Encompassing most of the Thar desert, Rajasthan is India’s largest state, and also one of its most romantic. Home to the blue city of Jodphur, the golden city of Jaisalmer, and the dusty pink capital of Jaipur, Rajasthan is a beguiling mix of rural India and a modernising society anxious to shrug off its past. It’s an incredibly ancient place, home to the archaeological ruins at Kalibanga, as well as the 800km long Aravalli range, part of the oldest mountain chain in the world. Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949, when all erstwhile princely states ruled by Rajputs, known as Rajputana, merged into the Dominion of India.
Endowed with natural beauty and a vivid history, tourism is a flourishing industry in Rajasthan. The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, and desert forts of Jodhpur, Bikaner & Jaisalmer rank among the most exciting tourist destinations in India. Rajasthan is also famous for its majestic forts, intricately carved temples and decorated havelis (private mansions), which were built by Rajput kings in previous ages, and some of which have been converted into heritage hotels. Here’s Indiaphile’s guide to the first in a series of majestic palace hotels of Rajasthan.
Devi Garh is a heritage hotel built in an 18th century palace in the village of Delwara, nestled in the Aravalli hills, a 45 minute drive northeast of Udaipur.Today, it is one of India’s leading luxury hotels, a Frommer’s Review, which called it “the best hotel on the subcontinent”, stated that “Devi Garh is more than beautiful, it is inspiring.”
Utilizing a range of talented young Indian designers, and financed by wealthy industrialist Poddar family, it took 15 years to transform the original palace into 23 luxurious suites. An almost minimalist aesthetic means Devi Garh is not traditionally Rajasthani, but nevertheless feels very much Indian, with its combination of white marble, Mughal flower motifs in semi precious stones, and gold inlay. Below lies a green tiled swimming pool overlooking the hills, and an Ayurvedic spa and tennis court. Since it’s opening the hotel has received rave reviews from everyone from Conde Nast, to the New York Times.
Devi Garh is a great place from which to explore the surrounding area. Take a trek, bicycle ride, camel or horse safari into the picturesque Aravali range. Inside the fort, you can fly kites, gaze at the stars through a telescope and even call a traditional astrologer if you are curious to know what the stars predict. If you are interested in historical sites, you can pay a visit to Delwara village to explore the 14th century Jain temples.
Their official website is here
Daily Telegraph review is here
We recommend you book your visit to Devi Garh through Travel Intelligence here
See part two of our guide to palaces in Rajasthan here.
India Sublime offers a wider look at the Palace Hotels of Rajasthan.