Jodhpur Heritage Hotel: Khimsar Fort Palace

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Khimsar Fort is a resort located about 90kms from Jodhpur and offers a spectacular heritage experience tracing its history all the way back to the early 16th century. Run by the royal family, that still lives in a part of the palace, this majestic structure gives the visitor an exceptional experience both in terms of history and luxury. A few kilometers from the main property, the Dunes Village is another major attraction for travellers who desire to succumb to the mystery and serenity of the desert. Jodhpur Heritage Resort

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When we think of Rajasthan—colours, culture, and royalty come to mind. Narrow it down to Jodhpur, and visions of an arid desert, blue city and riding breeches come to mind. From providing the etymology for a highly fashionable pair of pants, to being home to some of the most beautiful palaces, temples and havelis in India, Jodhpur—the second largest city of Rajasthan, is a booming metropolis.

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Placed literally at the edge of the Thar Desert, hence the name ‘Gateway to Thar’, Jodhpur opens its arms to embrace thousands of tourists who eagerly throng this grand ‘Sun City’ to glimpse what you rarely find in most other metro cities in our nation—a real taste of India. Climb up to the majestic Meghraj Fort and get a bird’s eye view of the rows of houses, like a field of cornflowers under the bright sun. This blue sea of houses particularly noticeable on the north side of the town, known as the Brahmpuri owing to the high population of Brahmins residing in that area.

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Back in time, Jodhpur was built as the new capital of the state Marwar to replace the ancient capital Mandore. The ruins of the latter can still be seen near what is today called the Mandore gardens. Hence the people of Jodhpur are also referred to as Marwaris. The Moti Mahal with pearl coloured interiors, Phool Mahal (the Raja Maharaja’s chambers for dancing girls and revelry), Chamunda Temple, Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Hall)— Jodhpur is filled with dazzling tourist attractions and much more. The popular Nai Sadak is a shoppers delight, be it bandhini, bandhej material, sari and shoe shops or jewelry, this street is a bustling shopping area with a riot of sights, sounds and smells.

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About 90 km from Jodhpur, is another heritage resort, which has been maintained in its past splendour- The Khimsar Fort. Rao Karamsji, 8th son of the founder of Jodhpur Rao Jodha, built the fort in 1523, with the intention of living between his two brothers- the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Bikaner, thus beginning the dynasty of the Karamsot Rathores, a long lineage of efficient rulers who fought great battles and lived with grace and dignity.

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Today, twenty-one generations later, while one part of this stately fort is still the residence of the Karamsot Rathor lineage, the rest of the property has been opened to the public as the Heritage Khimsar Fort, a resort personally overseen by the royal family on an impressive scale.

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Eleven acres of lush greenery under clear blue skies, the Khimsar Resort is like a dreamy oasis at the border of the Thar Desert. Wide open spaces, memories of times of yore preserved so delicately in pillars and carved sandstone, beautiful stained glass windows and arches, offer you endless scope to unwind and reminisce.

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The fort has a variety of outdoor venues such as the 4000 sq ft banquet hall, for conferences of personal celebrations. It also boasts of beautifully decorated accommodation with 27 standard rooms, 20 Superior rooms and 20 preferred rooms. Some rooms even have private balconies and terraces.

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However, what really captures the magic of Khimsar, is how the rooms are authentically decorated, to make you feel at home and comfortable, yet part of an entirely new culture, and era. The bold coloured drapes, antique teak beds, and intricately carved windows with seating arrangements all bespeak the Karamsot aesthetic. Each room is distinct from the other in terms of design but all are equally rich.

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The magnificent blue swimming pool only adds to the grandiose surroundings. Surrounded by pretty gazebos and bright yellow lamps, it is a real sight for sore eyes and especially wonderful to look at on a moonlit night. You can chill with a drink at the poolside bar ‘Tabela’, or relax with an elaborate herbal oil massage.

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architecture fort dome KHIMSAR32The health club at the fort is equipped with the latest equipment and also has a sauna or steam bath, for those looking to get pampered silly. Enjoy an exciting luncheon with folk dances on the rooftop, or dine in style at the ‘Vansh’ amidst 20 generations of portraits. During the winter months, enjoy a candlelit dinner, set in the ancient ruins of the Fateh Mahal. With folk dancing and a lovely bonfire lighting the centre of the dome, this dinner is an unforgettable experience.

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If you don’t feel like sweating it out in the sun, on a camel back ride or on a wildlife tour, a visit to the Fort’s royal garage is a great option. Home to rows of vintage cars, gleaming and immaculate, the garage is another must-visit for any classic car crazy tourist.

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In the evenings enjoy a game of tennis or take a walk and visit the handicraft stores at the fort, where the articles for sale are personally handpicked by the royal family.

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All in all, the battle scarred walls of the fort, the impeccable hospitality of the royal family, the grandeur, the layout and the sheer magnificence of this castle beckons to all who look for a quiet yet exhilarating experience at one of Rajasthan’s finest luxury resorts.

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The feather in the cap of the resort is the Khimsar Dunes Village. With its rustic appearance, this is a sight you must not miss. Accessible either by jeep, camel or horseback, Dunes Village is a collection of huts bordering a serene blue pond. The huts are deliberately designed to be eco-friendly and are in complete harmony with their surroundings. A real mirage turned into reality.

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Nestled in the dunes you can enjoy the spectacular sunrise and sunset of the desert while you let time slip slowly through your fingers like sand. This is a place to unwind and recharge your batteries.