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I observed a new sentiment towards travel: Raghavendra Rathore

Ace couturier and Royal blood from Jodhpur, Raghavendra Rathore loves to travel far and wide.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jul 19, 2012, 07.12 AM IST|Original: Jul 19, 2012, 07.09 AM IST
I observed a new sentiment towards travel: Raghavendra Rathore
Many years ago when I was younger, I remember travelling on a school trip, between Ajmer and Bareilly on a train, seated at the edge of the door of a compartment with my feet dangling outside the train. The landscape rapidly whisked passed me. As I stared into the vastness of the scenic view, I thought to myself how diverse and culturally rich our country was. Over the years as life got more sophisticated, I realised that my design profession and travel were two embodiments that would cast an important impression of the world, on my mind with equal intensity.

On my travels, I have been exposed to things, places, stresses and surprises, purely because of the profession and no doubt, my small journal is full of memoirs that can pack a punch for interesting reading. But it has been 25 years now since I left my small home town, to travel a world unknown to me, in search of a world full of mayhem and fashion. Memories such as dining with Valentino at Maxims in Paris, after the Pierre Balmain show, to a lunch with the late Mrs Kennedy at the Pier in New York, all in the name of fashion, these tiny moments have connected to create the life that I chose.

Fashion is a bit like black magic, from nothing you have to create something and that ‘something’ must create an impression on society, relentlessly season after season. If you are lucky and selective then the exposure to this craft becomes more of a philosophy of life. It’s about people, travel and doing it differently each time. The cross-section of people that you make contact with have a wealth of experiences of their own. If your approach is wise and welcoming, one learns to appreciate and share these stories with your life, adding them to your library of knowledge, enriching you as an individual. Most of my clients are either owners of businesses or have retired early, from the success of their enterprises and some run companies and businesses for the owners. Certainly, a group of people with a finger on the pulse and sufficient worldly knowledge in their grasp, they have the power to predict and understand the world as it changes. In various discussions with them, scattered over the last year, I observed a new sentiment towards travel.

As a designer, it is in my nature to absorb ideas and habits that have the ability to translate into trends. My observations did surprise me — in the high-end segment of tourism, not travelling commercially seems to be becoming fashionable. Some have even gone to the length of saying it is completely passé to travel commercially. Standing in queues or to be exposed to the recycled air of airports for hours and then to be compressed in buses that transport passengers to the planes is avoidable by choice but only if you are a member of the millionaires club. Instead, travelling private, where two or three families or friends, share the cost of the entire trip, with careful planned tarmac pickups, champagne in transit, private bespoke chefs and of course, a designer experience at top-end boutique hotels is a thing of the future.

Travelling privately with familiarity is a new trend, perhaps an inspiration from the residue of cult ‘CEO’ American culture. The tycoons of the modern era are positioned at the top of the pyramid setting new trends and templates for the travel trade. Secret destinations, decadent service and most importantly, the experience that can enhance and enrich the soul are in the offering.

Properties such as the Serai, set in a serene and a noiseless location on the outskirts of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is a place to find yourself checked in, when you have a deep urge to disconnect from the mass pleasures of generic society and prefer a more intimate locale with a personalised touch. The Raas Haveli in Jodhpur, too, has mastered the art of providing a ‘new age service’ by luring the guest to an ethereal reality, within the confines of luxurious comfort. The spiritual side of India has found takers in this segment, properties such as Narlai near Ranakpur in Rajasthan, have wisely exploited the richness of 300 odd temples dotted around its locality.

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