At the heart of India is Madhya Pradesh – home to the Vindhyas and the Satpuras, to forested plateaus and winding rivers. It is home, too, to a fifth of the world's tiger population. Bandhavgarh National Park is tiger country at its best: 448 sq km of deciduous forest and grasslands, laced through with perennial streams and springs.
Monsoon Forest is a unique indigenously styled luxury Eco-resort spread over ten acres of grasslands, bamboo thickets and generously canopied trees with a delightful jungle ambience. The resort has a view of the Bandhavgarh National Park, just a few km away, and makes an ideal base to explore the magnificent forest and its wildlife & birds, the tribal areas and the villages around it. The resort has a serene and calm ambience for communion with nature, and eco-friendly features. The resort is imaginatively designed drawing inspiration from the earthy central Indian mud houses that exist in the vicinity of Bandhavgarh, while at the same time offering air-conditioned tents and cottages that are equipped with modern facilities. Van Serai is an eco friendly lodge where we try to reuse, reduce and recycle thus giving back what we can to this natural paradise.
The lodge is oriented to cater to wildlife lovers, bird watchers, nature photographers, researchers and meditators. This place is ideal for those who are looking for a great wildlife experience, a quiet relaxed peaceful getaway or you wish to meditate and enjoy the benfits of Yoga.
Our rooms are all very well equipped and are large in size. All items have been carefully chosen and used in the rooms such as mattresses, duvets, clean linen, pillows, mats etc. These are not overly luxurious but give you the comforts of any standard hotel. All rooms and cottages are air-conditioned. Hot air blower heaters are provided in winter on request. Please let us know if there is anything else you require such as hot water bags, extra blankets or pillows.
The toilets are equipped with hot & cold running water & showers. All toilet amenities such as fresh towels, soaps etc. are provided of standard quality.
To get hot water from your tap/shower, please turn the tap to the left and leave the water running for a short while (preferably in the bucket, for re-use). When the hot water starts, adjust it to suit your temperature.
Your towels are changed on a daily basis, but if you feel they do not need replacing please leave them hanging on your towel rack. We try and use as little water and soap as possible.
In the event of electricity failure the fans and lights will run on inverter power. The air-conditioning may not work then. The chances of power cuts are very low. The power supply is 220V. The plug size is Standard English. As our focus is on developing a nature-centric experience at the lodge, we do not have electricity generators which cause sound and atmospheric pollution.
We do not have intercom facility in the rooms. Should you require anything urgently you may call the hotel staff from your mobile phone or you may ask for a mobile phone from the manager which you can use during your stay. The numbers will be given to you upon your arrival.
If you are not going for a safaris, our in-house naturalist will be happy to take you bird watching and on a nature trail to showcase the various elements that Bandhavgarh has to offer. There are set timings when the walks are conducting every morning and evening.
Please pre-book your safaris either with us or directly on . The safaris are in great demand. Only a part of the safari quota is available to book online and the other is sold over the counter. To avail safaris directly in Bandhavgarh one need to cue up early in the morning outside the park to secure the ticket which can be unnerving. Once your tickets are booked you may book the 4WD vehicle with us. In effect you will pay for the safari ticket, the 4Wd vehicle and the fee for the guide who will be assigned to accompany you from the forest department.
It can sometimes be quite chilly outdoors at night, even in summer, so do dress warmly.
Even though the camp is fenced off, wild animals occasionally do enter and pass through the camp. Guests are requested not to walk alone at night, Members of our staff will be happy to accompany guest back to their tents & cottages. Please do not walk barefoot anywhere, not even inside. If there are unwanted guests (insects, geckos, scorpions etc.) please alert our staff who will remove them. Macaques and Langurs visit the lodge occasionally. Please ensure that you keep eatables away from them. Failure to do so may encourage them to become raiders.
If there are wild animals in the surroundings, the village dogs may bark at night causing disturbed sleep.
We do not have an in-house laundry. We send it out to a nearby facility in the village hence we are unable take responsibility for them. If you would like your clothes laundered, please place the items in the bag and they will be laundered within 24 hours. Please note that laundry charges are extra.
We advise you to be careful with your valuables. If there is something you would like to keep safe, our manager will be happy to assist you.
Bandhavgarh does not have a bank to change foreign currency. The nearest ATM is in Manpur, 10 km from the lodge. Please contact our manager for any assistance.
Umaria is the closet town that has a hospital. If you have any medical conditions that we need to be aware of, please inform our manager. We do not have doctors on call.
If you'd like to leave a tip for our staff at the end of your stay, please do not tip any of our staff individually. There are many unseen hands who work hard to make your stay comfortable, and we strive to divide tips between the entire staff. Please leave tips in the Tip Box. You may tip the Park Guides, Mahouts (Elephant Drivers) and the Naturalists directly.
Check - out time is 11 am & Check-in time is 1 pm.
We do not have the facility to charge credit cards at the lodge. We recommend that you carry enough spare cash to pay for hotel taxes and any extra expenses that you may incur.
We serve home-cooked Indian food, with spice and chilly levels kept moderate. If you still find the food too hot for your taste do let our chef know. Please inform us if you have any special dietary requirements. Breakfast is served between 8 and 11 am, depending on the timing of morning safari. Lunch is usually a light meal served between 1 and 2.30pm, just before the afternoon safari. Dinner is served from 7.30 pm. It can sometimes be quite chilly outdoors at night, even in summer, so do dress warmly. We stock a limited selection of beverages at the lodge that is available at the Baithak. We can have drinks sent to your tents and to other guest areas. All beverages are chargeable. If you require a packed meal at your departure please let us know in advance.
We are happy to set up free cookery lessons. If guests are interested in knowing how a particular dish they liked is made, we can arrange for them to learn from our cooks. Our staff will be happy to learn something from you, if you would like to teach them.
We serve filtered RO (Reverse Osmosis) processed water that is safe to drink. Please let us know if you prefer bottled water at all times.
Yoga is offered everyday which really energizes and relaxes your system. We can arrange for the services of a local masseur whose specialty is traditional massage with warm mustard oil. The best time-slot for a massage is between safaris. The massage will be given in the Panchatatva cottage. Please speak with our manager to book these services which is chargeable.
An internet connection is available for guests in our office area. It might be erratic at times.
We encourage guests to help us afforest the surrounding jungle and grow sustainable forests of native broadleaf trees. Please speak with our manager to sponsor our tree-planting program.
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Monsoons are considered sacred in India. At Monsoon Forests, we consider nature, the forests and its beings just as sacred. As Indians, we believe that our guests are God's representatives too-'Atithi Devo Bavah'.
Experience this sacredness with us at Monsoon Forest, a perfect combination of an enthralling wildlife experience and a great spiritual retreat. Our aim is to help you unravel the amazing forests of Bandhavgarh, to explore wildlife and other hidden treasures in the area with our expert naturalists.
We are a work in progress, determined not only to bring back the forest but to make it a sanctuary for the rare and fast disappearing indigenous trees and plants of the jungles of central India, one of the last remaining homes of tigers in the wild.
We have succeeded in bringing back the forest but to make it a sanctuary for the rare and fast disappearing indigenous trees and plants of the jungles of central India, one of the last remaining homes of tigers in the wild. A walk through our botanical sanctuary, reforestation project and small farm. It will bring alive the many myths and legends surrounding the diverse flora and fauna of Central India and a chance for direct contact with the local community who are integral to all aspects of the project.
In the heart of the project is a large nursery of indigenous plants that provides growing stock for other deficient areas and reforestation projects nearby. With more than 90 species of indigenous trees and annuals, the nursery is the backbone of the reforestation project. Nearly all the plants have been grown from seed at the nursery. We encourage guest to plant trees and help us grow the forests.
To ensure responsible and sustainable tourism, Monsoon Forest has been co-created by some of the world's and India's foremost wildlife conservationists, architects, designers and hospitality experts. We are deeply committed to being environmentally friendly. Throughout our development and operation, nature conservation has been the main guiding principle.
The in house safari shop has a selection of craft from across India, wildlife art and photographs are also on sale, for those with a deep interest in art we can organize a private sitting with artists & artisans from the area.
Situated in the Baithak, our art gallery and library has a collection of books, wildlife and tribal photographs, also a collection of wildlife art recording the lives of individual Tigers of Bandhavgarh over the past 15 years. The photographic record provides an astonishingly lucid insight into the recent history of the Tiger Reserve.
We have 10 cottages called 'Nests'. Inspired by the design of nests, these quaint eco-lodges merge into the beautiful surrounding grasslands.
You can enjoy all the advantages and excitement staying in the forest, along with all the modern amenities & comforts. Every unit is air-conditioned and has a generous living space inside, with large rope-drawn windows, custom-built furniture and a modern en suite bathroom. Eclectic handcrafted furniture and furnishings add to their rustic charm. Guests can also enjoy a private meal in the intimacy of the nests.
The wide verandas are like an oasis where you can unwind to enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest in solitude.
Set under the shade of the glorious Mahua flowering trees, Monsoon Forest offers two beautifully crafted tents. Surrounded by the grasslands, the accommodations are enclosed by a mud-brick wall, ensuring absolute privacy.
The verandas offer panoramic views of the grassland and are ideal for birdwatchers.
The concept is to offer the ambience of a jungle camp or village without compromising on the modern amenities, comforts and luxury required by a contemporary traveler.
Each luxury tent is air-conditioned and has a generous living space inside, with large rope-drawn windows, wooden floors, custom-built furniture and a modern en suite bathroom.
In our kitchen, we mostly use produce grown by local farmers and those from our own organic vegetable garden, ensuring the freshness and nutritional value. The kitchen offers home-cooked Indian food, fresh spice and vegetables from our organic gardens and local villages add that extra zest in our traditional flavors. Whether it is a local Indian curry or a pasta preparation, they can personalize the taste to your satisfaction. We also offer a small selection of pastas and sandwiches for guests who may want a break from the 'constant curry'. Catering to most palates, we try to offer a variety of homemade vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes in our buffets. Nutritionally balanced wholesome meals, fresh fruit juices will help you detox your mind, body and soul. Traditional local recipes are part of our repertoire but the cooks will work to meet the palate of every guest.
We also entertain requests for a safari breakfast for those going for wildlife viewing
or an intimate private dinner on the guest's veranda.
We encourage our guests to get an impromptu cooking lesson or exchange recipes with our cooks.
The essence of Monsoon forest is reflected in the main lodge or the Baithak, which
is also the informal reception and sitting area. Its indigenous earthy design draws
inspiration from the mud houses that you see all around central India. The panoramic
views provide an intimate introduction to the vast grasslands and forests of Bandhavgarh.
A great place to interact with our resident expert naturalists and fellow wildlife
enthusiasts over a freshly brewed cup of tea or homemade dinner, it also houses
the Monsoon Forest art gallery and library where we have some of the best wildlife
and tribal art, photographs, books and other collectibles.
A refreshment bar with a large selection of coffee and teas, it is the centre of our guest activities. Earth walls, roofs supported by mature Sal wood rafters and tiles from the 1930's, this is an intimate lodge with open spaces, details of local architecture blending beautifully with nature.
Having a meal at Robin's nest, is in itself a unique dining experience. As the name
suggests, this dining area has been set up under the Mahua tree where we had a pair
of Robins nesting. The beauty of this dining area is its unparalleled view across
the forest. An impressive Sal log table and eclectic embellishments make this setting
a unique dining experience.
Surrounded by vast open grasslands, experience the magic of eating under the sun, open sky and stars combining with the sights and sounds of various birds and animal calls. This dining area can comfortably accommodate 40 guests.
As the name suggests, this dining area gives you the feeling of eating out in the
wilderness. You can chose to have a private intimate meal. A favourite dinner spot
is our candle lit terrace - a special place for a tranquil dinner and stargazing.
You will have to do a prior booking for this special venue.
Indulge in a variety of homemade vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
Savor the Indian cuisine.
Get an impromptu cooking lesson or exchange recipes with our cooks.
Specific dietary needs will be catered to on prior requests.
Nutritionally balanced wholesome meals, fresh fruit juices and smoothies will help our guests detox their mind, body and soul.
Monsoon Forest offers personalized jeep safaris with our resident naturalist on
prior intimation. The drives to explore parts of the Tiger reserve that are often
remote and tucked away in magic corners of the park, our experienced naturalist
will introduce you to the rich bio-diversity of the park. From the majestic Tiger
to the shy funnel web spiders, you will be rewarded with an insight into fine details
of the natural world. We plan our Safaris keeping in mind interests of the guests
and balance that with an opportunity to visit different Zones of the Tiger Reserve.
Designed for uninterrupted viewing, the 4x4 jeeps effortlessly manoeuvre through the grasslands, dirt tracks and hilly terrain as our expert naturalist points out the various species of birds and animals. Through their local network and experience, our trained local guides are usually very well informed, thereby increasing the chances of sightings of rare species.
Kindly note that as per the guidelines from the forest department, there are no safaris on every Wednesday afternoon and on the festive day of Holi.
The wildlife viewing drives in Bandhavgarh are pleasant and go through a cross-section of the national park's habitat, often affording good views of the hilly topography and historic fort. Experienced drivers take you in search of tiger and other wildlife in the Bandhavgarh National Park.
Monsoon Forest offers bird walks at selected locations. Bandhavgarh forest and its
surrounding areas are well represented in terms of rich avifauna of Vindhya ranges.
It has a variety of habitats-woodlands, grasslands, high hills, cliffs and ponds,
catering to the needs of different bird species both resident and migratory. Around
250 avifaunal species are found here. This includes birds of prey, vultures, grebes,
cormorants, ducks, kingfishers, herons, egrets, storks, hornbills, barbets, woodpeckers,
flycatchers and many others. Sarus cranes visit the reserve for breeding during
monsoon and may be seen up to November. Bird watching point at Bandhavgarh fort
(subject to permissions from the forest department) offers fantastic overview of
We organize a special birding picnic with our birding guides. Watch bird species as you enjoy a lovely picnic hamper arranged by us.
A unique feature of Bandhavgarh that marks it out from other national parks of Madhya
Pradesh is that is has many historic monuments with traces of human activity from
over 2000 years including caves with 1st century BC inscriptions. It was ruled by
the Mauryans from 3rd century BC, Vakataka rulers from 3rd century to 5th century
the Sengars from 5th century, the Kalachuris from 10th century and Baghels from
the 13th century. After 1617, when Maharaja Vikramaditya Singh of the Baghel dynasty
moved his capital to Rewa, it remained a wildlife reserve of the royal family till
independence and became a national park in the 1960s. The imposing Bandhavgarh Fort
rises 811 meters in the heart of the national park. A remarkable feature of the
fort is the number of fine 10th century rock sculpture depicting the Avatars or
incarnations of Lord Vishnu. There are 12th century temples near the fort. This
site is associated with the Ramayana and the mystic poet Kabir.
The Park spreads out around the Bandhavgarh Fort, the seat of the Bhaghel rulers until they shifted to Rewa in the seventeenth century. It is an imposing presence that bears witness to a long history, with inscriptions and carvings in caves that are said to date back to between 129 and 168 AD. The Fort houses a spectacular assortment of monolithic statues of Lord Vishnu in his many incarnations, scattered around are also ruins of temples held together by ancient Ficus trees and large water tanks carved by hand. Tigers and other wildlife are frequently sighted in the forests on the fort and add to the excitement of exploration. Excursions to the fort are a must for all guests, it is a chance to explore by Jeep and walk around the ruins of a once mighty kingdom now ruled by the jungle. Note: This activity is subject to availability.
Monsoon Forest also arranges cultural experiences. Cycle through local villages
for a true experience of local life, meeting wildlife artists, visit and dine at
a local village home, experiencing a day in the life of a village woman milking
cows, hand grinding spices and various fascinating everyday chores or attend a reforestation
Experience life in the village. Get an insight into the problems they face with regards to - man animal conflict. Meet the local artisans. Dine at a local village home. Experiencing a day in the life of a village women doing their everyday chores or attend a reforestation project. Interact with them to understand the man-animal conflict.
Every morning in Bandhavgarh begins with tiger tracking. Once a tiger's been sighted by the forest department elephants, visitors set out on elephant back for the Sher Darshan. Park officials keep the experience quiet and pleasant by using tokens to regulate the number of visitors. Some mornings the queues can be long, and the wait for a chance to the see the tiger frustrating. But the choice is ours, to explore quiet parts of the park or wait with everyone for one of the most breath-taking sights in the world: a tiger in the wild. Note: This activity is subject to availability.
As Bandhavgarh has the highest density of Tigers in the wild it is one of the best places to document the life of this elusive cat. Our team of Naturalists and managers specialize in programmes for professional wildlife photographers and filmmakers for over 15 years. We facilitate with permits, reservations of elephants and permissions to photograph / film within the Tiger Reserve. We are happy to assist single traveling photographers or teams / groups and will tailor design their trip according to their interest and time frame.