I wonder if you, like me feel time rushing by? My yoga teacher recently wrote this to me: Are we imagining or is it that our pace of life has accelerated time? They say Akasha (Space) gives Avakasha (time)!
The last few months I have enjoyed researching a new tour in Mexico and spending precious time with family and an endless stream of houseguests on Cape Cod that has felt more tropical than being in the middle of an Indian monsoon. The antidote to this lovely busyness of friends, landscaping projects, birthday celebrations and the preparation of so many meals for at least twelve people each day has been daily walks in the woods or along the shoreline and yoga. I have now added to my routine, working out on a pilates reformer, celery juicing and making batches of Jamu – the Indonesian elixir thought to be anti-inflammatory and and an effective antioxidant.
We have finally launched our new website and delighted to have revised the antiquated behemoth. We’ll soon be adding a blog you’ll be invited to join and a boutique of collectible treasures. Populated with all my own photos, I’d love your feedback on the re-branding. A little patience might be required as we’re still fixing upload speeds.
I am most grateful to Hannah for steering me through the design and implementation. She has been a creative listener, patient resolver, and dedicated to my sense of aesthetic. If you’re looking to start a blog or need a WordPress whiz, I’d love to put you in touch with her.
Spring is in the air. This is always a good time to imagine fresh beginnings. We trust you’ll find some inspiration here for travels, learning or reading or just dreaming.
Do not miss the opportunity to retreat with our revered teacher Saraswathi Vasudevan travelling to us from India.
RESIDENTIAL YOGA RETREAT – Trentham
20-23 November with Saraswathi
a few spaces left and early bird price if paid by September
Saras believes that Patanjali’s text provides us with a beautiful and most powerful direction to live our life more meaningfully and consciously. Each sutra is like a mirror that reveals many different dimensions of ourself and the world, when we are ready to see. Through a very gentle and organic process, it helps us understand, internalise, practice and grow on the path of yoga.
There is no better prism of deep appreciation for this soul stirring country than through the eyes of Marieke’s most esteemed collaborator and confrere these last 22 years, aristocratic Rajput, Durga Singhji.
Of all her states, Rajasthan is perhaps the most tribally diverse, artistically decorative, architecturally magnificent and regal in India. It is impossible to experience and absorb in a single trip the magnitude of what India offers: a cacophony of colour, the austere and atmospheric landscapes of desert and ancient Aravali mountains, the romance of Rajasthan’s heritage and chivalry, the hospitality, warmth and humour of her people whether from regal lineage or simple, dignified desert-dwellers, the spine-tingling music, and their abundantly diverse, arts and crafts.
Morocco is one of those countries, not unlike India that gets under your skin.
We invite you on a luxurious magic carpet ride of Morocco – a country that is an eye-opening example of modern and extremely sophisticated Islamic culture – tolerant of all belief systems; with well ordered cities and infra structure; beautifully preserved monuments; stunning craftsmanship, with dazzling aesthetics, spell-binding scenery, wonderful food, gorgeous riad accommodations and warm, generous people.
We are very excited about this inaugural tour of Mexico – a beguiling and multifaceted country – and spaces are beginning to fill.
Mexico’s complex history dates back to ancient times with each wave of conquest bearing highest artistic and architectural achievements, unique cosmologies and belief systems and astounding concepts of urban planning. Modern day Mexico surprises at every turn with marvellous museums, a thriving contemporary art scene, flourishing traditional crafts, warm and welcoming people, surprisingly good wines and fascinating cuisine.
Whilst media myths abound about Mexico’s unruly and unsafe nature, this never became apparent during the three weeks Marieke travelled solo, seeking out the best food, extremely charming and ambient hotels, art and architecture both old and new, awe inspiring historic sites and extravagantly pretty towns. Marieke was especially taken by the order and cleanliness of Mexico’s towns, by the warmth and hospitality of her people, by the abundance of exciting art and aesthetics everywhere. She very much looks forward to sharing with you her new love.
ONCE in a LIFETIME FESTIVALS OF INDIA – experience the extraordinary
Kumbh Mela 15 Jan – 4 March 2019.
Six years ago I travelled to Allahabad for my first Ardh Kumbh Mela – that remains to this day, one of the most astounding of life’s experiences.
Now inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth and draws many millions of devotees to the temporary canvas city on the Holy Ganga.
The congregation includes ascetics, saints, sadhus, aspirants-kalpavasis and visitors. Kumbh Mela plays a central spiritual role in the country, exerting a mesmeric influence on ordinary Indians. The event encapsulates the science of astronomy, astrology, spirituality, ritualistic traditions, and social and cultural customs and practices.
One hundred years ago Mark Twain opined on the event:
“It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvellous to our kind of people.”
Music, song and dance from around the world performed in UNESCO-awarded painted palaces and watergardens – this is one of the most wondrous multi-cultural experiences in all of India, if not the world.
Amid a dream-like setting of an ancient fort, top exponents of all kinds of sacred music, song and dance arrive from across the world to perform here – a morning raga sung beneath a pipal tree, ancient Greek songs performed from rooftops at sunset, late night jams beneath the desert stars by a tabla player from New York playing with a Qanoun player from Palestine.
I can offer privileged access to luxurious tents in a private compound.
Join me and a small group of avid readers at the next Jaipur Literary Festival 22-29 January. Who could resist the dazzling line-up of speakers so far promised – Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Noam Chomsky, Ottolenghi, Tilda Swinton, Mary Beard, Elizabeth Gilbert, Edmund de Waal, Yann Martel, Rohinton Mistry.
Over five magical days, the festival brings together many of the world’s greatest artists and thinkers to celebrate the creativity and wisdom of the word, bear witness to the human condition from its most basic needs to its highest potential, give voice to the mainstream and the marginalised, debate complex political issues and deepen our sense of collective spiritual purpose.
This Masterclass series is giving so much pleasure. It’s been a wonderful and quite intimate opportunity to sit with the inner workings of the creative process and motivations of artists I’ve long admired. Annie: “its not my job to make the sitter comfortable.” Alice whom I’ve always found a little saccharine, none the less reminding us of the fundamentals of sharing food – eat locally, support farmers, keep it pure and simple. Thomas Keller, almost monastic in his reverence for ingredients and classical techniques going back to basics. Helen Mirren being so witty and brilliant about costume and character.
As much of India bursts into modernity, Gujarat retains a timeless quality, and the vestiges of traditional lifestyles. At its heart lies Bhuj, the epicentre for a dazzling array of traditional crafts and textiles.
Textiles are – quite literally – the fabric of Kutchi culture – a basic unit of identity, associated with dowry rituals, social hierarchy and festivals. The inter-dependence between farmers and herders with dyers and weavers, as well as potters and leather-workers, traces back to the Indus Valley civilisation, some 5000 years ago. Today, the work of various NGO groups has allowed this ancient culture to find new relevance and immense pride in the modern world.
Join me for this adventurous 12 day program that also includes the vibrant city of Ahmedabad with its marvellous variety of architecture from Indo-Saracenic styles to the experimental works of Le Corbusier, astounding stepwells and UNESCO listed monuments.
Austere landscapes, welcoming people, gifted artisans, delectable cuisine will tickle the senses of creative souls looking for an immersive and unique experience of India.
Fares to India are very low for these dates – around $1100 return with Singapore Airlines.
I can’t imagine a life without books and have so far never been converted to a kindle. Somehow a device cannot hold the intimacy and happiness of holding a book, nor convey the excitement of browsing in a wonderful bookstore.
In recent months the appetite for reading has been ignited by by so much wonderful writing, and this is but a short selection of bliss and insight – Peter Carey back in top form with this glorious romp through Australia in the 50’s that feels both strange and familiar; Lacuna the perfect follow up to having just spent a month in Mexico that begins with the Mexican Revolution and ends with the American witch-hunts in the 50’s; Sacks, a few weeks before his death, selecting essays that brilliantly illuminate his vast humane curiosity; Keogh’s searingly honest and brave exposition of her life in madness and love.