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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Pench Tree Lodge: India’s wild tree houses

These aren’t just any old tree houses, they have king sized beds and verandahs…

By Amit Mukherjee
General Manager at Pench Tree Lodge

The moment you enter Pench Tree Lodge, you feel like you’re in the jungle. We own 42 acres only 5% of which is built on. The two rivers that cross into the farmland attract wildlife such as civets, wild boars and jungle cats that sometimes roam through the property.

We have six tree houses scattered around the forest for extra privacy and six spacious cottages. These aren’t just any old tree houses but full-sized bedrooms with huge netted king sized beds and verandas so you can sit out on the deck with a cup of tea and enjoy panoramas of the grassland and trees.

All the paintings are from the local villages from which we also buy carrier bags made from old newspapers to avoid using single-use plastic. That’s just one example of the many ways in which we support the local community. We don’t have any plans to expand because we don’t want to disturb the nature. One of the best things is hearing all the birds chirping when you first wake up. At night when you’re walking back to your room sometimes you can see mongoose and porcupines.

We have a veggie garden although the monkeys usually get to it before we do. We don’t use pesticides or chemicals so as not to harm the wildlife. Sometimes we do these lovely farm-side dinners, beautifully set with large thali platters accompanied by delicious fish or chicken dishes and Indian pancakes stuffed with chopped mahua flowers. We also set up bush dinners under a tree lit by hanging candles and oil lanterns.

Every moment at Pench is unforgettable for me be it dining under the starry sky or on safari in the national park. I still get goose bumps when I remember a family of six who stayed with us and hadn’t had much luck on safari in terms of seeing tigers – it’s completely unpredictable, sightings are up to nature. So, they decided not to go on safari on their last day, but I was having none of it. I sent them on a game drive where they saw not one, not two but five tigers! They all came back hugging me and saying it was the best day of their lives. On the same day I arranged a surprise bush dinner for them. The grandmother was in tears. To this day, they still keep in touch.

Categories

  • Places to stay
  • Wildlife

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Alfred & Amit Mukherjee

Hailing from eastern India, Amit, after completing his hotel management qualifications, moved to New Delhi where he worked for several hotel brands including the ITC Sheraton and InterContinental. He has a passion for nature and wildlife, something his wife has always supported which led him to Pugundee Safaris, known as India’s ‘leading responsible wildlife safari company.’ At Pench Tree Lodge, Amit has been able to merge his passion and profession, a move away from the concrete jungle that he has never regretted.