The retreat, once a regal hunting lodge, stands far from the main city and its crowds. It makes for a serene base from where you can explore the fabled Pink City, and offers exclusive curated experiences.
Located close to architectural marvels such as Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar, the Royal Heritage Haveli – by Niraamaya Retreats offers guests access to Jaipur’s much-acclaimed heritage. Explore the city’s imperial past while staying at the discreetly luxurious Haveli. It was once a royal hunting lodge and scattered all across the property are lavish lawns and tranquil courtyards.
There are several reasons why you should visit Jaipur. Home to palaces, monuments and other cultural attractions, it offers a host of experiences to travelers.
- Take a trip to Amer Fort, perched high on a hill on the outskirts of the Pink City. Founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727, it was once Jaipur’s capital. Every night, it hosts a light and sound show that illuminates the red sandstone fort and its stately grounds. The over 400-year-old Amer Fort is a complex network of palaces and fortified structures, with an exquisite sandstone façade. Its rooms are decked out in gold, silver and mirrored-tile mosaics. Within this majestic fort is a small Siladevi Temple with carved silver doors featuring repoussé (raised relief) work.
- Nahargarh Fort, or the ‘Tiger Fort’, stands above the city on a hill, and has a maze of bedrooms and an incredible collection of old murals. It once formed the defense ring of the kingdom, along with Amer Fort. It was originally named Sudarshangarh but was renamed as Nahargarh Fort or the abode of tigers. It offers sweeping views of the city and the rocky Aravalli Hills. It was also used as a ‘hunting residence’ by the Maharaja of Jaipur. The climb up is steep with over two kilometers of winding paths leading to the top. Built in the Indo-European architectural style, it has several temples within its giant ramparts and suites for the king and his 12 queens. There are 12 ‘apartment-style’ suites complete with a lobby, bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and a store. The fort is said to be a shelter for a lot of Europeans, particularly British women, during the sepoy mutiny of 1857.
- Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an observatory from the 18th century and has a collection of astronomical instruments as well as the world’s largest stone sundial.
- Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, a beehive-shaped red and pink sandstone structure which shelters airy courtyards, stands in the middle of the city on a crowded street. It offered the ladies of the royal family a chance to observe elaborate city processions in an era when women remained largely veiled and house-bound. Hawa Mahal was designed by architect Ustad Lal Chand to allow for cross-ventilation, which is why wind flows freely through its many jharokhas even today.
- The entrance to Hawa Mahal faces the intricate City Palace complex, home to the erstwhile royal family, with carved arches, chandleries and marble of the Diwan-i-Khas. There are four elaborate doorways to the palace, including a fanciful peacock gate. While a private part of the palace complex, which is still used by the descendants of the royal family, is closed to people, most of the complex is open to explore, including the famous Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal.
- We would also recommend a walk through colorful Jaipur markets, of which there are several. But the best among them is Johari Bazaar with lanes devoted to weddings, everyday fashion, and even kitchen accessories!
Royal Heritage Haveli – by Niraamaya Retreats also organises a series of exclusive curated experiences for their guests.
- Taste of Polo: Polo is the royal sport of Rajasthan, played by the Maharajas and the princes of yore and continues to be promoted by the scions of erstwhile royal families. Polofactory, which manufactures equipment and merchandise associated with this sport, also offers experiences at their farm where they train and breed polo ponies. The two to three-hours long experience features a walk through the stables, an opportunity to witness the horses being trained and a ride on a polo pony. Guests are also taught how to swing a polo mallet with some skill by a seasoned polo player and trainer and are introduced to the basics of horse riding, polo rules, grooming, tacking up, stabling and keeping prized thoroughbred polo ponies. The session ends with tea when you can ask questions and discuss your experience.
- Block Printing: Textiles are lifeblood of not just Rajasthan’s economy but also its culture. Various kinds of dyeing and weaving techniques from this desert state are famous across the world. At Royal Heritage Haveli – by Niraamaya Retreats, guests can avail of an opportunity to understand the way delicate Sanganeri print is hand-blocked. A workshop at Rangotri Sanganer will take you through the process involved in hand-blocking the motifs and patterns, a tradition that comes from the Sanganer village in the southern part of Jaipur. The two-hour long workshop is conducted by Vikram Joshi, promoter of Rangotri Sanganer, a textile technologist and a core member of the National Advisory Body of the Confederation of Indian Industry. He is credited with pushing for a Geographical Indicator for Sanganeri print and for promoting an environment-friendly textile park near Bagroo, called ‘Jaipur Bloc’.
- Elephant Trek to Dera Amer: The serene and wild Dera Amer Wilderness Camp, set on the outskirts of Jaipur, allows guests to experience a rustic part of Rajasthan, far away from city lights. Royal Heritage Haveli – by Niraamaya Retreats organises an elephant trek in the natural surroundings of the camp. The experience includes feeding the elephants to gain their trust. Then, guests, a maximum of two, are seated on each elephant for a 45-minute trek to the camp, situated within a vibrant forest. The picturesque route that the pachyderm covers trundles through a private and protected wild area. We recommend the sunset trek. Experiencing a forest covered in an orange-pink light, the sound of birds retreating to their nests and the sounds of the jungle in the evening is a truly special experience. The experience could also include bathing the elephants and scrubbing trunk while a mahout introduces you to their routine. Rajasthan is known for using natural colors that are gentle on the skin to paint the elephants in beautiful motifs, and you can also request to create your own work of art on the elephants. The same elephant, who is by now familiar with you, will be used for a trek to the jungle camp. The experience ends with either a lunch or dinner at the camp.
- Glamping with The Elephants: Glamping with The Elephants is a luxurious tented camp with four handcrafted tents within a wild terrain. This is Rajasthan bush camping at its best and most luxurious, an experience once available only to royalty. The tents, which are reached on an elephant back, have striking printed canopies, much like the forest tents of the Maharajas and the Mughals in the past. The memorable stay option at this glamping beauty is available close to the fabled Pink City. Guests will be able to interact with their elephants, go on a camel safari or opt for a jeep ride through Rajasthan’s countryside, and participate in village visits.
- Heritage Walks: There is no better way of experiencing a city than through special walks. Virasat Experiences, a community tourism initiative, curates engaging walks through Jaipur’s narrow by-lanes and its vast swathe of heritage and cultural attractions. Bazaars, craft and cuisine walks, a trail to ancient temples and ornate havelis, and a tour to explore the art and antiquities of the old city where the Modis or trader communities lived and thrived down centuries, Virasat’s stories will leave you enthralled by the rich history of this ancient city. Royal Heritage Haveli – by Niraamaya Retreats recommend that guests end the walk by dining at the Steam Lounge and Suvarna Mahal restaurant in Rambagh Palace, the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur which is now a luxurious hotel.
The Haveli beckons
After spending a day exploring the bustling city of Jaipur, return to the tranquility of the Haveli. Built in the 18th century by His Highness Madho Singh Ji of Jaipur, Royal Heritage Haveli – by Niraamaya Retreats is a sanctuary of wellbeing spanning over 100,000 square feet. Its regal ambiance is a perfect antidote to the rush of the city. Relax and unwind within its palatial interiors adorned with opulent silks, velvets and handpicked furniture.
Jaipur has attracted generations of jewelers, artists, and designers not just from India but even internationally. Among them is jewelry designer Marie-Helene de Taillac. She writes about her favorite places in Jaipur in How to Spend It, Financial Times’ upscale weekend luxury and travel magazine.
Jaipur has a long connection with polo, with most of its royalty playing the sport. In recent times, Rajasthan’s polo culture has seen a revival thanks to the royal family-backed Jaipur Riding & Polo Club and ventures such as Polofactory.
The Pink City hosts an eclectic annual festival of photography. Jaipur Photo brings together photographers from across the world.