Delhi is the heart of India and living there comes with many advantages. One of the major benefits of living in the city that never sleeps is the diverse range of weekend getaways from Delhi. Within the matter of a few hours, you could be in the chilling weather of Himachal or enjoy the gorgeous desert rides of Rajasthan, go trekking in the breathtaking trails of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand or enjoy the exotic food and lifestyle of Delhi itself. One of the top things to do nearby Delhi is to visit the famous Neemrana Fort.
Located at a distance of about 150 km from Delhi, on the National Highway 8 to Jaipur, this century old fort has now been converted into a luxury hotel offering not only the famous Rajasthani hospitality to the guests but also representing the historical importance of the fort to the mostly foreign tourists staying there. The massive fort on top of the mountain once used to be the third capital of Prithvi Raj Chauhan’s kingdom. The fort suffered its darkest phase under the British colonisation. After 1947, there were no takers left for the ruins of the ancient monument. In the late 90’s, the Indian government launched a restoration process and by the year 2000, the fort’s gates were open to tourist as a luxury hotel with the sense of traditional hospitality. The glory of the hotel has evolved ever since and the talk of its magnificence was restored with the help of the good reviews of the people who stayed there. The hotel garnered special praise for preserving the touch of the customary old-fashionedness in the age of modernization. As of 2014, the hotel had more than 70 luxury rooms with a swimming pool and all the facilities that one might expect at a luxury hotel.
My trip to the Neemrana was planned not because of its historical importance but more as a short getaway with friends (also to capture its amazing beauty on camera!). I was in Delhi to see my friends and since the fort was just a 2-hour ride from Delhi, we decided to spend the weekend there. We booked a room named the ‘Moti Mahal’ (Palace of Pearls). The rooms can be booked at the official website of the fort, here. (Official website Link). The rooms are definitely expensive as per Indian standards but I felt like the price was not just about the hotel room but more for the entire ambience of the hotel which made the entire experience worth every penny. The staff was dressed in traditional Rajasthani attire and their hospitality will make anybody fall in love with the place. The fort is closed to non-residential tourists post 5 pm and the cultural programs for the evening begin.
Even if one doesn’t plan to rent a room in the fort but wants to explore the beauty of the fort, you can pay Rs.1900 (=30$) at the gate and discover the splendour of the fort till 5 pm. The ticket includes a traditional Rajasthani buffet lunch served at the massive hall overlooking the main swimming pool. One is allowed to roam around any corner of the fort unless someone especially mentions that you are not allowed to visit some specific part of the fort. The fort has a couple of restaurants and bars where they serve all sorts of snacks and drinks at a luxurious price, of course.
The exquisiteness of the fort is really mesmerising not only because it’s an old historical fort built in a grand ancient Indian form of architecture but also because of the location of the fort and the area surrounding it. It is located on the top of a small peak that used to give the King and his army, a tactical advantage over the enemy during wars. Now that the fort has been restored and high outer walls have been built up, the sun’s glowing rays look over the walls and make the fort look picturesque.
Given the constant stream of tourists who visit the fort every year, additional services are constantly added to make the fort experience even more memorable. There is a zip line that goes from the fort to the adjacent mountains, which is another major attraction for the tourists. One can ride a Royce royal from the British era for 5 km at the charge of Rs. 500. Be sure to book a car well in advance as preference is given to the hotel residents and waiting lists are usually quite long. There is a shop at the gate which offers a variety of traditional Indian paraphernalia which western tourists love!
I am originally from Rajasthan and so the royal cultural practices were really familiar. It felt good to spend a couple of days and go back to my roots. It made us proud to be a part of the oldest heritage in Indian history.
Other than the fort, there is nothing much to see in the surrounding area. It’s an industrial zone filled with warehouses and company yards. So the only things one can do there is to relax for a couple of days and explore the historical gem of India.
I’ll soon be back with more posts about different places in India. India is a huge country and sometimes, it’s even hard to describe the brilliance of the places I visit. There are so many places I would definitely like to suggest to my fellow travellers. I try my best to bring out the finest tourist destinations of my country to the travelling community because I believe that India is a stunning country and people need to know more about the Golden Bird.