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OHOT Recommended Staycations: Mela Kothi Chambal Safari Lodge

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It’s hard to believe, that just a few hours away from the hustle bustle of cities like Delhi and Agra, is a place that offers clean air and serenity. Yes, that is exactly what you’ll find at Mela Kothi – a warm and welcoming haven for the eager explorer and weary traveller alike. Come prepared – this land will mesmerize you!

chambal safari lodge
Source: www.booking.com

Nestling amidst acres of woodland and pasture, the Mela Kothi was built  in the late 1890s by Rai Saheb Ch. Suraj Pal Singh, the Zamindar Saheb (feudal chief) of Jara and was ideally located to serve as a camp office for the family’s bi-annual cattle fair. Infact, Jarar has been the main seat of the family since 1472. The fair was a source of great pride and prestige for the family, with traders coming from as far afield as Maharashtra and Orissa. However, by the 1990s, the numbers dwindled, and the Kothi and its grounds fell into disrepair and was on the verge of being condemned when the conservationist Ram Pratap Singh and his environmental scientist wife, Anu, began the process of restoration, renovation and adaptive reuse, rechristening it the Chambal Safari Lodge and opening their doors to visitors in 1999.

best hotels in him corbett national park
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Mela Kothi – Chambal Safari Lodge is a shining example of how a heritage property can be transformed into a thriving eco-enterprise which is helping to restore and protect the natural and cultural heritage of a previously little-known area. Every effort has been made to make the lodge as eco-friendly and sympathetic to its surroundings as possible. They’ve also helped to create check-dams in the ravines, and large ponds for collecting and storing rainwater. The generator is run only in the mornings and evenings to ensure a supply of hot water. Hurricane lamps and candles are used at night. Also, for the wildlife enthusiasts, 198 species of birds, mammals and reptiles can now be spotted in and around the property.

The property offers 13 rooms and cottages, all with either a sit-out or veranda which overlooks the fields or woodland. The main house has a cosy sitting room, a library and a bar, providing a comfortable home-away-from-home. It is a calm, gentle space, off birdsong and al-fresco meals, bon-fires and clear starry nights, conversation and authentic experiences.

rooms in chambal safari
Source: Agoda

With so much to offer, Chambal Safari also helps visitors explore many facets of this ancient land. You can engage in a number of activities while staying in the property. Accompanied by experienced local guides and naturalists, guests may explore the Chambal Valley at their own pace: on boats, jeeps, camels or on foot. You could take a relaxing cruise on the nearby river, explore Shiva temples, or go for a walk through the family’s ancestral village and farm.

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The area in front of the Kothi and stable block, with its row of Putranjiva trees lined up, providing shade and bird song in abundance, is the perfect spot for their al-fresco lunches, and ideal for an afternoon nap in the hammocks strung between the trees. Using organically grown ingredients sourced from local farmers, the team of skilled chefs at the resort dish out delectable local specialties apart from contemporary Indian and Continental dishes.

safari lodges in india
Source: LBB

Cost

A stay at Mela Kothi starts at ₹9,500 for a standard garden view room that accommodates two guests. On the other hand, a stay in the garden view suite costs ₹12,000 per night. The suite can house a maximum of three guests. The prices are not inclusive of any meals and are only for the stay and complimentary services.

How to reach?

Mela Kothi: The Chambal Safari Lodge is located at a distance of 265 km from New Delhi. Take the Taj Express Highway to get to the property in about 3 hours and 30 minutes.

There are several inter-city trains from New Delhi that can get you to Agra, the nearest major railway station to the resort. It takes approximately two and a half hours to cover this distance by train. Once you get down at the railway station, hire a cab to get to the resort in another hour and a half (80 km).

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