The Entrancing visit to the Neemrana Fort Palace, Delhi Jaipur Highway

“God gave man this earth and man made wonders of it”…The first shower of monsoons, after the parched long summers, heralded for us the journey to the land of deserts- Rajasthan. As planned we drove 122 kms. on the Delhi-Jaipur highway to the majestic plateau, concealed in a horseshoe formation of the billion year old Aravalli ranges, a fort palace called Neemrana.

The two and a half hour drive was quite exhausting courtesy the dry summers but what waited for us was breathtaking. Although the fort palace of Neemrana is a bit difficult to locate but following the route map meticulously one can negotiate through the steep Aravali mountain ranges some two kilometers across the local village from the highway after Shahajanpur toll bridge and reach the main entrance of the Neemrana fort palace standing tall, which is also known as the Suraj Pol.

As soon as you park your vehicle, you get to taste the Royal hospitality. History has it, built since 1464 AD, Neemrana Fort-Palace is among India’s oldest heritage resorts. Neemrana became the third capital of the descendants of Prithviraj Chauhan III, who was killed in battle by Mohammad Ghori in 1192 AD. This picturesque site was chosen by Raja Rajdeo and Neemrana derived its name from a brave local chieftain Nimola Meo, who when defeated by the Chauhans, pleaded that his name be given to his lost kingdom.

The fort palace turned into a retreat now welcomes tourists with a host of amiable and helpful staff, since its difficult to find your room, also known as “Mahal”, through the fort, one should be accompanied by a staff member to locate ones Mahal! Ours was Neelam Mahal or the blue safire palace, which as the name suggests is called so after one of the nine jewels, others being Mani Mahal, Heera Mahal, Moti Mahal, Moonga Mahal, Kesar Mahal, Pukhraj Mahal, Manak Mahal, Gomedak Mahal and Lehsuniya Mahal.

The colour combination, furniture, antiques, paintings on the walls, floors, bedsheets, everything has the imprint of being royal and majestic with the underlying theme being of the particular gem. The rooms are furnished with aneclectic mix of traditional Indian and colonial furniture, antiques and objects d’art.

The property covers 25 acres/10 hectares and the stepped palaces of this architectural jewel cut into the hillside to sprawl over 3 acres/1.2 hectares and rises to 10 levels commanding the most splendid views, including a vista pool to the horizon. From 1986, the ruins of this Fort-Palace have been sensitively restored and reconstructed. Most rooms have private balconies or terraces and the loos are designed to have views!

It was time for lunch and we feasted on a gala buffet lunch in the awesome majestic dining hall called Jalgiri Mahal. Since we were quite exhausted we decided to take a small nap and headed to our Mahal. 7pm was slotted for a Rajasthani cultural program at the open terrace besides the reception.

All of us were gathered to now view the most heart warming and enthralling rich performance by a local Nritrya Kala academy- Fulwari headed by 56 year old Mr. Girraj Khandelwal, who astounded us by his spectacular performace. The evening was filled with local folk songs, dance performances, breathtaking stunts like fire spiting, balancing on steel glasses, balancing fire lit earthen pots on heads, spinning wheels on all four limbs etc…the show as just fabulous.

We enjoyed the haunting and hypnotizing melodies of Rajasthani folk music. An integral part of the Rajasthani culture that made the colourful dance even more graceful was its spectacular attire and dazzling ornaments. Folk music and dances spoke of love, separation, chivalry and rivalry. It felt as if this evening should never end but as they say all good things come to an end the magic in which all of us were lost did come to an end though we kept asking for more!Post the enthralling performance we were guided to the grand Jalgiri Mahal for dinner which hosted of ethnic Rajasthani mouthwatering cuisines!

It was time now to admire the beauty of the fort well lit with halogens, lanterns, diyas, candles, mashals and spot lights contrasting against the dark moon lit sky. One could not hold back but marvel at the beauty of this 1464A.D grandeur built by man. The story goes in 1947, Raja Rajinder Singh of Neemrana moved down to Vijay Bagh as the façade of his Fort Palace crumbled and its ramparts began to give way, for fourty years he tried to rid himself of his liability but there were no takers.

Finally in 1986, the ruins were acquired for restoration. In 1991 Neemrana Fort Palace opened doors with the nobility of its façade raised, and just 15 rooms. In 2000 Neemrana won the Intach-Satte award for restoration and tourism for ‘being the foremost example of how one can pick up “architectural treasures from national dustbins and turn them around”. Neemrana was nominated for the Aga Khan Award. What was once a grand ruin now spells resplendence and charm.

After the royal treatment of the entire day we had a goodnight’s sleep and woke up to the calls of the peacocks, pigeons and parrots which are as prevalent as the caws of crows and sparrows here in Delhi! Since we were here only as a weekend getaway option we had to leave by 12 pm, which is the check out time of the resort and thus we decided to opt for the audio guided trip.

The trip can be availed on request from the reception of the fort palace. The hospitable staff handed us a paper map and a sony walkman to enable us to start our exploration of this grandeur called Neemrana. Thus commenced our journey back to the time when kings and queens inhabited this beautiful place. We felt as if we were transported back in time and living through the time immemorial.

The commentary was captivating and very informative, It was a Do It Yourself trip, were we had to follow the instructions of the commentator as he kept unraveling the secrets of the fort rooms, paintings, kings, queens, hidden chambers, art and architecture of the era. The trip entailed 11 important sites at various wings of the fort.

The main highlights were ofcourse the Suraj Pol, the main entrance gate, the Chandrama pol, the second entrance, the Shatranj terrace, designed like a chess board, Gulab Mahal, Burj Mahal, the zanani, were only the females of the royal family were allowed, the Tulsi Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, made of glass, showcasing paintings of various kings and their grandeurs, the Shringar Mahal, the Holy Kund, the lotus pool, where the routine proceedings of kings took place, the Mahals name after the nine jewels, and then the grand finale, the Mukut and the Uncha Bagh, the hanging gardens with the most breathtaking picturesque views!

It was 12pm now, we cleared our bills and headed for Delhi. Thus ended our journey to the depths of this astounding fort palace but surely with the desire in heart to come back for more!

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27 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    I was there about 7-8 years back for few hours. You could get in for an entry charge of Rs 100, I heard from one of the fellow ghumakkars that now the entry charges are Rs 500. We had our lunch there with bubbly and being young, we enjoyed thoroughly.

    Great description Mala. I was there with you and big thanks for taking me back to my youth :-)

    • mala says:

      Thanks, we were there at a package trip of 7000/- for 4 ppl for one day. Also due to it being off season we got a 25% discount too:)

  • tanya says:

    hey that was a beautiful start to a detailed n enriching description!
    makes me want to be there!!

  • Suman Yadav says:

    I was there on 15th Aug’09. The new thing added there is flying fox, ie zipping on the rope ways just above the fort & between the two peeks of aravali hills. It charges INR 1200/ per ticket for flying on the ropes. One has to go trekking to the peek and start zipping. This is first in India & total five Zips are there in the same ticket. One Zip out of five is the asias biggest zip and is of 400 mtrs. The person zips at the speed of 70KM/Hr. This is real advetures game one will enjoy.

    Just enjoy this unique combination of Heritage fort Hotel with Zip. Can get it reserved on line to avoid last moment declination, see more details on this web http://www.flyingfox.asia/

    Enjoy:)

    • mala says:

      Hi Suman, gr8! actually we were told bout the flying fox and although we were really excited we were apprised that it starts from August….so guess we werea month early..shall surely try it on our next trip though:)
      thnx

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    What a beautiful description Mala! I don’t think that it can be described in any better way than it :-)

    Thanks for sharing your experience, needless to say that this description might have brought Neemrana to many of the readers radar. At least I am Looking forward to it :-)

    Keep on writing, you write so beautifully.

    • mala says:

      hey! manish,
      i really hope many ppl get a glance of the beautiful places i visit thru my writeups and visit them.
      thanx for the compliement..shall keep writing as an when i visit new places or rather the same places with a different perspective:)
      mala

  • Himanshu Kumar says:

    Hi Mala, could you please let me know the Travel Agent through whom you booked the trip?

    • mala says:

      Sure Himanshu,
      Neemrana Hotels 011-46661666…their office is in Lajpat nagar, Delhi
      mail id is [email protected]
      either you can speak to them or mail them your requirements, they are prompt enough
      hope you have a wonderful experience.
      mala

  • Rohit says:

    Hi Mala

    Very Informative, well narrated.
    In fact before reading to your article I was not aware of this place because I was not a history student. Your description about the tour instigate me to visit this place. Let us see when that time will comes.

  • Priya says:

    Hi… I wonder if u can help. I am thinking of getting married in neemrana next year early august…. Does it rain alot during that time?

  • pallavi says:

    hey,i hail from ghaziabad..i want to know how much time it wud tke to reach nirvana?

  • saba says:

    hi. just wanted to know about the near by hotels in neemrana and their tariffs. thanks :)

  • Dolly says:

    hi,i want to know ticket price for neemaraana……….

    • mala says:

      Hi Dolly,

      If you just visit for lunch it is Rs 500 per person on weekdays and bit higher on weekends however if you want to stay there, you can call on the numbers and ask for the tariff since tariffs vary according to the room you choose.

      Thanks,
      Mala

    • mala says:

      Neemrana Hotels 011-46661666their office is in Lajpat nagar, Delhi
      mail id is [email protected]
      either you can speak to them or mail them your requirements, they are prompt enough
      hope you have a wonderful experience.

  • roshan says:

    hi,
    my friends were planing to go to neemrana for just a day…like we will be leaving in the morning form delhi and come back in the evening…how much time will it take to see the palace and what will be the cost for just visiting the fort

    • mala says:

      Hi Roshan,

      It will take you around two to two and half hours from gurgaon(NH8) once you connect from delhi. And you should have atleast two hours to explore the fort with the audio guide available at the reception. I am not very sure of the charges at the moment. You will get the information at the reception counter in the fort complex.

      Hope you have a wonderful time ahead.

      Mala

  • sahil goenka says:

    Hi
    hi,
    we are planing (7 Memebers)to go to neemrana for just a daywe will be leaving in the early morning form delhi and come back in the eveninghow much time will it take to see the palace and what will be the cost for just visiting the fort.

  • mala says:

    Hi Sahil,

    It will take you around two to two and half hours from gurgaon(NH8) once you connect from delhi. And you should have atleast two hours to explore the fort with the audio guide available at the reception. I am not very sure of the charges at the moment. You will get the information at the reception counter in the fort complex.

    You can also check on the following numbers:
    Neemrana Hotels 011-46661666their office is in Lajpat nagar, Delhi
    mail id is [email protected]

    Hope you have a wonderful time ahead.

  • VKB says:

    Hey!!

    Very well return!!

  • ashish says:

    I am planning to go to neemrana on 15 & 16 would guode me how to reach.and what minimum package i can take for four family friends.

  • ashish says:

    Your urgent reply would be helpful thanks & regards
    ashish

  • Mala Raman says:

    Hi Ashish,

    It will take you around two hours from gurgaon(NH8)on the Delhi- Jaipur highway and you should have atleast two hours to explore the fort with the audio guide available at the reception. I am not very sure of the charges at the moment. You will get the information at the reception counter in the fort complex.

    You can also check on the following numbers:
    Neemrana Hotels 011-46661666their office is in Lajpat nagar, Delhi
    mail id is [email protected]
    You can also check neemrana website.

    Hope you have a wonderful time ahead.

  • Ankita Maheshwari says:

    Hey,

    I want to go Neemrana on 21 Nov 2015 morning and want to stay till 12pm 22 nov 2015, we are two people. kindly let me know the buffet charges for lunch and dinner and minimum charge for staying into the fort.

    Thanks,
    Ankita Maheshwari

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