Dipavali, or Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar and is celebrated in the autumnal months, all over India – and especially northern and central India – with gusto. It signifies a triumph of light over darkness or a victory of good and righteousness over evil. The Sanskrit dīpāvali literally means a row or series of lights and references to its celebration can be traced to as far back as 1 BC, over 2000 years ago in the Upanishads. While the reasons for its celebration vary between the many regions of India, “all the stories associated with Deepavali, however, speak of the joy connected with the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil”, according to some anthropologists.
Read More The Lights of Diwali at SUJÁN
The ‘candy-floss’ pink walls of SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur can look back at the passage of time like few other buildings of Jaipur. With a history that first saw the light of day in 1729, when the site on which the palace now stands was created as a garden by a Maharaja for his queen, to the heyday of Pax Britannica in the 19th century when it served as the Residency of the British Political Agent to Rajputana, Rajmahal has absorbed a rich tide of history. As a home of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the palace accentuates the trappings of a handsome heritage. It embodies the tastes and reflects the lifestyle of a Maharaja in the 21st century; a dazzling combination of tradition and modernity set in polished stone and acres of wall-paper amidst sprawling, verdant grounds.
Read More JAIPUR AND RAJMAHAL: SHARING PASSAGES OF HISTORY
This week we take you through a series of visuals from the monsoon which is slowly beginning it’s retreat. We bring you some images from both Ranthambhore and Jawai, of the landscapes and it’s denizens in both these wildernesses, while the famous Indian monsoon delivers it’s bounties to their doorsteps.
Read More This Week in Pictures: With the Monsoon in the Wilds
“…Some of the best years of my life were entangled with her life. We had shared some very special moments together and I felt her loss just like I feel the loss of anyone I am close to. Memories flood in, the earliest of which date back to 1997. It was autumn, and Machli was a few months old when I spotted her prancing behind her mother at the edge of Rajbagh, a ruined summer palace in the heart of Ranthambhore. Her mother was a favourite of Fateh Singh, the former field director of the park, and he told me then that she would be a star. It was he who coined her name Macchli as her mother had a fish-like mark on her cheeks that became the daughter’s signature feature.”
Valmik Thapar, “The Macchli I Knew” 28th August 2016
Read More Remembering the Matriarch: Machhli of Ranthambhore (1996-2016)
“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
“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…
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.
Read More Jaisalmer’s Golden Fort: In Conversations with History
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