Vidya and I spent a delightful three days at the Jungle Lodges at Vilaspur. It was a wonderful experience, and we hope to do it again sometime.
We drove from Hyderabad to Vilaspur – a distance of about 135 kilometers. It took us a little over 3 hours – we stopped on the way for breakfast and pictures. The road was a National Highway all the way to Zaheerabad and except for a few patches around Zaheerabad, it was quite alright. After Zaheerabad, we turned into a state highway – this was bad in patches, but again, was not too painful. We continued driving past Bidar and past Naubad till we came to a sign for the Black Buck Resort. We turned off the state highway into a narrow road which soon petered out into bare rock. After about 3 kilometers of following signs on bare rock, we reached the resort.
The Jungle Lodges and Resorts’ Blackbuck Resort at Vilaspur is built on the side of a lake. Cottages nestled between a lot of trees and greenery make sure the peaceful experience persists – every cottage is surrounded by so much greenery that you are hardly aware of the presence of other cottages.
The hospitality and welcoming friendliness of the staff is a stand-out (this is true of every Jungle Lodges Resort we have been in, and this is no exception).
We stayed in an executive cottage – it was spacious and well-furnished. Of course, in true Jungle Lodges style there was no TV or fridge, but we never felt the need for either.
Day One: We reached in time for lunch, and had an absolutely fantastic home-style lunch. We lazed about till the evening, when we went on a coracle ride in the lake. We spotted a few birds in and around the lake. Later, we went for a “trek” (more like a slightly tough walk) with the resort guys and also spotted a few land birds.
The weather was pleasant, but not cold enough for a campfire. So we skipped the campfire and had a simple but sumptuous dinner.
Day Two: We had an early start, and went off to see the blackbuck at 6 AM. A 20-minute ride in the resort Bolero brought us to the blackbuck sanctuary. We spotted two different groups of blackbuck – all males with a couple of adults. They were understandably skittish, and kept running away. Finally, we managed to get into a position downwind of them, and saw them play-fighting for a while.
We also spotted the Indian courser, a bird we have never seen before.
We got back at about 9 AM for a South Indian breakfast. Feeling contented and well-fed after that, we walked down to the lake – Vidya with a book and I with my camera – and settled down on a rug. It was idyllic – cloudy and breezy, with a view that was gorgeous all around us. We spent good time there – Vidya dozed off and I got a few shots of a pied kingfisher, a tern and some dragonflies going about their business.
After lunch, the resort guys took us for a sightseeing tour of Bidar, again on the Bolero. We visited the Fort, the madrasa, the Chaubara, the gurudwara and a few Bidriware shops.
We got back in the evening and relaxed for a while, after which we had dinner at the campfire.
Day Three: We woke up late and had a lazy breakfast, after which we checked out. A pleasant drive brought us back to Hyderabad for lunch.
Highlights of Blackbuck Resort Vilaspur:
The Food: The food is very home-style. Nothing fancy or exotic, but extremely tasty food made like home!
The Service: The staff are friendly, helpful and very non-intrusive. At the Gol Ghar (the restaurant at the resort), the waitstaff were very attentive and helpful too.
The Quiet: This is the ultimate place to get away from it all – the only sounds you hear are the sounds of nature – bird calls, squirrels chirping and the rustling of leaves
The Activities: Your activities are well-planned out in advance, and the resort staff explain them to you in detail. However, you are under no compulsion to do any of them – you can opt out of any of them and laze around if you prefer.
More information and bookings at www.junglelodges.com