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Rajasthan: Beyond the Desert

  • Mar 2017
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Rajasthan, also known as the land of kings is a treasure trove of history. No matter how many times one visits, it is not sufficient to unearth its hidden gems. Every time I visit the different parts of this princely state I am blown away by the culture, history, architecture and hospitality that it has to offer.

 

Why is it then that the place is less discovered by international tourists when compared to its counterparts like Goa and Kerala? I visited Rajasthan earlier this year and this post is my attempt at throwing light at the hospitality, accommodation and facilities that the ‘royal state’ has to offer.

 

Udaipur

 

Known for its arts and crafts the Lake city of Udaipur is also fondly known as ‘Venice of the East’. With its well organised and clean tourist spots Udaipur did not disappoint. The highlight of our stay in Udaipur however was the Crystal Gallery at the City Palace which is the world’s largest private collection of crystal under one roof.

 

While in Udaipur we stayed at The Chunda Palace Hotel. I would rate this as a 4 star deluxe property. It was a well maintained hotel with large and spacious rooms and a great rooftop restaurant. The staff, the food and the beautiful paintings at Chunda Palace truly made our visit to Udaipur an unforgettable experience. The only disappointment was the fact that although it is called a palace it is not really one. It’s a purpose built property which was constructed long ago to look like a palace and I was really looking forward to stay in a palace while in Rajasthan.

 

In my pursuit to discover the different parts of Rajasthan I bid farewell to the lovely Lake City and embarked on a 5 hour long road journey to Jodhpur.

 

Jodhpur

 

Also known as the Blue city, Jodhpur is an architect lover’s feast. The city is home to the famous Umaid Bhavan Palace which is one of the most exclusive hotels in the country. Built in 1929 the palace was designed by a British architect for the Maharaja Umaid Singh and the current royal incumbent still lives in part of the building.

 

While in Jodhpur we stayed at The Ranbanka Palace, which was built in 1927 for Maharaja Dhiraj Ajit Singh. The hotel is known for its beautiful exterior and foyer but the rooms did not meet the expectations. The rooms were dated, furniture rickety and the front office rude. Also our room was not in the main section of the property which was very disappointing as that was the main reason for our stay there. So if you ever plan on visiting this property make sure to get a room in the main building area near the pool and the restaurant and not in the adjoining building.

 

Jaisalmer

 

Our next stop was Jaisalmer. Surrounded by picture worthy sand dunes, yellow sandstone buildings and a majestic fort looming over the city, Jaisalmer is rightfully known as the Golden city. The highlight of Jaisalmer is the Jaisalmer Fort which is one of the largest forts in the world. It is the biggest tourist attraction of the city, but be sure to visit it at night when flood lit lights turn it into a golden wonderland.

 

We stayed at The Gorbandh Palace in Jaisalmer which is part of the HRH Group of hotels. It was a lovely 4 star property with hospitable staff. We were lucky to be upgraded to the Suite #1 which was very spacious and almost like a one-bedroom apartment style room with a bar.

 

While in Jaisalmer we also wanted to experience their Desert Camp having had a similar luxury tent experience at Marbela Beach in Goa. But this was a regrettable decision. The tents were far from luxury, they were shabby, overtly crowded and poorly managed. Not a safe place to stay for a night or two.

 

Having heard much praise for the Hotel Rang Mahal we decided to give it a shot next. The rooms were adequate, hotel staff polite and the amenities met our expectations. Although the basic rooms were not very spacious, it was definitely worth a visit.

 

Pushkar

 

Our last destination in Rajasthan was one of the oldest cities in India, Pushkar. Known popularly as the town of fairs and festivities, Pushkar is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town. The highlight of the city is the holy Pushkar lake where Lord Brahma is said to have dropped a lotus flower leading to the creation of the lake.

 

We stayed at The Pushkar Palace during our stay in Pushkar. The hotel was decent although the blankets did not have duvets and hence were a little dirty. Location was beautiful but it was more ideal for religious tourists as its mostly known for its temples.

 

Before bidding goodbye to Rajasthan we sought the blessings at the Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti and finally returned back to the bay on a 6 hour delayed Jet Airways flight.

 

Alijan Rajan, CEO, Vira International

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