Trip to where I belong, Taj Safari Banjaar Tola

Payal Chakraborty

Baronite since 2012

It was during the winters and like our tradition this time as well we went for our annual offsite to a jungle, Kanha National Park in M.P.

I was pretty excited about this one in particular since it’s very close to my home town. And yet I had not visited the park before in all these years.

The route that we took was via Nagpur to the national park. Flew down from Bangalore to Nagpur and then it was a long winding highway all the way to the forest that took us almost 6 hours including breaks.

While on the way, I didn’t realize how long the road trip was. It felt like home. The people, the place, the roads –all that you miss in the urban concrete jungles, came alive here. I am more of a small town person than a metro girl. Anyway, that’s life.

Like always, we were put on one of the best Jungle Safari Resorts in India, Taj Safari. We do everything with style and class. ;) It was a 3 day trip packed with 2 safaris per day- one in the morning and another in the evening along with some cultural activities performed by the locals within the property. What makes this experience stand apart is the hospitality and warmth you get from the people there – not just the hotel staff but even the locals. Well, that’s how Central Indians are ☺.

After reaching the property we were greeted by the hotel staff in a unique way, I will always remember this – they wave with both their hands up in the air – almost like they have always been waiting to welcome us. Followed with a refreshing fruit drink and face towels. That’s it and I already it’s going to be difficult for me to make up my mind and back to the routine. These small things matter the most to me.

The property is located bang opposite the buffer zone of the jungle. It’s a dream like luxurious accommodation with rooms shaped as tent facing a river stream that runs parallel to the jungle. Best part is, when you stand in the balcony of the room and it’s dark outside, you cannot see a thing on the other side. It’s gives a different kind of thrill to even imagine maybe something’s looking back at you and you have no idea about it. I wish I could have a work desk in a place like that. All I need is my Mac, some food, wifi and the Jungle and I will be sorted! I do envy the naturalists! What else can be better than meeting and interacting with interesting people from across the world and stay in the wild. That’s a job in the jungle for you. Couldn’t get any better than that.

Waking up early in the morning by 4.30 am to be ready for the safari is an adventure in itself. Kanha is known for its misty winter mornings with a breathtaking view of the open grasslands. As I write, I still can still visualize it clearly in my mind. That’s when you realize how beautiful the wild and the nature is.

Being on a safari makes you feel like you lose yourself to those narrow trails, naturalists manuevring the jeep on a couple of patchy trails still on a look out for the big cat. Sometimes you would see those huge pug marks in hope of maybe its somewhere around and maybe it can see you but you can’t. The element of surprise is what keeps you going inside the jungle. You never know what awaits you at the next turn. When in the jungle you abide by the rules of the jungle, simply because it’s the home to the wild and the beasts. Gotta respect that..

Although I did not spot the big cat in Kanha, but I saw and felt so much more! Jungles are the only place where I feel great to be a nobody and let loose. Just a passerby, nothing else. I experienced Kanha in its entirety. The thick covers and the depth of those dark deep array of trees that only keeps getting darker as you stare. It still has me captivated.

In no time, the trip came to an end and I did not have the heart to say the goodbyes yet. Had no choice, until next time..