What if one could travel back in time and relive the glorious Rajaputana heritage — that era of opulence and grandeur, imposing forts and palaces, brave war- riors and beautiful princesses? Well, approximately 180 km from Delhi is a royal residence — Patan Mahal — that welcomes you for a short escape from the everyday city humdrum. This heritage resort is located amidst the Aravalli Mountains in the city of Patan, Rajasthan, approximately five hours by road from Delhi via Koltpulti Sikar road.
Royal rendevous : The 200-year-old Rajputana fort built in red stone is where leisure meets luxury. The Patan Mahal is strategically built in a lush valley formed by mountains on three sides, and it is home to the royal family of Rao Digvijay Singh. The heritage home has limited number of suites that display the regal Rajasthani architecture with decorative chhattris, huge stained glass windows and large wooden antique doors.
One can experience the ancient royal lifestyle in its true sense as the hospitality of the hosts and the interesting décor of the palace will transport you in a different time zone. The maharaja beds with colourful tie-and-dye bed-spreads, vintage oak chairs and tables, elaborate glass chandeliers, and black-and-white chequered marble flooring give an interesting insight into the lifestyle of the royal era. If you observe carefully the well-preserved antique table pieces and the huge photos of rulers in gilt frames will also speak volumes about the rich past of this ancient palace. After exploring the royal residence, one can step out in the vicinity and take a dip in the pool. Or one can also go for a stroll in the backyard farms and gardens, where the palace staff grow fruits and vegetables.
Patan Village: In the Patan village you can spot the potters who create wonderful clay vases and utensils. These potters are experts in their art and are more than willing to share tips with tourists. Some families in the village have been practicing this art for generations, and on request they even let visitors try their hand at the potter’s wheel. In the village, which is located on the foothills of the Patan Mahal, one can look around for colourful lac bangles, which are hand-made and crafted by local craftsmen. A walk in the village will also give you a chance to observe the locals dressed in bright traditional attire and jewellery.
Adventure beholds: If adventure is your thing, you can opt for a long trek in the adjoining mountain range and salute the rising sun from the ruins of the ancient 800-year-old Badal Mahal. Right in front of Patan Mahal, one can spot the ruins of Badal Mahal, which stands loftily at an imposing 2,000 ft above sea level. It is said that royals from the Rao of Patan clan came and built the fort at Patan and also the Badalgarh Mahal, halfway up the mountain in the 13th century. The Patan Mahal was built a few years later. After an adventurous day, in the evening one can savour the delicious Rajasthani cuisine in the courtyard and enjoy the local folk music under the starry skyline.
(The writer’s trip was conducted by Lonely Planet Magazine and you can reach her at [email protected])