Mahua Kothi (Bandav Garh National Park)
The name Mahua Kothi draws its inspiration from one of India’s most beautiful trees, the Madhuca Indica, or as it is commonly known, the Mahua or butter tree. Pronounced ‘ma-hoo-a’, this tree with its fleshy off–white flowers plays a central role in festivals and rituals. The Lodge sprawls over the 40 acre grounds, just 20 minutes from the park entrance. The original kothi (homestead) comprises the guest areas and has been beautifully renovated, and the guest accommodation is all brand new.
Each of the twelve charming guest suites – or kutiyas (jungle village huts) – are built in the vernacular style of Central India, affectionately known as ‘MP Chic’ (MP being the state of Madhya Pradesh). Each is accessed through private courtyards with shaded seating and traditional mud floors. Interiors include wooden shutters, tapered mud coloured walls in lime and earth washes (finished by hand), open rafters with roughly hewn wooden beams, and handmade pottery roof tiles. Floors are dressed in katni stone strips set in lime mortar. Each ensuite bathroom features twin hand basins, indoor shower, bath and separate w.c. Richly coloured local textiles, used throughout, are in shades of rust and burnt orange. Each kutiya features roll-down mats to keep out the early morning sun, as well as overhead fans and air conditioning.
You can delight in the yoga amenities provided in a basket (complete with instructions), as well as traditional Indian games of marbles and Chaupad. Kettles of boiling water on chulhas (charcoal burners) are brought out with early morning tea to the kutiyas. Bicycles, parked in the kutiya courtyards, are an invitation to explore.
About Bandhavgarh National Park
Situated in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park is a 448 km2 renowned tiger reserve. Nestled among the picturesque Vindhya and Satpura ranges, this is one of India’s most beautiful national parks. The dramatic landscape features tropical forests and woodlands, and steep rocky hills with flat grasslands in the valleys below. An ancient 2 000 year old fort, 10th century statue of Lord Vishnu, and the dense Sal jungle combined with the grasslands make Bandhavgarh one of the most extraordinary parks in India.
Bandhavgarh supports one of the highest densities of tigers on the Subcontinent. Its hilly open terrain includes many large grassland meadows that offer good chances of sightings. The density of its big cat population has made Bandhavgarh world famous. The Park is also home to a large variety of mammals: leopard, chital (spotted deer), Sambar deer, nilgai, wild boar, chinkara, sloth bear, rhesus macaque, grey langur, jungle cat, hyena, porcupine, jackal, fox, and wild dog.
The most populous areas for India’s tigers are the national parks of Bandhavgarh and Kanha, and with the right guide, it’s very likely that you will see one of these magnificent animals in the wild. The easiest way to see them up close is to ride with the elephant drivers – mahouts – who can get closer thanks to the unthreatening presence of their mounts.