Who is not fascinated by tree houses? When you look at their pictures surrounded by tall trees with birds flying around, you are bound to go into a dream state. My dream to stay in a tree house came true when Pugdundee safaris invited me to experience them at their luxury tree house resort – Pench Tree Lodge on the edge of Pench National Park. Yes, it is the land of Mowgli and Jungle Book. It can not get better than this to experience a treehouse living.
History of Tree Houses
While I was enjoying my stay at Sarrahirri with Pugdundee Safaris, I wondered who would have first invented tree-houses? Did our houses evolve from some primitive tree-houses? Or, the other way round, were tree-houses born from a fantasy to live among the trees? Well, the answer is really a combination of both. The man has lived in tree houses since ages – when he shared the forests with the animals and needed basic protection from them. A raised tree house is the first form of protection. Tree houses were also used by hunters who would perch themselves on top to keep an eye on the animal movements in the forest. During the hunting expeditions, they lived in tree-houses.
Leisure destination – the modern day version of tree-house is a 19-20th CE creation. It started in Europe, difficult to pinpoint where, when rich and famous started commissioning them for leisure. Today, there are professional companies who specialize in building tree-houses and tree house resorts. You can differentiate between various tree-houses by the way they are built, how you climb them etc.
There are primarily two types of tree houses – one sitting on high stilts around a tree and other built around the tree trunk. Former is obviously more popular and reliable.
Living in a Luxury Tree House Resort
We reached The Pench Tree Lodge – the tree house resort of Pugdundee safaris quite late at night. We were welcomed with a fair bit of instructions like no food in the tree house, no stepping out alone after sunset. As the staff guided us to our tree house through a path surrounded by grasslands, we could hear the jungle all around. We climbed almost two floors on the wooden staircase to reach our tree house. This being a luxury tree house had everything we would need. At night jungle could be felt only through the sounds mostly of crickets.
Luxury Tree House at Pench Tree Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris
Luxury Tree House rooms at Pench Tree Lodge are spacious. Each one overlooks the jungles. No two tree houses are in direct line of sight. Yes, that means you can do whatever with blinds open, only birds and animals would be the witness.
A large bathroom comes with a comfortable chair to sit and admire the surroundings. A large balcony with unbelievably comfortable chairs overlooks the jungle. A Mahua tree was home to many birds. I would remember the golden orioles the most, though. They teased me throughout my stay at the tree house. My favorite corner in this cozy tree house would be the French balcony kind of sit out – jetting out in a corner. Colorful cushions added the color to the primarily dry green exteriors. We could see a small stream with a small bridge over it. It was lovely to sit here and soak in a book or chat with my tree-house mate with some nice tea for company.
Food at Pench Tree Lodge
Food is served in their dining area. This is the biggest building in the Pench Tree Lodge campus. On the ground floor are lovely dining rooms with pictures of flora and fauna all over. On the first floor are lounges with earthy yet colorful décor. An old tree trunk becomes the central table, a room divider serves as a library and the outside seating takes you back to the jungle. What I liked most about this building was that wherever you sit, your eyes are always looking at greenery outside. Birds are never out of your view.
Kitchen team at Pugdundee Safaris churns out lovely food that completes your experience. They are good at both the Indian and International cuisine. You should ask them for a bush dinner, which they usually serve in an adjoining bush with lanterns lighting the area. The dim twinkling lights create a very romantic atmosphere, though the mosquitoes can play spoilsport. However, my favorite food part with Pugdundee safaris is the breakfast they serve on Jeep top inside the jungle. Mid-way through the safari, it is such a welcome and much-needed food break.
Birding at Pench Tree Lodge
There were so many birds fluttering around my luxury tree house that they were giving tough competition to the tree house. Two days in a row, I went for an early morning birding walk around the lodge. We passed by the streams and ponds, all of which were dry at the moment. Birds perched themselves on distant trees. It was difficult for the cameras to shoot them, however, eyes could easily enjoy them.
Villages around Pench Tree Lodge
One evening we went outside to explore the villages around the Pench Tree Lodge. It is lovely to walk amidst fields, with farmers doing their work. In the evening you can see them returning home. A small conversation tells me how far our worlds are despite the basic food connecting us.
Another evening we visited Sukhtara Village Haat. Most of it was usual village market selling vegetables, fruits, daily needs items. However, two small silver jewelry shops caught our attention with. In turquoise blue trunks and cupboards, the heavy silver jewelry sparkled. Women flocked to these shops as we clicked some pictures of the heavy ethnic designs.
There were, of course, usual glass bangles. After ages, I saw bangle seller putting bangles on the hands of the women – a practice I thought was long dead.
There were colorful sweet shops with inviting jalebis and fresh pakoras. You consume at your own risk of course.
Things to know when you choose to stay in a tree house
- You are in the midst of a jungle surrounded by trees. Be prepared to be in the company of monkeys, birds, reptiles & rodents.
- The tree house standing on fragile stilts sways when you move or when the wind is in its element. It feels like being on a slow-moving train.
- Keeping food within the tree house is an open invitation to the inhabitants of the jungle.
- Seal the doors as well as possible.
- Keep your luggage packed and locked – Though the rodents can open zips and take out what they need. Well trained they are and I am talking from personal experience.
Thank you Pugdundee Safaris for a lovely experience. This being my almost first luxury tree house experience would always be special to me.
Recommend you to read following travel blogs on Indian National Parks.