Neemrana Fort Palace – is a preface to India’s most flamboyant state – Rajasthan.
This 15th century heritage resort, at only 118 KM from Delhi, offers a vibrant site for magical weekend getaways. The majestic feel of royal Rajasthan sinks in as soon as one enters the gorgeous property.
We all miss the days when summer vacations were only about relaxing & hanging out with friends. I & 2 of my best friends from school (Yes school -- my friends of 25 years!) were wanting to ‘get-a-way’ to do just the same - relax & hang out with each other. It was going to be our first ‘all-girls’ & ‘best-buds’ kind of a trip & we wanted it to be just perfect! After a lot of deliberation we zeroed in on Neemrana Fort Palace, as I am so glad we did!
Our much-awaited & too-much-discussed trip finally (FINALLY!!) began on a Friday of already-so-hot April. It was a smooth & fun drive from Delhi to the property & took us about only 2 hours. The fort is built on a hill & the entry to it could be a tricky one – narrow roads turning at every hundred meters or so. I wish there were elephants or horses taking us up the hill ;)
We reached mid-day.
After checking-in we were escorted to our room, or “Mahal”! Yes, they offer stays in different kind of “mahals” … ours was “Karthik-Mahal”.
It took me some time to get used to the fact that our room did not have a number! But it was a nice change & the feeling of being the ‘queens-of-the-mahal’ was cool! The room was quite elaborate with a cozy private balcony.
We spotted peacocks right outside our balcony!
It was a hot day & we were exhausted till we reached our room, it was quite a walk! But we were also crazily-hungry! & after quickly prinking ourselves up we went for lunch. The food was nice, there was lot of variety & some of the dishes were yummy. The restaurant where we had all of our meals was nicely adorned. It smelled awesome, each table had a candle lit (over dinner) – quite a ‘queenly’ set-up!
After our lunch, we went back to our room and chittered-chattered till it was evening. As we got dressed & stepped out to explore the fort, we realized what a beautiful place we were in! The first view of the fort in the evening was something like this –
The palace glittered & glowed!
As I was over-powered by the traveler within me, I set off on my own scrutiny of the fort & discovered many-a-hidden stairways, windows & doors.
For a budding amateur photographer like me, this palace could be the best pre-school! :) Some of the shots I took left me amazed! I was awestruck by not just my talent ;) but also by the beauty of the palace.
We were served evening snacks at Hawa Mahal, after which we sat next to the pool … our tittle-tattle never-ending. After delicious dinner, the ‘queens’ ;) proceeded for a good-night sleep!
I have a habit of unearthing secret corners & spaces wherever I go & then instantly making them my own. This is how I bond with the place, leaving behind a part of me wherever I go! We found a spot with a beautiful view of the hill & it was an instant hit with us. It seemed to change its colors basis our changing moods! It seemed to accommodate us so well <3 :)
Next day, after grabbing a quick breakfast, we explored the fort a bit & then went for the camel cart ride. Priced at INR 750 it was quite an experience! The 30-minute ride took us around the palace giving us different views of the fort.
While on the cart, we visited the step-well. This was the place where the queens used to come for their baths. We were told the step-well has 9 floors, of which only 3 are visible above the ground! So, basically the rest were all made underground. This kept the bathing water cool. Amazing!
We planned to have lunch outside the fort & found a really good restaurant only at about a KM from the fort. The food was nice & cheap.
In the evening we went for a dip in the pool.
The pool gave a beautiful view of the sunset & sunrise.
A cultural evening was organized by the resort at Hawa Mahal. It was a treat to listen to the raw folk music of Rajasthan. The lead singer was an old-aged man but the enthusiasm with which he played the simple instruments & the love with which he sang the songs, would make any youngster shy.
The music, the songs were so imperfect which made the evening so perfect!
Residents can also try the Neemrana Spa, which is managed by the famous spa chain – Oriental Senses. There is also a “Yogi Niwas” for yoga enthusiasts, with daily morning sessions.
None of the rooms would have any TV, which was totally fine with me! There is a separate TV lounge where residents can also play some indoor games.
Next to the reception, is a small Neemrana shop selling ethnic kurta's, footwear, home décor goodies & souvenir. Swimming costumes can also be purchased from here.
The only thing that I ‘may’ complain about would be the meal timings. They had strict meal timings – 8-10 AM breakfast / 12.30 – 2.30 PM Lunch / 8 – 10 PM dinner. They must provide wider windows to the residents for the meals.
Overall, Neemrana Fort Palace was totally worth it!!
It’s a perfect fun / romantic / royal – whatever you want it to be - weekend gateway from Delhi.
A super-special one for me, for I was with my best friends.
The tans will soon fade but the memories from this one will last forever!