There’s a nip in the air, onset of winter in the otherwise heat-struck Gujarat and I took a trip down to the Blackbuck Lodge in Velavadar. The lodge is situated in the home of the Indian antelope, the blackbuck. A mere 2-hour drive from the city of Ahmedabad, it almost feels like something you could do regularly.
It is luxury amidst the wild grasslands. We reached in time for lunch and had a scrumptious meal in their restaurant that included succulent chicken & their special risotto. And post our filling meal, it was best not to dilly-dally and we headed straight for the evening safari to the National Park.
The lodge has guided tours with an immensely knowledgable guide who drove us into the wetlands & the grasslands alike. An ornithology aficionado’s paradise, the wetlands are lush with birdlife. We spotted the Indian Roller, endangered vultures & eagles. The park also boasts the world’s largest harrier roost – Montagu’s Harrier, Pallid Harrier and Marsh Harrier can be found with the Hen Harrier being occasionally spotted. The marsh lands are also populated with pelicans, cranes, herons & other water birds.
However, the mammals of the hour have to be the Blackbucks. In herds & clusters, you can see hundreds of Blackbucks across the wild grasslands of Velavadar. You can spot them with your naked eye, no need for binoculars. They are elegant & majestic. What is more even more elegant though, are the brass Blackbuck heads that the lodge uses over blown glass bottles to store the most luxurious bath & body products in their rooms. You can even purchase these custom glass jars from the lodge.
While the rooms are true to their wild surroundings, they emanate luxury in every corner. My favourite part? The Bialetti French Press in my room with a huge patio armed with sunbeams & a plunge pool that opens into the grasslands, wilderness as far as the eye can see.
After the safari & a quick dip in my plunge pool, we made our way to the Lodge Tent, a brilliantly done up lounge with the most stunning ceiling embroidered with birdlife native to the region, a chandelier, wooden bark centre table & the most tasteful trinkets. We played some jazz music and stood right outside the tent, over the deck & under the sky studded with stars.
For dinner, the chef whipped up a Quinoa Biryani to suit my diet preferences. And having it on the deck while we look at the grasslands underneath the stars, was even more magical. An early night in & we woke up the next morning and spent the wee hours of the day watching birds amidst the morning dew from the reception deck as we got served some coffee & cookies. The golden hour, just right as I spent a couple of hours pre-breakfast in their reading corner with the most well-curated selection of wildlife books.
The best part of the day, had to be the breakfast. A wide selection of Indian & continental delicacies. The eggs, waffles, sausages cooked to perfection. Paired with their fresh fruit juices & homemade granola, which is an absolute must try. I spent some time in my patio over my sun beds before we were invited to a tent at the edge of the property atop a tiny hill for some high-tea. A stunning spot to view the sunset & snack on finger-sandwiches & tea.
Done up in a beautiful printed fabric, the interiors of every element of the lodge emanate class while still very much being a part of the wild landscape it is located within. The lodge doesn’t try to be different, it has built its way into the park, around the wildlife. That’s the charm of the Blackbuck Lodge. In the many conversations I had with Mickey, the founder of the lodge, this is what he’d always say, ‘It is a lodge in the wild. I can’t take away that element.’ Every detail is curated, the trinkets across the property, the tableware is custom designed to include the blackbuck, the wild is as is, the lodge just built itself around it.
A prime example of life today. You cannot escape nature, we must live with it, embrace it. And whenever you need the reminder of how serene nature can be, drive down to the Blackbuck Lodge.
For bookings, you can contact email@example.com or call them on +91 9978979729 (Mon-Sat) between 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM.