Fort Unchagaon – A perfect destination for those seeking solitude

Anchored by history and heritage, Fort Unchagaon’s white facade is a museum of memories. The majestic structure stands frozen in silence; the occasional creak of the old doors being the only reminder of human presence.
Three hours from Delhi, this heritage hotel is a dream that the inheritor of the fort, Raja Surendra Pal Singh, has been married to for the past three years. Singh and his brother wanted to spruce up the old-world charm, preserve the past. When they decided to open the fort to tourists-with add-ons like air-conditioned suites, badminton court and billiards room-they created spaces where bygone centuries continue to be alive. Imperial furniture, old transistors, bell jar-shaped lamps and fascinating family portraits… everything exudes the class and essence of the colonial period.

For those seeking solitude, this is the place to be. There are a million and one nooks and crannies one can disappear into with a book or a cup of coffee. The bedrooms, though modernised, have no TV sets. The décor of all 27 rooms is in harmony with the period theme. Huge poster beds, old cupboards and large windows conjure up the atmosphere of homes during the Raj. Beyond the rooms, large balconies beckon gently to idle away. Sauntering through the house is like chancing upon a delectable nugget from the past. Countless staircases lead onto many little terraces, all nicely done up with colonial armchairs and artistic side-tables.

The fort is divided into two branches-the old residence, a section of which is still reserved for the Raja, and the Collector’s Court, which used to be the main office of the jamindars in the 18th century. Today, it has a conference hall and seven bedrooms that display the grandeur of the past. On the walls are pinned old photographs, etchings and water-colour paintings depicting the sporting lifestyle during the Raj. Portraits of wolf traps, keepers leading out dogs, deer-hunting, tiger-shooting and elephant safaris narrate stories of the life of royal hunters.

Spread across 180 acres, the fort gives an opportunity to be part of an era that continues to wield magic, mystery and awe. The old residence area has been modernised with a huge snooker table and a badminton court. The living room is a mini museum, with imposing portraits of the ancestors, tiger skins and a rare collection of swords. Sharing space with these are photographs of Jawaharlal Nehru and many other VIPs who had visited the fort.

Although there is a lot that one can do within the premises, Leisure Hotel offers many more for the restless souls. From horse-riding to boat-cruising, activities are plenty, and a day or two will not be enough to explore all. If you happen to be in Unchagaon on a weekend, a stroll through the vibrant Saturday haat is a must. From colourful bangles to fresh jaggery and traditional artefacts, you can take a unique souvenir back home. Pottery enthusiasts can try moulding a diya at the nearby potters’ village.

A bumpy tractor ride through sugarcane fields lands you on the banks of the Ganga, where, if you are lucky, you might just spot the Gangetic dolphins. Sitting under mud roof and savouring the smoky preparation of gur is another fascinating experience in the village. The people in these rustic factories make sweet slabs that gradually harden into jaggery, within minutes. The hotel makes arrangements for Twenty20 cricket matches. Together with the hotel staff, guests and family members, you can spend afternoons in the field right next to the main residence, and win another exciting vacation as prize.

The gong bell reminds one of the passing hours, and, as dusk sets in, the fort gears itself for a cultural evening. Folk singers and dancers from the village present a splendid evening under the starry sky.
What makes the stay at the fort a memorable affair is the excellent service by the bearers and staff. Chefs offer a huge spread-from dadi ma’s recipes to traditional Indian, Mughlai, Continental and Chinese. Baked beans, potato wedges, idli sambar, chhole bhature, veg cutlets, Mughlai toast, tandoori chicken-Chef Vir Bahadur Adhikari and his team offer the best that you have ever tried at a hotel. “We specialise in Mughlai food, especially non-veg. Everything that we use in the kitchen-vegetables, fruits and dairy products-are from our own farms, and this adds to the taste,” says Adhikari.

The British handed over the fort to the Singh family during the 1857 mutiny, a gift for their loyalty. Since then the family has been upgrading their abode every second year. Although the heritage hotel boasts of the best from the past and the present, Raja Surendra Pal Singh plans to make it a top-class hotel, with all the imaginable comforts. “We have a huge place for a golf course near the orchards. We plan to develop a nine-hole golf green there. The fort will also have a swimming pool and a spa very soon. We have been developing the fort in our own ways, and would continue to do that,” says Singh. He has plans about introducing village tourism in Unchagaon. “I have been talking it out with the government, as this would benefit the villagers in more ways than one,” says Singh.



  • Abhijit says:

    A nice and short escapade can be planned. Could you please indicate the route say from Nizamuddin Bridge ? What are the charges ? How bookings are made ? We are truly interested.

  • Ram says:


    I have been seeing your comments on some of the posts.

    Your descriptive post on Unchagaon gives a fabulous account of the history attached to the fort. I wish you had inserted a few pictures to make it more colourful. Also, please do share with us the route taken by you.

    Welcome aboard and do keep on writing.

  • Shoma says:

    Hi Deepak

    Immensely interesting reading and it does seem like the perfect destination for solitude as you say. I am especially gripped by your writing style and the imageries you have drawn. You have managed to bring the place alive through your words.

    Look forward to reading more of your writes.

  • Deepak Behl says:

    First ..and Foremost I ..My Thanks to Nandan for Inspiring Me to write a post.

    although me a frequent Business Ghumaakar ..i wanted to write in past …But couldn’t Because of Reasons ……

    Thanks Ram Ji ,Shona , Abhijeet

    The route i went was From Moradabad-delhi Highway —-Garh –and then after crossing the garh-Ganga bridge ….6 kms take a left for

    and folks..coming From Delhi have to take a… Right Turn Just 6 kms Before The Garh Ganga Bridge
    aligarh Road ) ..Chaupla ….as it rightly said in local ascent and then driving around for around Half an Hour minutes you wiil
    find an Old Haveli …Restored in a Heritage Hotel

    Tariff is Reasonable all three meals incusive ..3600 plus taxes..Quite a Deal (All Inclusive )


    i along with my off my colleagues ..on our way to AGra from Moradabad

    The Route taken was moradabad -Garh –Fort Unchagaon .Aligarh..Hathras..Agra

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    I agree with Shoma that even without pictures you have created a perfect picture with words :-) even better as without pictures you have given wings to imagination as well ;-)

    Though I too wish that there were pictures to give the real picture.

    Deepak, is there a way to visit it through public transport. Please provide the phone numbers of the fort folks and yes, drving route from delhi is still not clear to me from the last comment.

  • Ram Bansal says:

    The whole description is full of falsehoods. Firstly, the place had never been a fort but only a garhi of a zamindar (big farmer). I live in a nearby village and know the family very well, which is quite infamous in the area for pro-British activities during freedom struggle, and now involved min many unfair business practices in their brick kiln business.

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