– The Alila Fort at Bishangarh is an amalgamation of heritage and modernity
If you wish to experience luxury in the lap of nature with an amalgamation of heritage and modernity, Alila Fort at Bishangarh is where you need to head to
Nestled among the magnicent Aravallis and the hamlet of Bishangarh lies the fort of wonders - Alila Fort Bishangarh, a 230-year-old defense fort atop a granite hill, which has been restored into a luxurious heritage property with 59 fabulous suites, keeping intact the Jaipur Gharana architecture. The walls, turrets and arches are retained from the original structure, an ideal amalgamation of yesteryear glory with modern grandeur. The fort was built in the late 18th century by Rao Bishan Singh of the royal family of Shahpura.
As I entered the Haveli - the arrival courtyard, I was welcomed with freshly prepared, refreshing lime juice, a must after the four-hour drive from Delhi. The fort is conveniently located 6 kms off the Delhi-Jaipur highway, and is hour’s drive to Jaipur.
Soon I retired to my room, the Heritage King Suite, which featured a king-sized bed, had a blend of modern and vintage furniture, huge marble bath tub, a television cabinet, which was like a casket that you had to open as though revealing the mysteries of the fort. The touch of royal luxury is everywhere, carefully crafted to meet the expectations of a modern traveller.
The sun went down and our evening was marked with cocktails at Madhuveni, a well-stocked, in-house bar a cigar room. Disc shaped chandeliers with subtle lighting, jazz music all in for a perfect evening, as I sipped my glass of gin and tonic.
Dinner was served at Nazara, an al fresco dining area with a panoramic view of the village snuggled below the hills. Candles were lit and the food was served, a mouthwatering platter of exceptional traditional culinary, specially curated by renowned celebrity chef Ranveer Brar, handpicked from the royal kitchen of the Raos.
The property, one of its kind, and among the few defense forts to be converted into a luxury- heritage resort provides unique dining experiences, with various state-of-the-art F&B outlets like the Amarsar, a specialty restaurant with Rajasthani Thikri work and hand-painted wall art, which serves a fusion of Rajasthani Continental dishes. One can dig into freshly baked cakes, assorted beverages and champagne at the Kachhawa lounge. Adjacent to the lounge is a mini library with an exclusive collection of classics from around the world.
The hotel, being a destination property, has enough within the premises to keep you busy, such as a gym, kids zone, a swimming pool and a major attraction, the Spa Alila, which offers services ranging from Eurasian to Ayurveda therapies and other beauty treatments. One can even customise the treatments and select from the wide range of treatments. The spa also conducts yoga classes.
Away from the hustle of the city life, it will be a miss if you don’t explore the village of Bishangarh. I tried my hands at the potter’s wheel, followed by a glass of delicious buttermilk from ‘Daya ki Rasoi’, an experience conducted by the hotel, where one can indulge in traditional cooking on the challah (hearth) and grab a bite of the traditional village cuisine. The camel cart ride through narrow lanes of the village is an experience to behold. The tour concluded with a visit to the local jewellery outlet, where one could buy traditional Rajasthani ornaments and witness the craft of making these ne pieces of jewellery.
The sun was setting in, with a refreshing hint of cool breeze, as I sipped my hot green tea and lounged by the pool. I looked over the majestic fort engulfed in the golden dusk. The backdrop served as a rare sight with green Aravalli hills. Here, before my eyes, was the answer to every traveller looking for an off-beat luxury experience, full of surprises – Alila Fort Bishangarh.