Central India – Little Known Landscapes

Tales of Conservation and Culture

Central India

Your Journey

Central India is the pivot that brings together and holds together the entire Indian experience. With influences from the Himalayas in the north to the deltaic regions of the east, from the impregnable desert to the west, to varied peninsular India, Central India is an amalgam, impacted and impacting the Indian epic in a way that no other region does. Yet within this ubiquitous influence lies its subtle yet ineffable anonymity. Very few who have travelled through India have truly explored its glowing heart.

Geographically too, the Vindhyas and Satpuras form a link, connecting the unique Alpine ecosystem of Himalayas in the north and biodiversity hotspot of Western Ghats. Many great rivers cut through creating gorges and ravines. Flatlands morph into grassland ecosystems, supporting one of the highest density of wildlife sanctuaries in the country. Rainfed regions are lush with tree-lined woods. This variance has ensured the highest variety of flora and fauna. Any travel experience in the heart of India should explore this facet.

Culturally too, Central India has been at the confluence of innumerable influences, both borrowed and homegrown. On the latter front, a huge number of indigenous tribes exist here. Prehistoric records from almost 80,000 years ago are a testament that the land has been continually inhabited. Edifices spread across the region are a snapshot of history in stone, from the stupas of King Ashoka to the Udayagiri Caves. From the lakes and palaces of Bhopal to the Tribal Museum celebrating the indigenous people. This sojourn through the heart of India is a remarkable one by any and all measures.


Walking Safaris, Jeep Drives, Night Walks, Birding Walks, Boat Rides, Treks, Hikes, Camping. The Satpura-Maikal region consists of seven tiger reserves and five corridors stretching through three states (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh) in central India.


A night spent under the stars, over the forest floor. Canoe through the backwaters and rivers in one a kind boat safari. Experience Satpura under the canvas by camping in the buffer zone. Off-road biking through the reserve forests, getting intimate with jungle. Indulge in the true thrill of a jungle come alive with night safaris.


An extension of the great plains of North India gradually climbing to the Deccan Plateau with the Satpuras, a prelude to what lies South and West. A large forest cover punctuated by mountain ranges ensure a large catchment area for rains, birthing mighty rivers that in turn feed the jungles.


At crossroads to many landscapes, Central India is infused with the human movement since time immemorial. This has created a land rich with tribal populations. Gonds extend south all the way to Maharashtra. Bhils are found deep in the desert of Rajasthan. Visit Baiga Chak, a Baiga settlement deep in the forest, who recently were granted habitat rights, first in India to be awarded this. There are many other smaller tribal populations each with its own unique identity.


A land as rich as Central India inspires its own army of sentinels. The story of these fearless individuals and organizations who have always spoken truth to the powers that have ensured the survival of the wildlife, generation after generation. Most notable amongst these are the Sankhala family and Dr Raghu Chundawat, a leading authority on tigers and snow leopards. On the journey through here, your paths will cross with many such heroes who have given their lives for conservation.

Unique Experiences

A crowning glory amongst the mosques, many generations under construction, finally completed with the support of an Emir from across seven seas. Beautiful palaces and lakes that reflect their glory entice you in this city of love and lakes.

Explore the cave paintings that date back 10,000 years ago while the caves themselves have evidence of habitation dating back 100,000 years making Bhimbhetka the oldest continually inhabited site anywhere in the world.

Sleep under the stars in open fields adjacent to untamed jungles as do the tribes here. The proceeds of your stay help the tribes and the conservation effort around Pench.

A historical, cultural and ethical landmark of the Stupas at Sanchi has been a guiding force for empires and republics for aeons. Experience the unmistakable impact of Buddhism and Emperor Ashoka on the landscape and consciousness of India.

Itinerary Snapshot

Day 1


Arrive in Bhopal and drive to Jehan Numa Retreat, a 30 minutes drive takes you through Bhopal with magnificent views of the lakes, palaces and mosques, a prelude to your stay in the historic city. Relax and explore the lush venue of Jehan Numa Retreat and the neighbouring Van Vihar. An early afternoon visit to the Tribal Museum sets the tone for the richness of an ancient culture that is going to make its presence felt throughout the journey. A wonderful dinner experience Under the Neem Tree is the perfect ending for an eventful day.

Day 2


An early morning walk around the organic garden, before a hearty breakfast. A 90 minutes drive to Sanchi and Udayagiri brings you to the cultural nerve center of Buddhism and Hinduism respectively. The Stupas at Sanchi are world renowned being etched in the collective consciousness of the polity.The caves at Udayagiri are replete with rock-cut sculptures from the Hindu mythology.

Day 3

Bhopal - Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, Sohagpur

Leave from Bhopal to Reni Pani Jungle Lodge post breakfast. A small detour at the one hour mark takes you to Bhimbhetka, the oldest rock shelter with breathtaking views of cave paintings, some of the most intricate, primal and beautiful samples you will see anywhere in the world. A further two-hour drive as the landscape changes with the Satpuras making their presence felt, in whose shadows lie an ancient forest. Your exploration begins with orientation and an evening nature walk with the expert naturalists of Jehan Numa Wilderness. If time permits, an evening or night safari adds an element of adventure.

Day 4

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

A day spent in safari starting earlier than sunrise. A jungle picnic on the bonnet of the safari jeep is a welcome break from the exhilarating search for Indian sloth bears, the elusive leopards and the reclusive tigers too. As the temperature soars in the afternoon, retire to the jungle lodge for a siesta and possibly a session of relaxing Spa and swim in the pool overlooking the jungle. An evening safari exploring the many wonders of the forest ends with an option of sipping Mahua Martini, a cocktail made of local flowers, around a campfire back at the lodge.

Day 5

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge - Bori Safari Lodge

An early check-out followed by a safari drive through the forest to reach Bori Safari Lodge, exploring the deep reaches of the Satpura-Pachmarhi- Bori Wildlife Reserve, subject to permissions and weather conditions. Else, take the scenic idyllic route, a drive of about 3 hours. An afternoon spent relaxing and interacting with naturalists setting the experiences for the rest of the stay. A recommended evening walking safari or boat safari provides an alternative immersion in the wilderness experience of Satpura.

Day 6

Bori Safari Lodge

An entire day dedicated to exploring the southern reaches of Satpura- Pachmarhi - Bori trifecta of wildlife reserves. Incidentally, Satpura is the largest tiger reserve of Madhya Pradesh and has some brilliant sightings of the big cat.

Day 7

Bori Safari Lodge - Jamatara Wilderness Camp, Pench

An easy start for the day. Checkout from Bori Safari Lodge and drive a distance of 230 km covering it in about 5 hours. Arrive at Jamtara Wilderness Camp on the northern border of Pench Tiger Reserve. The day is spent orienting with the team at Jamtara Wilderness Camp. Learn about the history of tiger conservation in India. Spend the night under the stars with the unique Star Bed experience of Jamtara Wilderness Camp.

Day 8

Jamtara Wilderness Camp

A day spent in safari exploring the wilderness of Pench Tiger Reserve. Indulge in the ways of the village as you walk through the hamlets around. An experience defined by slow travel and the art of just being.

Day 9

Jamtara Wilderness Camp - Kipling Camp

A 4-hour drive to Kanha Tiger Reserve takes you through picturesque landscapes. A wild welcome awaits you at Kipling Camp Kanha perhaps by the resident pachyderm, Tara herself.

Day 10

Kipling Camp, Kanha

The Wright family has been here for generations creating immersive experiences for wildlife lovers while protecting the interests of the forest dwellers. An interaction with the team at Kipling is an enlightening experience. Safaris, through the forescape of Kanha, completes the learning holistically.

Day 11

Kipling Camp, Kanha - Jabalpur/ Nagpur

Depart Kipling Camp, Kanha to Jabalpur/ Nagpur Airport, a drive of 140 km to be covered in 3.5 hours/ 250 km to be covered in 5.5 hours. Arrive at the airport for your onward journey.


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