The dizzying, nonstop bustle of New Delhi feels a million miles away from Lakshman Sagar (from $350; sewara.com),
a nineteenth-century hunting lodge turned conservation retreat,
stretched across 32 acres in rural central India (a.k.a. the badlands).
The property blends beautifully into the barren environs—green
architects Revathi and Vasant Kamath used indigenous materials to
construct the dozen mud-and-stone guest cottages—and features plenty of
local handiwork, like embellished Zenana tables inspired by the colorful
style of Rajasthani women. Take a lesson in yoga or meditation, trek
through the surrounding badlands on horseback, bring a picnic lunch (the
hotel will pack it for you) to nearby Fort Bagri, or try to spot a
sloth bear, a langur (a slender gray monkey named after a Hindu god), or
a chinkara (Indian gazelle) at the Todgarh Raoli Wildlife Sanctuary. No
one will judge you, of course, if you opt simply to loiter by the pool
and admire the surrounding desert’s foothills. Need to rewire? The property has no TVs, Wi-Fi, or cell-phone
service. To log on, you can hit the Internet cafés in the town of
Raipur, five minutes away.
There are plenty of hotels that don't live up to what's portrayed on their websites. Lakshman Sagar isn't one of them. From the moment you arrive, this spectacular hotel will mesmerize you with its striking concept and design, attention to detail, and outstanding service. It tops my list of hotels in India that I've stayed in.
Lakshman Sagar: Location and Setting
In terms of accessibility, Lakshman Sagar is situated near the village of Haripur in the Pali district of Rajasthan, off National Highway 14. It's approximately two hours drive from Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Ajmer (near Pushkar). Guest also frequently come from Jaipur.
The location is an aspect of Lakshman Sagar that holds particular appeal. Rural and rustic, and just incredibly picturesque and peaceful, it's set around a ridge with a large lake (sagar means lake or ocean in Sanskrit) below. One of the only sounds you'll hear there is that of birds -- the splash of ducks in the water, and the call of peacocks during the day and owls at night.
The first thing to catch my eye as I approached the hotel was the gleaming white and pink Zanana (women's) tower. It's imposing, but the extensive grounds that lay beyond really took my breath away.
Lakshman Sagar was originally a royal 19th century hunting lodge, owned by the then Thakur of Raipur, who hosted noble families and British dignitaries there. The Mardana (men's) tower has been converted into a breezy white and blue dining space, with a kitchen below it, while a swimming pool has been cut into the rock plateau behind the Zanana tower. Day beds, sheltered by thatching of dry vegetation, line one side of the lake. And, 12 mud and stone guest cottages are spread out over the 32 acre landscape
The way the hotel has been constructed is ingenious. It blends old and new in a very chic way. Eco-friendly architects Revathi and Vasanth Kamath, as well as Delhi interior designers Sahil Bagga and Sarthak Sengupta, have shown remarkable creativity in using local products and culture for inspiration. Not all of their ideas are obvious though. One of the hotel staff pointed out the light fittings, made from recycled and painted milk cans and truck diesel filters. I never would've guessed! Lakshman Sagar: Accommodations The 12 cottages are no less stunning than the rest of the property. They're
very spacious (around 900 square feet each), and have independent bedrooms,
living rooms with fireplaces, private plunge pools overlooking the lake, and
stone bathrooms with rain showers.
I loved the way my cottage was furnished, with cushions and rugs providing
the bursts of color that Rajasthan is known for, against the earthy beige dried
mud walls. Yet, it was the unexpected extra touches, usually not found in
hotels, that really impressed me. I found freshly ground plunger coffee in the
fridge, a tray of incense cones in the living room, and twigs from a Neem tree
in the bathroom (this is how teeth are traditionally cleaned in India). The
rain water shower was absolutely divine, although the curious wild peacock that
peeked through one of the windows while I was bathing brought me back to
For what you get, the room rates at Lakshman Sagar are reasonable. A double
cottage costs 13,500 rupees ($250) a night, including all meals and in-house
activities such as cooking classes and nature walks. Alcohol is extra, but the
hotel doesn't try to make money from this. The bottle of wine in the mini bar
in my room was priced less than at restaurants where I live in Mumbai. Lakshman Sagar: Food and Dining Lakshman Sagar aims to give guests a taste of Rajasthan. There's no fixed
menu but rather guests are served a range of dishes from the region according
to their preferences. The friend I was traveling with is a big foodie, and she
was delighted to be able to get the recipes off the chef and see a cooking
demonstration. On the other hand, I was particularly pleased with the organic
vegetable garden at the front of the property, which provides much of the
ingredients for the meals.
The splendor of the hotel really reveals itself at sunset, and it's best
enjoyed on the rooftop of the Zanana tower with a cocktail. To get up there, we
climbed three flights of stairs past a bubbling water fountain, dining room,
and writers alcove all in eye catching hues of white, blue and pink.
Although Lakshman Sagar is a luxury hotel that's worth staying in by itself,
admirably the hotel also focuses on providing guests with an
"experience" centered around rural Rajasthan and village life. One of
the best ways to have this experience is by going on the field breakfast. We
were driven by jeep to a nearby village home where pristine day beds and a
table were laid out for us, overlooking a carpet of green crops. A village
woman was preparing the breakfast, cooking whole grain parathas over a
fire. As we ate, we watched bright green parrots playing amongst the stalks of
Lakshman Sagar: Activities The variety of activities offered by Lakshman Sagar is extensive. After
breakfast, we went for a walk through the fields and visited some more village
homes. We drove past a henna plantation, marveled over thousands of bricks
being made by hand, saw huge piles of chillies drying, and walked through
Raipur town to the old Raipur Fort (built by the rulers in 1606 and which still
remains inhabited today).
Other activities that are possible include nature walks and bird watching, a
trip to a wildlife sanctuary, picnics, horse safaris, fishing, yoga and
meditation, and massages.
If you're interested in rural tourism in India and exploring
rural Rajasthan, but don't want to sacrifice comfort, Lakshman Sagar is a
highly recommended destination. Alternatively, it's a rejuvenating place to
pamper yourself in the desert, while talking a break from city sightseeing.
A fantastic way to wrap up the month of February 2015
with an unplugged set by "The Yellow Bucket". They are an
electro-acoustic duo who experiment with happy, lingering melodies and
harmonies, constantly trying to re invent acoustic music in the circuit.
The Yellow Bucket is a project started by Ritwik De and
Subhadra Kamath in an attempt to put together some simple acoustic songs
with just a hint of electronic intervention.. Its a musical break from
complications- in life and music.
Catch them this Wednesday
(25th February) 8:30 PM onwards as these two get set to put on a
colorfully musical evening to add to the fantastic outdoor setting at
Lodi - The Garden Restaurant.
Great Food, Great Music and special offers at the bar make it an evening not to miss.
Venue:Lodi - The Garden Restaurant Date – Feb 25, 2015 (Wednesday) Time – 8:30 pm onwards Address: Lodi – The Garden Restaurant, Lodhi Road, Opposite Mausam Bhawan, New Delhi – 110003 For Reservation Call : 9818743232
New Delhi is not only the political capital of India,
it is also a cosmopolitan city at its best, boasting a wide range of
outstanding cafés, award winning restaurants and memorable local
eateries. This list explores the best places in town to experience
mouth-watering local and international cuisines in impressive settings.
Overlooking a lush lawn and a beautiful veranda, Indian Accent
at The Manor offers Indian fusion food at its best, combining global
techniques and ingredients with traditional flavors of India. In 2014,
Indian Accent was rated as number one restaurant in India and number
three in Asia by the '2014 TripAdvisor Travellers’ ChoiceTM Restaurants'
awards, honoring travellers’ favorite fine dining restaurants around
the world. Welcoming guests on a unique culinary journey, the
restaurant’s chef Manish Mehrotra has succeeded in designing a menu
which can satisfy both adventurous palates and traditional ones. The
chef’s menu can be paired with delicious wines, offering good value for
money. Indian Accent, 77, Freinds Colony West, New Delhi, India, +91 11 2692 5151
offers a variety of dishes from around the world, but what it really
stands out for is its innovative design and concept. Also located in the
trendy Hauz Khas Village offering beautiful unmatched views of the
area, Social Offline is a space that blends both office and coffee shop
worlds together. It is the ideal urban hangout place to work while
relaxing, to be in the real world, socialize offline on their premises,
while staying connected to the virtual world. Social Offline is the
urban hub for New Delhi’s most talented innovators and artists, offering
them a collaborative workspace. They always have an exciting art and
culture agenda, including stand up comedies, photography exhibitions and
guest DJs playing live. Social Offline, 9A & 12, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi, India, +91 (0)7838652814
Set against the backdrop of the ‘Lodhi Gardens’ heritage park, which
showcases beautiful 16th and 17th century Mughal architecture, Lodi - The Garden Restaurant
is one of the most popular al fresco casual dining establishments,
offering the best of European influenced cuisine. Hidden behind
beautiful trees in a lush botanical environment, this restaurant offers a
quaint and peaceful atmosphere, far away from the hustle and bustle of
the city. Against a backdrop of jazz and chattering birds, guests can
enjoy a romantic dinner on the outdoor terrace, mouth-watering evening
cocktails and even a leisurely Sunday brunch in the elegant interiors.
Lodi also hosts a range of cultural events from live music to book
readings and stand up comedy, making it the ideal cultural hub in New
Delhi. Lodi - The Garden Restaurant, Opposite Mausam Bhavan, Near Lodhi Gardens, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi, India, +91 98187 43232
Yeti - The Himalayan Kitchen
Located in one of the hippest and happening places of New Delhi,
namely the Hauz Khas Village, Yeti - The Himalayan Kitchen offers the
best of Himalayan cuisine. A wide range of this hilly area’s cuisine is
available on the menu, which also reflects culinary imagination. This
type of cuisine is particularly spicy even to Indian palates. The food
is always delectable and the service efficient. Guests sitting near some
of the windows can also enjoy beautiful views on the Hauz Khas lake and
the 14th century structures overlooking the park. Yeti - The Himalayan Kitchen, 50 A, 2nd floor, Hauz Khas village, New Delhi, India,+91 98119 90608
is Chef Ritu Dalmia’s gem, a café with a kitsch design at its best
located in the popular Khan Market, inside Good Earth; a premier
destination for sustainable home, housewares and clothes. Also popularly
known as the Good Earth café, Latitude 28 is the perfect place to hang
out with family and friends and enjoy food in a small, modern and
comfortable urban Indian setting. The food is always fresh and healthy,
including a variety of dishes such as bruschettas, mouth-watering
desserts, fresh pasta and crisp salads among others, and can be paired
with exquisite wines selected by the Chef herself. Latitude 28 was voted
the best café in Delhi by Hindustan Times. Latitude 28, 9, Khan Market, New Delhi, India, +91 11 2462 1013
Sevilla at the Claridges Hotel
Set in one of Delhi’s oldest and most prestigious hotels, namely the Claridges, Sevilla
offers the best of Spanish food to be found in the city and beyond.
Indeed, the restaurant was awarded the Times Foods Awards for the Best
Spanish Restaurant in 2014. Named after the beautiful cultural capital
of Andalusia in Southern Spain,
Sevilla at the Claridges Hotel is New Delhi’s most reputable
Mediterranean casual dining restaurant. Even the interior design was
planned in a way that reflects the Spanish Riviera to the delight of the
restaurant’s guests. Its innovative gastronomy continues to attract
Delhi’s food lovers’ attention who keep praising this place year after
year. Sevilla, The Claridges Hotel, 12 Aurangzeb Road, New Delhi, India, +91 11 4133 5133
Located in New Delhi’s old business district, namely Connaught Place, Wenger’s
is a pastry shop and bakery that offers a wide range of signature cakes
and desserts, pastries, sandwiches, artisan breads and much more. They
have been around in the same location since 1926, making it one of the
oldest and most reputable bakeries in Delhi. Starting as pioneers in the
confectionery business in India, the reputation they have earned over
the years is one to die for, and other bakeries around the city are
still not able to compete with this legendary place. Wenger’s, A-16, Middle Circle, Block A, Connaught Place, New Delhi, India, +91 11 2332 4373
Nizam’s Kathi Kebabs
No visit to Delhi would be complete without a visit to Nizam’s Kathi Kebabs,
especially for kebab lovers! Located in the historic city centre of
Connaught place, Nizam’s Kathi Kabab serves the best of North Indian
cuisine. Kebabs are of course a house specialty, especially kathi kababs
and roasted kababs, but so is the delicious biryani! Also, it is worth
noting that the meat they serve is always halal and includes goat meat
and chicken. Nizam’s Kathi Kebabs, H-Five & Six, Plaza Building, Connaught Place, New Delhi, India, +91-11-2332 1953
Located in Old Serai, Cherie
is a romantic restaurant with a French touch of elegance blending
influences of well-known energetic Parisian jazz clubs and the warm
Garden Bistros found in Provence. Set against the backdrop of the Qutub
Minar, the second you enter this area, it feels like you went back in
time. Luckily, there is Cherie, a beautiful restaurant where guests
enjoy evenings in the vicinity of the Qutub! There is also a great
ambiance in the restaurant itself which specialise in Italian, European
and Continental cuisines. It's a must try for any pizza and Italian cuisine lover is their wood fired pizza! Cherie, One Qutub, 1501, Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli,, New Delhi, India, +91 88004 80048
Thai High, with its fashionable bar and rooftop terrace, is one of the hidden gems in New Delhi. They mix authentic Thai
cuisine to contemporary designs and romantic views overlooking the
Qutub Minar, and other beautiful and green areas of Delhi to make their
guests’ dining experience one of the most memorable! Candle lit tables,
and the sounds of world music and rippling water, only help creating a
fairy tale but modern and refreshing ambiance. Not to be missed are the
signature prawn black pepper, crispy vegetable salad, and red snapper
chili sour. Thai High, 1091/1, Ambawatta Complex, Kalkadass Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi, India, +91 99108 84229 By Sarine Arslanian
When it comes to destinationweddings,PushkarResorts has what you need for an elegantand fun celebration. We know you want an experience that is stress-free and filled with personalized details that reflect your style. For Reservation call 09910029109, +91-11-26494531/32, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
After a stellar couple of "Unplugged Wednesdays" in February so far, gear up for the third episode on the 18th of February. Next Wednesday features an acoustic duo who go by the name "Mukul & Shenjit". They are to put it simply, united by Two acoustic guitars, crazy ideas, and a passion for music.
Starting off in the same school as band members, they both developed an amazing sync that was difficult to find in their other endeavors. This gave birth to their acoustic project and the sole aim of providing deconstructed music, without compromising on quality. Venue: Lodi - The Garden Restaurant Date – Feb 18, 2015 (Wednesday) Time – 8:30 pm onwards Address: Lodi – The Garden Restaurant, Lodhi Road, Opposite Mausam Bhawan, New Delhi – 110003 For Reservation Call : 9818743232
Find us at the Design Pavilion at ID 2015 between 13th - 15th Feb 2015 where we're serving signature dishes from the kitchens of Lodi – The Garden Restaurant as well as a range of organic dishes using the produce grown at the farms of Sewara Organics.
This Wednesday (4th February) will feature Sunil Pradhan, a passionate musician from Darjeeling, West Bengal. He will be performing acoustic interpretations of classic rock, Blues
and Rock n Roll tunes as well as some of his own melodies in order to
provide a fantastic evening at one of the best outdoor venues in the
city Lodi - The Garden Restaurant.
Venue:Lodi - The Garden Restaurant Date– Feb 04, 2015 (Wednesday) Time– 8:30 pm onwards Address: Lodi – The Garden Restaurant, Lodhi Road, Opposite Mausam Bhawan, New Delhi – 110003 For Reservation Call: 9818743232
The former 19th-century hunting lodge in Raipur, Rajasthan, now turned into a heritage resort, is offering a Valentine’s Day package for two nights.
The offer includes:
Traditional Rajasthani welcome Non-alcoholic welcome drink, a bottle of wine and cake on arrival Made-to-order meals (organic) served in the lounge or room service—as per your choice Access to the rock-cut swimming pool and private splash pools Nature walk, followed by breakfast in the fields Angling in the lake Foot scrub Local liquor tasting Qawwali nights
The package costs Rs32,000 per couple for two nights and is available from 13—15 February. For reservations, call 09910029109, +91-11-26494531/32, or write to email@example.com.