Given the break-neck speed of city life, indulging in nature feels more like a necessity than a want now. What better than sitting amidst lush greens and witnessing wildlife in its natural habitat? Even better is to experience this in luxury. Bringing both together, we pick five of the best luxury wildlife resorts in India.
Located in the eponymous village, Jamtara is less than two hours away from Pench National Park. Each of the 10 tents in this wilderness camp have their own private grove and a patio overlooking the forest. The jeep safaris take you to Pench where you can spot Bengal Tigers, the Indian leopard, wolves, Blue Kingfisher, Crimson-breasted Barbet, and many more. Not just home to an eclectic wildlife, the national park also boasts of lush flora filled with Amaltas, Mahua, White Kulu, and Dharoa trees. Once back, ease off with Indian fare around a bonfire near the ancient Banyan tree, prepared with locally grown produce.
Top billing: The star bed aka luxury machans
Known for the signature Suján stamp, Jawai in Bilaspur district offers opulence and local culture. Its eight spacious luxury tents and one royal suite feature private sit-outs, adorned with imposing black and white photographs of leopards. As one of the regions with the highest density of leopards in the world, Bilaspur is also home to other wild cats, antelope, and over 200 species of birds, including flamingo and pelican. Take a stroll in the wilderness and hop in Jawai’s jeep ride for an immersive experience. Indulge in private dining — in a granite kopje, by the lake, in the bushes, or under the stars — feast with your palette and your eyes.
Top billing: The private heated swimming pool in the royal suite
With Thiksey monastery on one side and Stok Kangri mountain on the other, Chamba Camp opens up to spellbinding views as you luxuriate in their tents. An in-house shop for local handicrafts, a library, and activities such as archery and polo keep you engaged at the camp. But it is the Hemis National Park, an hour’s drive from Chamba, which will pull you out of your tent’s cosy confines. Rumbak Valley within the national park is famous for snow leopards. You’ll also find Asiatic ibex, golden eagles, Tibetan bears and wolves, Eurasian lynxes, bearded vultures, mountain goats, and partridges at Hemis. Interacting with wildlife, albeit from a distance, at such high altitudes and unforgiving environs all make for an exhilarating experience. Pair this with the camp’s farm-fresh produce that can be had at the tented restaurant, an outdoor barbecue, the fish pond, or garden.
Top billing: Private dining at the wooden aqua deck (fish pond)
Completing 10 years this year, Diphlu River Lodge speaks effortless luxury. Inspired by the architecture of Mishing tribal homes, its 12 cottages sit snugly at the fringe of Kaziranga National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other than the covered dining space, Machan, they have three open dining spaces: the Tea Deck, Hilltop, and River Bank for you to be at leisure in nature’s lap. Hop aboard the jeep safari to Kaziranga — they run one every morning and afternoon — to witness the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceros and the highest density of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The thriving deciduous and semi-evergreen forests also house the Ganges dolphin, barking deer, king cobra, and many more along with over 400 species of birds. When not exploring wildlife, get acquainted with the local culture via native performances at the hilltop.
Top billing: The quaint Tea Deck
All images: Courtesy brands