Beyond the Tigers
This point is extremely important to broach with your clients while selling a wildlife tour of Central India. Tiger sighting in the wild in Central India is a matter of chance and a single-minded objective of sighting a Tiger during a park visit may disappoint clients in a great way.
I was myself excited at the possibility of seeing Tigers in the wild, but more the safaris I went on, the more I started to enjoy the wilderness, the landscape and the other treasures that these parks offer. Of course, the quality and passion of the naturalist is critical here. In Pench for instance, I did not see any Tigers but the safaris here remains among my best souvenirs.
All thanks to Sohel – a former engineer from Mumbai who decided to become a naturalist. He was an extremely pleasant person too. The way he was telling the stories of each animal spotted was amazing. This brings us to crucial point why the quality of naturalist should be given priority over price while selecting properties for a wildlife tour of Central India. Not all luxury properties have good engaging naturalists, likewise a simple property may have very knowledgeable passionate ones.
Beyond the Wildlife
Most clients are busy with safaris and focus on the wildlife. But what very few know is that there is a local culture drawing from the rich tribal legacy of the Gond and Baiga tribes who have lived here since time immemorial and have lent the region with vibrant folklore, cuisine and culture.
Their language belongs to the Dravidian family of languages and is closely related to Tamil and Kannada in South India. Travelling in this part of the country provides a unique opportunity to understand their complex culture having its own tradition, customs, art and way of life. Particularly, the beauty of their houses painted in a light indigo. In Kanha National Park, there is a museum dedicated to their art at the Singinawa Jungle Lodge. This 1,000 square foot museum is an ode to the indigenous Gond and Baiga artisans and their labour of love.
Indeed, a very interesting initiative. Proposing a visit to this Museum along with safaris would be an excellent way to create itineraries focusing on the tribal art of this region which has many secrets to unveil.