The Farm at SUJÁN The Serai nestles in a corner of the camp, bordering soft hillocks and mellow bui scrubland. The poultry (all local desi species) dashing about in the daytime, from the adjacent coops and the occasional mooing of indigenous Tharparkar cows from their rattan-covered sheds, leaves you in no doubt of the location of this patchwork of green hues, in the middle of what is the Thar desert ecosystem. The lettuce abuts the tomatoes who blithely bend over home-grown spring onions and garlic in the golden light of a sun that can belong only to Jaisalmer.
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 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!
Blink and you’ll miss the undulating desert track that meanders off the surprisingly well-paved Jodhpur/Jaisalmer highway and plonks you in the middle of a sublime mirage. But one wonders whether this is a deliberate attempt to protect a treasure?
The Serai is one such treasure comprising of supreme luxury, of whiter than white tents infused with understated elegance, coupled with unrivaled attentive care and, hold your breath, gingerly nestled in 100 acres of desert where you can stand on a clump of bush and watch the weather roll in… Read More A visit to The Serai, Jaisalmer
Unheard of rain fall levels are greening the Great Thar Desert in Rajasthan where all was previously sand. The great fort of Jaisalmer rises today not from dunes but from a rough sea of hardy shrubbery. The sun nevertheless fights back with undying force; if it fails to dehydrate the land so dramatically as in the past it will certainly succeed in dehydrating you and visitors to the remarkable oasis that is The Serai, Jaisalmer tented camp are strongly advised to drink plenty of water, wear hats and layer on the sun cream. The temptation though is to drink more of the delicious range of cocktails on offer and, if the sun gets too much, to retire to a beautifully appointed tent or to the hedonistic luxury of the Spa for a massage with wondrous smelling natural oils. I may have been camping recently on a desert island with no visible amenities or even fresh water and thought it good entertainment but I could get a serious taste for really high class hotels and no cockroaches. Read More The Serai, Jaisalmer
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
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…