The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence


“Happy birthday! Surprise! Road trip!”

Daddy’s Little Girl or not, raise your hand if you’ve always wanted to say those words to your main man, as a kid.

When my father turned a year younger (coincidentally on the day the financial year ended; such pressure, much madness) and my mother was just about done with the hustle and bustle of Delhi and its deadlines, I decided to put on my cape, turn Superdaughter and give Google a go.

Think royal. Think Rajasthan.

Tick tock.

It was literally the eleventh hour.

And yet, for my borderline ADHD father who had brought me up on a hyperactive and impulsive diet of “do one new thing everyday”, clichés would just not do.

After naysaying a bunch of usual choices, The Hill Fort, Kesroli caught my eye.

4 hours. NH 48.

The map on their website was deceptively simple and reminiscent of Delhi Metro’s multicoloured lines. (We would soon find out that the route via Sohna was not too compatible with backs and backsides).

But Google Earth nailed it. Hmm. Doable. So common that it’s a superpower.

When I called their Corporate Office, the representative had me at hello.

“It will take you a while to reach, though. The lunch buffet will wait, ma’am. Birthdays are special.”

One step closer!

The drive was a breeze. The midday sun was flamboyant and journalistic (mind the potholes!) but hardly scorching enough to make us reconsider the trip. And though local cold drinks and munchies disappeared in moments, the much-hyped non vegetarian lunch buffet beckoned us like sirens.

When we finally reached the fort, the panoramic view of the pastures and the resplendent ruins was surprisingly cosy. It wasn’t about acres and acres of property. It had simply captured time.

Photo of The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence 1/7 by Satadipa Chaudhuri
A sleepy fort and a pool to splash into!
Photo of The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence 2/7 by Satadipa Chaudhuri
The fort has its secrets - take a peek!

A few crisp swigs of green tea with jasmine at the reception and we were feeling fresh already.

“I hope the Laal Maas isn’t too spicy!”

Say no more!

As thunder rolled unexpectedly across the horizon, even the shahi paneer, the dal baati choorma and the veg fried rice sated our souls. The rose in the vase at the centre of the table and the ever-courteous staff in the dining room nestled in our hearts like furry memories. Saved.

As if on cue, the first drops of rain fell.

We left the hall and walked across the grassy lawn, quickening our pace towards the wrought iron chairs as it started pouring.

Photo of The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence 3/7 by Satadipa Chaudhuri
Keep off the grass! Or don't!

The pineapple cake with the candle appeared as if by magic.

“Sir, a small gift on your birthday.”

Happiness has a way of creating a warm, fuzzy blur. The song. The claps. The radiant birthday boy. And the humble Man Friday in his pink kurta, as if curated to match the bougainvillea creeping up behind us. And they say men know nothing about the colour wheel!

The fort wasn’t roomy but had lovely rooms. No, we had no plans of staying overnight. But the rooms were named after birds and when it’s peacock weather, how does one say no to that?

A gigantic room showed off shamelessly, in the centre. This was for entertainment. There were huge reclining easy chairs. Musical instruments of yore. Chess. The star attraction, though? A carrom board.

Photo of The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence 4/7 by Satadipa Chaudhuri
Switch off the TV. It's time for Carrom!

Outside, the skies rumbled. Inside, red, white and black were battling it out.

There was even a television. But in the lap of nature, it lay forgotten.

We went out once the rain stopped. Somewhere on the terrace there was a photoshoot going on. The balconies were witness to a vast nothingness.

It’s strange how the silence stayed with us on the way back.

I’ve heard silence before in libraries, churches and morgues. The silence in Ladakh. The silence deep in the forests of Satpura.

This, was different.

Photo of The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence 5/7 by Satadipa Chaudhuri
Silent clouds in a kingdom far, far away
Photo of The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence 6/7 by Satadipa Chaudhuri
Would you walk along the edge?
Photo of The Hill-Fort at Kesroli, Rajasthan: Road Trip to Silence 7/7 by Satadipa Chaudhuri
Home... is wherever I am with you
3 Comment(s)
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Such effortless, liquid prose. You will go far, young lady!
Wed 04 12 17, 17:34 · Reply · Report
You know i am a romantic ....Nicholas Sparks never stops lifting my mood have a gift....keep weaving magic the way you do
Sun 04 09 17, 18:40 · Reply · Report
I love the visuals created by the steady stream like flow of words. Makes the place a cosy getaway and not just a touristy spot.
Sun 04 02 17, 10:29 · Reply · Report