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The Good Life

Camping In Style
This vacation season, go glamping for an upscale outdoor experience

Debangana Ghosh

There are options aplenty when it comes to escaping the chaotic urban lifestyle for a refreshing vacation — whether you want to get pampered in a luxurious resort or camp in a forest while you count stars at night. In recent years, this trend of glamour camping or like it is referred to in popular culture, ‘glamping’, has quite been in demand. With the perfect culmination of nature’s bliss and modern luxury, travellers are saving up to get a taste of this pricey wilderness.

India being a tropical country, rich in flora and fauna, has the added scenic advantage when it comes to glamping. And the top hotel and tourism companies of the country are here to mark their territories. Taj’s Banjaar Tola in Kanha National Park, The Oberoi’s Vanyavilas in Ranthambhore and The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC) are some of the best in this segment.

Kanha National Park opened its doors for free animal movement, thus providing Banjaar Tola’s guests with an opportunity to view wildlife in different habitats. Started in 2008, the lodge is on the bank of the Banjaar River. There are two camps consisting nine tents each that overlook the forest on the other bank. A three-night stay package for a couple at the Taj Banjaar Tola costs 142,080. “In India, these tented suites are a path-breaking concept. Use of bamboo and canvas work as a camouflage and the interiors are embellished with Bastar art. Each tent is built on stilts that give the occupant an exclusive view of the jungle from their private deck. Amid the unknown mystic of the jungles, our resident naturalists hand-hold our guests on a journey of discovery. They take ownership of your experience from the time of arrival and help to interpret the ways of the wild,” says Nagendra Hada, area director, Taj Safaris.

TUTC, on the other hand, conducts annual camps at locations such as Ladakh, Kohima and even at the Kumbh Mela. While the camps at Kohima and Kumbh Mela are only for a few days, the Ladakh camp goes on for a few months. The team starts preparing two months prior to each visit. New tents are installed, gardens are created with new plants and even artificial ponds are designed. TUTC hosts guests not only from India but also abroad. The upcoming camp will be in Kohima during the Hornbill Festival between November 29 and December 3, which will be a prime tourist attraction. At Kohima, per night stay costs around 145,000. Speaking of the services provided, Dhun Cordo, co-founder, TUTC says, “From the time you touch down at the airport, your personal guide and chauffeur will cater to you at your arrival. There will also be a guest relations executive at the camp; an entire legion of staff will attend to your whims and fancies; an in-house paramedic to care after your daily health status; security personnel who will be on duty 24/7; our tour manager will customise your itinerary on a daily basis; and our chef and his team will ensure they satisfy the epicurean in you.” To top it all off, all the guests at TUTC are also provided with personal butler service.

Spread across 20 acres, The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore started in 2001. The luxury tents are located in clusters. They are cradled by lush, fragrant flora and set within traditional mud walls. These tents are designed to reflect the majestic caravans that crossed the deserts carrying noblemen during the times of the Raj, and cost 105,072 per night. Vanyavilas is packed with various activities, from safaris and spas to afternoon cooking classes. Silki Sehgal, vice president, corporate communications, The Oberoi Group, elaborates, “The canopy of the tents is decorated with gold-woven tiger prints; rugs lie on polished teak floorboards; the four-poster canopied bed is the prize of the room. The teak-floored bathroom also features a claw-footed standalone bathtub that looks out onto the private terrace.” Guests at Vanyavilas can climb up the observation tower at the resort for panoramic views of the hotel and surrounding jungle.

For every adventure and safari loving travellers, these could very well be the next destination, so why resist the call of the wild.

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