Stories from the Road

My next stop was Rohet Garh, a heritage hotel set on a lake. A jeep safari gave me excellent antelope sightings, showed me Bishnoi villages and their ancient opium tea ceremony. With the same owners, nearby Mihir Garh is a luxury property with great architecture and art, all in a beautiful rural setting.

Next was Jawai Leopard Camp that combines luxury with adventure. As it’s not a national park the safaris actually drive though villages, an aspect I liked very much. Despite many previous attempts I’d never seen a leopard before, but finally had two sightings; high up near the caves along with a hyena with two pups. That was a real treat!

Next was Mount Batten Lodge in Ranakpur, a beautiful luxury property that channelled the British Raj. It’s near the Kumbalgarh Fort and Wildlife Sanctuary and Ranakpur Jain Temples. From there I headed to Jojawar, where I met the owners of the newly opened Kesar Bagh, who also live on the property. Their father took me on an enjoyable village safari, while sharing stories of their family history.

The next day I boarded the Rural Rumble, a local train, from Khambli Ghat to Phulad. Sitting on surprisingly comfortable wooden chairs, I was impressed by its cleanliness. A local couple sitting opposite me were clearly curious, commenting on how different I looked compared to them. We chatted and laughed with the help of my guide. Experiences like this, simply can’t be replaced.

Continuing onto the foothills of the Aravalli ranges, I stayed at a boutique homestay perched by a lake called Dev Shree. Located near Gokul Fort, I explored the local step-well and Hindu cave temple before sundowners near a lake and a delicious family meal.

Next I headed to Fort Begu in Chittogarh, a heritage hotel built in 1430 that had seen its share of battles. My room was decorated with original glass mirrors. In the non-renovated areas I could still see ancient wall paintings and mirror work. I visited a local village home and two Jain temples. At the end of the day, I saw the sunset over their summer palace.

Bhainsrorgarh Fort, spectacularly positioned overlooking the Chambal River, was next. An early morning boat ride was a great way to observe village life, birds and crocodiles. And in the evening I was even given a cooking lesson by the owner.

At Jaipur my home away from home, Dera Mandawa, showed me their warm hospitality once again. I also visited Dera Amer. Located near Amer fort, they have luxury tents, for nights in the wilderness. Sujan Raj Mahal was another spectacular property I inspected. Their incredible use of colours, wallpaper and handcrafted textiles is beautiful.

The restored 200 year old Talabgaon Castle was my next stop, where I took a fantastic camel cart ride through the quaint village.

Patan Mahal was my final stop. While you can hike to the old palace, the view of the Fort is so amazing it’s hard to leave the grounds. It was the perfect end to my rural adventure.

Returning to Delhi, I stayed at the new Haveli Dharampura in Chandni Chowk. Completely restored it’s easy to imagine that you’re living in the Mughal era. Rooms are beautifully furnished and the roof offers views of the Jama Masjid, the Gurudwara Sis Ganj and the Red Fort. The food is so delicious, I’d recommend dinner here even if you’re not a guest.

With a heavy heart my trip came to an end. I’d experienced and learned so much, met wonderful people and had interesting conversations. I highly recommend all these properties and thank Amit Thakur from Sita for planning my special trip.

Susan Geringer
Geringer Global Travel