Bandhavgarh Resorts : Nature Heritage Resort
This time around we didn’t have to do any research to find a good Bandhavgarh Resort to stay. Venu had been to Bandhavgarh in 2003 and had stayed at Nature Heritage Resort. He had loved the place and didn’t think twice about booking our stay there.
Nature Heritage Resort is within walking distance from the entrance to Bandhavgarh National Park’s Tala range. It’s set well off the main road, accessed via a rocky, dirt road. When we pulled up to the entrance of the resort, we were immediately impressed with the landscaping of the place and the lovely setting. It has about 12 cottages set around a courtyard filled with bamboo plants and flowering shrubs. There are two bonfire areas in the courtyard. Both have seating around them in a circle. Our evening tea was served here and it was a great place to hang out after dinner as well. They have two dining areas. One is indoors behind the reception area – dinner is served here. The other is a beautiful outdoor one with really nice wood decor. Good weather permiting, all breakfasts and lunches are served here. We loved eating here and lounging on the brightly colored sofas spread around.
Each cottage has 2 suites with attached baths. Our double-room was of a decent size but the one that mom & dad got was the best – it was larger with a separate sitting area, giving the room a very spacious and luxurious feel. Our cottage was built with a log cabin theme so the decor was mainly of wood. There were bamboo shades on the windows, bamboo stems on the ceiling and thatched doors. But the amenities were all modern – the bathroom especially was really nice!
Our stay included all meals. Unfortunately, this was not the highlight of our stay. Most often the food would be bland to taste, even though the quality was good. Out of the 3 meals, breakfast was quite nice as they would have a selection of warm food like poha, upma, bread pakoras or cutlets, apart from the usual tea, coffee, cereals and toast. The only problem was that they didn’t have fresh milk – apparently the local cattle is not able to produce enough milk for all the resorts in the area. So Nature Heritage Resort uses milk powder, which is definitely not as good as the real thing.
The staff at the resort is quite warm and efficient. Unfortunately for them there were quite a few large, demanding groups to take care of and they looked a little stretched.
Nature Heritage Resort is quite famous in Bandhavgarh because of its owner, Mr. Rajvardhan Sharma. Back in 2003, when he was out on a safari with resort guests, he saw a wounded tigress attack one of his other resort guests in a jeep ahead of him. He immediately got off his own jeep and ran to the tigress and valiantly tried to pull her off the visitor by grabbing her tail. The tigress then turned angrily on Mr. Raj and hit him with her paw, the force of which threw him a few feet away. She then lunged on top of him. Everybody around, including Mr. Raj himself, were sure that this was the end. But the tigress, who had a broken jaw, for some unknown reason, let him go and went away. Since then Mr. Raj has been hailed as a local hero who bravely took on a tigress!
In 2004, he started a non-profit organisation called Tiger Guards, which works with the govt to help with conservation efforts. During our stay, he held a brief talk for all the resort guests and told us about his group’s conservation efforts. He sounded passionate and quite involved. They have raised a lot of money that goes towards buying supplies for the guides and security guards in the park. In November they bought and distributed motorbikes for the patrolling guards as well. With all this work, Mr. Raj is highly revered by the locals. And because of the same, he has a lot of power and influence over the working of the park. He’s a very useful guy to know when the jeep permits run out.
Overall, our stay at Nature Heritage Resort was extremely comfortable. I would definitely go back to stay there. But next time I hope the place wouldn’t be as crowded.
Garden outside our cottage