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All You Need To Know About Gandhisagar Forest Retreat

Introduction

Gandhisagar Forest Retreat is a luxurious glamping experience that takes place in the district Mandsaur, a part of the state Madhya Pradesh, India. The festival offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of nature while indulging in thrilling adventure activities. It is organised by the Department of Tourism, Madhya Pradesh to promote tourism in the state.

The festival is located in the lap of Mother Nature and offers breathtaking views of the serene Gandhisagar Lake. The festival’s property is designed aesthetically and provides guests with all the premium amenities to ensure a comfortable and unique glamping experience. The cottages are spacious and equipped with comfortable bedding, furniture, and modern facilities. Visitors can enjoy a variety of gourmet food and drinks at the festival’s restaurant.

Gandhisagar Forest Retreat also offers an array of adventure activities such as parasailing, zipline, kayaking, speed boating, and many more. These activities are perfect for adrenaline junkies and nature lovers alike. The organisers of the Gandhisagar Forest Retreat have taken great care to ensure that all the activities are conducted safely under the guidance of experienced instructors.

In addition to adventure activities, guests can also indulge in other leisurely pursuits such as ethnic culture exploration, nature walk, and stargazing.

The festival being situated in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh offers an excellent opportunity for history lovers to explore the rich archaeological sites of the region, including remains of Laduna Palace, Sitamau Palace, Dashapura Fort, Sondhni Pillars in the village of Sondhni, Dharamarajeshwar, Brahmanical Rock Cut Temple, Buddhist Caves, Yashodharman Pillar, and prehistoric painted rock shelters. All of these sites in Mandsaur narrate the tales of glorious history. Apart from historical sites, Mandsaur also allows visitors to view its magnificent sculptures from Hinglajgarh Fort along with the beautiful flora and fauna of the region in the Gandhisagar Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Gandhisagar Forest Retreat is an excellent initiative by the Department of Tourism, Madhya Pradesh to promote tourism in the state. The festival attracts both national and international tourists, providing them with an opportunity to explore the cultural richness of Madhya Pradesh. The festival also creates new employment opportunities for the locals, contributing to the region’s economic growth.

Asia’s First Floating Festival - The Gandhisagar Floating Festival

The Gandhisagar Forest Retreat hosted Asia’s first-ever Floating Festival, the Gandhisagar Floating Festival which took place from February 1 to 5, 2023. The event was a unique celebration that featured live musical concerts on a floating stage, making it an extraordinary and unforgettable experience for visitors.

The festival offered a range of exciting activities, including a floating market, food festival, silent earphones music evening, and various thrilling adventure activities like Hot Air Balloon, Parasailing, Paramotoring, Speed Boating, Jet Ski, and many more. Guests were also taken on guided tours to explore the local ethnic culture.

Several renowned bands and artists performed at Asia’s First Floating Festival, including Indian Ocean, Fiddlers Green & Sourav Moni, Kabir Café, Iktara, and Bandish Projekt. The musical performances were a major highlight of the festival, with visitors enjoying live music while being surrounded by the serene waters of Gandhisagar Lake.

Musical Rendezvous Amidst the Waves

Imagine the tranquillity of a lake and soulful tunes of live music. The concert at the Gandhisagar Floating Festival was no ordinary concert but an experience where the stage itself was floating on the pristine waters. Leading the musical brigade were bands and artists of repute. Indian Ocean’s pulsating beats, the melodies of Fiddlers Green & Sourav Moni, the thought-provoking tunes of Kabir Café, the mesmerising notes of Iktara, and the contemporary sounds of Bandish Projekt all combined to create a symphony unlike any other. Each performance resonated with the ripples of the water body, captivating attendees and making the music not just heard but deeply felt.

Beyond the Music: A Feast for the Senses

However, the Gandhisagar Floating Festival wasn’t just about music. It was a complete sensory delight. The floating market was an inventive space where local artisans showcased their crafts, giving attendees a shopping experience that was both unique and special. Amidst the gentle waves, guests picked up pieces of the local culture to take home with them.

Then there was the gastronomic allure. The food festival ‘Taste of MP’ was a celebration of flavours, where traditional dishes met innovative culinary creations. It was more than just a meal; it was a tantalising journey for taste buds.

Silent earphone music evenings added a contemporary twist. In this segment, visitors, equipped with earphones, tuned into soulful music, and danced to their chosen beat while maintaining an atmosphere of serene silence around.

Adventure on the Horizon

For the thrill-seekers, the festival was nothing short of an adrenaline rush. With the expansive lake as a playground, activities like the Hot Air Balloon ride gave attendees a bird’s-eye view of the entire festival, while Parasailing offered a perfect blend of air and water adventure. Paramotoring was another aerial delight that had adventurers soaring with the winds.

On the surface of the water, Speed Boating became a favourite for those who loved the splash and thrill. Meanwhile, the Jet Ski rides offered both speed and agility, letting riders carve through the waters with grace and gusto.

Guided Tours to the Local Richness

The Gandhisagar Floating Festival also served as a bridge to the local and rural culture. Guided tours introduced attendees to the richness of the local ethnic traditions at Hinglaj Fort, Kanwla Village, and Vishnu Varah Mandir. This facet ensured that the festival wasn’t just a celebration of the present but also a nod to the traditions that have enriched the region over the centuries.

Workshops for Skill Enhancement

Beyond the melodious tunes and thrilling adventures, the Gandhisagar Floating Festival was a realm of knowledge and skill enhancement, owing to its diverse range of workshops. These workshops, set against the backdrop of the tranquil Gandhisagar Lake, not only served as an educational forum but also as a means of enriching the overall festival experience.

Rejuvenating Yoga and Wellness Sessions

Given the serene ambience of Gandhisagar Lake, it was only fitting to have workshops focusing on wellness and inner peace. Yoga sessions at dawn, meditative practices by the lakeside, and discussions on holistic well-being turned the festival into a place to rejuvenate both body and spirit.

Adventure activities offered at the Gandhisagar Forest Retreat

Nestled amidst the green expanse of nature, the Gandhisagar Forest Retreat isn’t just another retreat; it’s a place for adventure seekers, an oasis of excitement that offers both land and water adventures, ensuring that every visitor finds an activity tailored to their taste and thrill level.

Land Adventure Activities

For those who love to explore the land, the festival offers an exciting range of activities such as duo cycling, cycling, rope course, jungle safari, night jungle walk, ATV, gun shooting, kid zone, and indoor gaming.

Cycling: Duo and Solo Experiences

Cycling is more than just pedalling; it’s about feeling the wind against your face, discovering hidden trails, and soaking in nature’s beauty. At Gandhisagar Forest Retreat, the cycling experience is curated to be both a shared and a solitary experience.

Duo Cycling brings a twist to the traditional biking experience. Two riders share a single bicycle, promoting teamwork and synchronicity. The joy of pedalling together, coordinating movements, and sharing laughter adds a new dimension to the cycling experience.

Solo Cycling, meanwhile, is a journey of self-discovery. With the landscape of Gandhisagar unfolding before you, it offers a moment of introspection and the chance to traverse the retreat at one’s leisurely pace.

Rope Course

If you’re keen on challenging your physical prowess and mental dexterity, the Rope Course is perfect. Here, attendees navigate a sequence of obstacles, all while being safely tethered to a guiding rope. Every step taken tests balance, coordination, and determination. It’s not just an activity but a testament to one’s will to overcome challenges.

Jungle Safari

Nature’s splendour truly reveals itself in the forested expanses surrounding Gandhisagar. The Jungle Safari offers a window into this wilderness. Guided tours meander through the dense foliage, revealing the region’s rich biodiversity and giving attendees a chance to witness wildlife in its natural habitat.

Night Jungle Walk

For the courageous explorers, the Night Jungle Walk is an exhilarating adventure. With the cloak of darkness enveloping the forest, every rustle and every shadow adds to the thrill. Guided by experts, this nocturnal journey is a blend of mystery and discovery.

ATV Rides

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) experience is an adrenaline-packed ride through the rugged landscapes of Gandhisagar. These four-wheelers, specifically designed for off-road terrains, ensure that mud patches, rocky outcrops, and uneven trails become exciting challenges. As the engine roars, riders can feel the terrain, mastering every twist and turn.

Gun Shooting

For those who seek precision and focus, the Gun Shooting activity offers a chance to test one’s aiming skills. Under expert supervision, participants get a feel of the sport, trying their hand at targeting and shooting in a controlled environment. It’s an exercise in concentration and steadiness, providing a break from the physical exertions of other activities.

Kidzone

For the younger ones, the Kidzone is a perfect place to spend some quality family time. Tailored to retreat the youngest attendees, this space is a medley of fun and learning. From slides and swings to games that challenge their young minds, it ensures that the kids are not just spectators but active participants in a variety of fun activities.

Water Adventure Activities

When one thinks of the Gandhisagar Forest Retreat, it’s not just the green expanses that mesmerise; the pristine expanse of water also beckons adventure seekers, promising them an unforgettable escapade. The myriad of water adventure activities offered by Gandhisagar Forest Retreat includes kayaking, jet skiing, dragon boating, banana boat riding, speed boating, pontoon boating and more.

Kayaking

Imagine gliding seamlessly over the still waters, with just the soft splash of your paddle breaking the silence. Kayaking at Gandhisagar Forest Retreat is precisely this tranquil experience. It offers attendees the chance to be one with nature, moving at their own pace, exploring hidden nooks of the lake, and soaking in the serenity that envelopes them. It’s a gentle reminder of nature’s calming embrace.

Jet Ski

From tranquillity, you can also shift gears to the exhilarating world of Jet Skiing. As the engine throttles, the jet ski leaps into action, cutting through the water, with splashes following your trail. It’s not just about speed; it’s about feeling the power of the water beneath and the thrill of mastering it. Every twist, turn, and jump on the jet ski at Gandhisagar Forest Retreat promises an adrenaline surge unparalleled.

Dragon Boat

A perfect blend of tradition and teamwork, the Dragon Boat experience is unique. The boat, with its intricate design, requires participants to move in unison, paddling to the rhythm set by the lead drummer. As you become part of this synchronised effort, it’s a beautiful reminder of coordination and the joy of shared experiences.

Banana Boat Ride

Laughter, joy, and the challenge of balance define the Banana Boat Ride. As the inflatable, banana-shaped boat gets tugged by a speedboat, riders face the playful challenge of staying aboard amidst the bounces and splashes. It’s a delightful group activity, where every unexpected wave adds to the shared excitement.

Speed Boating

While the serene waters of Gandhisagar invite relaxation, they also beckon speed enthusiasts. Speed boating here is an electrifying experience. As the boat roars to life, riders get to slice through the lake, feeling the exhilarating rush of the wind against their face and the heart-thumping pace amidst the scenic surroundings.

Pontoon Boat

Contrasting the high-speed pursuits, pontoon boating offers a laid-back, luxurious experience. This flat-decked boat is all about leisurely soaking in the beauty of Gandhisagar. It’s ideal for families, especially those with young children, or anyone looking for a calm cruise. With the gentle bobbing of the boat and the panoramic views of the lake, it’s a slice of paradise on the water.

Whether you prefer a calm and relaxing water adventure or crave the thrill of speed and adrenaline, the water adventure activities offered at Gandhisagar Forest Retreat have something for everyone.

Air Adventure Activities

The Gandhisagar Floating Festival doesn’t just confine its charm to land and water adventure activities; it invites attendees to explore the skies, promising an unparalleled aerial experience. However, these air adventure activities are subject to availability.

Parasailing offers attendees a surreal sensation of floating with a colourful billowing parachute. As you are gently lifted off in the air, you can embrace the cool breeze and an eagle-eye view of the sprawling Gandhisagar.

For those desiring more, the Hot Air Balloon experience is great. Floating gracefully, attendees can watch the festival’s landscape gradually recede, offering breathtaking panoramic vistas. The slow rise and drift in the vast sky evoke a profound sense of tranquillity and wonder.

Paramotoring merges the thrill of powered flight with the freedom of paragliding. Strapped to a motor and a parachute, attendees can sail the skies, controlling their elevation and direction, and exploring Gandhisagar’s beauty from a unique vantage point.

How to reach Gandhisagar Forest Retreat

Gandhisagar is a popular tourist destination located in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. Travellers can reach the destination via various modes of transportation such as train, bus, and flight.

By Train

Neemuch, Kota, Mandsaur, Chittaurgarh, Ratlam, and Udaipur are some of the nearby railway stations to Gandhisagar. From these railway stations, one can easily hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Gandhisagar. All of these railway stations are well-connected to major cities in India, including Delhi and Mumbai.

By Bus

Gandhisagar is well-connected to other cities and towns in Madhya Pradesh by a network of state-run and private buses. Travellers can take a bus from nearby cities such as Neemuch, Mandsaur, and Udaipur to reach Gandhisagar

Via Flight

The nearest airports to reach Gandhi Sagar are Udaipur, Indore, and Bhopal. After reaching any of these airports, travellers can take a taxi or a bus to reach Gandhisagar. Udaipur is the closest airport to Gandhisagar, located at a distance of approximately 227 km. Indore Airport is located at a distance of around 287 km, and Bhopal Airport is approximately 322 km away from Gandhisagar.

Visitors can choose the mode of transportation that suits their preferences and convenience.

Best time to visit Gandhisagar Forest Retreat

The Gandhisagar Forest Retreat is a unique and unforgettable experience that visitors can enjoy from the start of February till the end of April month as the festival starts on the 1st of February and remains till the 30th of April  (dates can be extended). This is the time when the weather is ideal for outdoor activities, and the entire area is enveloped in a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

During these months, the temperature in Madhya Pradesh is also moderate. The humidity level is also relatively low, making it comfortable to indulge in various adventure activities offered at the festival.

Best places to visit nearby Gandhisagar Forest Retreat

The Gandhisagar Forest Retreat is not just an isolated haven of adventure and relaxation. It’s beautifully cradled amidst a treasure trove of cultural, historical, and natural wonders that beg exploration.

Pashupatinath Temple 

Nestled on the tranquil banks of the Shivna River, this temple is a marvel of spiritual and architectural beauty. Its towering idol of Lord Shiva, cast in a rich copper hue and showcasing the deity in eight different forms, is a testament to the rich legacy and craftsmanship of the region.

Dharmarajeshwar Temple

Roughly a 100 km journey from Mandsaur will bring you to this gem. A rock-cut temple majestically seated atop a hill, its intricate carvings echo the grandeur reminiscent of the famed Ellora Caves in Maharashtra.

Buddhist Caves 

Traversing back in time, these 5th-century AD caves, situated close to the Dharmrajeshwar Temple, house wondrous carvings and ancient paintings. Among them, the Bhim Bazar cave stands out due to its large size and historical importance.

Chaturbhuj Nala

A historical journey, this 5-km stretch is lined with rock shelters, each bearing thousands of painted figures that chronicle ancient tales, cultures, and rituals.

Gandhisagar Wildlife Sanctuary: 

Nature enthusiasts will be enchanted by the sprawling 300 kilometres of lush green area of the Gandhisagar Wildlife Sanctuary. Straddling the border between Mandsaur and Neemuch, the sanctuary is home to diverse flora and fauna, offering visitors a pristine slice of wilderness.

Mandsaur Fort: 

An architectural wonder, this 15th-century fort constructed by Hoshang Shah Gori is a testimony to the region’s tumultuous past and architectural genius, with its intricate carvings and robust walls.

Neemuch

A former British cantonment of the Gwalior princely state, Neemuch is known for its natural beauty and peaceful surroundings.

Bambhori Buzurg Beach (Mini Goa)

Quite the surprise in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, this beach spot, often referred to as the “Mini Goa,” offers a serene escape, a gentle reminder of Goa’s coastal beauty.

Gandhisagar Dam: It is one of four major dams on the Chambal River, is located 168 km from Mandsaur and offers stunning panoramic views, as well as a haven for migratory and non-migratory birds.

Sunset Point 

As the name suggests, this point by the serene Chambal River offers a front-row seat to nature’s daily spectacle. The sky painted in hues of oranges, purples, and reds, with the sun bidding adieu, is a sight that imprints itself on one’s memory.

Chaurasigarh Lake View Point: 

A vantage point that offers a stunning view of the several migratory birds – a perfect spot to immerse oneself in nature’s splendour.

Kanwla Village

Embracing its roots, Gandhisagar Forest Retreat offers guided tours to Kanwla Village, providing a deep dive into rural culture and traditions. A walk through this village is like stepping back in time, as traditional practices, folk songs, and age-old tales come alive.

Vishnu Varah Mandir

Located in the heart of Kanwla Village, this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is an epitome of spiritual calm and architectural beauty, providing solace to all who visit.

Gandhisagar Forest Retreat is an ideal destination for adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts, and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The festival offers a unique glamping experience, adventure activities, and an opportunity to explore the beauty and cultural richness of Madhya Pradesh.

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