“In the mid-1950s the so-called ‘Blue’ train from Paris’ Gare de Lyon lead passengers along the route from Paris to the Côte d’Azur. A road was built in parallel to the train, and outposts of fine French taste started to flourish along this route. As the owners of one of these establishments, Marcel and Nelly Tilloy saw an opportunity to band together with other locales sharing the same unflagging passion for hospitality and excellent cuisine. They offered an enticing culinary itinerary, encouraging travellers to explore all the spots. Soon this itinerary acquired the moniker “La Route du Bonheur” or “Road of Happiness”.”
Relais & Châteaux
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.
The festival of Holi symbolises a celebration of the victory of good over evil, heralding the arrival of spring and the end of winter, in vast parts of India. For many it is a day for social gatherings to splash each other with colours, of laughter, forgiveness and to reset and renew ruptured relationships.
The Thar Desert extends between the Aravalli Hills in the northeast, the Great Rann of Kutch along the coastline, and the alluvial plains of the Indus River in the west and northwest. Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast. The sand is highly mobile because of strong winds that sweep across the open expanse at the onset of the monsoon. The Luni is the only river integrated into the desert. Rainfall is limited, only 100–500 mm per year, quenching the thirst of the sand between July and September.
Read More The sands of the Thar desert!
With the upcoming Jodhpur RIFF which has been endorsed by UNESCO as a “Peoples’ Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development,” we bring you a blog on the legendary Manganiyars by Malvika Singh. Read More The Manganiyars
In June this year, 2013, Jaisalmer was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site, a great tribute to this surviving mediaeval fortified city, its palaces and havelis finely carved in yellow sandstone, the colour of the Thar desert. For centuries Jaisalmer, built by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD, was an oasis on the inter-continental trade route linking India with Central Asia, Persia, Egypt, Africa and beyond. In 1974 Indira Gandhi visited the city and declared it a protected site but despite that Jaisalmer was neglected and allowed to degrade without a conservation management plan and the necessary enforcement of laws and norms to ensure its protection within the parameters of it being a living city and therefore, a living ‘monument’. Read More The Golden Fortress of Jaisalmer
Here is a collection of some photographs taken around The Serai, Jaisalmer. The landscape, the skies, each element has a depth of it’s own. Read More The Thar
When I heard the brief about creating a short promotional video for The Serai I instantly had a picture in my mind of the opening shot. A distant, wide angle shot, of a camel walking through the sand dunes in the golden light. I thought that orchestrating this would be as hard as getting a tiger to walk in front of the car…how wrong I was! Read More How do you Photograph a Camel in the Desert?
The other day someone asked me what my favourite Disney movie was. I was torn between the Lion King and Aladdin. The Lion King is so familiar to me, filling me with a warm homely feeling. I can relate to everything and feel so proud of how my continent, Africa, is portrayed. On the other hand Aladdin appeals to me for exactly the opposite reason… it is so completely foreign. Transported, momentarily, out of one’s comfort zone and into an entirely new life. Read More A Whole New World…