Touring in India is fun. And touring in Rajasthan is simply awesome! Throw in the right ingredients, a few palaces, a good festival; Jodhpur Riff for example or the age old Pushkar fair, good local cuisine by passionate chefs, amazing experiences like campfire dinners, meeting with erstwhile Royal families and you have got a recipe for an amazing experience that will leave you spellbound beyond words!
This is just my second time to Rajasthan over 8 years. And I was doing a tour of some of the most exotic locales of the world in some of the Royal Palaces of Rajasthan! And this particular tour left me quite speechless. Add to all of that the icing on the cake; I was touring on the legendary royal Harley Davidson, the Heritage Softail! Unfortunately, I was not riding it. My friend, philosopher and trusted guide was doing the riding while I sat behind as I ticked Social Media updates from the comfort of the sofa that is the pillion seat on the Heritage! (And all my recent North India Tour logistics and planning have been taken care of by Maavalan.)
This time we went to the small erstwhile principality of Rohet, 50Kms shy of Jodhpur. We all know that India is a Republic. However a quiet understated respect for some members of certain aristocratic lineages still lingers on. Even for an outsider like me, these symbols were evident. But it did not seem or appear intrusive or forced.
When we first rode into Rohet Garh, the Palace at the village of Rohet, my initial impressions were the beautiful colourful paintings on the outer façade at the entrance of the palace and the gentle odour of animals from a stable, the kinds that one usually associates with a farm that wafted across from somewhere, the sources of which I only learnt later.
What was striking about Rohet Garh is the simplicity of the décor and the authenticity of the staff and their subtle eagerness to serve you in their non-intrusive manner. You feel at home and totally relaxed. I walk in and am greeted by lush green lawns, trees everywhere and peacocks calling out to mate in their usual loud and raucous manner! This place is mesmerising.
The rooms are simple and very tastefully done; simple paintings, beautifully done beds, excellent view from the windows and large spacious bathrooms. Most palaces in Rajasthan have bathrooms that are larger than a lot of apartments in Paris! Right next to the dining hall they have a wonderful swimming pool which is not Olympic size, but good enough for relaxing and a nice place to soak in the sun.
I did not bother about the check-in formalities. My trusted guide and friend took good care of me while I moved around like a free bird exploring the place listening to the mating calls of peacocks! I discovered that Rohet Garh has one of the finest stables in all of Rajasthan. That is the animal odour that wafts across when you arrive for the check-in. I was told that there are many stables in Rajasthan with excellent horses and a lot of them pride over the fact that theirs is the best. I went to look at the wonderful Marwari horses, typical of this region. Suitably impressed by their shining coats I got tempted to book a ride for the next morning though I have never learnt to ride a horse in my life. This is what a good ambience can do to you!
In the late afternoon I went to visit their premium property Mihirgarh. Oh! What an experience! I leave that for another time.
The cuisine at Rohet is delectable. It is very simple, like the rest of the ambience; but delicious. Even a simple “Dal” tastes like “home”.
They have a nice bar. It is very inviting. It is not a big city lounge. You do not expect it to be. But it is very classy with a decent choice of drinks with good classic mojitos to Long Island Ice Teas and you would feel like staying a little longer at the bar. Such places have a laid back ambience at the bar with a relaxed mood and you can sip your drink while finishing your novel!
And in the evening the food includes barbecued entrée dishes that set the course for the dinner. And there are Rajasthani folk singers filling up the ambience with their wonderful strong voices from the other end of the swimming pool in mild evening lighting. The experience is quite memorable.
In the morning I took on the horse ride as a challenge. Knowing that I was a rank novice, they gave me a relatively calm Marwari horse to mount. I was explained that horses test you if you were not a good rider. I cannot vouch for that since I am not an expert. But the morning ride was as refreshing as it gets. The sun was breaking through. Some of the fields were green after the monsoons. We went to a piece of land where my friend could freely gallop his steed. He derived much pleasure from it. It was evident from the way he rode that these horses were really well trained and he as a regular amateur rider stood firmly by saying that these were some of the best horses he had ever ridden.
As they say, all good things must come to an end. We had to pack our bags for our ride back to New Delhi on the Harley, a fairly long haul at 600Kms. Even as I was loath to leave Rohet Garh and its princely charm, I promised myself that I would be coming back for this experience, the homely feeling and you learn about the untouched rural way of life.
Read about my experiences in Rajasthan here:
The Author Katerina has toured extensively over 3 continents and is a regular contributor to Journeyman Chronicles. To learn more write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org