Run by well-known conservationist husband and wife team Johanna and Raghu, The Sarai was created as a means to protect and support the surrounding area including the Panna Tiger Reserve and several isolated villages. The result is an eco-friendly, carbon-light cluster of mud-walled, straw-topped buildings surrounded by swishing grassland.
Inside, you’ll discover surprisingly comfortable rooms, cooled naturally with thick walls, and high, vaulted ceilings. Open air verandas overlook the rural landscape stretching to the River Ken. Owners Johanna and Raghu are not only extremely welcoming, but they are a font of knowledge about the area being a wildlife writer and conservation biologist respectively. Having worked in the region for over 20 years, there isn’t much they don’t know and as a guest, becoming part of their vision for the future of this precious land feels simultaneously fascinating and reassuring.
Spend your days out in the field on a variety of activities. Meet the friendly neighbours in the nearby village for tea and English-practise with the children or walk to a local waterfall which tumbles down 100-foot of granite cliffs. For wildlife lovers the Panna Tiger Reserve is a must. Within its dry forests and grassland you could spot ungulates, small carnivore and even tiger and leopard. Drift down the calm River Ken spotting kingfishers, storks or eagle owls. The thousand-year-old Khajuraho temples are thought to be some of the best preserved in India – marvel at the sensual art and depictions of everyday life.
Back at The Sarai, enjoy Raghu and Joanna’s favourite recipes or simply relax on your terrace listening to the sounds of nature. You’ll feel a million miles away from home and all the better for it.