Waghoba Eco Lodge – Sustainable safari lodges in Tadoba
It’s darkish and nippy and as my eyes get used to the shadows of the dense undergrowth and the outlines of the clusters of tall grass standing as sentinels within the wilderness, I instantly see a pair of eyes boring into mine amidst a clearing within the clump of bushes. I change on my flashlight to see the life-like eyes of Waghoba, the deified tiger trying upon me with a solemn stare. I notice that I’m standing on hallowed floor. That is the shrine of Waghoba, the tiger or Wagh who’s worshipped by the Gonds within the tribal heartland round Tadoba Nationwide Park. “One can find many stone collectible figurines of tigers with tridents surrounding them within the forests and villages, says Mayuresh Joshi, the naturalist at Waghoba Eco Lodge interrupting my reverie. The Waghoba Eco Lodge the place I’m staying is without doubt one of the most sustainable safari lodges, situated within the buffer zone of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. It takes its title from the revered tiger and pays its veneration to the mighty creature and it’s only apt that I search the blessings of this revered deity earlier than I set out for my maiden safari within the Tadoba Nationwide Park, hoping for a glimpse.
Waghoba Eco Lodge is the most recent within the steady of sustainable safari lodges from Pugdundee Safaris and the primary in Maharashtra, situated within the buffer zone of the Tadoba Nationwide Park. It is usually one of the crucial eco-friendly amongst Tadoba Tiger Reserve accommodations and wildlife lodges. That is my first time at Tadoba and I’m hosted by Pugdundee Safaris on this new wildlife lodge that’s the poster little one of sustainability and aware luxurious. Misplaced amidst 12 acres of wilderness, the very first thing I really feel is the sheer earthiness and the uncooked and rustic panorama with a smattering of native bushes surrounded by unbridled grasslands and shrublands.
For a second I really feel like I’m in the course of nowhere. The closest village is a number of miles away and you might be simply girdled by the jungle. The stripes could also be wherever as invisible eyes could also be watching me however then at Waghoba Eco Lodge, the majestic tiger is nearly ubiquitous in all places – be it a painted stone deity or as a stuffed toy, the pugmarks on the ground, or the art work on the partitions.
We attain Waghoba Eco Lodge after a five-hour drive from Pench Tree Lodge situated in Pench National Park, as we cross the border from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra. The lodge is nearer to Nagpur because it’s about a few hours from town, which has a world airport as effectively whereas the 8-lane Nagpur – Hyderabad Freeway makes the journey slightly comfy. The closest railhead is at Chandrapur which is about an hour away and the village is Wadala Tukum within the Bhadravati taluk in Chandrapur.
“Generally wildlife comes calling proper right here, close to our lodge, ” says Common Supervisor Ghanshyam Singh, as he explains the various gates and zones of Tadoba Nationwide Park. Waghoba Eco Lodge is near Khutwanda Gate of the Tadoba Nationwide Park, which is barely 20 minutes away. A lot of the Tadoba tiger reserve accommodations are situated close to different gates and zones however Waghoba Eco Lodge stands out from the remainder by way of its give attention to each tourism and conservation. Standing there within the reception and sipping my welcome drink, I’m misplaced within the open tract of land unfold out in entrance of me as I look out of the big open window, which frames the wild panorama. The huge open grasslands, indigenous bushes and native shrubs skirting a lake brimming with birds greet me and I really feel overwhelmed amidst the untamed wilderness
Not like Pench Tree Lodge, which has a dense cover of woodlands, Waghoba Eco Lodge opens into the uncooked and tough outside, untamed and untraversed, nature in its personal pristine self. The winds set the bushes in movement as they sway to their rhythm. I see a pair of bee-eaters and a red-vented bulbul flitting across the bushes, whereas a number of pipits merge with the panorama.
” A pair of foxes reside close to the property, ” provides Mayuresh as we go for a stroll across the campus, watching the solar squint by way of the bushes whereas we search for extra birds. The ecosystem and the biodiversity have been preserved and restored, wherever wanted. Whereas a number of the native bushes have been right here for years, some native flora has been planted, in order that the biodiversity has been maintained. Maybe for this reason Waghoba Eco Lodge ranks very excessive within the checklist of sustainable safari lodges situated round Tadoba Tiger Reserve,
“The bamboo is in bloom, a phenomenon that occurs as soon as in 40-50 years. There are various bushes like teak, mahua, tendu, crocodile bark , jamun, shisham and palash right here. The Palash will quickly bloom in spring and summer season portray the panorama purple, ” says Mayuresh. I make a psychological notice to come back again quickly.
The whole panorama round Waghoba Eco Lodge is painted in hues of gold, yellows, browns, and greens and the lodge blends so effortlessly with the panorama with using native supplies like sandstone on the facade and handmade adobe bricks that tinge the partitions with these pure hues. You nearly get a sense that you’re a a part of the panorama, as there appears to be no interruption or disturbance to the environs. The wildlife eco-lodge simply blends seamlessly with the pure ecosystem, making it probably the greatest sustainable safari lodges amongst different Tadoba Tiger Reserve accommodations.
There are 14 unique luxurious cottages and the emphasis is on aware luxurious and sustainability. Whereas the structure is designed by Bangalore-based Biome Options which has sourced all of the indigenous parts and supplies domestically, the design is impressed by the tribal villages and native aesthetics, retaining in thoughts the eco-construction and the wild ecosystem
The very first thing that I see after I enter my one-bedroom cottage is the ceiling stacked with Guna vault roof tiles. Together with the handmade adobe bricks, they’re laced with damaged ceramics, mosaics, and stonework. And the rooms are atmospheric and rustic, but luxurious. There may be handcrafted furnishings made with teak wooden and the partitions are stuffed with illustrations that provide you with a peek into tribal life and wildlife.
The tiger is ubiquitous as it’s current in numerous types within the decor. There’s a giant lavatory with a skylight and natural and inexperienced toiletries with no plastic – even the toothbrush and paste are pure. My favorite a part of the room is the deck which supplies me a sense of being a part of the outside, whilst I laze in mattress and watch daybreak break or the solar calling it a day.
The lodge is clad in earthy tones and has a relaxed vibe and affords a wild and secluded expertise. There are a number of cozy nooks for studying or ruminating and a cheerful images conceal to stand up near birds and wildlife with out disturbing them. A big shaded swimming pool with a sundeck, a nature library, a lounge space, a restaurant, and a accountable memento store are a number of the services right here. There may be even a presentation room with day by day interactions with naturalists and wildlife and different documentaries on conservation and on social enterprises are screened right here for friends as effectively.
Waghoba Eco Lodge, like each different wildlife lodge of Pugdundee Safaris, serves native, conventional, genuine delicacies actually on a platter – the one distinction being, the plates listed here are etched with illustrations of tiger paws. The truth is, that’s the very first thing that I see after I enter the eating room. And naturally, the tiger has acquired to be in all places.
The at all times smiling and enthusiastic Chef Ark Bagchi likes to experiment whilst he prepares native and genuine dishes, be it the healthful Varadhi Thaali, the delectable Maharashtrian Thali, or the spicy Hyderabad thali. But it surely’s not all about thalis. From yummy sabudaana khichdi to batata vada, each dish is completely divine.
An avid gardener, Chef has his personal non-public backyard of seasonal produce, regardless that there’s a bigger lush and verdant natural natural and vegetable backyard that could be a excellent spot to only forage.
The center of a vacation spot lies in its native flavours and right here the cooks from Waghoba delicacies have rekindled the age-old conventional delicacies from the area. I like to recommend the scrumptious Varadhi Thali which has two distinct flavours – the spicy Saoji curries and the milder Varhadi. Our menu additionally consists of the flavoured Patodi Rasaa, a light spicy gravy with patodi, a dish made with small items of cooked chickpea flour or besan. My vegetarian thali affords a plate filled with goodness – there may be multigrain roti and rice with batata bhindi bhaji, salad, and kadi with jowar papad and spicy garlic chutney powder, For the meat eaters there may be dahi mutton. The dessert is a yummy fried modak and for ice cream lovers, there’s a choice of flavours which might be all made right here within the kitchen.
Each meal is particular right here. Breakfast is normally packed for these heading out for an early morning safari with a mixture of native savouries, cookies and fruits. From Johar cheela to kothimbir vada, each dish is native, seasonal, and contemporary whereas the elements are sourced domestically right here together with the millets
Particular meal necessities together with allergic reactions are catered to and you may ask for gluten-free meals as effectively. The lodge prides itself on not including any refined elements or packaged dishes and there are not any synthetic flavours added to any dish.
Dinners are quieter and you may select from an array of a la carte menus with Indian or Far Jap or Continental dishes. If it’s a special day, al fresco dinners are additionally arrange on the deck space and by the poolside. However be it the packed breakfast for the safaris, the splendid thalis for lunch, or the multicuisine dinner, each meal is a gastronomic expertise. I significantly love the soups, that are simply heavenly with simply the suitable tinge of spices and flavours. And one of many particular highlights for me is the crispy fried dish made with freshly plucked zucchini flowers. There are different night snacks as effectively and in case you are not on a safari, you might be endlessly consuming.
It’s not simply the menu that’s impressed by native delicacies. Lunch is served in conventional hand-made Kansa thalis whereas dinner is served in hand-made pottery crafted solely for the lodge.
Experiences and Actions
Safaris, safaris, and extra safaris. All roads for the wildlife fanatic level to the core and buffer zones of the Tadoba Tiger Reserve the place you’ll be able to go for open jeep safaris. The lodge booked three safaris for us – two early-morning safaris within the core and buffer zones and an evening safari as effectively. The dry deciduous forest with grasslands and tracts of bamboo groves is an ideal habitat for wildlife and wildlife sightings.
The joys to be within the open, watching daybreak unfold in entrance of you, the place the forests come to life, curious denizens like deer and monkeys observing us, the reticent wild boars and gaurs aren’t so pleased to see us, the elusive leopards watch us from their hidden haunts whereas the majestic tiger teases us with a sport of conceal and search earlier than they oblige us typically with a glimpse.
And that’s how the game is performed on each safari and we’re lastly fortunate when the swish and delightful tigress Roma wakened from her siesta behind a clump of bushes and walked into the street the place we, the paparazzi waited to sight her and take a number of images.
The evening safari is equally magical with the bushes doing a dance within the moonlight with the winds encouraging them, whereas the nocturnal animals and birds determine to say howdy. We narrowly miss a tiger however we see a sloth bear beside birds like nightjars and thick-knee amongst others. If you’re adventurous you’ll be able to even keep in a log hut within the dense forest for an evening and expertise the habitat of the nocturnal creatures.
There are additionally nature trails and walks and birdwatching classes contained in the property as effectively. A lake images conceal can be accessible for individuals who wish to stand up and near the biodiversity, the birds, and the smaller mammals and nocturnal creators with out disturbing them.
One other journey is biking trails as effectively. Nonetheless, in case you are into crops and produce, natural gardening, and native vegetation, then you’ll be able to lose your self within the verdant secret backyard of magical herbs and shrubs, greens and fruits as effectively.
There are additionally many actions outdoors the Waghoba Eco Lodge. I’ll strongly suggest the cruise alongside the backwaters of the Irai lake and whereas it’s an effective way to do some birdwatching, it’s also possible to sight crocodiles and in case you are fortunate, the tiger too.
Accountable tourism has been on the very core of their philosophy at Pugdundee Safaris. They’re strongly dedicated to surroundings and conservation, ladies empowerment, and creating equal alternatives, sustainability, and social growth. They have been acknowledged for his or her inexperienced initiatives with the ICRT Award and Outlook Indian Accountable Tourism Awards in 2022. Top-of-the-line sustainable safari lodges among the many Tadoba Tiger Reserve Resorts, Waghoba Eco Lodge walks the speak relating to wildlife conservation.
The precedence is on inexperienced structure and eco-construction. Handmade conical tiles utilized in vaulted ceilings with ceramic mosaic on prime stabilised adobes or sun-baked mud brick and sandstone on the partitions, the flooring with golden brown limestone, and sustainable lights – all the pieces is fastidiously blended collectively to create an opulent however sustainable expertise.
The emphasis can be to scale back the warmth in summer season and reduce using concrete and electrical energy and maintain it minimal and native. However sustainability can be within the minuscule particulars. Whereas the linen is cotton, the toiletries are natural and no plastic has been used. Whereas recycled metal bottles and bottles are saved within the room for friends, the packaging containers are plant-based and there are newspaper carry baggage and dental kits made with bamboo. Reclaimed teak wooden has been utilized in furnishings, terracotta lamps add to the decor making a pure earthy ambiance.
The main target right here is on the outside and sustaining the biodiversity of the panorama in order that lodges are primarily extensions of the wildlife habitat. Invasive and unique species of flora have given technique to native and endemic crops and bushes which might be a part of the unique deciduous and bamboo forest. Along with the rewilding, a inexperienced hall has been created round a semi-arid lake that has been revived. With rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, and wastewater remedy, the lake is on the nucleus of the eco-lodge that’s focussed on aware luxurious.
Apart from the structure, the main target has been on rising native produce and reviving age-old culinary traditions, and recreating rustic regional delicacies with a sustainable perspective. The lodge additionally works with native communities and helps social enterprises, native self-help teams and NGOs and sources merchandise and supplies from them, be it cutlery or souvenirs. In addition they practice naturalists and native guides within the nationwide park and empower ladies and give attention to equal livelihood alternatives. All these measures and actions make Waghoba Eco Lodge one of the crucial sustainable safari lodges amongst different Tadoba Tiger Reserve accommodations and resorts.
Diksha the younger bakery chef discovers her love for baking after she began working right here a number of months in the past. Shek Shaheen, a naturalist moved from Pune and Hyderabad right here to comply with her ardour in wildlife. Shreya Parab’s love for the wilds made her go away the concrete jungle of Mumbai to the eco-friendly lodge right here the place she is on the entrance workplace however is commonly seen with Diksha baking desserts and cookies as effectively.
The eventual dream of Pugdundee Safaris is to transform each lodge into turning into carbon impartial in a 12 months and Waghoba Eco Lodge is a really image of sustainability and mixing in luxurious, wildlife, conservation and tourism.