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Friday, July 12, 2024

The Lure of the Jungle

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Tipeshwar, a six-hour getaway from Hyderabad, packs in tiger tales, bio pools and culinary delights that you can experience over a long weekend

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The year 2024 begins with festivals and public holidays falling strategically on either Friday or Monday. That’s a sign from God that one must travel! For the “have weekend, will travel” generation, which wants a short drive, yet a wilderness holiday, a bit of adventure but also a lot of chilling out, there is a hidden gem called the Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. All that you need to do is drive for six hours on the gorgeous Hyderabad-Nagpur highway and before you know it, the forest engulfs you with its wild charm.

THE JOURNEY:
We started from Hyderabad on a mildly cold winter morning at 6 am and we were mesmerized by the beautiful countryside on the NH44 Hyderabad-Adilabad Highway. Right in time for lunch, we reached Tipeshwar. The forest breeze becomes intense. You could smell the wood and dried leaves. We checked into Tipai by Wildlife Luxuries, a luxurious resort tucked away in the serene and natural habitat of Tipeshwar
forest. Founded by Keyur Joshi, the Co-founder of Make My Trip, this 34-acre property has forest and pool villas designed by principal designer Ariane Thakore Ginwala.

BIO POOL FUN:
“A bio pool is a swimming pool that uses natural processes to maintain water quality instead of relying on chemical treatments,” explains Keyur Joshi. The pool was nestled under a natural canopy, with a wooden ledge with soft cushions thrown around and a gorgeous wooden cradle. Amidst the stunning ambience, stepping into the natural pool which was gurgling away fresh water was an elevated experience. We may have burst into a song – side effects of taking a dip in deliciously cold water in a natural pool. The rest of the time, we spent in the two-level luxurious bedroom with a view of the forest in the background and a bathroom as big as a 1BHK house in the city.

TIGER BURNING BRIGHT:
The local naturalist says that Tipeshwar’s most popular tiger Talaowali was spotted enjoying a dip with her cubs a few months ago, two villas away from us. That sent a shiver down our spines. But then, what is a wildlife holiday without some adventure? Seeing the look on our faces, Keyur assures us saying, “It’s been taken care of. You will meet the tiger at the forest safari tomorrow, not in the villa today,” he quips.

DESIGN THINKING:
The rooms are adorned with handwoven Magankhadi curtains made from organic natural fibers and handwoven Indian wool dhurries as well as customized organic cotton, hand spun, and handwoven textiles. The highlights are the sheer curtains printed with real indigenous leaves of the region and the terracotta roofs made by local potters.

WALK BY THE FOREST:
To help us experience more greenery, the naturalists in the resort organized a nature walk that evening, an hour before sunset. It was customized to suit the lazy urban dweller, a small walk, a few spots to click some photographs and then we drove back in SUVs. The 25-minute walk was rejuvenating as we got to hear about the fauna and flora around the resort. 

SIGHTINGS AND SOUNDS:
Tipeshwar is home to a plethora of flora and more than 170 species of birds and animals, including the Bengal tiger, leopards, wild dogs and golden jackals; and birds such as minivets, egrets and herons. The 6 am safari lasted for about two hours across the jungle. While we were not lucky to have had any tiger sightings, we soaked in the forest ambience. At Tipai, you can also go for a picnic breakfast, orchard walks,
stargazing, fishing, etc.

DINNER UNDER THE STARS:
Palaash by Chef Amninder Sandhu, F&B Partner at Wildlife Luxuries, is a labor of her love. It pays an ode to the hyper-local flavors of regional Indian cuisine from the heartlands of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and many more. Chef Amninder and her all-woman team cook the traditional way with open-fire cooking (gasless cooking) and ingredients that are locally and organically grown. The 
dinner began with a delightful combination of Ambaadi, Chinch, Charred Ananas, and Dahi Ratalu Gulab, Nimbu, and Crisp Kashiphal—a delightful medley of textures and tastes paired with Sula Brut. The second course comprised aromatic slow-cooked Raan with bhakri and lal theccha paired exquisitely with AG 47 Chardonnay. Then we sipped on genda phool sorbet, a refreshing floral delight, that captured the essence of marigold petals in a frozen treat. The sweet conclusion was puran poli with amti dust and a silbatta ground Thandai-dipped paan. The next morning, we drove back to Hyderabad to face deadlines but the memories of the weekend stay at Tipai by Wildlife Luxuries lingered on.
Details: 
Tel: 96997 86275
Price: Dinner at Palash: Starts at
2.5k+taxes per person
Pool Residency: Rs 39,000 per night (for
three adults and one child)
wildlifeluxuries.com

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