Amid the verdant vineyards of Chexbres, near the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, is Hotel Le Baron Tavernier. Housed in a typical Swiss country chalet, its quaint environs are a world away from the Indian subcontinent. But it has a compellingly close connection to early modern Indian history.
The hotel is named after Baron Jean Baptiste Tavernier of Aubonne, the famed 17th-century French traveller and expert gem trader, and is located in what used to be his fiefdom. Tavernier was among the many merchant travellers who bridged the gap between the Orient and the Occident.