Author: Robert Postma
The morning is silent save for the hum of my air conditioner in the corner. Inside my tent it’s cool the true sounds of the new day are evident as I turn it off and am greeted by the songs of birds. A new day is dawning. I realize that this is my favourite part of any day. Day break fills me with a sense of the unknown, what will happen today, what will I get to see? A tiger stalking prey through the forest, a leopard searching out a cave to wait the heat of the day away in, perhaps a desert fox playing with its young. One thing for sure is that there will be an amazing sunrise that will take my breath away. Other than that, it’s a surprise here in India. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What began as a chance meeting turned into a trip I will never forget. I had the good fortune to meet Anjali Singh while leading a polar bear tour in northern Canada. Having a common passion led us to chat after the days sightings and she told me that she owned wilderness and safari properties in Rajasthan India under the name SUJÁN. Anjali and her husband Jaisal, have personally designed and created each of the exclusive destination experiences out of sheer passion and an overwhelming commitment to protecting and preserving India’s wildlife, heritage and culture for future generations. She kindly suggested that I go and experience the camps on my own. It was an offer that one should not turn away from and naturally I didn’t. India had never been on my radar before but it certainly was now. Boarding the plane for Delhi I was filled with a sense of excitement, like a kid on the first day of school. The adventure had begun!
While in India, I was able to visit three of SUJÁN’s tented properties, each one was special in its own way. SUJÁN The Serai, close to the fabled city of Jaisalmer was just wonderfully relaxing, an eden in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the surrounding villages. The days were hot, nights cool and the food oh so delicious. From here I explore the Great Thar desert, had a cultural tour around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jaisalmer, and rode camels into the sunset dunes. If I hadn’t known what was coming, I could have easily just stayed there and relaxed my vacation away. It was the perfect way to ease myself into Rajasthan.
Next was to SUJÁN JAWAI, a wilderness camp hidden way in breathtaking landscape between Jodhpur and Udaipur which offered me up close and personal encounters with the strikingly beautiful leopards. The effortless grace these animals possess is mesmerising to watch and I must admit gave me a twinge of jealousy since I severely lack the ability to walk with any grace myself. I was continuously amazed with the abilities and professionalism of my guides, top class with anywhere I have safari’d in the world. Where I saw only rock or bush, they saw leopards. Even when they were pointed out, it took me a minute or two to locate them. Their camouflage was incredible. In addition to the leopards, the rangers at JAWAI showed me countless songbirds, osprey hunting and the wise owls nesting in trees. We explored temples, rural villages, I walked and hiked, met local farmers as they harvested their crop. There is so much to experience here. A true photographers delight.
Lastly, what I believe to be the crowning moment in my life was seeing a wild tiger in the forest, with my own eyes. I had only ever dreamed of being able to see them and my dream happened. Even better was that we were the only vehicle at the sighting. That made it more special. Even though the tiger was only laying there looking at us it was worth all my efforts to get here. To have a tiger stare you down is akin to a spiritual experience. One I would love to have over and over. In Ranthambore National Park, I also got to see leopards, many different prey animals and the ever so cute Northern Scops owl. Not to mention the hundreds of peacocks and birds in addition to the enchanting Banyan trees. The banyan is one of my favourite three trees now. It was my own jungle book coming to life.
SUJÁN Sher Bagh in addition to the other camps in the SUJÁN repertoire truly live up to the “luxurious” branding. Not only can you sit and relax in absolute solitude, but you can get a massage at the full service spas. I treated myself at each camp and am a better person for it. The last thing I want to mention are the showers and soaps at the camps. I found I had to tear myself away from the shower! They were divine to put it bluntly! How they manage to have the quality of the shower at the camps was beyond me! And the aromatherapy of the soap was calming. I took some bars from each camp to be honest. Guilty as charged. I catch their scent every once in awhile in my house back home in the Yukon and am instantly teleported back to India. The memories come flooding back, so does the longing to be amongst the people, culture and wild animals. It is calling to me, and I will listen. You should as well… it won’t disappoint you!
Robert Postma is an Award Winning Wildife based in Yukon