The Sarai at Toria is THE small, personal and special to stay when visiting the renowned temples of Khajuraho or if planning a visit to the lovely and less exploited Panna National Park. This delicious little lodge is hosted by two brilliant, hugely respected wildlife people / conservationists and lies in the most beautiful setting, on the shores of the Ken River. Joanna Van Gruisen and Raghunandan Singh Chundawat are well known in the wildlife world and are the most genial, welcoming hosts imagineable as well as being truly fascinating to talk to. Walking into The Sarai is like falling into the arms of a comfy sofa after having run a marathon! Very much their home, everything about The Sarai is homely and cosy at the same time as being beautifully comfortable. The 8 bedrooms are in cottages scattered around the grasslands which seem to ‘whisper’ to you as you pass and which take on a different colour and form with each passing season. The rooms are roomy, lofty, simply elegant and have lovely tadlac floors and bathrooms which make you want to ‘stroke’ them. The soft earthy colours, fabrics and furnishings all add to the feeling of calm and natural bond with their surroundings. The joy of the rooms is that they feel so spacious and you feel as happy inside as you do outside, chilling on your verandah.
Dawn and dusk are special times here and there’s nothing more peaceful than taking an early morning boat ride, gently cruising along silent, still waters as the birdlife and wildlife slowly awakes and the sun rises to warm you. Alternatively, sipping a sundowner whilst watching the river, or dining al fresco on delicious home grown produce served by friendly, local staff, all add to The Sarai’s earthy charm. Pretty pathways lead through the grasses from cottage to cottage and to the main lodge which becomes a hive of activity in the evenings as guests gather around a camp fire to chat about their day before enjoying a feast of a dinner. The lodge has a welcoming sitting room with plenty of books and comfy chairs and the dining area is equally conducive to long evenings of chat and discussion, all in a very informal setting.
With an intimate, relaxed feel, there is huge emphasis placed on the lodge’s sustainability, and its minimal impact and ‘footprint’ – it blends culturally and beautifully with its hidden location. An early morning / evening boat ride, a stroll or bike ride along the river or through the unspoilt village looking for birds are special treats. There’s something wonderful about wandering into an immaculate local village to be greeted by gangs of smiling, giggling children, all wanting a bit of a chat and to practice their English. If wanting to venture out the famous erotic temples of Khajuraho are just five minutes away as is the hugely pretty Panna National Park. A magical place oozing rustic style, peace and beauty.
For reservations please contact +91 124 4062 480 / 481 2356 004, or email us the hotel direct.
An early morning, sunrise boat trip on the Ken River.
By air to Khajuraho.
By train to Khajuraho.
By road from Khajuraho, Lucknow and Bandhavgarh.