Saturday, January 16, 2021

Royal treat: Visit these heritage stays in India

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Ahead of Independence Day, Indian Link brings you India that is off the usual tourist map, and away from the beaten track


Khatu Haveli
Just half a km off the main East-West artery of Jaipur is the exquisite and luxurious Khatu Haveli. The word haveli means mansion.
Comprising three spectacular courtyards and terraces, it offers views of the Nahargarh Fort and the City Palace.

The haveli was built in mid-19th century, and since then six generations of the Khatu family have lived in ever since.
The mansion offers lavish heritage rooms and a Maharaja suite where guests can enjoy the renowned Rajput hospitality.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: November to January
GETTING THERE: Located in Jaipur city. Train station is 1.5 km away while the airport is 13 km away.
Samode Haveli
This is another property with loads of history and character. Built 175 years ago, it is still the family’s residence while a part of it has been converted into a heritage hotel.

It doesn’t accept tour groups, which offers a peaceful and relaxed cocoon for independent travellers and honeymooners. The rooms are adorned in classic Rajasthani style block prints and hand-woven damasks. For a real treat, reserve the haveli’s Sheesh Mahal Suite, which is embellished with 18th-century frescoes and mirrorwork. A special feature of the Haveli is the elephant ramp and it offers an outdoor swimming pool and a spa and wellness centre.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: November to January
GETTING THERE: Located in Jaipur city. Train station is 1.5 km away while the airport is 13 km away
Suryauday Haveli
Set on the Shivala ghats in Varanasi, it was built in earth 20th century by the royal family of Nepal as a retreat for the aged. You can start your day with yoga on the roof terrace by trained instructors or take a walk through the narrow alleys. The haveli is also connected by small alleys leading to the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: November to February
GETTING THERE: The nearest airport Babatpur is 30 km away, then an hour drive + 15 min boat ride. Via Bus or Train, Varanasi junction is 7 km.
Bonus experiences
While exploring havelis in Rajasthan you can explore the 200-year-old Haveli Braj Bhushanjee (http://kiplingsbundi.com/) in the city of Bundi. Another gem is the Amet Haveli (http://amethaveliudaipur.com/index.html) built during the rule of Maharana Jagat Singh. You could also opt for the DeraMandawa, a boutique hotel adorned with Rajasthani jharokhas and regal arches mixed with British inspired door-frames.

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