The Tiger & Beyond
Funds Expended on our projects
Free Cataract Surgeries done
Khem Villas' History and local Involvement, you are making an impact just by staying with us!
Khem Villas is a small wilderness camp located along the edge of Ranthambhore National Park. The camp is located on a large plot of land developed by Goverdhan who is the son of India’s famous Tiger Man Fateh Singh Rathore. Fateh is considered as the person who made Ranthambhore into one of the world’s best known Tiger Reserves. He spent nearly 5 decades fighting for the Tiger in Ranthambhore. When Goverdhan graduated as a medical Doctor in 1988 he came to back to Ranthambhore to work with local people living around the Park in an effort to engage them in projects that would make them less dependent on the park for their natural resource needs and therefore in the long run help save the Park and its Tigers.
The above picture shows Lt. Fateh Singh Rathore at different ages in his life.
For 25 years, before Khem Villas became a jungle camp, Goverdhan developed the land on which Khem Villas is located into a small wilderness haven that has small lakes, forest areas and open grasslands. This was more as a passion to recreate his childhood which was spent living in Ranthambhore with his father and not with the objective of making it into a jungle camp. In 1995 he married Usha and she supported him in this effort and in 2005 suggested that this beautiful oasis be converted into a jungle camp. So in October of 2006 they opened their home for people to come and stay, giving birth to Khem Villas. Khem Villas today not only provides an unmatched wilderness stay in Ranthambhore, but also helps local NGO’s started by Goverdhan and his father working towards helping to save the Tigers.
The focus at Khem Villas is not just Tigers but to go beyond Tigers engaging visitors and informing them about the various challenges that threaten the survival of Ranthambhore and its Tigers.
Goverdhan is involved with two non-profit NGOs, Prakratik Society and Tiger Watch providing health care, education, afforestation, dairy development, employment generation, monitoring of Tigers and more importantly sustainable livelihoods.
In Goverdhan's words, "We started a mobile health care program and we would visit 33 villages every week. This provided deep insight into the minds of the people and how they thought the park gave them nothing and that it was only for the tourists that came to see the tiger. I soon realised that this battle to save the tiger would not be won unless the local people became a part of the conservation effort.
Mobile health Care program from the 1990s.
Prakratik's multi-speciality hospital
One of the 1st Projects that Goverdhan started was a mobile health care program that visited over 30 villages located along the edge of Ranthambhore National Park on a weekly basis. He would provide primary health care to the people and talk to the local people trying to understand their problems and how programs could be developed so as to help them while also providing them alternative livelihoods that would be less dependent on the park and its limited natural resources. This program has grown over the years to become a multispecialty hospital providing one of a kind advanced surgical care in a district of a million people. He is currently trying to upscale this project by making a bigger hospital in town so that it can become sustainable in the long run which would eventually allow for allocation of more funds to provide free care to the most needy communities living around the National Park.
Prakratik's Fateh Public School
In 2019 Ranthambhore Sevika Hospital Partnered with Apex Hospitals Jaipur to manage the hospital and upgrade services. The hospital now, in 2020, is a tertiary hospital doing advance work like Cathlab, Neurosurgery and Advanced ICU with plans to expand even more in the future. The new national insurance scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has helped Sevika provide hundreds of poor people advanced health care for free.
You can find more information about Prakratik Society on Prakratik's website at www.prakratiksociety.org
In 2001, Fateh donated a large part of his land to help establish a school. Over 600 children study in this school which provides free scholarships to girls from villages around the National Park to improve girl child literacy which is abysmally low. The objective of the school is to provide good quality education while at the same time instilling in the children a sense of pride and understanding for their natural heritage that is Ranthambhore and its Tigers so that they may become active participants in the long term survival of the Tiger and its habitat in Ranthambhore. (www.fatehpublicschool.com)
Khem Villas supports a seedling nursery that distributes over 50000 saplings of indigenous tree species to local farmers to encourage them to grow their own fuel wood and timber.
The vast majority of people living around the Park cook their daily meals on wood collected from in and around the Park. The staggering population growth over the past few decades has meant that this need has risen 10 fold putting additional pressure on the park for fuel wood and timber needs of the local population. The NGO provides bio gas digesters to interested families as an alternate method to meet the energy demands. A simple technology that uses the cow dung abundantly available in every village and converts it into methane which is then piped into the farmers home and can be used as an energy source to cook their meals.
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION AND DAIRY DEVELOPMENT
One of the major challenges in Ranthambhore has been the large number of cattle belonging to local people that live around the Park. As a large majority are of poor genetic breeds their milk yields are very low and so the only sustainable way for local people to keep these is to free graze them in and around the Park putting tremendous pressure on the already limited grasslands inside Ranthambhore. The artificial insemination centre has been established to help improve the breeds of cattle living around the Park in the hope that increased milk yields will mean less cattle and better cattle will mean sustainable stall feeding eventually helping to reduce the grazing pressure on the National Park.
Khem Villas supports a small enterprise called “Dhonk” started by Divya Khandal in an effort to encourage local women mainly belonging to “Mogiya Tribes”. The mogiya tribes have been one of the main tribes engaged in poaching of Tigers from inside Ranthambhore. This enterprise hopes to provide these families in alternate employment so that they can slowly wean themselves away from poaching. (www.dhonk.com)
How you are making an impact just by staying at Khem Villas
When you come to Khem Villas you can engage yourself in any of the projects that Usha and Goverdhan are involved with if you so wish. They would be happy to talk to you about them organize free visits to see their work. You will end up with a much more enriching experience when you stay at Ranthambhore and your stay here would have contributed to these programs as Khem Villas contributes a part of its profits each year to help these programs.
At a time when the loss of Tiger habitat was at its peak and Tiger numbers were dwindling as a result of rampant poaching, Tiger watch was forged out of a collective but iron will, to tackle a crisis that had overwhelmed both state and non-governmental resources. Fighting many battles at ground zero, Tiger Watch not only seeks to protect the Tiger, but also works to preserve the entire landscape, and continuously re-defines wildlife conservation in Ranthambhore and its environs.
An organization of like-minded individuals, Tiger Watch, was founded by the Late Fateh Singh Rathore. Today, Tiger Watch applies its expertise to offer innovative and practical solutions to the challenges faced by an ever-changing ecosystem. Sitting at a unique vantage point, we are privileged to aid the Forest Department in augmenting their resources in creative ways to address the various challenges faced in the management of the famous but fragile Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Thus, Tiger Watch leads by example and continues to break new horizons in the world of conservation.
It is currently run at the local level by Dr Dharmendra Khandal one of India’s foremost wildlife scientist and field biologist. He has also set up a small hostel for children of mogiya tribes so that they can get an education and in the process find alternate employment opportunities. Goverdhan is the Vice-Chairman of Tiger Watch and Khem Villas supports Tiger Watch and its activities. You can find more information about Tiger Watch on it's website www.tigerwatch.net