Surwahi Social Kanha, a sustainable co-living cum homestay in Kanha Tiger Reserve is defining a new paradigm of meaningful low carbon footprint wildlife travel bringing innovative eco-friendly tourism concepts. The purpose of the place here is clear – to work towards the peaceful co-existence of all the three elements of nature – man, animal and vegetation along with making a positive impact of external travel footprints to the local community. The home-stay that is all set to revolutionise the concept of co-living in Kanha Tiger Reserve offers simplistic and minimalistic experiential journeys to its guests that promise to be life-enriching and soulfully gratifying. Each of these meticulously planned activities imbibe principles of conscious luxury with earthen flavours.
Activities within Surwahi Social Kanha
1. SSK Jungle Walk
Since the landscape at Surwahi Social Kanha is filled with the natural extended ambience of the forest, the SSK Nature Trail around its periphery of approx 3 KM is one of the best things to do while in Surwahi Social Kanha. Guests can walk through the thick cover of vegetation and trees here at the Unmanaged part of the land to get closer to nature. From understanding different species of flora to appreciating various smaller animals that are part of the land here, guests can expect to revel in nature’s pristine beauty and fill their lungs with some pure fresh air.
2. Slow Cooking
This method of cooking helps maintain the nutritious value and flavours of ingredients in the food and is considered to be one of the most effective methods of healthy cooking. The one of its kind experience inside SSK awaits guests as they can watch and participate in the art of slow cooking in the traditional low-heat pots in the conventional cooking style. The DIY (Do It Yourself) see-through accessible kitchen is where resident guests try their hand at cooking some of the local delicacies.
3. Inside Pond Tour
One of the key attractions of Surwahi Social Kanha is the artificial pond within the premises. It is not a contemporary swimming pool – it is indeed a water body that has been created in the typical rustic and native form to blend it with the natural ambience around. Currently only operational during Monsoon being rain-fed in long run SSK team aims to make it fit for a quick dive or swimming or fishing in a local way. Else it will be coming as a romantic place for making a candlelight dining experience besides the lanterns and bushes around water. Founders are also looking at this pond venue for holistic well-being and naturopathy treatments owing to its rich black clayey soil called ‘Kapam Mitti’ in local Hindi dialect.
4. Play@Surwahi Experience
This outdoor Play Area at Surwahi Social Kanha is another interesting, unique for central India and family engaging attractions of SSK. This place has been created and developed keeping in mind the requirement of kids and elders to move out into the sun and play fun games in the open air. Hence, there are the Bouncy Paws, Balance Maze, Tyre and rope climbers, Heaving Hoops and swinging bridges. This becomes extremely important in this high-tech digital age of modern times. For seniors, there are the swings and the benches under the Mahua tree. Sustainability occupies every inch in this place – even the play zone has been done up with the recycled tyres and other such reusable materials like bamboo and wooden logs to create a niche eco-friendly area for kids. All the materials have been sourced locally.
5. Bathing at Sanduk Nala Stream
The Sanduk Nala meets the Banjar River hardly 500 metres downstream meandering its way right bordering the Western boundaries of Surwahi Social. This creates an unwavering opportunity for all in-house guests with a life-time opportunity to take a dip in the clear waters of this natural stream, just like the locals do. While swimming in the pool or the sea is quite common activities that guests undertake, a dive in the stream here is surely going to be an incomparable experience for a lifetime and one that’s most sustainable as well provided we do not make the place dirty, slushing it with plastics and chemicals which are strict NO for the place and its guests. An interesting aspect of this stream is that while Banjar becomes dry in peak summers with the thinnest strand of water hardly left, its Sanduk Nala which is perennial and continues to lead the way.
6. Astronomical Sky Watch
The sky above the property is clear offering guests with amazing stargazing opportunities. A specially created Watch Tower rising above the storehouse room on one corner of coliving Dormitory block within the Mahua compound offers an awe-inspiring view of the night sky, besides offering a bird’s eye view of the forested area nearby and also the Banjar River. As time progresses there will also be the option to camp or set up tents outside, within the premises of this homestay near Kanha Tiger Reserve and spend a momentous night under the night sky.
7. Yoga along the Yoga Well
Yoga has been at the epicentre of Ayurveda for ages; so much so that it gets mentioned in the holy Rigveda too. It has been mentioned by our ancestors that when yoga is practised in the open, amidst natural surroundings, it helps bring synergies of the human body with the environment leaving behind an intensified and powerful impact on the body. The Yoga Well at Surwahi Social is one such place where guests can practise different yoga postures and meditate in the peaceful surrounding of the Kanha forested region.
8. Chalukya Durga Temple
One of its kinds small yet in-genuinely crafted Chalukya Temple inside Surwahi Social with a hand-carved Durga Goddess is a place of appreciating local craftsmanship, design thinking, architectural thoughtfulness and diverse heritage of Indian subcontinent. The stupendous Durga Maa statue has been craved in stabilized mud wall by one the most talented local artist “Baldeu Makram” and his colleague from Baihar Tehsil. Since the statue has been picked from Northern Karnataka’s famous temples of Aihole Badami Pattadakal region in Bagalkot district, it is named after the Chalukya dynasty from Deccan. The original temples are one of the most magnificent heritage structures belonging to Badami Chalukya architecture built in 7th century CE and are currently managed by ASI as a UNESCO world heritage site. Overall temple design is also pretty unique worth observing.
9. Birding Tour within SSK
At Surwahi Social Kanha the native forest cover and the tree mass of the land have been untouched and kept as it is. Additional plantation in terms of fruit plants and medicinal trees has been done. This vast green cover fruitfully attracts birds of different kinds and species. With unique species of birds flocking to the trees of Surwahi premises, there is an exclusive opportunity for bird-watchers and nature lovers to go on an extensive bird touring trip within the premises. Guided by experienced and qualified natives, this tour will be filled with surprises and eye-opening facts from the world of ornithology.
10. Hands-on Pottery guided by Boda Potters
This homestay near Kanha Tiger Reserve is surrounded by a potters’ village called Boda. These are native people with pottery skills that have been passed onto them from their forefathers. The Limestone Kiln within the premises of Surwahi has been re-ignited to convert the area for teaching pottery basics to guests. The Boda villagers will train guests to bake their own red and black pots and utensils that guests can then carry back home as souvenirs and proof of the skills that they have picked up at Surwahi.
11. Wildlife Movie Dates
In the next phase, there are plans to put up a projector mounted to the wall that would be used for showing movies on wildlife from Kanha National Park. The objective is to let the visitors discover and gain information about different species of animals that co-exist in the deeper forests of Kanha. In long run, there are dreams plans to build an indoor theatre with 3D and 4D screens for providing a much-enhanced experience inside SSK to guests who are interested to know more about the ecology of the forest.
12. Learning Gond Art & Sculpting
The Baiga and Gond tribes and their art and sculpture occupy a central position in the evolvement and development of Surwahi Social Kanha. It was, therefore, natural to include the Gond art forms as part of activities for guests in-house. Guests will be provided elemental knowledge about this ancient art form of the Gond tribe making this a unique experience inside SSK.
13. Organic Farming Sweat out
This forms an essential part of volunteer tourism. Long-staying guests can be part of this holistic experience inside SSK. Here guests can participate in organic farming efforts since Surwahi promotes organic living. It would be sheer sweat out activity involving physical laborious work. As part of our organic living, vegetables, medicinal herbs, grains, and fruits are will be grown here on the premises.
14. Outdoor Sports like Volleyball
Sports are so vital for our health and fitness and yet our sedentary lifestyle does not permit us to engage in such sporting activities regularly. At Surwahi Social Kanha, holistic well-being occupies a central position. The presence of large open areas is a big motivator which is why the management has marked out areas for sports like volleyball, soccer, cricket on the land and swimming in the water bodies within the premises.
15. Volunteering on Community projects
Volunteer tourism is an aspect where each and every guest of Surwahi Social Kanha will be expected to contribute by their time devotion to the local community. These can be adding hands to government schemes, motivating or engaging with local youth or as simple as playing with the village kids. For elders, it could be about teaching kids academically or even a sport, about a good habit, or any other topic of interest to kids. Guests can also work on compassionate grounds by taking the kids out on a forest tour or be involved in teaching in government and primary schools. Guests could also sign-up for helping with health check-up camps for kids. Volunteering for community development work is an open invitation to guests in-house as well as other outside visitors to KTR. Depending on their convenience and liking, they can choose to get attached to any such self-help group projects that are being run by the management of this sustainable accommodation nearby Kanha wildlife park continually. Such projects could be related to farming local produce, teaching village kids, participating in community empowerment projects and more.