Taj Safaris boost to ecotourism! From jungle walks with trained naturalists to engaging local communities

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December 22, 2020 3:26 PM

Known as India’s first and only luxury wildlife circuit, Taj Safaris is poised to offer travellers with an inclusive experience that enables their guests to enjoy the thrill of undertaking a safari and boosts ecotourism as it strengthens engagement with the local communities.

Notably, at Mahua Kothi, few families are engaged in learning bee-keeping to augment their income, which benefits not only the bee-keepers and the local community but also the environment. (Credit: Taj Safaris on Facebook)

Want to explore the wild, hear the roar of a tiger and embark on a safari in an ecofriendly way? No doubt, wildlife holds an excitement and an allure that early explorers knew to delve into. Even today, children and adults love to read ‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling, as the story revolves around a boy who grows up with wild animals.

Over the years, wildlife travel has gained momentum worldwide and remains an exciting area to explore. For Indian travellers who want to explore the wild, Taj Safaris four lodges comprise of Pashan Garh (Panna Tiger Reserve), Mahua Kothi (Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve), Banjaar Tola (Kanha Tiger Reserve) and Baghvan (Pench Tiger Reserve).

“Exploring the wild through authentic experiences and safari drives, makes for an absolutely unique holiday. The large expanses of private wilderness provides a perfect escape to revitalise in nature and recharge your batteries, all while making a positive social impact as you travel,” Rohit Khosla, Executive Vice President – Operations, North & West India, IHCL told The Financial Express Online.

Known as India’s first and only luxury wildlife circuit, Taj Safaris is poised to offer travellers with an inclusive experience that enables their guests to enjoy the thrill of undertaking a safari and boosts ecotourism as it strengthens engagement with the local communities. Guests visiting Bandhavgarh National park can enjoy the rustic simplicity of the jungle village hut that is built with its distinct vernacular style. The simplicity of mud huts with wonky roofs and private courtyards that spill onto shaded seating on traditional mud floors that are well furnished with velvet cushions and rope beds, interiors that spell luxury with indoor pool-like baths and walk-in stone showers, among others. For many, the idea of luxury in the middle of wilderness adds to the appeal of wildlife travel.

For travellers heading to Meghauli Serai, Chitwan, their journey begins with a spectacular view on river Rapti, besides the view of the Himalayas and Terai grasslands. Interestingly, all the décor elements have been sourced through local traditions. For instance, the lobby’s chandelier is made from more than 10,000 Nepalese beads which were hand painted. Local communities are given a boost, as the use of traditional textiles and textures are a part of the decor and the inner walls of the villas and rooms as well. The attention to detail in boosting local talent is unmistakable as in how the traditional ‘Tharu’ art that epitomises ‘Tharu’ culture, the lobby’s accessories and even its door that leads to the Tharu village has been picked up from an actual Tharu village itself.

“Taj Safaris; India’s first and only luxury wildlife circuit offers an unmatched wilderness experience in the midst of some of the most renowned National Parks in India and Nepal. Across our five jungle lodges, specially-trained naturalists offer an interpretive wildlife journey coupled with the legendary service that the Taj is renowned for. Built on a proven sustainable ecotourism model Taj Safaris’s ethos is deeply entrenched in social and conservation principles. Many development programs have been established to engage neighbouring communities in making small, meaningful differences around the lodges. “Walk with the Pardhis” is one such socially and culturally immersive experience offered at Pashan Garh at Panna National Park. Pardhis; a nomadic hunting tribe are trained to leverage their natural tracking talent to offer jungle walks to travellers, in turn generating a source of livelihood for themselves,” Rohit Khosla explained to The Financial Express Online.

A pioneering jungle experience, ‘Walk the Pardhis’ is being actively supported by Taj Safaris by promoting the training of the local hunting tribe in Panna National park, known as Pardhis, whose natural tracking talent can offer travelers with an interactive as well as an immersive experience. According to Taj Safaris official website, the objective of this unique initiative is to promote ecotourism as well as enable the Pardhis to opt for other alternate and sustainable sources of income and strengthen the future of conservation with the future generations as well. Their training programme has successfully completed two batches who are now engaged with Taj Safaris itself and also with the state’s tourism as well.

Notably, at Mahua Kothi, few families are engaged in learning bee-keeping to augment their income, which benefits not only the bee-keepers and the local community but also the environment.

While wildlife travel is fun for travellers, adding the element of sustainability and eco-friendly engagement with local communities adds great value to the entire travel experience.

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