Imagine leaving a prestigious job and a comfortable life in the city and relocating to a remote area in service of nature. While that may sound appealing to many, very few can actually go through with such a life-altering decision. However, that is precisely what this Indian couple did over 20 years ago. After quitting his high profile job in the Indian civil services, Aditya Singh left his house in Delhi and moved to a remote location in Rajasthan with his wife Poonam. Ever since then, the couple has been buying acres of land abutting the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in order to let the adjacent forest grow back.
After moving to Rajasthan, the couple opened a tourist resort to earn a living. Slowly, they began purchasing land next to the tiger reserve. Instead of using this property for commercial purposes, they simply let nature take over.
After leaving the capital, the couple settled in Sawai Madhopur, a small city in Rajasthan state in 1998. The city’s proximity to the Ranthambore tiger reserve allowed Aditya Singh to explore his love for wildlife and nature through photography. Together with his wife Poonam, Singh opened a tourist resort in the area. While most establishments in the tourism industry seek to gain unrestricted access to wild areas, Singh and his wife wanted to do something different.
In an interview, Singh stated that he had first visited the area called Bhadlav with a BBC filmmaker soon after moving to Sawai Madhopur. Poonam, on the other hand, fell in love with Ranthambore on her very first visit. After witnessing the magical sight of a tigress with her three cubs, she knew she wanted to move there. Within a few months, the couple relocated and opened their resort, which Poonam managed with her husband for 20 years until it was closed down in 2019.
Because Bhadlav is located along the boundaries of the national park, it was frequented by tigers that came looking for prey. Naturally, the farmers living in the area started selling their land. Seeing this as a great opportunity, the couple started purchasing land parcels next to one another. Today, they own over 40 acres of land in Bhadlav and a nearby area.
After purchasing the land, the couple removed invasive species from the area and made no other changes. They simply let the land recover and the forest grow back. After two decades, the area has now turned into a lush green forest filled with a wide range of animals.
Instead of using the property for its commercial value, Singh and his wife decided to let nature take its course. They removed all the invasive species from the area and let the forest expand. Once the land recovered, it created a lush green forest, which is now home to a range of species including leopards, tigers, and wild boars.
In aerial photos, you can see a clear difference between Singh’s landholding and the Ranthambore tiger reserve. While the national park consists of barren land, Singh’s landholding has flourished into a lush patch of green. The couple has also incorporated several waterholes all around the land to make sure that the wild animals do not go thirsty even in the summer months. Since the expansion of the forest, tigers and other wild animals from the national park no longer venture into the fields of the farmers. That is simply because they have ample food, water, and most importantly, safe shelter away from prying eyes.
Despite getting several proposals to monetize his property, Singh has remained determined in his quest to let nature thrive. He is also planning to open a homestay, powered completely by wind and solar energy.
Over the last two decades, Singh and his wife have accumulated a property worth over Rs. 1 crore or $140,000. Naturally, they are constantly offered ideas and proposals on how they can commercialize it. However, for the couple, it has never been about money. They simply love nature and wildlife and want to see it thrive. They want to increase their landholding and inspire others to join their mission. The couple is also working on a new project to build a home and homestay, run entirely on wind and solar power. They plan to incorporate waterholes for the animals in this property as well.