Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About!

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Credits: booking.com

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Being someone whose idea of travelling usually equates to taking out my car and just pushing that throttle down on the highway, the road by default becomes my best friend. For anyone who's ever driven on the Yamuna Expressway connecting Delhi and Agra knows what a delight the entire experience is. Trust me when I say this, I have driven in the most picturesque of highways throughout the country but nothing comes close to this beauty right here.

Credits: aπ

Photo of Yamuna Expressway, Chi V, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India by Siddharth Sujan

Just a few weeks back, the travel bug within me came back to life yet again and I had no other option than to put my research skills to test. And within no time, I had unearthed a treasure. Merely 250 km from Delhi and about 60 km from Agra, on my favourite highway of course, lies the perfect weekend getaway from Delhi no one told you about!

Photo of Chambal Safari Lodge - Mela Kothi, Jarar, Uttar Pradesh, India by Siddharth Sujan

Ideal for

The property is tailor made for travellers who're looking for a quiet weekend escape and want to give the usual destinations around Delhi a miss. While couples can bond over in the peaceful environment, the variety of places to explore around the property will appeal to people travelling with families.

About the property

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Mela Kothi has had quite a history of its own, to say the least. The property was built way back in the 1890s to serve as as a camp office for a zamindar (land-owner) family’s bi-annual cattle fair. The fair was a source of great pride and prestige for the family as it hosted traders from all over the country. However, by the 1990s, the numbers dwindled, and the Kothi and its grounds fell into disrepair.

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

In 1999, a descendant of the aristocrat family, IIT engineer and conservationist Ram Pratap Singh along with his environmental scientist wife, Anu, began restoring their neglected inheritance. What came about from the process is the beautiful Mela Kothi: The Chambal Safari Lodge, an oasis of peace, tranquility and warm hospitality.

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Spread across a total area of 35 acres with the family farms surrounding the main property, Mela Kothi combines the old world charm with modern hospitality to provide an experience unlike any other. While the simple architecture and furnishing of the rooms take you back in time, facilities such as air-conditioning, spacious wardrobes, private sit-outs, separate dining areas and most importantly, a super-friendly staff ensure that there's no compromise on the comfort factor.

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Food

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Mela Kothi has a gorgeous garden lined with beautiful trees that serves as the perfect setting to enjoy meals at the property. Using organically grown ingredients sourced from local farmers, the team of skilled chefs at the resort dish out delectable local specialties apart from contemporary Indian and Continental dishes.

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

A typical winter evening at the resort consists of interesting conversations with other guests at the hotel over the evening bonfire, followed by a sumptuous buffet spread.

Cost

A stay at Mela Kothi starts at ₹9,500 for a standard garden view room that accommodates two guests. On the other hand, a stay in the garden view suite costs ₹12,000 per night. The suite can house a maximum of three guests. The prices are not inclusive of any meals and are only for the stay and complimentary services.

Best time to go

The best time to visit the property is between the months of October and March. During the period, the heat subsides and gives way to pleasant weather, making it the perfect time to plan a trip here. However, if you're planning to drive down from Delhi, make sure to keep an eye on the weather report as the highway usually tends to be covered by a thick blanket of fog.

What to do in and around the property

1. Take a river safari at National Chambal Sanctuary

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Nestled on the banks of the Chambal river, merely 20 km away from the resort, lies the National Chambal Sanctuary. Established as a riverine sanctuary in 1979, the sanctuary is spread across 5,400 sq. km and is home to the critically endangered gharial, the red-crowned roof turtle and the endangered Ganges river dolphin. The staff at Mela Kothi organises guided river safaris on the calm waters of Chambal River which are designed to provide spectacular sightings of the gharials and turtles soaking in the sun and migratory birds flocking to the sanctuary.

2. Visit the Shiva temples of Bateshwar

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Bateshwar is a small ancient village located on the banks of River Yamuna, best known for more than 40 glistening white temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Merely 20 minutes away from the resort, the village is flocked by devotees in large numbers. Also, if you're visiting in the months of October-November, you might be able to catch the annual animal fair, the origins of which stretch into antiquity. The fair is the second largest animal fair in the country and this period is considered the most auspicious for offering prayers at the holy site.

3. Heritage walk through Holipura village

Representational image from Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

The resort, in accordance with a member of the village community, organises an interactive walk through Holipura, a village inhabited by the Chaturvedi clan who claim descent from the Greek soldiers of Alexander’s army. The village is lined with havelis that draw inspiration from various styles of architecture ranging from Mughal to colonial. The informative walk ends with refreshments in the local guide's home.

4. Marvel the beauty of Taj Mahal

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Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Take a day out to drive down to Agra and visit the majestic Taj Mahal, a monument identified as the ultimate symbol of love. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and built in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Head to this gorgeous monument and take a stroll through the complex for a once in a lifetime experience.

5. Visit the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Give Your Agra Road Trip A Twist With This Resort No One Told You About! by Siddharth Sujan

Just 40km west of Agra, lies the fortified ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri, founded as the capital of the Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar. Head into the expansive city through the 54 mt. high entrance to Fatehpur Sikri complex, the Buland Darwaza. Proceed to offer your respects at the tomb of 16th-century Sufi saint Salim Chishti. Walk around the complex with a local guide to learn more about the Jama Masjid, Ibadat Khana, Anup Talao and the palaces of Akbar's three wives.

Getting there

The nearest metro city to the resort is New Delhi. Here's how you can reach the property from the capital city:

By Road: Mela Kothi: The Chambal Safari Lodge is located at a distance of 265 km from New Delhi. Take the Taj Express Highway to get to the property in about 3 hours and 30 minutes.

By Train: There are several inter-city trains from New Delhi that can get you to Agra, the nearest major railway station to the resort. It takes approximately two and a half hours to cover this distance by train. Once you get down at the railway station, hire a cab to get to the resort in another hour and a half (80 km).

Which is your favourite hidden getaway from Delhi? Write in here and share details about your go-to weekend destinations with the Tripoto Community.

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