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Note that rates quoted here are "Jungle Plan" packages, which include all meals and two safaris into the park as well as all entrance, guide, and vehicle fees, and that all are situated within striking distance of the entrance. Besides the thoroughly swish and sexy Mahua Kothi, there are two more options worth considering, and they won't break the bank in quite the same way. Located on the park's southern edge, Tree House Hideaway (tel. 94-2583-8688; www.treehousehideaway.com; Rs 20,000 all-inclusive double) is a unique property with accommodation perched on top of five different kinds of trees. Contrary to what one would expect from a treehouse, the interiors are quite comfortable yet in keeping with the surroundings, although some guests have had a nightmarish time with rats (a problem the management can't really solve given that one is surrounded by a forest); on the bright side, you may also chance across (as we did) herds of wild boar, literally under your tree, grunting and rummaging in the dark -- an authentic and slightly surreal experience for a city slicker. At press time, the owners were waiting to install a CCT camera by the side of a natural waterhole shared with the park boundary, so that guests can view any visiting wildlife while sitting in the lounge area; if only the staff and managers were more enthused and enterprising, this could become one of the best properties in Bandhavgarh.

An older sister property is the King's Lodge (info tel. 07627/28-0536; reservations 011/2588-5709; www.kingslodge.in), which is also responsible for Ken River Lodge in Panna, near Khajuraho. Accommodations (most of which are raised off the ground on stilts) have large covered porches, mud-effect walls, and sliding doors that open to bedrooms with high A-frame ceilings; floors are stone tiled and there's plenty of wood, including entire branches and tree trunks used as part of the decor. They're smart and have working iron fireplaces, air-conditioning, and good, firm mattresses covered with white cotton linens; bathrooms have tubs and showers. The lodge also offers a good range of amenities, including a pool, and there's a mellow atmosphere enhanced by the breezy layout of the public spaces. Rates start at Rs 15,000 for two people on the Jungle Plan.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.