FOOD & TRAVEL
The Sustainable Travel Edit: Hotel Lakshman Sagar, India
By Rosanna Campbell-Gray
Brij Lakshman Sagar is a boutique hotel in the heart of the Rajasthani countryside in northern India. The two main buildings were built in the late 19th century as a hunting lodge by the then Thakur of Raipur, Lakshman Singh Ji. It was established to host other noble families and British emissaries but is now an eco-sanctuary where travellers come to rest, relax and enjoy the art of doing nothing.
Brij Lakshman Sagar is the perfect example of community-centred tourism with habitat restoration and wildlife conservation at its heart.
Situated in the heart of Rajasthan between Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur, Brij Lakshman Sagar is the perfect antidote to the bustling cities of northern India. The ex-hunting lodge is an oasis of calm, with just 12 independent cottages dotted over 32 acres of land surrounding a small lake where animals and birds group.
To reach the lodge, winding roads pass through granite hills, vegetable farms, and the small town of Raipur which is just 15 minutes away.
The 12 self-contained cottages are spacious and airy, inspired by nearby villages and built by local craftsmen. Each thatched cottage has been adapted to the rocky landscape and offers a private terrace with a splash pool that overlooks the lake.
For meals, stargazing, and sundown cocktails, guests gather around one of the lodge’s fire pits or in the twin 19th century hunting lodges which offer far-reaching views of the reserve from secluded alcoves and terraces that have all been decorated by local artisans.
The wow-factor at Brij Lakshman Sagar is the cut-rock pool which sits above the lake and is heated by the sun.
Brij Lakshman Sagar is all about life in the slow lane and the “JOMO” or Joy of Missing Out ethos perfectly encapsulates this.
Once there, you will be encouraged to switch off and engage in mindful activities such as stargazing, sunrise yoga, pottery, kite flying or simply taking in the spectacular fauna and flora. The in-house naturalist offers walks around the unique landscape where herds of giant Nilgai antelopes and foxes roam freely. Bird-watching experiences and safari-style tours are also available, but you can spot plenty of wildlife from your private plunge pool overlooking the lake, including the parade of peacocks who have made Brij Lakshman Sagar their home.
The lodge maintains a strong connection to the local community and guests can enjoy a traditional breakfast in the vegetable fields surrounding the property, visit local schools, spice markets and artisan shops and even experience an evening walk with local goat herders. Spa treatments are also available in the privacy of your cottage or in an open-air spa area.
The food is traditional and ingredients are sourced locally. This means meals are mainly vegetarian, although some meat-based dishes are available. Guests can also join the chefs in the kitchen during their time at the property.
Almost all activities are included as part of the experience.
The entire property has an eco-ethos at its heart, from the building materials and furnishings to the food – which is primarily vegetarian and sourced locally. The mission of Brij Lakshman Sagar is to safeguard and rebuild natural environments whilst economically uplifting communities. This is achieved through employment creation, using local materials and labour for construction, guest services; and the showcasing of local arts, crafts and culture.
Prior to opening, the lake at the heart of the property was practically nonexistent due to poor farming irrigation systems. But by installing a small dam, locals are able to better manage the water and wildlife of all kinds have returned to the area to find sanctuary in the protection of the property.
Brij Lakshman Sagar is a destination in itself, but if you are travelling around the vibrant region of Rajasthan, it is the perfect place to find sanctuary and regroup during a busy trip. Come for nature, food, people and wildlife. Leave feeling rested and restored.
For further information or to book, visit www.brijhotels.com/lakshman-sagar-raipur-resort/
If you are planning an eco-trip to Rajasthan, visit www.mahoutuk.com for tailor-made itineraries.
By Rosanna Campbell-Gray
Rosanna Campbell-Gray is a sustainability consultant for Talia Collective. She is currently completing a Masters in Sustainability & Energy Management at Bocconi University in Milan.