Filed under: palace, resort, top-feature, weekend getaway
The Life of a Raja Beckons at the Sariska Palace
The Maharajah of Alwar was known to go on hunting trips. His specialty was killing tigers. In those days, the first half of the 20th century, there were many tigers roaming around the state of Rajasthan. The Maharajah would invite “the rich and famous” to stay with him while he went on his “The Future Generations Should Not See Any Tigers” mission.
Nowadays, his hunting ground is a Tiger Sanctuary open for everyone to visit. Fortunately, hunting tigers is now illegal and one day this sanctuary will have a decent tiger population. The reserve, though, has plenty more to offer, such as the erstwhile hunting abode of the Maharajah – Sariska Palace.
After driving for four hours from New Delhi, I entered through the grand gates of the Sariska Palace. This palatial property of this Indian Palace was designed by a French architect and therefore has quite a few French looking features.
The long driveway to the main building adds to the sheer opulence of the place. It is surrounded by well manicured lawns. Climb the stairs and you’ll meet friendly staff of the Hotel Sariska Palace, ready to show you your room. I was way too excited to go straight to my room, so the porter dropped of my bags and I went out exploring.
The back side of the palace has a porch which beckons for you to have a cup of Darjeeling tea. As far as I could stare into the Aravali hills, well to be specific – 7 k.m. into the forest, is property owned by the Sariska Palace. They have ensured no development takes place in the area. The glorious past of the Aravali hills is served as a condiment with the exquisite tea.
As I wondered around the property, I could see a bus load of French tourists treating themselves to the life of Maharajahs and Maharanis in an Indian palace. I headed straight for the pool.
At the edge of the pool was a peacock. These shy birds have a tendency to run for cover in front half-naked strangers. I tracked him down and took a photo as he was learning this Indian palace and crossing into the sanctuary.
The Sariska Palace Hotel has a Spa, a Clay Court, and a Volleyball court. I didn’t bother with any of these services and chose to sit under a Banyan tree and sip on a smoothie. I wonder how many guests this tree has seen. They say that the Maharajah of Alwar used had Rolls Royce cars for picking up trash. Apparently, he was once snubbed by a sales person in England and this was his way of retaliating. It would also explain why he chose a French architect to design this Indian palace.
By now, I was knackered and headed straight for my room. Ah, the French really know what they are doing when it comes to architecture. The bath tub was bang in the center of a very large bath room.
Now, that’s royalty for you!
Tip: In the night, head for the terrace. The dark passage that leads to the terrace is through the main building. You’ll get a beautiful, unobstructed view of the stars and the moon. To find it, you will need to ask the staff of the Hotel Sariska Palace.
Overall Ratings of the Hotel Sariska Palace
- Accommodation: Excellent!
- Restaurant: Nice, they serve Indian and Continental. Both were cooked well. The décor in the restaurant could be more regal to go with the other aspects of the Hotel Sariska Palace
- Bar: This is one aspect of the Hotel Sariska Palace, I didn’t enjoy. The bar has a décor that’s just not regal.
- Service: Excellent
- Cleanliness: The Sariska Palace Hotel is well maintained, but there were two instances when I needed them to change my cutlery for lack of cleanliness.
Quick Facts about the Sariska Palace Hotel
- Cost: Accommodation starts at Rs. 5000 ($120) per night (includes breakfast).
- Distance from New Delhi: About 170 k.m. (4 hours by car)
- Route from New Delhi: Delhi > Gurgaon > Daruhera> Bhiwadi > Alwar > Sariska
Caution: It took me over 20 minutes to cover the last three kilometers that lead into the Hotel Sariska Palace and Sariska Tiger Sanctuary because the road was littered with potholes. Drive carefully. Apart from the last 3 kilometers, the roads are excellent.
Image Credit: Personal collection of Rupen SharmaTags: palace, resort, top-feature, weekend getaway