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India: Rajasthan: Chittorgarh, Devigarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Kumbhalgarh, Ranakpur, Ranthambore, Udaipur
Devigarh, Rajasthan, India: Princely setting
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Situated amidst the Aravalli hills, 28 km northeast of Udaipur, Rajasthan, Devigarh forms one of the three main passes into the valley of Udaipur. Out there, majestically stands the famous Devigarh Palace - a heritage hotel and resort, housed in the 18th-century Devigarh palace in the village of Delwara. It was the royal residence of the rulers of Delwara principality, from mid-18th century till mid-20th century.
The principality of Delwara was given out to Raja Sajja Singh, one of the lieutenants of Maharana Pratap, after the 'Battle of Haldighati' in 1576. When constructed, it was a rudimentary palace that was built by Raghudev Singh II. It was later revamped in the 1760s for a royal visit of the Maharani of Udaipur. This seven-storeyed hilltop fort palace is a fine example of Rajasthani architecture.
Two centuries later, it was in ruins and empty for 20 years, when it was acquired by Poddars, an industrial family from Shekhawati region in 1984. The restoration took over 15 years and a team of 750 people, led by architect Gautam Bhatia and architect Navin Gupta. The interior spaces were redesigned in minimalistic style by Mumbai-based interior designer Rajiv Saini, to turn this palace into an all-suite luxury hotel, complete with a spa and ayurvedic retreat. Today it is considered one of India's best designed hotels.
We were on our way from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh. Devigarh is just about a 40-minute drive from Udaipur. Actually, it was by chance that we decided to take a break at this palace hotel. We were scheduled to be at Nathdwara at 3PM. Very rightly, one of our friends in Rajasthan suggested that we can plan in a way such that we could have lunch at Devigarh and then proceed to Natahdwara which is only a 30-minute drive away.
Thanks to my association with the travel industry, we were shown around the property which otherwise can be visited only by the hotel residents. It must have been quite a task for the restorers to link the terraces, pathways, staircases and the rooms. I am sure first timers would get lost within. The resort has been featured amongst the best hotels in the world and has been the main set in the making of the Hindi film Eklavya – The Royal Guard.
The hotel tour triggered a healthy appetite. And the hotel restaurant made sure the Rajasthani cuisine saw us through the day.
Devigarh Image Gallery Photo viewer
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