In the year 2000, Delhi couple Anu Dillon Singh and Ram Pratap Singh decided to turn their ancestral land in Chambal into a revamped space.

The boutique lodge they created here, known as ‘Mela Kothi – The Chambal Safari Lodge’, is an oasis of sustainability.

The 200-acre property was previously an orchard built by Ram Pratap’s great-grandfather Rai Saheb Suraj Pal Singh in the 1890s.

“The space was used for around 15 days a year, so they were looking at cutting down the trees and converting the area into farmland,” explains Anu.

So the couple decided to give it a makeover in 2000. They quit their corporate jobs and moved to Chambal.

They began by working with the locals to create a tourism model that would include birdwatching as one of the main attractions.

Over the following years, the couple constructed 14 cottages with modern amenities, ensuring they also cared for the nearby orchards.

Today, the land that started off with 54 trees blooms with more than 3,000 of them, and Anu says its “positive life-giving vibe” is the main draw.

Guests who come to Chambal, which has since undergone a major transformation, are in for an immersive cultural experience.

They are offered a host of activities such as the safari, exploration of the Ater Fort, and the Holipura Heritage Walk.

As the couple looks back at the many memories they have created over these years at Chambal, they echo the same thought — “Take a leap of faith. It’s always worth it.”