Lakshman Sagar: A Fairy Tale Luxury Heritage Resort in Rustic Rajasthan
There are hotels and then there are luxury hotels, once you are done with luxury what is left to experience? May I suggest living in a fairy tale from another era?
The recipe is not easy to replicate but let me try. Take an old hunting lodge of King, add a beautiful lake surrounded by OLD Banyan trees where Peacocks perch for night, add a couple of havelis, now bring some creative interior decorators who add a dash of colors and a lot of local daily use things and give them new life voila you get your very own Fairy Tale . Lakshman Sagar in Pali district in Rajasthan is one such place it began life as a Shikargah or hunting lodge for the ruler of Raipur in Pali, on the banks of picture perfect Lakshman Sagar Lake. Now it is a fairy tale cum personalized luxury where you decide what you want to do, and what you want to eat as long as it is local, organic and integrates the local community into your holiday.
Thakur Lakshman Singh built two Mahals or palaces were built on the banks of the lake one called Zanana or the palace for the ladies and the other called Mardana or the palace for the men. Both the palaces are now themed to take you back to the time when the royals will watch local artists perform in the evenings after a tiring day.
As the Zanana Mahal emerges on the horizon, the first thing I notice is the hanging pink curtains, but instead of being inside the building they are outside, dancing to the wind, trying to kiss the clouds as they rise high at other times reaching out to the lake that is home to tens of species of local birds and plays a host to countless migratory species in winters.
You immediately notice that the place is from another era and has been painstakingly resorted and designed to include local elements.
The two Mahals act as dining, lounging and just relaxing or watch towers for the herd of Neelgai that camp at the other side of the lake. If you get up early you can watch the peacock dancing to woo his lady-love. I even spotted a few of them taking the short flight across the lake. It is not very often that you are lucky to see a peacock fly and dance on the same day. I guess that is what fairy tales are made of.
You get to live in your own secluded private villa and splash pool overlooking the Aravalis and the Lakshman Sagar. Not happy with the splash pool? No worries, just walk up to the pool chiseled out of a hilltop next to Zanana while Drongos and Rose ringed Parakeets keep an eye on you. Oh you want something bigger how about taking a dip in the Lakshman Sagar itself. Talk about scripting your own fairy tale vacation.
Let us go back to the cottages, from the outside they look like any mud home in rustic Rajasthan, what with thatched roof and mud painted on the walls. All these are part of a bigger scheme of things to keep the villas cool with minimum efforts, as once you enter the villas you realize you are now in another era. The drapery used is local cotton, with cushion covers sourced from local artisans complete with small sequined mirrors adorn the Baithak (living area) complete with a hidden refrigerator, a chair made from Katran (small piece of clothes normally thrown as waste by tailors), and a fireplace to cozy up with, all this while with the lake visible from every corner of the room.
While I was busy clicking pictures, missus and kids went for a nature walk and came with stories of Peacock running in front of them and some fresh veggies for dinner, plucked from the organic garden. Lakshman Sagar does not follow any fix menu system, they guys just go to the garden pluck whatever is ready to be cooked and dish out simple Rajasthan fare, something very similar their mother or wife makes for them at their home.
But like most Fairy tales the magic is at its peak in the night at Lakshman Sagar also. The illuminated Zanana and Mardana sparkle like sequins dripping from the costume of a Kalabelia dancer, and checking their reflections on the waves of the lake. As the Sun sets and slowly the stars lazily emerge on the horizon, you understand the first nursery rhyme you learned
” Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky. “
I could spend the whole night counting the stars in the clear sky but finally said a good night to the sleeping peacocks and twinkling stars.
Like every fairy tale this one also came to an end the next morning after a heavy breakfast we started our journey back to reality.
While our daughters thoroughly enjoyed exploring the organic farm and the hillsides it may not be suitable for very small kids.
Note: We were invited by Sewara Hospitality for this trip. The property is more suited for couples who besides looking for a fairy tale holiday are also willing to explore rural Rajasthan. The hotel arranges field visits, hiking to the nearby Raipur fort, nature walks etc. that can be customized per your need.
How to Reach: Lakshman Sagar is a heritage hotel near Raipur in Pali district of Rajasthan. The nearest airport is Jodhpur about 2 hours away. The nearest railway station is Haripur about 3 KM, but Ajmer station about 2 hours away is better connected with all major cities.
Website: Lakshman Sagar
For reservations: Tel: +91 11 26494531 / 32
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