Sher Bagh | FAUNE x SUJÁN
Sher Bagh | FAUNE x SUJÁN
About a three-hour drive away from Rajasthan’s capital city of Jaipur and nestled on the edge of the Ranthambore National Park is a quiet little camp called Sher Bagh.
Jaisal Singh first came to Ranthambore when he was eight weeks old - brought along by his parents who were filming a documentary on the park and its tigers at the time. Although he grew up in Delhi, he confesses he spent a large part of his early life in Ranthambore. “Most of my school holidays were spent in and around the park with my family” he says, and in many ways, it was his home away from home. As the years went by, his desire to track tigers and their movements in the park heightened, as did his passion for conservation. Eventually, his interest in creating a safari experience that would be at once educational and entertaining led him, along with his wife Anjali Singh, to found Sher Bagh.
Although Jaisal considers himself an accidental hotelier, there’s nothing accidental in his natural flair for hospitality - a quick look around the camp and his trademark perfectionism can undoubtedly be sensed in every nook and cranny. There were no architects or interior designers that helped put the space together and every aspect of the camp was planned and executed in house. Hyperlocal wares like the hardy hand-stitched tents from Jodhpur, the soft blankets and linens from Jaipur and of course Anjali’s and Jaisal’s gorgeous photos of the glorious beasts of Ranthambore forest, are all testament to their commitment to supporting the local communities. The aesthetic is elegant and luxurious yet true to being in the wilderness – with oil lanterns illuminating up the walkways with their gleaming light come sundown
Arriving at Sher Bagh, there’s an all-consuming calm that feeds the primordial experience of being in the forest and one among nature. Guests are met with a warm welcome and if Jaisal is at the property, he will likely be the first one to welcome them, in his dapper safari gear, perfectly maintained moustache and a gleaming smile. From the first steps into the camp, there’s an aura of having arrived at one’s jungle abode. Earthy paths lined with perfectly overgrown grass and towering trees lead you around the camp, and as darkness sets in and the birdsong is all but gone, the sounds of the jungle engulf you in their magical grip.
With sustainability and environmentally conscious tourism always at heart, Sher Bagh prides itself of being more than just a safari experience - but rather a finely tuned luxury experience true to the region. Like every detail in the camp, all of Sher Bagh’s food is sourced locally or grown in-house. Tomatoes and aubergines, coriander and kale and even flowers adorn the beautiful dewy rows of carefully tended to ingredients of the camp’s organic vegetable garden. And come nightfall, the gentle breeze brings with it the scent of traditional delicacies prepared under a sky full of stars and the warmth of the campfire.
Sher Bagh, or The Tiger Garden, is indeed true to its name. There are no walls and fences and there have been times when guests have been unable to access parts of the camp because there was a tiger walking through and it wasn’t quite safe to pass by. Jaisal’s reaction to that is “The tigers always have first right of way. After all, we are in their country.”
Sher Bagh is part of India’s Sujan Luxury group and a member of the Relais & Châteaux family.
This story is from Faune Volume Two.
words Isheta Salgaocar photography Aniruddha Satam