A recent journey to India for a friend’s wedding, saw the beguiling country mesmerise me with its remarkable society and generous hospitality. When the opportunity arose to re-visit a mere month later, I instantly jumped at the chance to explore more of the celebrated, history-filled and culturally abundant country.
Venturing out of the nation’s capital Delhi, I was lucky enough to visit one of the most beautiful areas of India, the state of Rajasthan. Rajasthan is known as the “Land of the Kings” boasting many incredible monuments dating centuries back, with decadent palaces, extravagant long-standing forts, old towns and jaw-dropping architecture to accompany its fascinating historical roots.
Rajasthan possesses some regal estates, incredible palatial dwellings and elaborate majestic fortresses which have now been transformed into astonishingly beautiful luxury hotels. The most famous cities in Rajasthan are Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur, the latter of which I was lucky enough to visit.
Jodhpur is only a 1.5 hour flight from New Delhi – proving a very easy journey. I organised a pickup from the airport with the Jodhpur Taxi Service, who helped in transporting me between hotels during my time in Rajasthan.
The local airport is located 20 minutes from the old town of Jodhpur, with the journey passing in no time as I stared out the window fascinated by the hustle & bustle of the crazy streets filled with a hype of activity and jammed with people. The driver wove in and out of obstacles with scooters, bikes, cars flying in all directions around us.
As I pulled into the courtyard of RAAS Jodhpur, the craziness of the streets outside melted away. I was greeted by the manager in a gleaming glass walled reception area which radiated the modern elegance and style that I love.
He led me to my room, which was located on the first floor of the main building. Entering the room, I was captivated the incredible view of Jodhpur’s famed Mehrangarh Fort right before my eyes, practically visible from my bed. Dating back to 1459, the striking red fort sits 125m above the city, casting watch over Jodhpur’s inhabitants below. With remarkable ornately carved walls enclosing the settlement within, it is an utterly spectacular view.
The room itself was spacious and modern, with natural wooden finishes alongside sleek white modern furnishings. It contained a walk-in wardrobe with mini-bar, desk space, comfortable king size bed, and nice lounge area with a direct view of the Mehrangarh Fort. Outside the balcony had two gorgeous sitting chairs which offered views of the jaw-droppingly beautiful courtyard and pool at RAAS.
The bathroom was also incredibly expansive with a nice tub the gazed toward the fort, a huge walk-in shower and generous basin area. The hotel has adopted the feel of the city, featuring red walls matching those of the town & fort seamlessly incorporated into the interiors of the rooms. Hanging lights dangle around the room, evoking the feel of lanterns in old times, almost transporting one back to the magical times of the 15th century.
As the afternoon sun shined gloriously, I didn’t want to do anything except soak up the remainder of the day by the tantalising aquamarine pool just beyond my window. White sunbeds line the pool, with white sheets flowing freely in the wind creating a luxurious heavenly feel to the oasis I lounged within. Sophisticated white umbrellas lined the restaurant deck overlooking the pool, instantly transporting one to a place of paradise.
The huge inner courtyard of RAAS Jodhpur is definitely the biggest assets of the property, sheltered away from the crazy flurry of activity in the old town only meters away and somehow managing to remain an oasis of quiet & calm. It plays home to the sparkling azure pool and beautifully designed landscaping with gorgeous green lawns lined by tall native trees and lily-pads in decorative ponds acting home to adorable little turtles. The far-left side of the garden beckons guests with peaceful corners framed by round archways designed with chic enclaves of sleek white lounges, decorated with historical framed photographs. It’s the perfect place for curling up with a book, an intimate gathering with groups or enjoying drinks & snacks from the all-day kitchen.
I had adopted a stray by this part of my Indian trip. My best friend’s little brother had been on a gap year throughout Asia, however had been pickpocketed in a nearby town and I had proved his saviour by coming to his rescue. Lucky for him he had gone from bunk bed hostel rooms to five-star luxury in the space of a hot minute!
We took a trip outside the hotel into the thick of it all. The cobblestone streets of Jodhpur can be a little confusing but offer a lot of adventure and discovery. Unfortunately when I visited the city, the famed Mehrangarh Fort was shut, but there was still much to see within the famed “Blue City.” Jodhpur is also known as the “Blue City” with many of the old dwellings within the town brandishing a gorgeous sky blue colour, thanks to the Brahmins who used a special pigment in the shade of indigo to paint their homes. It’s a gorgeous sight to behold, with the myriad of colours from the local stores filled with fabrics, dresses, fragrant spices, glittering jewellery, vibrant flowers and other local street stalls, uniting to tantalise the senses.
The famous step well, is a distinguishing structure found across India and Jodhpur. An incredible step well named Toor Ji Ki Baori, is located mere meters from the hotel. The unique water feature helped nourish the town, and is said to have dated back to the 6th century AD. It is really a sight to be seen for yourself, with an elaborate myriad of steps leading down to the bottom of a well where fresh water was located. Today locals come to meet and sit, whilst kids can even be seen frolicking in the water below during the hotter months.
Before returning to the hotel, we made our way to the famed Clock Tower or “Ghanta Ghar” to the locals, which was undergoing some renovations. It stands in the centre of an incredibly hectic and active square next to city’s biggest Sardar Market – renowned for herbs, spices, clothing, textiles, jewellery, clay pottery & ceramics, and much more.
After arriving back to RAAS, we made our way to the gorgeous rooftop bar, which is perfect for sundowners, as the sun sets and the lights of Mehrangarh Fort are switched on. I enjoyed a Cucumber Cooler and my new travel buddy soaked up a twist on the mojito. It’s a breathtaking setting overlooking the entire city, with the perfect vantage point to admire the architectural greatness of the Fort. As the sky grows darker, the full beauty of the surrounds sets in and one can’t help but imagine how magical this city would have been back in its prime, with all the stories that are engrained within its walls.
Just as beautiful as this view, is the illuminated vision of the hotel which comes alive at night with its magnificently designed lighting. Perfectly positioned lights highlight all the best corners and uplights harness the beauty of the trees. Lanterns sit beside each table on the restaurant’s terrace, whilst darling little lights line the paths and walls creating a magical and dreamlike feel.
Descending the steps from the roof for dinner, we settled in the restaurant Baradari which offers a selection of Indian and international cuisine. For our entrée we settled on the lamb mutton skewers and the stuffed mushrooms. I happened to get a bit too excited here, consuming my food too quickly and ingesting something that was way too spicy for my liking and learning the hard way! The lamb kafta was full of flavour, almost melting in one’s mouth, whilst the mushrooms were something new I had never tried before but thoroughly enjoyed.
For our mains we shared the typical Indian dish of Chicken Korma, and the specialty of Rajasthan “Laal Maas”. This traditional Rajasthani dish proved absolutely delectable consisting of a rich tomato masala curry sauce, with lusciously tender lamb pieces that fell apart wonderfully once they hit your tongue. The sauce was filled with an abundance of spices and was definitely a standout dish – just be sure to specify your chilli tolerance ahead of time!
Before we knew it, dessert magically appeared before our eyes – consisting of a little plate of two sorbets, mango and strawberry and the traditional Indian dessert of Gulab Jamun.
This dessert consists of milk solids which are combined with a slight amount of flour and kneaded into petite dough balls about golf ball size. They are then deep-fried and served in a pool of sugar syrupy goodness. It’s a mix of sensations as the hot dough is soaked up by the syrup and explodes lusciously in one’s mouth. Filled with food, I stumbled back to my room to enjoy a wonderful sleep in the luxurious bed.
The next morning, breakfast is served on the terrace of Baradari– the same place as dinner and with the perfect vantage point to the fort above. The menu is extensive with a range of both Western and Indian dishes to tickle your fancy!
The staff deliver baskets of toast, pastries and fresh fruit platters to all as well as offering a selection of freshly squeezed juices. Whilst in India, it had become my morning routine to enjoy the famed Masala Chai and today was no different. I settled on the French Toast and had a nibble of some pancakes. In my eyes, the pancakes were the winner as was the basket of pastries!
Given it was the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and things were slowly shutting down, we decided to stay in the hotel and lay by the magnificent surrounds of the aquamarine pool. Tanning and embracing the sunshine, I found ultimate relaxation and savoured every moment in the gorgeous RAAS Jodhpur before we set off to our next destination RAAS Chhatrasagar!
Tunwar ji ka Jhalra, Makrana Mohalla, Gulab Sagar Rd, Sagrar,
Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
I Ate My Way Through stayed as guests of RAAS Hotels.