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IN PICS: The charm of living in a Rajasthani haveli

Last updated on: January 30, 2012 16:10 IST

IN PICS: The charm of living in a Rajasthani haveli

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The Indian state of Rajasthan is known for its hospitality. It is, as many would agree, also a state of palaces and havelis. A Ganesh Nadar visited the Pink City of Jaipur and stayed at a charming hotel called Mahal Khandela. He shares with us his experiences.

Khandela is a small fiefdom in Rajasthan. Its Ranas ruled over just 110 villages since the 16th century. After Independence when Indira Gandhi took away their privy purses, they found themselves difficult to maintain the 100-room palace in Khandela.

So they chose to move to a relatively smaller (about 50-odd rooms: 27 of which are part of Mahal Khandela while the others form Khandela House)

KV Singh tells us they spent Rs 3 crore on a property that was bought by their grandfather in the 60s for a princely sum of Rs 10,000 to make it to a modern hotel while still preserving its ancient look.

Mahal Khandela has 27 rooms – some with balconies and large bathrooms. All rooms are air-conditioned. The staff are from the Ranas erstwhile fiefdom and so very respectful to their owners and to the guests.

In the haveli style there is a big courtyard in the middle of the hotel. There is also a rock garden that has a waterfall that runs through the day. In the night a Rajasthani folk singer entertains you with songs and a puppet show as you enjoy your dinner.

The restaurant serves very good food through the day from 7.30 am to 11.30 pm. However they will also be happy to serve you a steaming cup of coffee at 3.45 am if you have to go to the airport at 4 am.

There are long corridors and huge open spaces on every floor. All open spaces have sofas for you to sit and soak in the atmosphere.




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The fiefdom of Khandela had 100 horsemen at their service. Some of the armouries of these soldiers still hang on the walls.

From outside the hotel looks like an old palace but inside it is a haveli. There is a 1935 photograph of a meeting of Princes in Delhi. There are other photographs of their proud lineage.

There is a small swimming pool at the entrance but it looks more ornamental then useful for swimming. Maybe, for a slumber in the summer when it is too hot outside. There are chairs for foreigners to get a tan.

Apart from my colleague Priyanka and I, there were no other Indians in the restaurant.

You wonder how this place is so popular with them when a partner KV Singh explains that they have a deal with tour operators who bring the tourists in.

They can pick you up at the airport and drop you and also arrange for cars for you for all purposes. The car services are very expensive and if you like to bargain then you are safe from being gypped.




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The rates, at Rs 2500 for a double room are quite reasonable. If you ask they reduce that even further particularly for people who stay for more than two days.

If you stay there once, chances are you are hooked for life not only by the size and splendour of your room but the impeccable service with a bow and a smile.

Mahal Khandela worth a stay for those who appreciate history. And when you are leaving KV Singh will remind you, "My cousins run 50 hotels all over Rajasthan, if you tell me where you are going I will inform them. We will take good care of you anywhere in this state."

Interestingly, Diggi Palace, the venue of Jaipur Literature Festival also belongs to the family.




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