wearing our invisible crown...
Five friends, one car, road trip, pleasant weather, good music and sparsely crowded roads.
Tijara Fort & Palace, the recently renovated property acquired by Neemrana was the place we were headed to.
The check-in was at 2:00 p.m., so we left Delhi at 10:00 a.m. as we didn’t want to miss even a single minute of royalty.
We picked up our last friend from Iffco Chowk Gurgaon, fueled up the car, some old numbers on the playlist and we were ready for the 80kms drive to the fairyland.
The pit stop was at Haldirams, Manesar, a good option for breakfast when travelling on NH8. We ordered its signature Cholla Bhaturas and a few fancy ones went with cheese sandwiches to fill up the belly. After this short break, we were on the road again.
We reached Tijara at 1:00 p.m. and stocked our alcohol inventory.
Quick Tip: If you aren’t carrying your alcohol from the start of the trip, the last place from where you can buy is the main Tijara Chowk, the circle from where you take left for the Fort.
From here you start seeing the billboards of royal red & golden colour that will take you to the fort.
After a 10mins drive from the main circle, the awestruck view of the Fort on the hill surrounded by Aravali will glue your eyes to itself.
No number of photos, videos, snap stories were enough. It grew bigger as we drove towards it. It's an uphill drive towards the Fort on a clobbered road which was under maintenance.
Quick Tip: Prefer taking on an SUV if you plan for this trip.
As soon as you reach to the giant gates, the valet dressed in authentic Rajasthani guard attire will greet you and will help you with your luggage. A classic entrance all covered with flowers lead to a gallery that will take you to an open balcony boasting the views of the Aravali and the fields around.
The gallery you will pass is the Alwar Mahal, a baithak (sitting area) all done with white marble at the end of which is a little souvenir shop which we never had a chance to visit.
Let me now give you a snap of the whole structure.
The Fort guards two castles - the Maharani Mahal and the Mardana Mahal, divided by beautiful gardens and pathways. These giant castles had a number of small castles/rooms/suites named after the designer of the respective castle.
We had two suites booked in the Maharani Mahal. One of our suites had a personal terrace that was joined to a pathway that leads to the swimming pool, the giant Olympic size swimming pool.
Everything that we experienced there was larger than life.
We checked-in, had our home packed lunch and headed towards the swimming pool that had freezing cold water.
We spent the late afternoon at the pool, some clicks, videos, chit-chat, snap stories blah blah.
And now it was time for our high tea.
We went to one of the gardens where we were served cakes and cookies, Tea from desi masala to earl grey, Coffee from black to flat white.
As we started our day early so it was time to rest now.
The Royals has their own way of doing stuff so everything at the Fort was inspired by the same. Like the beds, we prefer a low floor bed nowadays but there, to climb onto a bed you had to use a stool.
After a nap now was the time to party. We woke up around 7ish and the bottles as well. The board games were spread out, the cards were shuffled, the music was on; some won some lost and the idea was to have fun and so we did.
We had already asked for a Rajasthani style dinner buffet, so there was gatte ki sabzi, laal maas, Matar poori, bajra roti, kebabs, rice, assorted bread and a lot of desserts.
Everything was amazing but, the mutton was explicitly exquisite. We bought this buffet for Rs.1200 per person, which is a little expensive but as there's no other option, it's better to not comment on the pricing and to happily go with it. And why I say there's no other option is because this particular Fort/Hotel is located on the very top of a hill and is in the city Tijara, which does not really have any decent eating joints, therefore, it's almost impossible to keep an option to go out of the palace to dine. Also, since the roads to the fort were in a pretty bad condition, it made no sense to travel up and down that hill.
You can not even go with the option of bringing your own grocery or cooked food as there are no kitchens in the giant suite nor a microwave. So basically, they leave you no option but to go for their expensive buffet meal for Lunch & Dinner.
The belly was full, we called it day and headed back to our rooms.
The next day, we woke up early to not miss out on the complimentary breakfast buffet after which we headed back to our rooms and changed for a chilled dip in the swimming pool.
We made sure to click a lot of pictures there and indulge into some group pool games.
After a long dip and harsh tan, we went to our rooms to change and decided to stay back in our rooms until lunch to avoid the sun.
Then was the time for our lunch buffet after which we headed for a tour of the entire palace.
The palace is an experience in itself and there's no way I could talk about it all here. We played games in the lush, green, beautiful gardens and enjoyed our high-tea.
We spent the whole day at leisure, lying on the grass, soaking in the sun, indulging in conversations, eating amazing food specifically prepared for us as there weren't any other family/group on that day. So we basically had the whole palace to ourselves and we were truly treated like top luxury and royalty.
The day came to an end after a hearty dinner buffet and the next day was the check out day.
We all headed for the breakfast towards the atrium that was built in between the gardens. After which we went back to our rooms, bathed and were all ready to check-out and bid the palace goodbye.
We decided to stop over at the Tijara Jain Temple on our way to home. You may skip on the same but we decided to give it a go just so it's the only "things-to-do" stuff while in Tijara apart from the stay at the Tijara Fort.
Besides the Jain temple, there's a Chandra Vatika that has a huge idol of Chandraprabhu right on top of a flight of stairs, surrounded by huge, clean, really well kept, lush green park.
It was time to finally take off for home and we headed back to our cars and took off. With a lunch stopover in between, it took us just 3hrs to reach home.
Here is how we'd spent our royal getaway and we'll forever be in awestruck with that place and I am sure nobody can ever get enough of it.