As I arrived at the entrance of the Pench Tree Lodge (Pungdundee Safari), I was pleasantly surprised. There were more trees than construction around me. There was a huge Mahua tree right behind the reception. In the hot month of June water bowls were kept for birds at various places. The entrance gate is lightly constructed. Other than the reception there is a dining hall and then there are 6 tree houses. Other than that there is Jungle around. I loved the setting from the word go. It was so light on construction and big on trees!
To reach Pench, I landed at Nagpur Airport and then it was a road transfer of 3 hours to Madhya Pradesh. Seoni, spelled Seeonee in Jungle Book is in Pench.
After lunch, we started for Sukhtara Village as it was the day of the local haat (market). We were probably the only tourists around the whole haat, it was a lot of fun!
We did birding all the way to Sukhtara and back. It was possible because there hardly any traffic on the road!
Our tree house was built next to a Mahua tree, the branches came right into the veranda. Squirrels and birds were fond of the tree too. The tree house was comfortable.
It had twin bed, I was sharing the room with fellow blogger Neelima Vallangi. The bathroom was large and comfortable. The best part of the tree house was if we raised the curtains the Jungle came closer to our room! It is prohibited to bring eating items in the tree house as it attracts rodents and you would not like to share the room with them. Similarly one should not leave the doors open or monkeys and other creatures would come in.
The food at the Pench Tree Lodge is excellent. I enjoyed all my breakfasts. They served both Indian and Intercontinental cuisine, however I was partial to the Indian cuisine. I will remember the local drink made of Mahua for a long time. I stopped at one, which is all I could handle of the hot stuff! The staff at Pench Tree lodge was courteous. I particularly remember Mukundi and Negi ji for feeding us with care. As we were in the Jungle the Airtel net connection was not too good. I would not mind it at all but I had some work which could not wait. Make sure you do not end up in the same position as me.
However, the star of the show were the safaris to the Pench National Park. We did an evening Safari and a morning Safari and it rained tigers! In the evening we spotted the collarwali tigress with her cub! I was ecstatic as this was my second sighting of her! Little did we know that the morning would be even better!
We were birding mostly thinking that our tiger quota was exhausted the day before! We came to a spot and realized that there were tigers around. We were the latecomers but then due to some quirk of fate our jeep became the first in the queue, we were directly following Collarwali and her two cubs!
The Forest Office asked us to stop and let others have a view after a while. My then I had anyway watched them to my heart’s content. It was the best tiger sighting of my life at least till date!
I know there is much more to the Jungle than the tigers, like spotting wild dogs. The pack was actually bigger than what I managed to capture.
Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh is stunningly beautiful on its own. With fading light and a peacock it looked dazzling.
As I said, We spotted wild dogs, peacocks, Indian Pita, spotted deer and much more but this time with the Pench Tree Lodge we were extremely lucky with the tigers too!
A big thank you to the Pugdundee Safaris team at the Pench Tree Lodge from my side. It was a truly memorable trip!
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) June 16, 2016
Before I close this post, here is a video from the Pench National park’s Collarwali and her cubs!
PS. I was invited by Pugdundee Safari to visit the Pench Tree Lodge.
This post is a compilation of birds I spotted recently. Birds and my daughter both don’t like getting photographed. You have to trick them into it. You have to be gentle around them, you have to pretend that you are not interested in taking a picture or better still you have to try and become invisible. Only then birds and my daughter let me take some passable pictures.
I got this Black Headed Jay at Deoriatal in Uttarakhand. You can already see it was not happy about my presence. However quiet I try to be it is not enough for birds, they take offence. Not only they offence they also take off. Over the years I too have learned one trick. That is to keep the camera in the sports mode and click a series of pictures. While continuously pressing the shutter I pray that at least one picture would be in focus. This time I got my wish. Next time I want the picture to be in focus plus a great background.
Here is another picture clicked by the same formula that is spray and pray! We spotted this Lesser Adjutant Stork (my naturalist spotted and pointed out the bird, and told me the name) at Bandhavgarh. When I looked at the pictures two weeks later I could not recollect the name exactly. When I told Google I wanted Lesser Adjacent Stork it promptly gave me the correct version of my bird which is the Lesser Adjutant Stork.
These Alexandrine Parrots were perching high on a dead tree at Bandhavgarh. In the forest there are a few designated areas where you can get out of your jeep. This was one such spot. So I tried to creep closer to them. The sky was grey, whatever light there was it was falling the wrong way. They were perched so high that they were quite unconcerned how close I was to the tree! End result the same- a bleak bird picture! This was my first sighting of the Alexandrine Parrots so they make it to the post.
This White Browed Wagtail is from Panna, Madhya Pradesh. She was the usual high maintenance type, not letting me go anywhere near decent clicking distance. On top of that it opened its beak to warn others off- photographer in vicinity, photographer in vicinity!
Finally here is a pair of Indian Roller. This was almost at the end of my last safari. No tigers as usual but I was happy to watch these two cackle and create a racket.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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