All posts by Yusuf Ansari

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Jaisalmer’s Golden Fort: In Conversations with History

The Serai, Jaisalmer sits on desert scrubland with a rolling as-far-as-the-eye-can-see-view of the horizon, where pink skies bid farewell to blazing, fiery sunsets and cranes flying overhead to their nesting grounds signal the end of the day in wintertime. This is a timeless landscape, a roundabout of history that has witnessed the arrival (and departure) of armies and caravans, of princes, priests and mendicants each of whom settled down or passed through in the rise and ebb of medieval dynamics. Not far from The Serai, in about as much time as it would take you to enjoy the on-board picnic, you can drive to the centre of this historic landscape, Jaisalmer Fort.

 

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Birds, Birders and Twitchers: Part II

Summer Visitors and Some Residents

 

In the second part of our series on birds, our blog this week looks high and low amongst the canopies and undergrowth of Ranthambhore’s forests in the peak of summer. May and June are invariably the hottest periods of the year in Ranthambhore and as many trees lose their leaves and the grasses shrivel and retreat in the heat, few creatures of the forest bother to stir unless they absolutely must. Not so with our feathered friends. Summertime sees an influx of some migratory birds to Ranthambhore who are currently here to escape the chill of the hills, from as far away as Central Asia. Other, residents – such as our male peafowl – develop such outrageously brilliant plumages, they forced Charles Darwin to splutter, “the sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me feel sick.”

 

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Between Tigers & Palaces: A Week in Pictures

One of the most delicious and satisfying itineraries available to travellers in Rajasthan over the next two weeks combines the languor and ease of palace life in Jaipur with exhilarating, adrenalin-pumping thrills in Ranthambhore National Park, just three hours away. Join us, as we to and fro between SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace, Jaipur and Sher Bagh, Ranthambhore on a visual merry-go-round this week.

 

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A Capital City – Then and Now

“The view of Jaipur city from the hill behind it is ravishing…The city, while it is new, is assuredly the most beautiful among the ancient cities of India, because in the latter everything is old, the streets are unequal and narrow. This, on the contrary, has the splendour of the modern with equal wide and long streets. The principal road, which begins at the Sanganer Gate, and goes on to the South Gate, is so broad that six or seven carriages can drive abreast without difficulty and without having to touch each other or turn aside…”

Jose Tieffenthaler in Description Geographique…De I’lnde, Bernouli, i. 314-317.

 

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Are Hot Summers the Coolest Time to Visit Ranthambhore?

Temperatures in Ranthambhore typically reach forty-five degrees Celsius in May. A particularly unfriendly summer temperature occasionally crosses the fifty-degree Celsius mark and becomes a natural limiting factor for over-growth. Waterholes become scarce and trees like the Dhok, drop off their leaves to ration their moisture levels. Rock surfaces – scattered throughout the park – emit a furnace like waft each time a breeze sweeps their surface and you can feel the heat stroke you, as you drive past them. Animals and birds appear panting and their movements become soporific as they spend time in the shade of evergreens or the oasis that are formed around perennial waterholes; clusters of Jamun, Ficus and wild mango trees, all daytime shelters for creatures of the forest. The wonderful thing is, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve has several ‘belts’ of such oasis’, tucked away in its folds. No matter how high the temperatures soar, these are the spots you should drive to, and here’s why.

 

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Birds, Birders and Twitchers: Part I

“Flight has immense meaning for us humans because we can’t do it. Instead we live in a dream of flight, and flight envy is part of the human condition. That’s why birds, more than any other group of living things, draw us into the world beyond humanity.”

Simon Barnes in ‘The Meaning of Birds’

 

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A Palace Fit for Summer

Summer is almost upon us and as the days swoon on, SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace in the Pink City of Jaipur remains the perfect getaway to cool down and beat the heat. This week we bring you a photo story from our secluded oasis, where guests can enjoy ultimate relaxation as the temperatures rise around.

 

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Jawai at One!

There was barely any light when we first saw her, moving slowly at first then bounding into the castor fields; caught in the act of killing a porcupine. I had just finished relaying the sighting report to Adam Bannister as a message crackled the jeep wireless into life again. The voice was Jaisalbs, radioing in from Camp to say antelope alarm calls outside his tent were bellowing the presence of a leopard nearby. We were about 10 kilometres out from Camp already so stayed in our position, waiting for the light to rise on that extraordinarily cold December morning last year, sitting metres away from an adult leopard now enjoying feasting on her porcupine kill. Read More Jawai at One! »

SUJAN mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination” Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was amongst the most distinguished and popular statesmen of our times. In a world where cynicism about politics and politicians is a social norm, his passing resonates a sense of vacuum and loss marking the end of an era and leaving the world and human politics a less egalitarian place. Mandela was the first black South African to be elected President in a multiracial election and held office from 1994 to 1999. During his tenure as President, Mandela ensured harmony by including proponents of the Apartheid movement – people who had prosecuted him – in his Cabinet. Read More SUJAN mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela »

The Ranthambhore Season Re-opens at Sher Bagh

October is one of the most important month’s in the Sher Bagh calendar. Like every other year, for the last 13 years, Sher Bagh’s 14th Season has opened with us welcoming new guests, creating new experiences and enhancing existing features; transforming the Camp into a buzzing hive of activity. Read More The Ranthambhore Season Re-opens at Sher Bagh »