Have you ever been in Rajasthan when the sky is over cast and heaving with imminent rains ? Those who have will agree that it is an unforgettable vista.
Especially the central and southern Rajasthan which is inundated with lakes and forests , dry river terrains and the extensive Aravallis. On a memorable trip a few years ago, I felt blessed to see the visual splendor of a landscape oppressed with the dust, heat and dryness of summer come alive right in front of my eyes. Vertical sheets of rain cascading from the heavens as we drove on a highway cut amidst high Aravallis, dry river beds coming to life, parched lakes filling up and the rugged Rajasthan brown turning a verdant green right there.
Allow yourself a magical monsoon journey while you enjoy the RARE destination hotels as weekend stays or link them as long programs into the State. Watch the emerald hills around The Tree of Life Resort and Spa ( www.treeofliferesorts.com
) set in the country side near Jaipur and feel the forests resonate with a new life. Closer to the jungles of Ranthambhor you will be awe-struck at the sheer contrast between what Ramathra Fort ( www.ramathrafort.com
) looks like in July and August, the landscape bedecked in monsoon finery and its stark winter scape. And if you move on to the heart of the state, strategically located between Jaipur and Udaipur is Shahpura Bagh ( www.shahpurabagh.com
) set in the middle of tree-bound estate, ecstatic in the rains even as the two lakes bordering the estate greedily await their fill.
Further west from Jaipur, just two hours short of Jodhpur is Chhatrasagar ( www.chhatrasagar.com
) , a deluxe luxury camp set on a picturesque reservoir, a rainwater harvesting site and a quiet haven for birds and wildlife. I mention Chhatrasagar here even though they are operational only from October to March, is because this luxury camp’s predominant feature is the rain fed lake in front. Further on to Jodhpur, within the serpentine lanes of the walled city is Raas Haveli ( www.raasjodhpur.com
). A design hotel build to give you give you some of the best views of the Mehrangarh Fort. Monsoons are the perfect time to watch the Mehrangarh Fort’s changing moods – now a deep brooding brown under an overcast sky or then a sparkling hue of red after a superb drench. That you can pamper yourself at the Serena “Spa” is another matter !
South from Udaipur ( the city of lakes ) is Dungarpur, another jewel on the edge of the placid Gaibsagar lake. Rains here wash up the interesting collection of trees on the estate, fill up the lake, turn the rolling Aravallis around green and add sparkle to the 17th
century Udai Bilas Palace ( www.udaibilaspalace.com
) - which is a boutique palace hotel of 23 rooms and suites .
A picturesque drive almost bordering Madhya is Bhainsrorgarh Fort ( www.bhainsrorgarh.com
), a heritage boutique hotel perched on cliff overlooking the Chambal River. I caught up with the monsoons on the same magical trip of 2009. Fields of and forest around were a soothing green, while the rain clouds literally rode on the Chambal caressing past you if you were caught lounging on the palace verandahs.
P.S : The only way to experience the above is to drive out and see for yourself. So….. call me !