By Shubhra Krishan
Weekend resorts of all sizes and personalities surround Delhi. From small to sprawling and homely to heritage, you’re rather spoilt for choice. Their goal, of course, is the same—to soothe your city-weary soul and send you back Monday-ready.
And then there’s Neemrana Tijara.
It does all of that, but at a scale, you’re not quite prepared for. This hilltop 15th-century fort resort literally lifts you above the everyday world.
Two-something hours. That’s all it takes to get here. You turn off the Delhi-Alwar highway and cross a couple of villages before the road thins out into a potholed strip flanked by fields. The fort looms into view, compelling you to stop and take photos.
Revving up the somewhat steep curvaceous climb to the fort, you start to feel a little thrill, the kind you thought on a hill station holiday. Quick check-in is done, and you are escorted to your own ‘Mahal,’ named after one of India’s leading designers or artists.
Ours are ’Sabia Mahal’ and ‘Ritu Mahal,’ located across from each other on the first floor. Inside these large suites, you have three grand arches, a high queen-sized bed and another cosy bed in a well-lit corner space. The Wi-Fi connects instantly and stays strong throughout.
From your bedroom window, you can glimpse the vast countryside, and the occasional monkey—the simians do like to hang out here, so if you are jittery, ask the helpful staff to escort you around.
The rustic-style loo looks out to the hills, and gentle music floats in, making your shower a wonderfully relaxing affair.
Put the kettle on and make yourself a steaming cup of coffee. Soak in the old-world charm of your room, then step out into the courtyard, letting your break begin.
The best part of your stay at this resort is the luxury of open space. Stretch your arms wide open and fill them with thin air. Stand still and gaze away at the intriguing Aravalis, with nothing between them and you. Drink in the seemingly endless stretches of earth. Let go. Levitate.
A buffet lunch awaits you at the spacious Kaanch Mahal restaurant. The spread may not be lavish, but it is delicious and wholesome. Besides yellow dal and paneer, there are traditional Rajasthani dishes such as papad-boondi ki sabzi, fresh salads, hot bread and a choice of yummy desserts. The staff are always at hand to serve you with a smile.
Afterwards, curl up into one of the hammocks beside the large sunken pool or retreat into your personal mahal for a spot of rest. Once the sun climbs down and angles itself to cast that magical golden light, treat your lens to the incredibly Instagrammable frames all around.
Come twilight, and the palace transforms into a luminous beauty, its arches and ramparts bathed in soft golden light. It is the perfect time to walk along the seven terraced gardens, feel the moist grass under sandal-free feet, discovers new nooks and lookouts, or simply sit back on a bench and feel an incredible sense of peace.
October to March would be our picks for a stay at Neemrana Tijara Fort Palace because the weather is mostly great. The property can be booked for celebrations and shoots, so checking for event-free dates might be a good idea.
Ideally, you should set aside two full days to experience this property in all its serene glory. Besides yourself, try and give your mobile phone some rest, too. There are no televisions in this ‘non-hotel’ resort, and sensibly so.
For now, enjoy the pictures of Neemrana Tijara Fort Palace, and drift away…