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How 2 Associates Constructed Forest Hideaways


On the outskirts of the dense forest of Bandhavgarh Nationwide Park in Madhya Pradesh, wealthy with royal Bengal tigers, white tigers, leopards and deer, one can spot 5 homes on and among the many bushes. Right here one can see wild animals and birds within the reserved forest. 

These tree and dust homes are the brainchild of two associates from Uttarakhand.

Manav Khanduja and Shyamendra Singhare, who studied within the area of setting and hospitality, respectively, at all times dreamt of beginning a enterprise that was steeped in nature with out inflicting it any hurt. “It began with our love for jungles and wildlife,” says Manav, co-founder and director of Pugdundee Safaris primarily based in Haryana.

‘Pugdundee’ is a Hindi phrase that means – ‘a foot path generally utilized by people and animals’.

Mud house by Pugdundee safaris in madhya pradesh
Mud home by Pugdundee.

This phrase is often used for crushed paths within the Indian jungles. Pugdundee Safaris, which had a humble starting in 1986, is now a accountable safari firm with seven properties throughout central India.

The start of Pugdundee was reasonably unplanned, says the duo. It began as a small tented camp at Panna as Ken River Lodge. “This was began as a part-time enterprise. However as soon as we realised the curiosity from travellers in the direction of nature and wildlife tourism, we understood the scope and determined to develop,” says Manav, including, “The expansion was sluggish as we used the earnings from one property to construct the following. After the primary enterprise in 1986, we arrange two extra lodges between 2007-2010.”

Right this moment, Pugdundee Safaris have expanded to incorporate the next properties in Madhya Pradesh: Kanha Earth Lodge in Kanha Nationwide Park, Denwa Backwater Escape in Satpura Nationwide Park, Pench Tree Lodge in Pench Nationwide Park, Treehouse Hideaway and Kings Lodge in Bandhavgarh Nationwide Park and Ken River Lodge in Panna Nationwide Park. 

explore forest and wildlife with pugundee safaris
Pugdundee Safaris has seven properties throughout Central India.

In addition they have Waghoba Eco Lodge in Tadoba Nationwide Park, Maharashtra.

Shyamendra provides, “Central India is blessed with the nation’s most interesting wildlife. It’s on the want record of each wildlife fanatic. The parks listed below are so numerous that one can really feel fully overwhelmed by the mere expanse of the wilderness. The state additionally inhabits India’s hottest nationwide parks, recognized for tiger sightings together with Kanha and Bandhavgarh.” 

Pugdundee Safaris’ intimate jungle lodges, positioned inside widespread nationwide parks, let travellers carefully expertise the wilderness of the nation. Manav, who graduated from the Centre for Setting Legislation at WWF, provides, “Since all of the properties are located within the suburbs of nationwide parks, permission from the officers was a should. Because the tasks are fully sustainable, there weren’t many challenges in buying them.”

“In Pugdundee we guarantee incomparable wildlife safaris,” he says, including, “Between 2009 and 2022, we have now been awarded for our excellence in safaris, our dedication to sustainability and our skilled naturalists.”

the sustainable lodges of pugdundee safaris in the middle of forests
Pugdundee Safaris’ intimate jungle lodges, positioned inside widespread nationwide parks, let travellers carefully expertise the wilderness of the nation.

What began with simply two associates is now run by a passionate crew of 300 professionals, 80 per cent of whom are locals, dedicated to offering an unimaginable wildlife expertise. Manav says, “The crew consists of naturalists, nature guides, boatmen, trackers and a advertising and marketing crew primarily based in Delhi.”

Escape to the wild

Proper from the start, the founders’ thought was not simply to begin a hospitality enterprise. Whereas among the lodges present a uncooked, into-the-nature expertise, a couple of have luxurious set-ups with a non-public pool, multi-cuisine meals and a snug keep.

“However most of our friends are inclined in the direction of easy setups,” he says. For instance, a preferred selection, Kanha Earth Lodge is tucked away in a small tribal hamlet. It’s in-built lower than 10 per cent of the 16 acres of pure forest that homes it. “The lodge and its furnishings are constructed and designed utilizing native materials, waste and recycled wooden, a real reflection of impeccable requirements in inexperienced structure. Mud is the primary uncooked materials of this ‘earth’ home. And all of the partitions are fabricated from mud and wooden.”

The wood finished interiors made using recycled materials in pugdundee safaris
Wooden completed interiors made utilizing recycled supplies.

Sustainably constructing treehouses and lodges and using native folks had been the opposite goals of the enterprise. A lot of the employees at Pugdundee are from close by villages and have an innate love for the jungles {and professional} dedication past the decision of obligation. “Over 45 of them who got here in as learners within the area of hospitality at the moment are working in managerial roles,” he provides.

Manav says, “We imagine that native folks maintain the way forward for the forests of their arms and may both assist defend or destroy them. If we want to preserve our forests, we should take care of the wants of native folks by serving to to enhance their capability to earn livelihoods, which in flip will improve their requirements of residing. Addressing their wants is the important thing to making sure the way forward for our pure habitats. We constantly attempt to ship the very best visitor expertise, whereas nonetheless integrating the conservation of jungles and the folks residing round them.”

The duo agree that ‘accountable tourism and wildlife conservation go hand-in-hand’. So the lodges have a strict’ zero single-use plastic’ coverage. The areas are introduced in vernacular structure types, tastefully constructed with an emphasis on native and inexperienced structure. 

“For over 5 years, we proceed to be actively engaged in contributing to the training and infrastructure of the native faculties,” Manav says. “Adopting farm-to-table initiatives by serving contemporary meals grown in our natural kitchen gardens and sourced from native farmers is one other measure. Above 70 per cent of lodge providers and procurement wants are met domestically.”

organic vegetables collected from local farmers is used to make meals in pugdundee lodges
From farm to plate.

The lodges are ‘rewilded’ with native species extending into pure forests, providing secure passage to visiting wildlife and a pure habitat to many different species. The meals wanted for the lodges is procured from inside 100 miles of every location. “This not solely helps our model change into carbon optimistic but additionally advantages the native farmers and financial system,” says Manav, including, “Now we have fastidiously curated our natural gardens to present our friends the style of native flavour served with the uncompromised good thing about diet throughout our lodges.”

Moreover, they’ve adopted ESG (environmental, social, and governance), the worldwide sustainability standards for lodges, offered by the World Sustainable Tourism Council in 2020 which is reviewed yearly.

Name of the wild

“Being a wildlife resort, sitting within the hub of wildlife, the important thing expertise that our friends count on after they go to us is a jungle safari. However we additionally host a number of different actions that may give them an actual style of native life and promote non-vehicular greener choices of basking within the blissful serenity. This consists of village visits, native meals tasting, nature walks, biking, sundowner treks and far more,” gushes Shyamendra.

jeep safaris to the forest are provided in the lodges of pugdundee
To the wild.

The lodges are totally operational between October to June as that is the time when the core space of the parks is open for guests. The founders counsel that summers are often thought-about to be an excellent time for sighting because the vegetation throughout these forests dries down, providing a clearer view. Winters, then again, have their perks and the fantastic thing about the forests is unmatched. 

Manav says, “All our lodges are boutique lodging and permit solely a restricted variety of consumption at any time limit.”

Happy guests with the staff of pugdundee after a safari
Blissful friends with the employees after a safari.

The crew will be reached out via emails or direct calls. “We’re energetic throughout social media, so clients reaching out to us via any of the platforms that we’re current on, can also be a straightforward choice to make the bookings,” notes Manav.

The crew has obtained a number of awards and recognitions together with a silver medal in Worldwide Centre for Accountable Tourism (ICRT) Awards 2022 for lowering plastic waste within the setting class, one other silver medal within the sustainable management lodges class of Outlook Indian Accountable Tourism Awards 2022, and India’s main wildlife resort award by South Asian Journey Awards 2017.

The worth vary for every lodge, relying upon the actions and variety of days begins from Rs 10,000. For bookings and extra, go to their web site right here.

Edited by Yoshita Rao; Photograph credit: Web site of Pugdundee Safaris


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