Indra Vilas, is no doubt one of the largest and most beautiful Havelis in Alsisar, Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan. We had heard great reviews about this place from few of our friends and office colleagues. The place is not too far from Gurgaon, about 225 kms and takes around 4 hours if you leave at a good time in the morning and not take too many breaks.
Indra Vilas is a gem and the best one in the area. The others are either too expensive or not as beautiful as this place. This is perfect value for money. The haveli has a large compound, more than 10 acres, very well maintained, green areas, beautifully maintained old painted walls. Reminds of a prosperous bygone era when the wealthy trader owned this... and now bought and restored by the present owners who run it as a beautiful resort.
We were there in October 2010, so it was perfect time to enjoy the swimming pool, play table tennis, badminton and other things they have to offer. We enjoyed the pool and were served tea and breakfast by the pool... we repeated this again in the afternoon and now tea was replaced by chilled Beer :) Kids loved running around the huge heritage mansion.
Rooms and stay: We stayed in the lower block which is larger than the upper one and opens to the garden and faces the swimming pool. The rooms were spacious, with beautiful period furniture, painted walls and all the other modern comforts. The bathrooms are spacious as well with bathtubs; very clean with modern plumbing and electrical fixtures.
Food: was excellent as we got everything we asked for and enjoyed the most authentic Rajasthani cuisine... I love the Laal Maas and one day we enjoyed my wife's favorites - Daal, Baati, Choorma with lots of Ghee... Ofcourse, we did not ask for continental kind of stuff, but I was told even that is decent as the resort caters to lot of foreigners and international groups as well. Infact, we saw one Italian couple enjoying wine and early dinner on the roof top while enjoying the sunset. It was so personlised, and later when I asked the Manager he told me that they had set up the place and everything at the exact place where the couple wanted and the way they wanted.
Rejuvenation: Do not miss the ayurvedic body massage!!! Apart from this I also had the traditional Indian Head Massage and my wife enjoyed the traditional Indian Foot Massage. They were very rejuvenating and worth every penny!!!
Extras, things to do: The manager and staff was very attentive to our needs. They asked us what else they can do to make our stay memorable... and recommended a visit to the village temple, walk around the village to have a look at the deserted havelis, old painted walls and trust me they are all a photographer's delight. They also sent with us a hotel staff who was a local and very knowledgeable... We also took a camel cart ride starting from the Indravilas along the perimeter of the village, through the fields, old temples, tube wells, through the village witnessing the village life, mud houses labelled as BPL (below poverty line), kids waving and running behind our cart... We bought biscuit packets and distributed among the children. The hotel staff had put a few mattresses and clean white sheets for a comfortable seating on the camel cart and also gave us a couple of umbrellas just in case it rains or if it was too sunny for us. It was such a lovely experience for my 4 year old daughter who had not seen a village like this before. Indravilas also arranged evening entertainment with local music and dancing by the pool side. My daughter loved the puppet show and even bought a few puppets - Raja, Rani, Camel and snake!!!
The best part about this place is that it was not at all commercial. Everything and everyone was so genuine and respectful. No one pushed us for any activity and most of the extras like camel cart ride etc were so reasonably priced that I was surprised. I think they aim to promote some livelihood for the local villagers through such things which was again very genuine and nice on their part. I always left a few generous tips for their kindness and legendary hospitality.
All in all, a must visit and beautiful experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Alsisar is one of the finest, yet untouched gems of Shekhawati. This we have endeavored to polish, protect and preserve for you, the connoisseurs, who care and feel for the great inheritance bequeathed by events of history. The hundred-room haveli built by Indrachand Kejriwal in a ten-acre compound extending to ancient wells built to grand scale, welcomes guests to stay in splendor of the past with modern comforts. Walk around the village to explore the art hidden in the profusion of mansions and temples dotting every street. Sit around the village pond chatting with inquisitive kids, artisans and wizened old folks. Ride a camel for dinner on the dunes, in the backdrop of folk dances and lilting tunes. Come, indulge yourselves with the legendary Rajasthan hospitality. While you are pampered, the village is reinvigorated, blowing off the sand from hidden frescoes and reviving the rich traditions of the bygone era. ... more less
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