigers) adorn the walls of the swimming pool. The walls made of stone are so much as in the village.

Swimming pool and lions to watch
Swimming pool and lions to watch

The bar at the pool . The metal figures are  tribal craft at its best .

bar and changing area
bar and changing area

View of property from the Spa. The sails cover large beds near the pool.

view of pool from spa
view of pool from spa

Many flowers bloom at this time of the year.Walking to the spa.

full bloom
full bloom
trees in bloom
trees in bloom

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

welcome to the pool
welcome to the spa
Tribal metal craft
Tribal metal craft

Villager carry water in such utensils. Lovely shapes and sizes.

brass water utensils
brass water utensils

Care to detail is so important to the impression it leaves on the human mind. A fire extinguisher has a coat as well.

fire extinguishers
fire extinguishers

As the sun sets, the lamps are being primed to find their place . It’s also time for me to say ” good  bye”

tradional lamps
traditional lamps

Suitcase packed and transport ready.

time to go
time to go

LUXURY , A VILLAGE AND THE TROPIC OF CANCER

Umaria is a tiny sleepy village  town in the state of Madhya Pradesh,India.  Its claim to fame  ; it’s the nearest railway station to the famous Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

An overnight train from New Delhi takes you directly to Umaria. The train stops only  for a few minutes only so be sure to get off.

(do keep a watch out for write ups at http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com on Bandavgarh Forests)

sleepy UMARIA ( i love it)
sleepy UMARIA ( very calming for a city dweller)

Our destination is the SAMODE SAFARI LODGE which is a gorgeous  stand alone property in the buffer zone of the forest.

morning sun rays filter through the trees
morning sun rays filter through the trees in the forest

Do tell the driver to drive slowly as  a forest can give you glimpses of its treasures anytime anywhere.

keep the windows down  though its nippy in Decmeber
keep the windows down though its nippy in Decmeber

I would recommend a romantic  getaway to this ultra luxurious quiet and peaceful lodge in the midst of a jungle even if you are not a  wildlife enthusiast..

Sanode safari Lodge
Samode Safari Lodge

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.

the first glimpse of the dining area
the first glimpse of the dining area

A short walk  and we see glimpses of  the charming  mud  cottages ( suites) assigned to us.

charming wooden bridges form part of the walkways
charming wooden bridges form part of the walkways
mud homes and terracotta tiled roofs
mud homes and terracotta tiled roofs

Each cottage ( suite) has a unique private entrance modeled after a home in the village next door.

Swagatam inscribed in Hindi, means welcome
Swagatam inscribed in Hindi, means welcome

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.

The musical view from the bed
The musical view from the bed

Utter bliss: what can be better than a sun-downer, a book and the fabulous forest that  envelopes you.

the verandah attatched to every bedroom
the verandah attatched to every bedroom

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.

Its the village not luxurious samode safari Lodge
Its the village not luxurious samode safari Lodge

A  terracotta tiled roof cottage in the village.

similar to our room?
similar to our room?

The verandah of this cottage is so similar to the luxury resort.

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Verandah of a home in the viilage

Edible roof ? Hansel and Gretel

Organic homes for cattle
Organic homes for cattle

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.

Dedicated to Charlie my geography teacher in school.
Dedicated to Charlie my geography teacher in school.

The  black line on the maps in geography classes  in school had suddenly sprung to life.