“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…
Last week, Ranthambhore National Park closed for the season. Our blog this week shares some snapshots of the end of the summer. The last week was an exciting one, in terms of sightings and images, and the incredible interactions we witnessed. Days before the annual closing – for the monsoon – we received news that Brat, (T19) had been spotted with a new litter of four cubs (her third litter). We cannot wait to see her and her brood once the rains have abated and Ranthambhore is ready to receive visitors again, come October. The residents of the Park now await the monsoons and the dry foliage is almost creaking for rain. We leave you with a few images of some of the resident tigers, taken on our last drives into the Park.
Read More A Week in Pictures: The Last of the Summer Stripes
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.”
Read More Birds, Birders and Twitchers: Part II
Tracker Academy Blog
We head out with Bright (one of our trainers at Tracker Academy) in a Land Rover. Scanning for tracks we were going pick up Renias Mhlongo (one of South Africa’s renowned trackers and a trainer at the academy). En route, a leopard leaps out of a bush and seizes an impala from its herd, literally fifteen feet away from our vehicle. By the time we realise what just happened, the leopard (a female) had successfully killed and dragged the impala to the base of a tree. Bright, also stunned with the suddenness of the sighting drives us into the thicket to try and get a closer view of the leopard. In the middle of all this, two hyenas stroll by, possibly attracted by the commotion the impalas created as they witnessed one of their herd snatched by the subtle predator. Relying on their highly acute sense of smell, the hyenas manage to locate immediately the trench in which the carcass and leopard lay under the shade of an acacia. As soon as the leopard hears the hyenas approaching, she bolts, disappearing into the bush and leaving her hard-earned food behind. Within seconds the two hyenas had mangled the impala and erratically tore off its lifeless limbs in a savage frenzy. I will not and cannot for all of our sakes describe the sound of the joints popping out of their sockets or the crack of the bones as they manically devoured the corpse. They laughed in their characteristic way as they competed for the last ounce of flesh and after a mere 20 minutes, the impala was gone.
Read More LONDOLOZI Despatch: Part II
Vedant Thite and William Asquith, both Rangers from the JAWAI and Sher Bagh Field Teams respectively send their first despatch from the Londolozi Private Game Reserve, where they are attending a three-week training course over the summer. Over the next few weeks we will follow their progress and adventures as they report on their experiences from the African Bush! Stay tuned…
Read More LONDOLOZI Despatch: Part I
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.
Read More Between Tigers & Palaces: A Week in Pictures
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.
Read More Are Hot Summers the Coolest Time to Visit Ranthambhore?
“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’
Read More Birds, Birders and Twitchers: Part I
Rajasthan was gifted with a very wet monsoon season last year: Ranthambhore’s verdant nature had returned and the wildlife rediscovered their Arcadia. In October, as you meandered through the jungle, you were able to witness the park’s rebirth, the dhok trees flourishing in their senility, the grass long, thick and lush and the network of water channels flowing full. This allows wildlife to disperse throughout the park and the numerous watering holes scattered around the area were full for cheetal, or sambar deer to quench their thirst and leafy groves for nilgai antelope to browse and feast upon.
Read More A Walk Through the Seasons at Sher Bagh
If PG Wodehouse were to have heard the alarm calls of the cheetal stag which nearly punctured my ear-drums last Monday morning, he would have described it as “a sort of yelp rather like a wolf that sees its peasant getting away…” The stricken-anxiety palely obvious in the yelp of the said deer was instead signalling the approach of a tigress, who looked like a Goddess of Death clearly running late for work, on a manic Monday morning. Read More A Tale of Two Mothers (With Apologies to P.G. Wodehouse!)