Travel: How To Make The Most Of The Quintessential Royal Experience In Rajasthan

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Thu 20 Jun 2024, 10:08 PM

Often referred to as the 'Land of the Kings', India's largest state i.e. Rajasthan is a land steeped in history and heritage. With a number of alluring sights like palaces, lakes, deserts, forts, wildlife coupled with colourful culture and cuisine, it is little wonder that Rajasthan is one of the most popular destinations to visit by tourists and travellers alike. According to a report, the state recorded a 100 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in 2022 when compared to 2019 and with footfalls rising by as much as 80 per cent in the first half of 2023, Rajasthan is clearly emerging as a universal favourite. So, if you are looking for a quintessentially Rajasthan experience, head over to Chunda Palace located in the city of lakes aka Udaipur.

Roots in royality

An exquisite boutique hotel located in central Udaipur, overlooking Lake Pichola, Chunda Palace is the brain child of Thakur Ghanshyam Singhji of Thana who conceived the entire project with the objective of showcasing the rich heritage of the Mewar region. The palace itself belongs to one of the noble houses of the Mewar kingdom and has been enthralling guests since 2010 after a massive 16 years in the making. The palatial architecture has been preserved in its true spirit reviving the age-old art of construction and retaining the time-honoured motifs, patterns and designs.

“The palace offers uniquely designed rooms which seamlessly blend regality with contemporary luxury and comfort. While the palace rooms delight the senses with its warmth and resplendence, the royal imperial suites celebrate exquisite art and design with breathtaking views. The historic suites offer stunning views of the city palace and Aravali hills in the backdrop and the grand historic suites recreate the royal past of traditional yet luxurious hospitality,” says Veeram Dev Singh Krishnawat, MD, Chunda Hotels. With outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a cozy library and a souvenir shop where you can pick up Rajasthani paintings, textiles, marble inlay work and the like, Chunda Palace captures the true essence of Rajasthan.

A journey through Mewari culture

According to Krishnawat, Chunda Palace is not just a luxurious place to stay but an invitation to immerse oneself in the traditions and aesthetics that have shaped Rajasthan for centuries. With an appeal that has a timeless quality, the architecture itself is a testament to the grandeur of the Mewari palaces. Arches, domes, detailed ceilings and jharokhas (stone windows projecting from building walls) create a mesmerising fusion of beauty and functionality, a style unique to this region. The walls are adorned with intricate frescoes with each stroke echoing the legends of this land. Each of them narrates a unique story; from tales of valour to love, and devotion, you can witness them all.“The artwork on the staircase is a case in point and showcases the story of a prince from his hunting days to getting married, in a very abstract form. The artwork in the indoor pool depicts an Indian wedding and the grandiose celebrations associated with it,” adds Krishnawat.

Further, each room depicts a particular theme and the artwork is in sync with the same, whether it is vibrant festivities, hunting scenes or the beauty of the monsoons. The richly hued and textured motifs and paintings, pay homage to the long-standing tradition of storytelling through visuals. Some motifs also use the pure gold leaf to give the scintillating effect. The other native art forms showcased at the palace include bone inlay art work, thikri (traditional Rajasthan glass inlay work) work done on glass, Pichwai paintings and beautifully crafted artefacts.“We want visitors to have a panoramic experience of the rich legacy of art and craft of the state. From exquisite artwork done by a 90-year-old artisan to carefully curated paintings, we have stunning masterpieces that adorn every corner of the property. Most of the art work is done by Mewari artisans which helps showcase the rich culture of the region,” says Krishnawat.

Authentic Rajasthani fare

Whether you choose to dine indoors or in the plush outdoors or savour a private dining experience, Chunda Palace offers the best of traditional and contemporary flavours. The highlight of the food is of course authentic Rajasthani cuisine.“Many of the traditional recipes have been lost with time or are limited to a few houses. We wanted to change that and present these forgotten flavours on a menu where guests can relish every bit and become aware of the vast repertoire of dishes that Rajasthani cuisine offers,” mentions Krishnawat. With a clear focus on native ingredients, local flavours and home-grown produce, the menu is inspired by the erstwhile royals of Thana. Apart from the all-time favourites like dal bati churma, ghewar and gatta ka saag, local ingredients like tesu ke phool (flower of Palash, which has medicinal properties) are used to make curries and even cooling sherbets. Other bona fide Rajasthani dishes you can sample are kikore (spiny gourd) ki saag and even kachri ki sabji. Kachri which is a versatile wild melon is similar to cucumber.

Archetypal Rajasthani experiences

Rajasthan has a rich history of polo and is one of the states in India where the sport has a strong presence. The tradition of polo, which was a favourite sport of the kings dates back centuries and is closely associated with the royalty and nobility of the region. Today, the popularity of the game has waned and is slowly fading away owing to a multitude of factors. Chunda Polo club is an effort to revive the game in Udaipur.

“Guests can experience a feel of this royal sport at the Chunda Polo club where players and learners participate in slower or instructional chukkas (a period of play in polo),” says Krishnawat. While here visitors can get a feel of other traditional sports like archery and horse riding. Chunda Palace also offers an exclusive clay pigeon shooting experience in the midst of the Aravali hills.“Our shooting range offers the ideal setting for an action-packed day where guests can fine-tune their skills, practising all three Olympic disciplines of skeet, trap and double trap,” he concludes.



Khaleej Times

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