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Rajasthan, India: Lesser-known palaces to check into

By Amrita Katara Chandnani 30 October 2020

For those who haven’t heard about the princely state of Rajasthan in India, get ready to be in awe of its beauty. This is where time stands still as the world moves on. The sight of majestic palaces, landscaped courtyards, ethnic architecture, and intrinsic art makes them worthy of a visit. We’ve handpicked some of the lesser-known heritage hotels and resorts from Rajasthan, the Land of Maharajas, for a glimpse of India’s regal past.

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Ajit Bhawan, Jodhpur

This heritage property got its name from Jodhpur’s erstwhile Maharaja’s brother, Major General Maharaj Dhiraj Sir Singh Ji. Each room at Ajit Bhavan is a restored chamber from the erstwhile residence of the Maharaja, bedecked with heritage embellishments and motifs from the past. Think multi-cuisine restaurants, a rustic yet luxurious bar, village safaris, desert safaris, an exquisite royal dining experience in the private dining room, and more. Ajit Bhawan will give you a tour of the majestic Thar Desert with the choicest offerings on a platter.

The most exciting of all experiences is the chance to rent a vintage car at the property and see the world from a vantage point. What’s more? A royal butler accompanies you to explore the terrain. From iconic temples built by the Rajputs to the legendary Clock Tower and the Sardar Market—there is more to the blue city than meets the eye. Jodhpur is also known for its beautiful Mehrangarh Fort. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit this beauty. It is the largest fort in India and towers above on a perpendicular cliff. And if there is one thing that I have kept for the last, it’s the Masala Tea. Although India is known for its Chai Teas, this one definitely makes it to the top of the charts. All you have to do is choose to experience the good life.

Ajit Bhawan, Circuit House Road, Ajit Colony, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006, India | (+91) 99287 54913

Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

Welcome to the golden city of Rajasthan—Jaisalmer. It gets its title from its local honey-coloured sandstone architecture. The stones were used to build fortifications to keep marauders at bay back in the 12th century, and they're still standing today.

Suryagarh was built with the same golden stones that are sure to leave you feeling no less than royalty. You can book Havelis or even their signature suites to transcend into a long-gone era. Dine with peacocks for company, swim in an oasis of luxury, or wander through the gardens at the heritage property, reminiscent of a different epoch. The sculptured courtyard is sure to mesmerise you with its beauty—it spans the width of the structure and is a sight to behold.

The palatial hotel holds musical nights, intimate dinners, and more to reflect the state’s indigenous culture. While the hotel has a host of activities to offer, a trip to explore the city would make the experience more memorable. Don’t miss the sight of the endangered Great Indian Bustard—a flightless bird of dwindling population at the Desert National Park. Another place that you should visit is the Tannot Mata Mandir—a shrine at the India-Pakistan border. A visit to the local bazaars (markets) will take you back in time to the era when goods from India and China were exchanged for products from Persia, Arabia, Africa, and Europe. These include the exchange of chintz, opium, silks, salts, and more for elephant teeth, dates, sandalwood, spices, and coffee.

Suryagarh, Kahala Phata, Jaisalmer Sam Dhanana Rd, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan 345001, India | (+91) 78271 51151

Keep scrolling for the rest of the guide 👇

By Amar Grover 6 February 2020
By Manasee Joshi 27 August 2020

Nahargarh, Ranthambore

Laying your eyes on the magnificent beast called a tiger is something not everyone gets to experience. But in Ranthambore, it’s not such a rare sight. This region is home to the Ranthambore National Park—renowned for being the residence and sanctuary of the great Indian tiger. However, this adrenaline-pumping experience remains incomplete without a royal stay at Nahargarh—a palatial resort that is sure to arrest your senses and turn back time.

Nestled in close proximity to the forests of Ranthambore, the palace is encircled by trees, and the night sky awash with the sights and sounds of enchanting wildlife. The property is spread over many acres of land, but the most exquisite part of your stay would have to be a swim in the Hathi Kund (हथिनीकुंड बैराज), an architectural marvel that melds old world and contemporary charms. They also have a fully stocked bar, so you can cheers to the good life ensconced in the cosy comforts of the bar, or enjoy an evening of cultural performances.

This is the perfect place to plan a proposal. The hotel can help you plan a romantic yet intimate dinner in the lush gardens of the property, away from the eyes and ears of humanity—in case you want some privacy. But don't just stay inside—step out and visit the 1000-year-old ruins of the Ranthambore Fort, spot the tigers at the Ramthambore National Park, and also pay a visit to the Chambal River—a natural shelter of rare crocodile species ‘Gharial’ and the Gangetic Dolphin.

Nahargarh, Ranthambhore Road, Village Khilchipur, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan 322001, India | (+91) 7462 252282

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Amrita was born and brought up in the city of dreams—Mumbai—before she moved to Hong Kong. Magic is her life’s mantra. Which is why, you get no points for guessing that she’s a die-hard Potterhead. She loves manoeuvring through the bylanes of alien cities in search of delectable delicacies and blogging about them. She also has a palate for short stories and often writes tales inspired around the food she eats. Amrita has contributed to Condé Nast India in the past as a Copy Editor and Writer. And now, she’s on the quest to discover Hong Kong, one bite at a time.