By Mohd Shahril Fawzy on June 21, 2018
On my second visit to India, I ventured to Rajasthan, the northern part of the country to search for unique experiences. After a nearly four-hour drive from Jaipur, the driver Nawal told me that we have arrived in Kota. When I looked through the window, the sparkling Chambal river accompanied with a stunning sunset gradient came into my view. A further few metres away was the Bhainsrorgarh fort standing majestically, dramatically perching on top of the 200-foot rocky ridge, awaiting me to uncover its hidden treasures.
Situated in south-west of Kota and nestling between the Chambal and Bamani rivers, Bhainsrorgarh is an ancient fort that holds significant history of the kingdom of Mewar. This fort was built in 1740s by Rawat (Lord) Lal Singh. It initially served as a fortified outpost. These days, it is reincarnated as a royal heritage hotel owned by Rawat Shiv Charan Singh, the current Rawat of Bhainsrorgarh.
In line with the royal family’s efforts in bringing back history from the brink of being forgotten, this fort is now converted into an accommodation that is no less palatial, luring guests with its old-world charms, unrivalled ambiance, obliging staff and spectacular views, making it ideal for epicureans and heritage lovers to unwind while indulging in rural Rajasthan’s romantic atmosphere of times gone by.
Since 2006, various parts of the fort have been gradually restored and began to receive local and international guests. This fort boasts nine rooms comprising five suites and four deluxe rooms that still retain the charm of Bhainsrorgarh’s glorious years. The thing I like about this property is that each room exudes its own charisma through its distinctive room layout, furnishings and, of course, the view. My personal favourite would be the Bhainsrorgarh Suite that has the largest balcony overlooking the river, including Edwardian-inspired furniture and spacious bathroom. The feeling of staying in this suite was incomparable and undisputedly breathtaking.
Interestingly, I was told by the staff that one of the suites in Bhainsrorgarh Fort used to be the bedroom of Rawat Shiv Charan Singh for over 50 years, but now it is available exclusively for guests to experience sleeping like a royal. It is quite uncommon for royal families to allow their private quarters be utilised by outsiders; in the case of Bhainsrorgarh Fort, this is done with the hope that the public will appreciate the Mewari heritage and splendour even more.
Several windows around the hallway are cladded with stained glass, letting the sunlight to stream in while creating magical effect. I sensed a warm connection with the residing royal family as I strolled along the spaces between the suites and encountered game trophies, old photographs of the royal family and the owner’s personal collections.
If you wish to sample authentic Rajasthani cuisine, Bhainsrorgarh Fort is definitely the place for you. The meals served here are exceptionally gratifying, prepared using recipes handed down from previous generations. I sampled an assortment of dishes throughout my stay and I was elated from the strong taste and aroma of traditional herbs, further cementing my love towards Indian cuisine. At Bhainsrorgarh Fort, there are various dining options for guests to enjoy their meal, either in the room or on the roof terrace with the scenic view of the river, which is highly recommended.
Guests should also grab the chance to experience the touch of royal family hospitality during their stay. According to Hemendra Singh, the younger son of the owner, a plus point when staying in this property is the fact that guests obtain the opportunity to interact with the host. He added that they usually are able to gauge the type of guests who would be interested in spending time with them. On top of that, the members of staff are warm, eager and aim to please. Most of them are locals from the nearby villages and fluent in English.
There is an array of activities to fill up your schedule during your stay at Bhainsrorgarh Fort. If you are lucky, you would get to experience sunset safari drives to Bhil villages led by Hemendra or his brother to learn about local lifestyle. Other activities include a boat safari cruise along the serene Chambal River with the remarkable Rajasthani landscape at the background and stopping by on an island within the river for a picnic.
My stay in Bhainsrorgarh Fort was undoubtedly one of the unforgettable experiences I have ever had. Never in my life have I imagined sleeping in a fort that served for military purposes in the past. If you are a type of traveller who are into something unique, like me, do consider staying at Bhainsrorgarh Fort hospitality when being in Kota, Rajasthan – trust me, you are bound to become all the more enriched and better off, giving you the feel just like royalty…
The Palace Bhainsrorgarh, Kota, Rajasthan 323304, India