Valmik Thapar is one of India’s foremost authorities on wildlife and environment matters and amongst the most respected experts on tigers in the world. A prolific author, Valmik has written, edited and compiled more than 30 books over a career spanning four decades, as an advocate for conservation and a voice for environmental causes throughout India. He has also been a member of critical government committees on environmental issues over this long period.
Read More JAWAI Revisited: by Valmik Thapar
Simona Quaglia is a veteran of the ‘Safari Life’. Having spent years in the African bush work alongside some of the best in the business, Simona travelled to India, a country she has had a long-running romance for, earlier this year. A natural linguist with an uncommon flair for understanding nuances, Simona travelled across Rajasthan, staying with SUJÁN. Her first sojourn, at JAWAI saw her keep a travel diary, which she kindly shares with us for all our readers. In the first of a three part series, follow Simona as she travels between Camps and Palaces, on a journey of discovery and exploration.
Read More Part I – The Jawai Diary:Looking at Leopards and Walking with Herders
“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
Read More “La Route du Bonheur” across Rajasthan, with SUJÁN…
“We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.”
– Wallace Stegner, 1980
Read More In Jawai, Where the Hills have Names…
JAWAI is located in the wilderness of the ancient Aravalli Hills. Within these hills lies a semi-pastoral agrarian settlement with wild leopards and an untouched historic culture. Nature is a part of us and we are at one with nature, we are not separate identities. This is what makes JAWAI special. For centuries humans and animals have shared these hills in harmony. Spirituality and culture have been associated with this harmony. People who live with wildlife, shape the future of conservation in the country. At JAWAI, we look into this traditional model of animal-human coexistence. We aim at sharing this relationship as a model for other such wildernesses across the world and with those who visit us.
Read More Shepherds & Leopards
Granite hills, mustard fields and the lake in between surrounds this large expanse of land, in Jawai. An occasional splash of red adds a dash of colour and vibrancy to this land. The word Rabari is derived from ‘Rehaan’, meaning – a person who shows the path.
According to legend Lord Mahadeva, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, created the first camel for the amusement of his lover, Parvati. In order to look after the camel, he created a caretaker and called him a ‘Rabari’.
Read More The Rabari Army
Since the opening of JAWAI, the leopards have played an importantly role in our wilderness experience. The team has successfully been tracking these big cats over the seasons amounting to over 400 separate sightings over the short time we have been in the area.
While there is something quite mesmerizing about seeing a leopard in the wild, there are other smaller cats, the ones that people don’t talk about as much which are just as exiting and special to see…
The most common small cat we see around JAWAI is the Jungle Cat. We often get lucky in the early evenings observing them hunting for rodents, geckos and small ground birds. It is huge fun watching them pounce and stalk. Back at camp we even have our own resident male Jungle Cat who confidently strolls around poking his head in out and keeping an eye on our guests at the campfire! Read More The other cats of JAWAI!
Bisalpur Hill, close to our camp JAWAI resembles a steep mountain in the lower Himalayas and has been the home to many Hindu priests and wild animals over the centuries. The ancient Ashapura Mata Ji Temple which is situated half way up the hill, overlooks and is believed to guard the entire Bisalpur Village that lies beneath it. Many pilgrims from all over the country come and pay their regards to the mother goddess at this auspicious temple. On the other side of the hill you are met with stunning views over the agricultural fields & rural farmland below, interspersed with the faint sound of the water being pumped from the irrigation wells. The daily routine of a small rustic village can be witnessed close by. Read More Oh Lakkad Bagga! The Striped Hyena
Saying that birds are underrated is an understatement. I have to admit that before my visit at JAWAI, I myself never had any interest for birds, especially as I come from a land of pigeons.
One of the particularities that rhythms daily life at JAWAI are the morning and evening game drives, or Safari drives, in the hope of spotting leopards, jackals, jungle cats, among other species.
Read More Did you know…?
JAWAIs solitary hills are dotted with temples, shrines and memorials. All events and festivities in this region are devoted to religion. This can be mainly attributed to the fact that this region was secluded and not many invaders managed ruling over this area. Over centuries, the various communities of JAWAI have preserved their traditions and are proud to have maintained their customs. Every temple has some spiritual significance and has a legend attached to it. Such is the legend of Devgiri. Read More JAWAI: The Legend of Devgiri- God’s Own Hill