“Jungle Resort Forsyth is a Lodge not a hotel or resort !” – One of the first things that I was specifically corrected about on arrival at Forsyth was to always refer to it as a ‘lodge’ and not a hotel or resort. You might ask what the difference is and I realize now that there is a lot, and like everything else that is practiced here, it has a meaning and a purpose.
While you might find many meanings of the word in the English dictionary, I have come to understand it through the philosophy of how Forsyth Lodge is setup, run and experienced by every visitor.
Exploring nature and wildlife
Conceptualized on a safari lodge, the sole purpose of Forsyth lodge was to make one experience the highlands of central India in all its rawness. Run by passionate naturalists, the entire stay is focused and curated to explore the jungles, landscapes, rivers and ravines to bring you closer to wildlife and nature in the most holistic manner. The activities of walks, drives, canoeing and camping, all gets one to experience this place including its history, people and cuisine. This uniqueness of intent makes the lodge an immersive experience and a lifelong memory of interactions.
One with nature
Forsyth was created on a piece of land which is right on the edge of the protected area but used to be overgrazed, fallow land. It was rewilded by protecting it from grazing cattle by a thicket fence to be reclaimed by the forest. Over the years planting of native species and allowing the land to be unused has brought it back closer to its forested state and become a safe haven for wildlife. Restricting the lodge to just 10% of the total area also helps keep most of the area undisturbed for one to feel and be a part of the natural surroundings. The traditionally built mud cottages blend into these surroundings as well with their natural material, colours and design. And every possible measure is taken to tread as lightly on the environment to minimize the footprint.
One with the community
Setup as the first lodge in the area, the intent was to make the locals a part of its existence by making them a part of everything big and small. It is driven by the purpose of passing on the benefit of tourism to locals and make Forsyth Lodge a part of their lives and livelihood. Most conservation efforts are based on economies and giving the local people the benefit of tourism makes them conserve what the tourists are coming for and make them responsible for what’s truly theirs.
Less is more
Simplicity and minimalism is what makes the lodge aesthetically beautiful and ecologically sustainable. While most creature comforts are provided in a remote environment, form, functionality and minimal wastage of resources takes precedence in the operations. Communal dining means everyone eats together and there’s no wastage of food. Providing filtered water means less use of plastic. Composting of garbage and recycling leads to organic salads and a cleaner environment. Chemical free soaps and reed beds means the grey water can be recycled and used for recharging ground water.
All these attributes make sure that when you stay at a lodge you may be contributing to a much greater purpose than meets the eye!