Waghoba Eco Lodge at Tadoba, for a bespoke nature, wildlife experience
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Balu Pulipaka
Greenery laden hills on one side and unbroken view of the horizon on the others. Crisp clean air that carries with it aromas from a thousand plants and trees that make the heart want to stop ever so often and take a whiff of. The vast expanse of blue skies peppered with puffs of passing clouds. And the promise of a wildlife holiday unlike any other.
And of course, coming with all of this with the tantalizing prospects of sighting a tiger or two, or even more on a safari, amidst the ever so often excited buzz at the Waghoba Eco Lodge that someone from the village next door saw one of these big cats saunter by not more than a kilometre of so away. For wildlife and nature enthusiasts looking for an experience unlike those they may have had, the Waghoba Eco Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris, right next to the popular Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, is all this and more.
The increasing popularity of wildlife tourism in the country has created a demand for hotels, and resorts catering to the enthusiasts but this also brought with it a jostling of such facilities that tends to rob one important part of such an experience, that of getting away from it all. The experience of solitude, coupled with a very comfortable stay in such settings, is not very easy to come by. "But making this possible is what we set out to do," says Manav Khanduja, co-founder of Pugdundee Safaris.
"Our lodges set mostly in remote locations away from regular tourism hubs," says Khanduja, explaining the philosophy that benefits of eco-tourism must be distributed far and beyond the established hubs. "Local people hold the future of the forests in their hands. They are the front-runners in wildlife conservation. If we wish to conserve our forests, we must look after the needs of local people by helping to improve their ability to earn livelihoods, in the in the remotest areas of our country," Khanduja says.
And with October rolling in – when the ecotourism at Tadoba as well as other tiger reserves in the country will reopen after the Monsoon break – Waghoba Eco Lodge could just be the place one will want to be. Each of the 14 cottages that drip luxury, are set in a landscape that makes it impossible not to step out, feel the crunch of the soil underfoot, and soak in the expanse, the sights, the smell of earth and plants, or take a plunge in the large shaded swimming pool. Just how well does one plan a facility like this? The perfect example is a photography hide that looks over a small pond but what makes the planning come alive is the meticulous design. When birds or small animals come for a drink, taking pictures from the north-east-facing hide means perfect lighting with the morning and evening light. There is also a nature library and lounge area right next to the pool that is a perfect place to spend time with in the company of friends, and of course, some really interesting books on nature and wildlife.
For anyone looking for a bespoke and out of the ordinary eco-tourism experience that comes swaddled in luxury, be it the stay, and of course meticulously planned gourmet meals or snacks, not to forget the call of the tiger, the Waghoba Eco Lodge, that also offers the additional adventure of night safaris, is just the place to be.
What Waghoba Eco Lodge offers:
Exciting wildlife safaris, day and night
14 cottages with private sit-outs
Multi-cuisine dining hall
Presentation room with daily interactions with naturalists
Library and lounge
Hide for bird photography
In-house organic farm
A 80% covered swimming pool offering relief from even harsh heat.