Jarar has been the main seat of the family since 1472. The Mela Kothi and its stables were established as a field camp in the late 1890s by my great grandfather Rai Saheb Ch. Suraj Pal Singh, the Zamindar Saheb (feudal chief) of Jarar. Nestling in the midst of over 120 acres of woodland and pasture and surrounded by farmland, the Mela Kothi was ideally located to serve as a camp office for the family’s bi-annual cattle fair (Mela). The clockwork precision, guarantee of safety, amenities, entertainment, talent shows, shops, and the revenue generated were a source of great pride and prestige for the family. However, by the 1990s the income from the fair had dwindled to the point of being unviable.
The property had fallen into total disrepair and was on the verge of being condemned when we began the process of restoration, renovation and adaptive reuse, rechristening it the Chambal Safari Lodge and opening our doors to visitors.
The Lodge is located within a 35-acre plantation of the original woodland, with many old growth trees surrounded by extensive farmland, refuge to over 200 species of birds, reptiles and small mammals. It is a calm, gentle space, off birdsong and al-fresco meals, bon-fires and clear starry nights, conversation and authentic experiences. With just 13 rooms/cottages spread around the grounds, the MelaKothi – Chambal Safari Lodge, is a little oasis in the middle of a busy country. A place to slow-down, relax and breathe deep.
At a Glance:
Experiences: Walks, Bird Watching, Treks, Swimming Pool, Farm Tour, Cookery Class, Ayurvedic Massage, A Visit to Tea Plantation & Factory, Eddkal Caves, Heritage Museum, Tribal Village.
Accommodation: 2 x luxury camps, one with 2 tents and one with 4 tents.
1 x rustic camp with 2 tents.
Location: Chambal Safari Lodge – Mela Kothi, Bah, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India