At Chomugarh Palace, opulence comes without its trademark trappings

Turning forts and palaces into hotels is not a new trend. So when I got an invitation to visit Chomugarh, a feeling of having been there, done that, clouded the mind. One expected to see mind numbing luxury and glitter in the name of enriched history. But as one left Jaipur behind, the layers of splendour gave way to a whole new world. Some 33 kilometres down the road in the good old Ambassador, I reached the town of Chomu, famous for its fresh fruits and vegetables, a real luxury in Rajasthan.

Standing guard at the entrance of the town is Chomugarh Palace. Like many in the region, it was suffering from official neglect and public indolence, which was ruining its beauty and strength before Dangayach Group decided to revive the 300-year-old property.

Once upon a time it was a fort. The site was identified by Pandit Prenidasji. He found the place ideal to establish the fort because it was visible only when one went deep into the jungle.

The foundation was laid by Thakur Karan Singh — grandson of Thakur Nathji — between 1606 and 1621. The Nathwats belong to the lineage of Prithviraj Chauhan. Govindsinghji converted the fort into a palace between 1863 and 1901. This gives Chomugarh a unique combination of coarse and cute. The three-storied structure gives the feel of legendary Rajput romance and gallantry.

While the main Darbar Hall is an excellent example of Rajasthani art and architecture, the Moghul and European influences are also apparent. The five metre thick wall and a moth — built to ward off the enemies — provide the rough feel. You can take a walk on the wall! Here you can hear the birds chirp, and, for once, silence becomes a steady companion.

The 50-odd deluxe rooms and suites have all the trappings of luxury, but the original look and feel of the era has been retained carefully. Comfort is there, but the bling doesn't blind you. The air conditioners have been warmly snuggled as part of the décor. The original arches and pillars have been retained, and the antique woodwork has been aesthetically polished.

Company for dinner

Darbar Hall, the multi-cuisine restaurant, is a great option for a gala dinner, where camels, elephants and fireworks make their presence felt. But if you are looking for a cosy candle-lit night with the beloved, Darbal Hall provides plenty of corners! For the young and restless, there is Sheesh Mahal. The bar-lounge is an aesthetic way to unwind.

Talking of relaxation, one can avail of the spa and gym facilities as well. And for those looking for mental peace, the ancient temple is the place to spend time.

The published tariff for a night ranges from Rs.14000 for a deluxe room to Rs.99000 for a maharaja suite. However, the rates are flexible depending on the season and availability. If you have run out of venues in metropolises, the palace is also a great alternative for weddings, as it offers some readymade options.