Live the Royal Life
Jaisalmer is known for its magnificent sandstone palaces, ornate Jain temple, and the finely wrought Havelis. The Desert City of Jaisalmer was built of yellow sandstone in 1156, hence earned the nickname "Golden City". Suryagarh is on the outskirts of the city and set in the stark desert landscape.
The romance does not lie in the location or the embrace of Suryagarh walls alone. It is the thoughtfully curated experiences that immerse travellers in getting under the skin of Jaisalmer and its surrounds.
Know Your Host
Suryagarh is the unparalleled labour of love of Manvendra Singh Shekhawat who has given the resort a prominence on the Rajasthan tourism sector. Shekhawat has set upon a journey to change the sheer perception of Jaisalmer, that lies a bit off from Rajasthan’s other tourism stalwarts. According...
Suryagarh is the unparalleled labour of love of Manvendra Singh Shekhawat who has given the resort a prominence on the Rajasthan tourism sector. Shekhawat has set upon a journey to change the sheer perception of Jaisalmer, that lies a bit off from Rajasthan’s other tourism stalwarts. According to Shekhawat, the resort and Jaisalmer city can be a complete holiday destination in themselves. Shekhawat’s NGO, I Love Jaisalmer, was responsible for launching the city’s largest cleanliness and conservation drive. His vision for detail and personalization can be seen in the simplest of things at the resort – from the aarti in the evenings to tastefully done up rooms. You’ll often find Shekhawat entertaining guests at breakfast and even accompanying them on sightseeing visits.
A 20-minute drive from Jaisalmer’s honey coloured fort (immortalized as ‘Sonner Kila’ by filmmaker, Satyajit Ray), lies the heritage hotel dubbed as one of the finest in the state. Suryagarh is a modern fortress set in the sprawling stark desert landscape outlined by elegant lines of golden sandstone. You’re swooped into a grand welcome with soulful welcome songs and the beat of the drums. A polite “khamaghani” (greetings) with a nod of the head is sure to win you extra creds. Only when you get your bearings is when the gaze steers from the well-tended gardens, lake, a fossil hill, to trails that surround the fort in a verdant landscape. These double up as star-lit venues for musical evenings or private dinners. Since the fortress occupies a bluff atop a low hill, no matter where you look out from, breathtaking desert vistas greet you. Our personal favourite is the sight of the fortress itself turning salmon pink as the blazing sun retires for the day.
The 81 rooms, suites and villas of Suryagarh are spread over three floors, and are divided into 8 categories: Thar Haveli, Jaisalmer Haveli, Suryagarh Suite, Luxury Suite, Signature Suite, Heritage Room, Fort Room and Pavilion Room. The rooms are detailed for every comfort. Stylishly embellished, they are dotted with art and colour, and cleverly enslave light and space to perfection. Everywhere you look there is an underlying sense of exclusivity and certain beguiling beauty – from the fabrics used for curtains, cushions, throws, armchairs and settees, to collectibles stacked neatly into niches, swathes of colour against the golden stone to photographs and art on the walls. The decorations for tabletops, mantle and trays use anything from locally sourced small brass pots to urns and large basins of stone or copper, filled or floated with fresh or seemingly fresh bougainvillea. The large, ensuite bathrooms, airy and well-lit are a delight with signature bath and toilet amenities.
The food served at Suryagarh is divine. Local flavours and International cuisines are served with the same expertise and panache. There is an in-house bar with exquisite brands available. Dinner by the lake is a signature experience that melds the breathtaking beauty of the placid lake and flowers, with a feast of traditional grills and roasts. Thar Dinner on the other hand transports you to a communal setting with a star-studded sky and canopies to enjoy a meal. A signature thaali dinner in the courtyard offers an array of flavours in one meal. Dinner on the dunes is another special feature that combines the majestic ambience with exemplary food.
The sun sinking behind the sand is one of the most stunning sights in the evenings. A personalised sundowner to unwind in this spectacular backdrop is an essential at Suryagarh. Enjoy breakfast with peacocks digging in to traditional Indian breakfast dishes like parathas, kachoris and samosas that are best eaten straight from the halwai’s (professional cook) digs. Plus, it’s just in time for the hundreds of peacocks to start their day.
Give sightseeing a pause and sign up for parasols, orange-turbaned waiters and drinks by the cool oases in the middle of the desert.
Suryagarh’s amenities and features are woven around creative narratives often conceptualised from stories and landscapes around. Rait, their signature spa, has therapies and scrubs fashioned from salts and desert sands using native wellness insights. Akhara – The Gym, is reminiscent of traditional wrestling sand pits but wears a modern veneer of a state-of-the-art gym. Neel, the indoor pool draws from the blues of native peacocks. Only a step beyond is bright sunlight for those who choose Vitamin D. Inspired by the techniques of Master Swami Sivananda, a slow form of Hatha yoga can be practiced with an instructor for complete relaxation. Dhanurvidya or archery was a coveted skill amongst kings and a personal space for whetting your skill or a high-octane recreational activity can be organised. Internationally acclaimed local musicians, Mehboob Khan and his family of Manganiyars, grace the fortress to leave guests in thrall with the haunting songs of the desert. Suryagarh is a coveted wedding venue for its extraordinary backdrop and facilities.
You can relive a slice of history by following the Silk Route trail of Jaisalmer during the 16th to the 18th century. Only the discerning will understand the splendour of the wild Thar desert. Dramatic landscapes, faraway villages, watering holes and plenty of mirages meet you during this experience. Temples around Jaisalmer are not religious epicenters; instead, they are a window into fascinating folklore and local cultural. Guided trails to the Nabdhoongar temple along with others unravel some of the mystery. The Desert National Park established in 1980 is the stomping ground of the great Indian bustard – barely three km away from Suryagarh, wildlife enthusiasts can get first row seats to Bustards, as well as Sand Grouse Eagles, Drongos, Quail, Demoiselle Cranes and Falcons.
The Chudail Trail is a creative addition to typical sightseeing. A midnight drive to all the spots in the surrounding area where discontented spirits roam, is made for the fainthearted as well. After all, no guest has spotted one swirling around at night. Strip off the poolside loungers for a Mountain Bike Trail into the undulating scrubland. Visit between October and February to enjoy all parts of the fort, including a stepwell, where an outdoor concert is organised. Indulge in rooms that have a plunge pool overlooking the desert. Try the jungli maas for dinner.
Suryagarh is ideal for discerning adventurers who want to see all of India’s highlights and then some more. Here’s a history book that is easy to grasp. Children will love the vibrant stories that take them back in time with each village and monument visit. Back in the hotel, there’s the sprawling pool and plenty of nooks and corners to read (and day dream).
Suryagarh is open all year.
The MRS group of which Suryagarh is part of believes in the connection between sustainability and the social and physical environment. A connection to the community is important and is reflected in their setting, design, service and food. Suryagarh was built using local talent, materials and craftsmen and the same ideology is adopted to its food – using local ingredients, recipes and cooking methodologies and in promoting local arts, crafts and artisans. The location in the desert made it imperative to be aware of how water is used. They built an interconnected rainwater harvesting system of closed and open tanks that have a capacity to hold over 30 million liters of water. Over 6000 indigenous trees have been planted and waste is managed.
Manvendra set up the I Love Jaisalmer campaign and initiated the largest cleanliness drive and created opportunities to promote the destination all year round and not just winters.
by dj_mayfair on 05/09/2022
Its interiors are reminiscent of the bygone but glorious era of the Maharajas and suitably so, the property redefines luxury and architectural beauty. We love its expansive rooms with vintage decor...
by ektatandon26 on 05/03/2022
I had visited Suryagarh with my parents in March 2022 and we had the most amazing, fabulous, and unforgettable experience at Suryagarh!! Beautiful property, scrumptious finger licking food...
by Sapna2611 on 04/30/2022
We went to Suryagarh in April and it was an amazing experience there. The property, the hospitality of the staff, the evening folk program and the delicious breakfast made our stay a memorable one...