In anticipation of the upcoming 150th anniversary of Rudyard Kipling’s birth (30 December 2015) and the US release of Walt Disney’s remake of The Jungle Book(15 April 2016), responsible tourism specialist Village Ways is to introduce a brand new Forsyth Trail adventure in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, where Kipling’s timeless novel was set.
Cinema-goers are sure to be wowed by Disney’s update on their 1967 classic which will feature a visually spectacular combination of live-action and computer animation and a star-studded cast of voices including Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Bill Murray. Those who can’t wait for the cinema release can go and see the ‘real thing’ thanks to Village Ways’ new wildlife experience, introduced from 1 November 2015.
The setting for Kipling’s The Jungle Book, first published in 1894, is an area in the Central Provinces, now known as Madhya Pradesh. The state of Madhya Pradesh is home to the country’s greatest jungles and, because the wildlife and forests are so well protected, there is little available work for locals and sadly communities have had to move away. While many operators offer wildlife holidays here, Village Ways is unique in providing visitors with a truly authentic experience, staying within accommodation options that are managed and operated by the villagers. By introducing this new break,Village Ways hopes to provide a sustainable livelihood for the very poor communities of the region, with a new income stream that will directly benefit the community as a whole and hopefully halt the exodus of the local people.
THE FORSYTH TRAIL
Village Ways’ new 10-night Forsyth Trail is a thrilling combination of fine forest walks, warm hospitality, charming villages and wildlife discovery in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, following the walking route taken by pioneer Captain James Forsyth. An officer of the Bengal Staff Corps, Forsyth became one of the first Europeans to explore Satpura and was the first person to set up a forest department in India. Joined by an expert Village Ways guide, the adventure begins in the village of Chopna, where visitors walk along winding paths of the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve and relax into village life, staying in walk-in Swiss-style tents. The next picturesque camping spot is in the delightful village of Dehlia, a forest department checkpoint on the fringe of the Satpura National Park. The Park is wild India’s best kept secret, which with no more than 10 jeeps allowed inside its 210 square miles at any time, and being the only park where walking in tiger country is permitted. From here, walk through the teak forests to discover the tranquil hill station of Pachmarhi, the highest point in Madhya Pradesh at 1,305m.
A day’s drive then brings guests to the Seoni district, the setting of Kipling’s Jungle Book story, and the forest village ofSakata, which lies in the migratory corridor between Pench and Kanha Tiger Reserves. Here, guests get to know the community and enjoy local forest walks, with good wildlife spotting opportunities, before moving onto the village ofKarmajhiri, from where it’s possible to enter the Pench Tiger Reserve and enjoy a jeep safari through the jungle. Look out for wildlife including bluebull, sambar, spotted deer, jackal, wild dog, hyena, langur, gaur, wild boar and abundant birdlife; and, if lucky spot sloth bear, leopard or the mighty Shere Khan (tiger). Stay in comfortable tented accommodation and an old hunting lodge, run by the tiny communities.
Price: from $2,015 per person based on two sharing (less in a larger group) including 8 nights’ full board accommodation, 2 overnight rail journeys, road transfers, jeep safaris in the Pench Tiger Reserve and private guiding.
For further information contact Village Ways +44 (0) 1223 750049, villageways.com).