Central India holiday, trekking and culture

“Tailor made trekking and camping trip in the jungles of Central India. Great introduction to an authentic rural India that tourists rarely get to experience.”


Bhoramdeo temple complex | Jhalmalla | Lakeside camping | Kanha National Park | Evening jungle safaris searching for sloths, big cats and colourful species of birds | Possible visits to the weekly tribal market | Optional bike rides along Banjar River |

Description of Central India holiday, trekking and culture

This tailor made week in Central India provides a chance to get to know the region from an insiderís perspective. Experiencing and becoming immersed in rural life is definitely the best way to escape the tourist crowds and really get to know the people that live in the beautiful jungle villages.

The variety of guided hiking and comfortable tented camping conjures every opportunity to become one with the land. And the realm of Kanha National Park offers ample excuses for an array of authentic and exciting adventures. Everywhere you go youíll be invited into the homes of tribal people for tea, biscuits and a chat as well as pausing for picnics and organised lunches in woodland groves or beside a lake.

From the curious carvings to be found at the temple complex at the start of the tour, to the Baiga and Gond tribes that you might meet whilst exploring in the hillsides of Central India, this unique experience really does provide a most satisfying mix of trekking and culture.

Keeping your eyes peeled for indigenous bird species, old world monkeys (Hanuman langurs) and tell-tale signs of leopards, is part and parcel of life in the jungle. Some of our tours will coincide with the weekly tribal market (haat) where the hill tribe people come down from the surrounding countryside to sell their wares. Bargain hunters are bound to be more than interested in the heavy silver jewellery and trinkets as well as the abundant fruit, veg, and freshly fried take away pakora in paper cones. This is authentic India, come and taste the difference.

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

1 Both our professional accommodation providers, at Bhoramdeo and Kanha have turned plots of land that previously were either unproductive scrubland, or environmentally damaging eucalyptus, into well wooded havens for bird and insect life. The camp owners at Kanha have gradually felled the eucalypt, using it to build the shells for their tented accommodation and all their furniture (it is a marvelous mosquito repellent) whilst continually replanting mixed forest as they go. Both the accommodations provide alternative drinking water to the ubiquitous plastic bottles that now litter India (quite apart from the disposal of plastic bottles, it takes four litres of water to produce a single litre of drinking water). At Kanha in the form of a highly efficient filtration system and Bhoramdeo in the form of a very deep bore hole. Both use solar power to heat their water, and dispose of their rubbish on site using composting where possible and trying to minimize the purchase of anything plastic wrapped.

2 We operate with small group sizes which not only maximises interaction within the group and guides and local community but also minimises the impact on environment.

3 In this tour we have used home stays, lodges and hotels which are safe, comfortable and operated in a sustainable way. We specifically pay attention to their waste disposal and eco-tourism policies.

4 We believe wildlife tourism can be an important conservation tool if used responsibly. Travel to national parks and wildlife areas brings positive economic benefits as entrance fees contribute to the maintenance and conservation of local flora and animal species, while visitors benefit from the educational aspects of the area and take away with them an increased awareness of the need and place for conservation. Equally important tourism helps the local communities living around these reserves by providing jobs and helping them realise the importance of the forest.

The Impacts of this Trip

We believe there are two fundamental factors in creating a successful and socially beneficial holiday: slow travel and placing value on local knowledge. All our guides on treks in the hills are local herdsmen (yadavs) or farmers; they not only know the best routes and the food and medicinal uses of every plant and tree, but also whether it is worth a diversion to see a leopard footprint, to bypass a village where private ceremony is taking place or drop in on one where a baby welcoming party will enjoy the presence of some extra guests. It enables real relationships to be established between guests and host nationals. We ensure that there are multiple languages speakers on all our tours to avoid cultural faux pas and to enrich the exchanges between everyone. Our guides ensures that same villages are not visited by foreigners more than once in any month and that all supplies are brought along so no strain is put on the local resources. We encourage guests to bring small but useful presents; jumpers or shawls for children (central Indian winter nights can be bitterly cold) and fresh fruit and vegetable for longer stays (50% of Indian people do not even eat one fully balance meal a day).

All our accommodation providers employ the vast majority of their staff from local villages and encourage the learning of English, interaction with guests and opportunities for promotion. The also support the education of the children of their staff and their health needs.


4 Reviews of Central India holiday, trekking and culture

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2020 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing a tiger, although only briefly, was fabulous. Rural Madhya Pradesh was beautiful, calm and friendly. We loved being able to wander around the villages.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We didn't actually walk to Kahna National Park, we were advised otherwise. It was a lovely trip but not as much walking as we would have liked so I think we
should have been clearer about wanting to do that.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Both places we stayed, Bhoromdeo Jungle Retreat and Shergarh camp were very sensitive and supportive of local people and really tried hard to care for the
environment. We were very impressed. Of course we took a long haul flight to get there ........

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Really lovely. It was relaxing which was just what we wanted as we have had a week either side in Kolkata (involvement with an NGO) which is great but totally
non-relaxing. Saurabh Agrawal made an effort to meet us off the train when we arrived in Raipur and took us to lunch before the return journey. It was delightful to meet him, thanks for putting us in touch.

Reviewed on 07 Jan 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

My time at the Bhoramdeo Jungle Retreat could not have been a better
introduction to the delights of India. The slower rural pace allows you to enjoy the colour, history, flavour and hospitality of central India in an authentic but extremely comfortable setting. I couldnít name a single most memorable experience - I enjoyed it all, from the surprise milkman festival in a nearby village, to the cycle ride through villages, fields and past 11th century temples, to the visits to colourful tribal markets. What ties it all together though are the lovely people you will meet - not least of all your hosts Sunny and Sabreena who treat you like a valued friend and go out of their way to make your stay special.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Come for at least five days - even then you will want to stay for longer!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Out of the many trips I have chosen through the responsible travel company this would probably be one of, if not the, best in terms of its positive social, local and environmental impact. Sunny and his team have created something really special. Being able to visit and be a small part of that world for even a short space of time was a privilege and I canít wait to go back.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Having travelled extensively to a wide array i countries I would still say that this is one of the best holidays I have had.

Reviewed on 28 Dec 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There were lots of memorable parts of this holiday. My daughter and I have both seen quite a lot of India before and were looking for something different. This trip was definitely 'the real India', just as it says. The tour company, is run by a very efficient and personable young man, Saurabh, who has excellent English and a real understanding of what makes a good holiday. Before the trip he was happy to answer any questions and to be flexible about what we did each day. We ended up doing some walking, some cycling, some visiting local tribal people and some safari which was just the right mix for us. In addition to organising the trip, he took us on a nature walk - he knows a lot about birds- and also took us out to dinner locally on our last night. In fact, I would say he is one of the best and nicest trip organisers/leaders I have ever encountered. He could not have done more for us and we really enjoyed his company.

A highlight was our time at Bhoramdeo staying with Sunny and Sabrina. They were such welcoming hosts and took us to do so many interesting things in the local area. In particular visiting people from the two local tribes in their homes and actually camping in the grounds of one family's compound and eating chapatis made with herbs in the home of another, gave us the opportunity to meet people we would otherwise never have met.

The Kanha Tiger Reserve was also good experience. We stayed with at Sherger, a really welcoming, luxury tented camp with excellent food. Again the owner, Jehan, was very friendly and helpful and good company.
Perhaps that is what stands out the most about this trip - the personal nature of it. It felt more like staying with friends than being tourists.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I would certainly book with them again. When Saurabh says it can be flexible to suit your needs/wants, he really means it. Ask for what you'd like to do and he will find a way to arrange it. In particular, I wouldn't miss a stay at Bhoramdeo. There are a lot of interesting things to do in that area and you could easily spend 4 or 5 days there. If you want a trip away from the usual tourist sites, or a rest from being in tourist areas on a longer trip, I would definitely choose this.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we were pleased about that. At Bhoramdeo, it was clear that Sunny had personal relationships with all the people we met, he employs local people and he contributes in various ways to the needs of local families and communities. Jehan at Sherger employs all local people at the tented camp. In both places it was clear that staff enjoyed their work and had good relationships with their employers. Both places used filtered or well water so that there was no need to buy and dispose of plastic bottles of water.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was too short - only 7 days- due to our work commitments. However we both agreed it was one of the best, most authentic trips we have taken, and we have both travelled extensively. So I would rate it as 'excellent'.

Reviewed on 13 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Walking in the unspoilt countryside of Borromdeo and birdwatching at Satpura lake. Also visit to Sanchi Buddhist site. The elephant ride and seeing wild dogs from the howdah!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

For Borromdeo, perhaps visit one month earlier, ie in early Feb or before it gets hot in the middle of the day in late Feb/early March, so you have to get up very early in the morning!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All of these.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was excellent in every way. Saurabh was a wonderful naturalist, excellent organiser and splendid companion. If we had booked it through a UK based agent, it would have been twice the price. Thank you Responsible travel for recommending a holiday provider based in Raipur! They did a terrific job and I will be recommending them to friends.

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