AN INTRODUCTION TO LUXURY IN THE DESERT
You do not usually associate the word “Luxury” when you are on an India Tour. But in my recent travails across Rajasthan while doing a North India Tour many of my perceptions have undergone a sea-change. Not only do you get to experience good luxury, if you know the right people, (Maavalan for example), you can experience high-end refined luxury at a very correct price. If you have read my last experiences on Rohet, not far from that location, at the edge of the Thar Desert, stands proud the residential Fort of the Sun; Mihir Garh!
No, I had not bought any India tour packages. That is not how we do things when we review. We arrive incognito. I was travelling on a motorcycle sitting behind my partner. However I did take help from professional travel designers Maavalan, who are into customising your trip in the way you want it. And it is a rather big deal as I have discovered over the past one year. That is the only way to know about and access a lot of hidden destinations, little secrets in the heart of India!
ABOUT MIHIR GARH: CONCEPTION
Conceived, visualised and constructed in 2009, Mihir Garh epitomises the height of luxury hospitality in the Marwar region of Rajasthan. Oh yes, I learnt all of that during my Rajasthan tour. Earlier, I hadn’t the faintest idea of what is Marwar. Today I am proud to have experienced the luxury of Mihir Garh and happy to have met the people who made it possible. And I must say that having friends in the Travel Industry helps and you realise the grand possibilities of exploring fantastic options while on a Rajasthan tour!
I would like to add at the very outset that Mihir Garh is owned and run by the very people who own and run Rohet Garh. And when it is run by such polished aristocratic people, you can rest assured that you will end up having a very satisfying experience. Read my impressions on Rohet Garh here.
When you talk about Marwar, certain colours pop into your mind, certain architectural structures stand out in your memory. These factors were meticulously incorporated with the understated luxury while conceiving Mihir Garh.
To begin with, Mihir Garh is situated even deeper than Rohet Garh Palace. A ride in a vintage 4X4 Jeep through some exciting offroads through fields of local cereals and lentils and many villages with smiling village folk, we reach this interesting fort palace. Conceived in pastel yellow, you can instantly feel that Mihir Garh offers a quiet luxury at a serene location on the fringes of the Thar Desert that is quite unique in conception, design, services offered, amenities and you are really far from anywhere, right in the heart of Rajasthan!
In fact, Mihir Garh creates your own kingdom for you. When you look around, you get the feeling that everything belongs to you! And within the property, there are 9 suites each with plunge pools, Jacuzzis… this is as exclusive as it gets! Beds are decorated in local traditional bright pastel colours that liven up the soul and the spirit like the medieval local Rajput adventure warriors on horseback. Often in the tapestries and wall hangings you would see handworked tiny mirrors that reflect this very spirit. Your private area, your personal suite consists of 1700 ft² or 158m² of Gargantuan space which also includes the sit out with your private plunge pool looking out into the distance; what luxury!
Talking about horses, Mihir Garh is run by a family of equestrian experts. Our friend Sidharth is an excellent rider. And he maintains a stable that is not only noteworthy but can compete with any classical stable in the world with the finest Marwari Horses of the region groomed and cared for like deserving Royalty. I strongly recommend you to ride them. They run like Ferraris of the desert!
I cannot really comment on the food & beverage aspect since I did not get to experience it. But from hearsay, apparently their Rajasthani cuisine is delectable and has been handed down over generations of hard work. And for interested enthusiasts, some of the select recipes can be imparted to the traveller through elaborate culinary workshops held exclusively for you.
The lounges, the green courtyards, the lush green lawns, the library, the pool, the dining area, the traditional paintings on the walls, the objets d’art; the designs and colours of each and every aspect of these spaces have been meticulously conceived and executed with such harmony that they all blend seamlessly into each other giving you the sense of peace that you are looking for. I can now well imagine how much Robert Plant (from Led Zeppelin) may have enjoyed when he came for his vacations here! I wish I was on vacation here for a longer period of time. Time stands still as the wind whispers across the sands of the desert. You choose your favourite spot to lie around, the watchtower, the infinity pool, the aesthetic library, indulge your culinary senses, enjoy your kingdom in peace and quiet that you will seldom find!
I am beginning to learn about the forts and Palaces of Rajasthan. It has taken a long time; but this is already my third Rajasthan tour in less than a year! And I know there will be many more in the not so far off future. And in my experience, Mihir Garh shows luxury that no one else does thus far. Of course such luxury comes at a price; starting US$300 a night. But seldom does excellent quality come cheap!
Text: Ms Katerina.
Ms Katerina has travelled extensively on 4 continents and considerably in South India and parts of North India over multiple visits and is an important contributor for JMC.