While there are many places to stay around both of these national parks, there are only a few that I would recommend. For luxury, there are the Taj properties where I stayed when I was here two years ago and they are spectacular lodges and tent camps. We went to visit the Banjar Tola Camp in Kanha, huge canvas tents hoisted high and stretched wide by massive ropes creating a huge bedroom and massive two sink bathroom with a wide curving deck and privacy bamboo sides overlooking the river and the forest of the park. But Kanha and Bandavgarh Jungle Lodges where we stayed are much more modest and substantially lower priced. Both of these were among the first two lodges in the region, they are among the closet to the park entrances—and it's important to be located at the right park gates where there are fewer lodges and therefore less vehicles making for a much better experience in the park.
Kanha and Bandavgarh jungle lodges have been park of the Sankahla family for three generations of India's leading tiger conservationists and ecotourism entrepreneurs. Our hosts on this Wildland Anniversary Adventure, Amit and Jessika Sankahla, have created such a personal, familial feeling at their lodges unlike any that you will find at other tourist accommodations in the area. The futon style mattresses are less forgiving than box spring style and the private tile bathrooms are a little understated, this simplicity is made up for by the nicely decorated spacious rooms, natural grounds abounding with birds, butterflies and a flying squirrel that emerges each night at Kanha to give a spectacular flying show as it emerges to feed for the night. But, best of all are the managers and other staff who treat us like family, prepare luscious home-style Indian meals, give cooking demonstrations, take guests for nature walks and strolls to the village homes of the staff, and one night all the ladies learned how to wear a sari. Lodge managers, Dimple and Tarun, are Amit's cousins and have been running the Kanha lodge for 18 years, while Pushpinder, the manager of the Bandavgarh lodge was hired By Amit's father 19 years ago. You'll feel right at home.
Photos: Amit Sankahla driving our jeep one day, and all the ladies in their colorful saris with Dimple in the middle.