Tijara Fort

The Palace of the Winds

Written by Andrew Trotter
Photographed by Marcelo Martínez

Sitting on the veranda, high above the surrounding lowlands, perched on a hill like an eagle’s vantage point, evaluating every little movement down below. The only sounds are the swifts dancing in the evening sunlight, a faint breeze, welcome, on the Indian summer’s evening, and the faint noises that let you know that the world is still there.

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But life does stop for a while at Tijara Fort, a palace built for Maharaja Balwant Singh that was never finished due to his murder and was left abandoned since 1845 till the present day. Neemrana Hotels, who select heritage properties, discovered the palace and painstakingly brought the fort into the twenty first century. You can forget you are in a hotel, passing half the day without seeing a soul. The life of the original fort has been preserved to perfection; tea is served where the Maharaja would have sat to watch his lands, and if you close your eyes, you are back with him, the spicy tea tickling your lips and the scent of the frangipani hanging over the pond.

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It isn’t often you find a hotel that transports you to another world. Usually luxury drives the project, and buildings are so overly renovated that it could be a fake copy and the experience feels artificial. While here you are steeped in history, without missing any luxuries you may want; this is how maharajas would sleep, in rooms meters tall, with views that capture your imagination.

After a tour full of hustle and bustle, a few days of peace and quiet, just a couple of hours from New Delhi, is worth its weight in gold. You are given the time to reflect on the memories of all that you have seen, a place in which to re-discover the sights, the smells and the people. This is not a hotel. This building has remained a palace, with a connection to the past, and a place to find yourself.

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