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New India lodge inspires a walk on the wildside

Boost in Tiger Population in Dudhwa National Park Prompts Gane and Marshall to Launch Tour to New, Luxury “Tree of Life Jaagir Lodge

Tour operator Gane and Marshall has launched a tour to the little-explored Dudhwa National Park, northern India, set to be put on the map with the opening of new, luxury lodge from Tree of Life Resorts and Hotels called “The Tree of Life Jaagir Lodge”.

The new six-night itinerary, “Dudhwa National Park India Safari”, also heralds positive news about the growth of the wild tiger population in the region. A report from WWF on the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve India reveals a rise in tiger population by up to 10 per cent since 2010. 



“Wildlife itineraries to Dudhwa National Park have been off the radar for most travellers, due to the lack of high quality accommodation,” explains Jeremy Gane, Managing Director of Gane and Marshall. “Remote and little-explored, Dudhwa hasn’t been very accessible to wildlife enthusiasts in the past, but this new property is set to really open up tourism to the area.”



“Dudhwa National Park is truly one of India’s most remote and spectacular parks. A self-contained wildlife sanctuary, Dudhwa is home to rare species including tiger, wild elephant, one-horned rhino and barasingha, all heavily endangered animals which have eked out a home in the isolated wilderness. We are excited about supporting the emerging tourism market in this area and bringing our clients a magnificent, new travel experience.”



Opened as a hotel in late February 2015, “The Tree of Life Jaagir Lodge” is a former hunting lodge, set in a 200-acre sugarcane plantation and built in the 1940s for use by British governors. The newly-renovated lodge boasts three luxury rooms, three suites and six deluxe villas known as “Jhaalas”, each of them individually decorated and named after a local animal.



“The Tree of Life Jaagir Lodge” has been sympathetically converted to preserve much of its original character. It retains the old library and lounge with fireplace, now a cosy bar that is well-stocked with whiskeys, wines and cognacs. An extended veranda runs along the front of the building, overlooking the manicured lawns. The dining area serves delicious cuisine five times a day, either indoors in the dining room or outside under the shade of the pavilion. Other facilities include a fresh water swimming pool with forest views and a full-service spa, offering a range of treatments.



The Tree of Life Jaagir Lodge is a four-hour drive from Lucknow, the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a protected area of the state, covering 1,230 sq km, sharing the north-eastern boundary with Nepal. It comprises Dudhwa National Park (600 sq km), as well as Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary (230 sq km) and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (400 sq km).



This protected area is home for tigers, leopards, Asiatic black bears, sloth bears, swamp deer, horned rhinoceros, elephants, cheetahs, hog deers, barking deer, sambars, wild boar and around 400 bird species.



Dudhwa National Park attracts far fewer visitors than most of India’s popular wildlife parks, making for a more authentic experience and the chance to see the resident wildlife in their unaffected environment. Wild and untamed, the park’s unique terai eco-system sets it apart from other Indian wildlife parks; the landscape is reminiscent of that found in the Nepali foothills and supports a remarkable number of endangered species. 



Tiger numbers in India as a whole have grown by 30 per cent in four years, official figures reveal, increasing from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014. This can be attributed to a new focus over the last three or four years which has led to better field patrolling and monitoring, and initiatives such as a crackdown on poaching, community partnerships and minimisation of human-animal conflict. 

G

ane and Marshall’s “Dudhwa National Park India Safari” begins in Delhi, where travellers will take a seven-hour train journey to Lucknow and check-in for a two-night stay at the luxury “Vivanta by Taj” hotel. Lucknow is an interesting destination that doesn’t commonly feature on tour operator programmes. Travellers will explore the beautiful colonial-era city, visiting sites such as Dilkusha Palace, the Clock Tower, Chota Imambara “Palace of Light”, and the famous tombs of Saadat Ali Khan and Begum Murshidjadi.



A scenic drive to the “Tree of Life Jaagir Lodge” in Dudhwa comes next, for a three-night stay. Days are spent on game drives by private jeep into Dudhwa National Park, setting off on three mornings and three afternoons, returning to the lodge in time for lunch and to avoid the midday sun. On departure from Dudhwa, travellers will return to Lucknow for a final night at the “Vivanta by Taj” hotel. 



Prices start from £1,295 per person, based two travellers sharing. This includes three nights’ hotel accommodation in Lucknow, three nights’ in Dudhwa, most meals, train travel from Delhi to Lucknow, transfers from Lucknow to Dudhwa and back, activities in Lucknow, six morning/afternoon game drives in Dudhwa, English speaking guide and currently applicable taxes. Return international flights are additional, starting from £495 per person. Prices valid until 15 June 2015 (Dudhwa closes between mid-June until October), late 2015/2016 prices available on request. 



The city of Lucknow connects well with other cultural destinations such as Varanasi, Khajuraho and even Nepal. Gane and Marshall will tailor-make an itinerary on request.

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