in Bandhavgarh National Park
Mahua Kothi draws its inspiration from one of India’s most beautiful
trees, the Madhuca Indica, or as it is commonly known, the Mahua or
butter tree. Pronounced ‘ma-hoo-a’, this tree with its fleshy
off–white flowers plays a central role in festivals and rituals. The
Lodge sprawls over the 40 acre grounds, just 20 minutes from the
park entrance. The original kothi (homestead) comprises the guest
areas and has been beautifully renovated, and the guest
accommodation is all brand new.
Each of the twelve charming guest suites – or kutiyas (jungle
village huts) – are built in the vernacular style of Central India,
affectionately known as ‘MP Chic’ (MP being the state of Madhya
Pradesh). Each is accessed through private courtyards with shaded
seating and traditional mud floors. Interiors include wooden
shutters, tapered mud coloured walls in lime and earth washes
(finished by hand), open rafters with roughly hewn wooden beams, and
handmade pottery roof tiles. Floors are dressed in katni stone
strips set in lime mortar. Each ensuite bathroom features twin hand
basins, indoor shower, bath and separate w.c. Richly coloured local
textiles, used throughout, are in shades of rust and burnt orange.
Each kutiya features roll-down mats to keep out the early morning
sun, as well as overhead fans and air conditioning.
Guests delight in the yoga amenities provided in a basket (complete
with instructions), as well as traditional Indian games of marbles
and Chaupad. Kettles of boiling water on chulhas (charcoal burners)
are brought out with early morning tea to the kutiyas. Bicycles,
parked in the kutiya courtyards, are an invitation to explore.