Sarai at Toria's uniquely designed accommodation is situated on a beautiful riverside site, close to Khajuraho and Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh. This comfortable but earth-friendly small retreat is owner run and offers a home from home environment.
The Sarai at Toria is located only half an hour’s drive from Khajuraho. It lies on the banks of the River Ken, less than two kilometres from the entrance to the Panna Tiger Reserve at Madla. Khajuraho is well connected to major cities by road, rail and air.
The lodge is just off the Jhansi-Satna national highway, a regular tourist route to and from other destinations such as Agra, Varanasi, Gwalior, Jhansi, Orchha and the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. The site is in the heart of the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, so they are conveniently placed as a base from which to visit the rarely explored, but exceedingly rich, cultural sites of the Chandela Rajput period.
The Sarai at Toria comprises eight independent cottage rooms, each having attached bathrooms, verandas and private courtyards. Four of the cottages are especially suitable for families, as they have included tucked-away mezzanine bed spaces that are great for children. The spacious cottages, fabricated in mud, with thatched roofs, are designed by Eugene Pandala, an Indian architect known for his nature friendly designs.
Keeping environmental concerns in mind, they have used minimal concrete and steel and sourced most of the materials locally - mud, stone, wood, brick, lime, tile, bamboo and grass. They combined traditional methods and modern architectural design to insulate the rooms from the extremes of the outside climate. But the rustic mud exteriors hide elegant and contemporary interiors. A large dining and lounge area is situated on the highest point of the land commanding magnificent views over the Ken River and towards the plateau of the Panna Tiger Reserve. This stone, wood and tile building, designed in an open style, is the perfect place to view sunrises and sunsets and generally to relax and enjoy the tranquil scenery.
Sarai at Toria offers boat rides and fishing on the pristine Ken river, walks through the crop fields of the surrounding countryside and birding on site or at nearby forest and wetland areas. Lunch in the cool shade of a spreading neem tree or dine by candlelight under the stars.
- Visit Khajuraho – this world heritage site of 1000-year-old temples is well known for its magnificent sculptures.
- Panna Tiger Reserve – the reserve encompasses a unique landscape of gorges and plateaux that provide important habitat for an abundance of central Indian dry forest species.
- Waterfalls – some of these are historic and seasonally very dramatic.
- Maheba/Dhubela – see the majestic Chhatris of the Bundela Maharaja, Chhatrasal (1649–1731) and his queens and explore the remaining ruins of his capital city. The Dhubela museum, situated in an old fort, contains sculptures and artefacts revealing more of the "historical enigma" of the Bundela kings.
- Ajaygarh Fort – a rarely visited wonderful hilltop fort that has equally rich and even older temples and carvings than Khajuraho. These ruins are situated in dry forest, in a setting similar to how Khajuraho may have been when it was rediscovered.
- Panna – a town with an interesting mix of architecture – ancient, Mughal, Bundela and even Palladian styles. There are several fascinating places to explore, ranging from modern temples to ancient cenotaphs.
Why we like it
Beautiful location, comfortable rooms, delicious food and fascinating hosts, Joanna Van Gruisen and Dr Raghu Chundawat.