A three hour drive from Gurgaon brought us to the Alila fort sitting atop a hill in the Aravalli Range. At the base of the dune is the village of Bishangarh, after which the resort is named. A delightfully isolated spot, enclosed by an emerald-shaded drapery of fields, curvy roads and compartments of houses but with profuse amount of activity in Bishangarh.
Panache and charism
Alila translates into “surprise” in Sanskrit, an assurance it sure does live up to as one is mesmerized by the fort’s arresting peach-pink façade at first glance. Its past is just as vibrant. This warrior fort and affirmations to its past have been gorgeously interlaced in with architectural inspirations from the British and the Mughal epochs ~ from petal-shaped arches to mirror mosaic Tikhri art. Lustrous passageways are faintly lit, interspersed by enormous worn-down antiques about every corner. Resisting the rule of inexhaustible lavishness in Indian hotels with heritage, this one asserts clean lines and minimalism, with heaps of even marble and dark woods. Truly, this luxury property marries history with modern luxury seamlessly, as per the modest stylishness of the Alila brand. A quick check in later at the haveli at the base of the fort, we spend our afternoon beside the gorgeous swimming pool over which overlooks the organic kitchen gardens and verdant lawns.
What I love most about Alila Fort is that it feels like a relaxing haven and with a lot of activities to do. A couple of openair jeeps are on call 24 X7 to take one up and down the driveway. The next morning post breakfast at Amarsar we take one and head to meet Daya and Ramautar Yadav and their family, who run a farm that cultivates a variety of grains, herbs, spices and vegetables. It was an inimitable chance to experience the village life as we tried our hands at driving a tractor, making roti on a stove made from bricks and mud, milking a goat and then eating millet roti with a lot of homemade butter, chilli chutney, lentils and farm fresh vegetable of the day along with a glass of fresh hand-churned buttermilk…Bliss.
Fuelled by food
We swung back to the resort and made sure to rest and relax at the spa. Nazaara is a must try, Here splendour is not just limited to the views, the menu is stunning and features an electrifying range of soothing blend of Rajasthan classics using ingredients of outstanding quality. Ordering the meal is easy with recommendations from the chef. The food is unpretentious and clearly freshly made and more importantly is delicious to boot!