Alsisar Mahal, Shekhawati is one of three stunning properties owned by the Alsisar Group. While most people associate the location with the electronic music festival ‘Magnetic Fields’, the hotel is a prime example of a luxury destination all year long. Located one kilometer from the national highway, the heritage property is the perfect mix of antiquity and modernity. Our 6-hour journey seemed every bit worth it, as we walked the grounds
Historians have proposed that havelis sprouted all over the town of Shekhawati between the 17th and 19th century. These were commissioned by wealthy Marwari merchants whose opulent taste is commemorated beautifully by Alsisar Mahal, which was built in the 17th century by the Thakurs of Shekhawati. The havelis of Shekhawati are famous for the intricate ceiling paintings and the region has the highest density of frescoes in the world.
The property is what one envisions when dreaming of Rajputana Havelis, with jharokhas (overhanging balconies) and chhatris (umbrella-shaped pavilions). The property has 3 large dining spaces, 2 bars/lounges, and 51 deluxe rooms. The inner formal dining room is enormous and looks even more spacious due to the white walls, which are painted tastefully with gold paint. You will also find yourself surrounded by paintings of historical figures and heroes, which makes one feel like they are enjoying their meal in an actual palace- spoiler alert: you are! If you visit in the winter, make sure you enjoy an alfresco lunch in the outdoors while you soak up the sun.
However, it was Alsisar’s third dining area- Badal Mahal that took our breath away. This room is unlike anything we have ever set foot in, yet echoes many of the characteristics we find when touring havelis and forts all over Rajasthan. This dining area is located on the topmost floor of the palace and offers a breathtaking view of the property. Step inside the room and you feel like you are walking inside a kaleidoscope, where the vivid hues from the coloured windows perform a slow-dance as the sunlight filters through them. The high arched ceilings are painted with an exquisite landscape of the monsoon with beautiful cloud motifs that give the room its name.
The food at Alsisar Mahal is an exquisite play on traditional Rajasthani recipes and a smorgasbord of grills for the uninitiated. The staff takes into account your dietary preferences and allergies and are often happy to customise a menu for the duration of your stay. The chef knew I was gluten free before I even arrived and he prepared a pizza base from potato flour, which was light and every bit delicious. We loved the jungli maas and the Rajasthani thali, though our stomachs wouldn’t allow for over indulgence.
I swam little most evenings and hung around by the pool to feed the birds.
Should you fancy a cocktail, you can head to Dungeon Night. This bar is constructed within a dungeon, which once housed actual prisoners. The decor has kept several elements from the original prisoner dungeon intact from handcuffs to prisoner cells, using the same for embellishment. If this doesn’t tickle your inquisitive side or you don’t drink, head to the World War II Lounge, which is full of American relics such as a jeep, star-spangled upholstery and U.S Army memorabilia. The atmosphere of both distinctly different places will transport you to different places in time.
The rooms are worth a visit to Alsisar, as well. They are extremely spacious and utilitarian while still being exquisitely decorated. Each room comes with a 4-poster bed, a dining table, a sitting area and a study desk. If you’re the kind of traveller who is looking to make the most of their hotel room, Alsisar’s rooms might be perfect for you, and you may never find a reason to leave. The walls and ceilings here too are handpainted with detailed motifs, which create an air of elegance you are likely to never want to leave. In-room dining is a delight and we definitely recommend that you either have breakfast in bed or by the pool. While this Alsisar property does not have a full-fledged spa unlike Nahargarh, you can get a massage at one of the smaller massage rooms. The therapists are well-trained and can give you a customised experience according to your preference. Just make sure you book one in advance to ensure that you get a spot during your stay. For those who are interested in Rajasthani folk music and dance, the hotel hosts local dancers in the large central courtyard and singers to entertain guests during the evening hours. If you want to venture outside the hotel, speak to the front desk and they can organise a hike or fresco tour for those who want to explore Alsisar. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, you can enjoy a Safari- car safari or camel safari and explore the villages around the property while spotting the local fauna.
If you wish to visit in the winter months and are a lover of electronic music, make sure you experience Magnetic Fields at Alsisar. A 5-hour drive from Delhi, the palace serves as a gorgeous venue for a music festival that features left-of-centre, international talent against the backdrop of a heritage property. This festival attracts a lot of foreigners and you should try booking your tickets a couple of months in advance to avoid disappointment.
Verdict: We visited in April, but will definitely be back in the winter, when the weather is more conducive to exploring the nearby areas. We were blown away by the attention to detail that went into the processes behind Alsisar Mahal. The Mahal looked absolutely glorious after dusk and we couldn’t help but marvel at the décor and lights. We highly recommend that you book yourselves a sunset tea-by-the-dunes where you might spot deer (if you get lucky). Watch the sun go down, feel your stress leaving your body and be mindful of the fact that you are far removed from the dreariness of city life. Make the most of your trip, we sure did, and can’t wait to be back again.
Special thanks to Abhimanyu, Sanyukta, Stella (resident pooch) and the staff that made our trip every bit memorable. Alsisar Mahal definitely has something for every kind of traveller!
Village. & Post : Alsisar,
Jhunjhunu – 331025, Rajasthan, India
Tel.no. 01595-245 271 , 01595-245 272
Email: [email protected]
Photo Credits- Pathfynder Solutions