Giving you a taste of the Maratha culture, a visit to Fort JadhavGadh is no short of a trip back to the bygone era. Set in an actual all-stone fort, this three-star property offers royal services to its patrons.
Having heard so much about this place from family and friends, we were naturally intrigued by the place. So armed with our trusty DSLRs and phones, me and my gang set out to spend a couple of days at this beautiful property.
The journey itself, while only a short hours drive [ about 30 kms] away from Pune, was very picturesque and strewn with spots for those insane Instagram photos! Beautiful green hills on one side with the expansive valley on the other, resting your head and arm on the car window sill while taking in nature's beauty - a scene right out of a movie [ Think Dil Chahta Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and the likes]. #BestFeelingEver
A quick pit-stop for chai-sutta and breakfast ensured we could endure the journey which actually feels longer than it is, all thanks to the highway traffic. * eyes rolling*
The hospitality and welcome begins before we even reach the actual fort. The lookout post at the beginning of the road that leads to the fort-hotel has a very authentic looking Mavala ready to welcome us.
Sprawled over 25 acres of manicured landscape, Fort JadhavGadh offers a number of stay options ranging from the king's own maharaja suite to the luxurious royal tents. A truly regal welcome awaits you as soon as you set foot on the cobble-stoned steps of the magnificent Maratha marvel.
Check out the Welcome video here.
Fort JadhavGadh offers a multitude of accommodation choices. Choose your pick from the Maharaja Suite, Maharani Suite, Museum Suite, Chhavni - Royal Tent and Kholi - the regular rooms for the regular Joes and Janes.
Our "Kholi" was beautifully done up - the artefacts in the small cubby holes in the walls, the welcome fruit and cookie platter, the decorations on the bed - everything screamed hospitality at its best.
The welcome fruit and cookie platter
Our comfortable and spacious "Kholi"
The heritage hotel offers a 45-60 min long audio tour of the entire place with pre-recorded snippets of information which you can play as you reach the different spots of interest. While the entire tour is very exhaustive [and informative, no doubt], the highlight of the tour for me was undoubtedly the underground dungeon. Earlier used to imprison enemies [ shudder!!], now it is used to store wines. Now that's more like it. ???? ????
The steep and narrow stairs to the underground dungeon.
Fort JadhavGadh also houses a museum called "Aai" meaning mother, which guards the glorious history of the Maratha empire. Each artifact adorning 'Aai' is part of the treasured collection of Mr. Kamat over the last four decades. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited inside the museum however trust me when I say this, that is an experience that * has* to be taken.
Endless landscaped lawns at Fort JadhavGadh merging with the hills add a surreal touch to the evening functions.
This 300-year old Banyan Tree is supposed to be haunted. Don't believe me? Visit it yourself!!
The grandiose is only magnified by the 300 year old Ganesh Temple. Also an ideal setting for a traditional wedding ceremony, fit for the royalty.
Lunch was arranged for us at Chajja - the coffee shop. Decent options, decent food. Nothing great to write about, to be honest. PS: The outside seating in the balcony overlooking the main entrance gate is a preferred place to have your meals, with a gorgeous view.
Chhajja - The Coffee Shop
The buffet spread
Food on my plate
Blogger at work!
Tired from all the walking during the audio tour [ yeah, I completed the entire tour!! :D] and stuffed from our leisurely lunch, it was pool time for us. A gorgeous temperature-controlled pool in one turret of the fort offers a semi-private experience [ away from Peeping Toms] with a spa next door. The beach chairs on the island in the middle offer the much-needed relaxation by the waterside.
Some pool side fun!
Water babies would love the whole experience, which was evident by the multiple trips made during our stay. ????
Traditionally being a fort in its past glory, security of its inhabitants was a major function of Fort JadhavGadh and to that effect, the main doors used to be ceremoniously closed, locked and loaded every evening and opened the next morning. Even after being converted into a hotel, the management has retained this tradition so every evening, the doors are still closed for a short while with the same pomp and show. The doorman also gives the guests a short yet insightful history of the ceremony.
Check out the video of the Door Closing Ceremony here.
Tea time at the Chhajja meant some steaming hot tea and coffee with kanda bhaji [ onion fritters] for us. The perfect combination to enjoy in the monsoons. #MadeForEachOther
After some more roaming around the beautiful property, the night brought us some special performances, organized * just* for us. Talk about royal treatment!
A Maratha-themed Mixed Martial Arts show was organized in the open grounds near Aangan - the outdoor courtyard café. Featuring performances with swords, shields, knives and even fire, the entire show was simply spellbinding and totally kick-ass!!
Check out one of the performances here.
You could also check out some more videos of the show here.
After thoroughly enjoying the martial arts show, we were treated to another mind-blowing performance; this time a Lavani performance by some really talented ladies at Payatha - the ethnic foothill restaurant which also hosted the dinner afterwards.
Enjoyed the performances so much, that I ended up shaking a leg with the performer myself! ???? ????
I'm sure I must have lost a few kilos that night. At least I'd like to believe that! ????
Wrapping up the night was the lavish dinner buffet spread.
Of course, ending the programs for the day does not mean our night ends. When friends get together, there is simply no sleeping. ????
After a comfortable night's sleep in the oh-so-soft beds, we were totally refreshed for the next day.
Fort JadhavGadh has some amazing outdoor activities as well, in which guests can partake. Bullock cart rides, air rifle shooting, etc. are some of the activities to be enjoyed.
Bidding adieu is always sorrowful, be it a person or a place and we were certainly sorrowful at having to depart from such a wondrous place still seeped in history and yet modern in its hospitality.
Fort JadhavGadh is a one of a kind resort in India that houses a museum, a poolside spa and plenty of other activities for your entertainment and relaxation - making it a perfect weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
In case you don't wish to spend an entire weekend here, Fort JadhavGadh also offers day packages.
A big shout out to Neha for inviting us and Team Fort JadhavGadh for hosting us.
I was invited for a complimentary staycation. This blog is a narrative of my experience of the same. These are my views that I have expressed in the blog. Others are most welcome to agree or disagree with the same.
The blog is not personally or commercially influenced. I have not lifted, copied or plagiarized it from any source either. However, I have done my due diligence via publicly available information on the internet and as shared by the client/PR agency.
All rights reserved.
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Check out some other blogs on Fort JadhavGadh here and here.