Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao

Tripoto
1st Dec 2017
Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

When one thinks of Rajasthan, desert camps, lake palaces and old havelis across Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur spring to mind.

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao 1/2 by Anant Srivastava
(C) Anant Srivastava - Bikaner Fort

I woke one such morning after a taxing week at work not knowing how I can simple take me & my Grandi10 to a place that was neither too extravagant, nor flocked by too many tourists. A place to see authentic colours, taste authentic food, and more than anything, have authentic conversations.

Out came the god of relevant things - Google and with a carefully typed search query - I found reference of a 500 year old Haveli in little known Ghanerao, midway between Udaipur and Jodhpur.

Why & how did I come across this town and what caught my attention? Well, if a picture says a thousand words, then following is your answer.

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao 2/2 by Anant Srivastava
V Resorts Ghanerao Royal Castle. (C) Anant Srivastava

A 500 year old castle run by the royal family that still resides there, seemed the perfect 2 day retreat for me to unwind away from not just Delhi but the tourist hub that is Rajashtan.

With perfectly laid out national & state highways, I covered the 600 km distance in less than 7 hours, and before I had time to feel the aches, these beautiful sights of the castle was the welcome my mind was craving for.

Castle Entrance. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

One of the many Verandahs. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

Rajasthani Artifacts and Family Heirlooms. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

Room for the night. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

A good nap and a hearty Rajasthani lunch later, I set out to see the town and interact with its locals and try and conjure conversations away from the usual "whatsup". To my surprise the town had more to offer than simply the place I resided in.

Streets of Ghanerao. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava
Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

One of the many stepwells across town. Ghanerao. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

Old Step-wells here and intricately decorated local temples there, I also found an audience with local kids, an old pipe smoking cobbler and even got to see some of the local arts. The intricacy with which the ladies in particular went about making lovely Rajasthani juttis was just as captivating as the expressions of the household goats, who were equally intrigued about the presence of me & my Nikon.

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

The tombs or "chattris" as they are called by the locals for ancestors of the royal family, were the last of the local sightseeing elements in the main town. The next day would see me move to the family's jungle lodge and explore the another shade of Ghanerao.

Chattris of Ghanerao. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

A dinner by the beautifully lit pool side and a few chapters of a beautiful new read - The Disobedient Darkness by the multi-talented Prateek Dubey helped me on a good nights sleep without the quivers an old Rajasthani heritage site can bring.

Pool Side. Ghanerao Royal Castle. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

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Pool-side dining. Ghanerao Royal Castle. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

The next morning after breakfast, the staff accompanied me first to a nearby crocodile lake, where other than the buffalos, I did happen to catch more than just glimpses of the textured reptile.

Crocodile Lake. Ghanerao. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

In the afternoon, I moved base to the Jungle Lodge located at the base of the Kumbhalgarh Fort and surrounded by the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. Not as old as the heritage site, the place was built as the hunting lodge for the family and was later refurbished by them as a boutique property.

Jungle Lodge, Ghanerao. (C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

(C) Anant Srivastava

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

While the property itself was great, the local tribal community and interactions facilitated by the staff added a special touch to the overall flavour of the place. A visit to the old Muchala Mahavir Jain Temple was accompanied by some play time with its curiously domesticated langurs.

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava
Photo of MUCHHALA MAHAVIR JAIN TEMPLE, Gurha Bhopsingh, Rajasthan, India by Anant Srivastava

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Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

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Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

A walk around the outskirts of the Wildlife Sanctuary signalled the end of my quota for local sight-seeing. Back at the resort, the dusk, a bonfire, and what was later, a beautifully lit starry night combined to create a visual orchestra that this particular trip truly warranted.

Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

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Photo of Rajasthan's Best Kept 500 year old Secret - Ghanerao by Anant Srivastava

To close, would like to share a quote that best describes this travel - "Not all those who wander are lost."― J.R.R. Tolkien

Bon Voyage. Forever.

Follow my blog on: www.anantsrivastava.com

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