Chhatra Sagar is a luxury wildlife retreat in northern India. You can find this idyllic spot in Nimarj, in the district of Pali. It’s a great stop off point if you are driving from Udaipur to Jodhpur. It will steal your heart! So be warned!
While driving along the busy streets or in remote farming villages, you will catch glimpses of everyday life; an old man having his beard trimmed on the pavement, a mother washing her baby, colourfully clothed women wearing sarees pumping water from a well, garment making with old fashioned Singer sewing machines, people selling locally grown fruit and vegetables and street food being cooked and eaten.
After travelling through what can be best described as ‘real India’ we found our picturesque luxury tent retreat, Chhatra Sagar. (www.chhatrasagar.com)
This welcome oasis of calm has thirteen luxury tents situated on top of a stone dam overlooking a large lake where the beautiful habitat attracts many different species of wild birds and animals. The lake was created as an irrigation reservoir and it was the brainchild of Thakur Chhatra Singh of Nimaj, a powerful noble of the desert Kingdom of Marwar, it is now run by his descendants and it’s one of the best wildlife retreats in Rajasthan.
Wildlife safari tours are offered by the professional wildlife guides, Abhimayu and Hira. In a couple of hours walking through the 300 acre estate, we sighted some 34 species of birds – an ornithologists’ paradise!
From Rose-Ring Parakeets, Green Bee Eaters and an Indian Grey Hornbill, we also spotted large herds of wild boar and Blue Bull antelope. It was fascinating to learn about the flora and fauna prevalent in this part of Rajasthan and also to see the State Tree of Rajasthan, the Khejri Tree. The Desert Tree, as it is known was a lifeline to the people in Western Rajasthan, its pods when green provided animal fodder and were used to make curries and pickles.
Chhatra Sagar provides you with an opportunity to enjoy a village tour that includes an interesting farm visit where you are as close to traditional life in India as you can get. The descendants of the original inhabitants around the reservoir still live there today earning a living through farming including growing and picking cotton.
There is a cobbler in the village making shoes and a potter making pots from local clay, he supplies the entire village with his water pots that are decorated by his wife.
Little has changed in their way of life for many centuries. The morning visit gives you a privileged insight into rural Rajasthani life as it is today.
Evenings at Chhatra are relaxed and special. Dinner is served outside under the moon with the sound of birds emanating from the reservoir and with the distant sound of prayers from the local mosque.
In keeping with the Rajput lifestyle, the tents capture the essence of bygone days. The bedrooms are adorned with colourful hand-block print bedding, original artefacts bringing you home from home luxury in the heart of the Indian countryside. Camping? This is not – the adjoining power shower and luxury toiletries are part of the deal too!
Waking up before dawn to catch the sunrise and then to see what wildlife would visit the lake was great. Herds of antelope arrived followed by wild boar and peacocks with their young chicks. If you wish you can happily spend most of the day sitting in the sunshine outside your tent watching wildlife until its time for a G&T under the stars.
To book email firstname.lastname@example.org | Chhatra Sagar | Prices from £250 per night including tours.
Kate was a guest of Chhatra Sagar, Nimarj, Pali, India. Thank you.