Kahna Jungle Lodge is an environmentally-sensitive yet conveniently located provincial jungle lodge built in the midst of a rich Sal forest. Established in 1987, the boutique lodge offers 18 spacious rooms and 2 deluxe cottages for guests who appreciate some of the finer things in life amidst a jungle-setting. Expect superior hospitality, great Indian food (probably the best in the entire state of Madhya Pradesh), cooking classes, candle-light jungle dinners and some of the best hot tea around-the-clock. Choices include lemon-grass, chai and fresh ginger tea – a favorite of most everyone.
Kahna National Park and Tiger Reserve
Located next to Kahna National Park and Tiger Reserve in the Maikal range, the heart of the central Indian highlands, it is the closest lodge to the Mukki entrance gate. This greatly aides in making early morning safari tours much easier.
If you haven’t been to India, it’s important to note that Kanha National Park usually makes any top-10 list for travelers who visit India. One of the reasons is that it was the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. Another reason is that it is here where you’ll find Bengal tigers, leopards, sloth bears, wild dogs (dhole), jungle cats, foxes, gaur and about 300 avian species, including the colorful Indian roller. Barasinghas, also known as swamp deer, are the national success story as they were brought back from the edge of extinction and now are living testaments to the power of effective conservation techniques within the park.
Kanha Jungle Lodge as a complete jungle experience
Located on an 11-acre estate, all rooms at Kanha Jungle Lodge come with twin or double beds, reading lights and writing table and chair, large luggage rack and attached bathrooms with hot and cold water. A real treat is when you retreat to your lodge at night with the covers turned down and a hot water bottle tucked under the blankets to ease your back fatigue or warm your feet.
A large round thatched dining room area seats guests as they are treated to some of the freshest and quality Indian dishes to be had. And even if you aren’t vegetarian, they always serve at least one meat dish nightly. This area also serves as the hub for lectures on star gazing, cooking and even photography.
The Kanha Jungle Lodge uses a combination of several initiatives to minimize their footprint on the land. Besides all buildings being environmentally integrated with jungle flora and fauna, other initiatives include solar energy, two different types of solar cookers for food preparation, and worm compositing for the “efficient and hygienic disposal of organic waste.” This provides a rich organic fertilizer for organic farming on site.
Signature hospitality elevates experience at Kanha Jungle Lodge
Most management and staff have been with Kanha Jungle Lodge since its beginning. Tahun and Dimple Bhati, the general managers, leave no particulars to chance. Their charismatic involvement in all daily details ensures a completely authentic jungle safari experience for all guests. (The return ratio of satisfied guests is a testament to how special this place is.)
Legacy of the Tiger
Kanha Jungle Lodge is owned by Amit Sankhala, a progenitor of the legendary Kailash Sankhala, who had the vision over 50 years ago to preserve and protect India’s tigers, forming “Project Tiger”. Today, grandson Amit is the Managing Director of Tiger Resorts Pvt Ltd and Encounters Asia. His commitment to conservation and responsible tourism, as well as to ensuring the survival of the legendary tiger of India, is a testament to both the legacy and spirit of India. Amit is featured in the Discovery channel documentary Tigerland, aired on March 30, 2019. It was also released at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in the year.
Booking a twin/double room on the Jungle Plan amounts to about $530 USD per night, while a single room is about $475 USD per night. This includes all meals as well as morning and evening tea/coffees with snacks. It also includes two jungle safaris per day by 4 x 4 open exclusive jeep, Elephant ride (subject to availability), services of resident naturalist, all entrances fees, jeep entry fees, forest guide fees and all applicable taxes.
You can make reservations directly with Kahna Jungle Lodge. You can also book through Tripadvisor. It is advised that trips be scheduled for October through June, outside India’s monsoon season. If you are looking for an environmentally authentic jungle safari and lodge that promotes the preservation of India’s Bengal tigers and wildlife, Kahna Jungle Lodge is a premiere choice.
Hotel review by New Mexico-based travel & food writer/photographer Karin Leperi. She paid for three nights safari experience at Kanha Jungle Lodge as part of an exclusive photo tour safari. All photos and text by Karin Leperi.