Where are the 7 Very Best Luxury Tented Camps in India?

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The current luxury tented camps across India offer so many experiences, whether you’re looking for a rugged, outdoorsy adventure or an indulgent, romantic vacation, there’s something for everyone!

The cultural richness of India means there’s a fascinating variety of celebrations, ceremonies and special occasions to be enjoyed.  However as these are mainly active in remote areas they have been left virtually undiscovered, until now. 

What’s very exciting is that you can now forget your traditional idea of camping – this is travel inspired by royal Mughal caravans, complete with hot showers in the en-suite, colonial style drinks cabinet, and personal butler.

From the golden sand dunes of Rajasthan to the far flung state of Nagaland to the premier tiger reserves of India, they are all set up in spectacular locations.

Sher Bagh Camp - Ranthambhore - Rajasthan

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With just 12 tented suites, the Sherbagh camp at Ranthambhore is a relatively intimate affair. With hand-stitched tents and vintage furniture, the camp makes an effort to recreate the era of British safari campaigns. The comforts haven’t been spared, though. Each tent has air-conditioning, a bathroom, and a private verandah. Suites are also equipped with a private jacuzzi. Outside, there’s a spa, swimming pool and an organic garden from where you can pick fresh ingredients for your meals.

From the camp you can take game drives into Ranthambhore National Park, renowned for its rich wildlife and the possibility of seeing the majestic tiger. You can also visit the formidable 8th Century Ranthambhore Fort nearby, a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site.

Jawai Leopard Camp - Rajasthan

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A more recent addition to luxury tented camping is Jawai, where you’ll stay in one of 10 individually crafted tents which fan out a discrete distance away from the central dining tent, chill-out tents and drop-edge pool.

White canvas interiors commingle chrome and leather with stunning black-and-white photography, whilst 5-star service, superb food and erudite tracker-guides ensure that your stay will be an once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This ground-breaking camp, the first of its kind in India, is a brilliant add-on to any ‘Golden Triangle’ circuit as well as a glorious destination in its own right. Jawai is where leopards roam free and is also a birder’s delight—the reservoir nearby brings in flamingos and sarus cranes in large numbers.

The Serai - Rajasthan

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Luxury camps have become the hippest way of experiencing Rajasthan, beloved by celebrities, honeymooners and peace-seekers alike. Over the past decade more than a dozen have sprung up in the state's desert and jungle areas, but the Serai's opening late last year took the level of grandeur to giddying new heights.

Created by high-class couple Anjali and Jaisal Singh in 2009, who are no slouches at creating superb tented camps, The Serai is an ode to peace, to open space, to old-fashioned comforts and elegant design. A luxury camp of 21 tented suites, set deep in the tranquil Thar desert but just an hour from Jaisalmer, it's an impossibly romantic set-up, and perfect for honeymooners.

The white canvas tents are raised on honeyed sandstone, each with a terrace lounge, sitting room with writing desk, air-con bedroom and a stylish, double-sink bathroom. Six have private candlelit plunge pools, and there's also a Royal Tented Suite with its own pool, spa, lounge and dining tents, set in an exclusive, walled-off compound.

Jamtara Wilderness Camp - Pench - Central India

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You are also spoilt for choice in Central India especially at some of the premier tiger reserves.  Situated in a gloriously remote and rural setting in the buffer zone of Pench National Park and with private access to its own gate, Jamtara is a gem and provides a wonderful reason to travel to Pench, not only for the exceptional wildlife, but for the overall atmosphere and ambience of this special place.

It is a gorgeous camp offering accommodation in 12 luxury tents surrounded by tall Arjuna Trees. They truly believe in supporting the local community and therefore, a “Machaan” night can be booked, which generates revenue for the local farmers.

Here the concept is sleeping under the stars, just like the villagers. These Machaans are built on the land of the farmers and an amount of the night’s rate will be paid to the farmer.

Banjaar Tola – Kanha - Central India

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This is situated along the banks of the Banjaar River, directly overlooking the heart of Kanha National Park. The luxurious tents have been designed in a contemporary style with pressed bamboo wall panels, bamboo floors, and hand crafted furniture made from local timbers. The Lodge has 2 elegant camps of 9 suites, each with its own intimate tented sitting area.

Most of the camps that I have mentioned are mainly static or semi-permanent luxury tented camps.  However a luxury mobile tented camp is the perfect way to get off the beaten track and discover a calendar of seasonal events and festivals in northern India. Moving with the climate and season the following two camps are pitched in Ladakh and Kohima in exceptional locations in the mountains and unexplored countryside.

Chamba Camp – Ladakh - Western Himalayas

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With facilities comparable to a world class hotel Chamba Camp pops up in Ladakh’s short summer months from June to September, with fabulous views over Thiksey monastery. Spend the day visiting mountain villages, meeting lamas, consulting oracles and visiting serene monasteries for which the region is famed before returning to the fire-lit camp for the evening and gourmet cuisine.

For the more intrepid there’s the option of a private mobile exploration – camping “on the fly” – to Nubra, Sham and Rumbak Valleys, (well known for snow leopards in the winter months), and Tso Moriri Lake, camel riding, river rafting and mountain biking.

By December, when Ladakh is snow-bound, the camp has moved east to Nagaland and the Hornbill Festival, where 16 different tribes gather for 10 days.

Kohima Camp - Nagaland

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Kohima Camp continues to deliver comfort, with the site taking over 30 people more than two weeks to construct, but doesn’t rely on any permanent infrastructure. Named after the revered bird, the Hornbill Festival is one of the largest celebrations of the indigenous warrior tribes of north east India and each day unveils colourful performances, crafts, sports like archery and wrestling, food fairs, games and religious ceremonies.

What better way to explore these majestic landscapes than to spend a night camping in India, sleeping beneath the stars? Indulge yourself in this unique experience in India’s top luxury tented camps.

Sher Bargh, Jawai and Serai images courtesy of SUJAN Luxury

Kohima and Chamba camps images of the Ultimate Traveling Camp Company

Banjaar Tola images courtesy of Taj Hotels

Jamtara images courtesy of Jamtara Wilderness Camp

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Posted by: Harsha Ogale

Posted on: 27th October 2016

Read more: Posts about Asia

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