Bishangarh, an unexplored village in Rajasthan, is a must visit for history buffs and art aficionados.
Located 6 km off the Delhi-Jaipur National Highway, surrounded by lush green Aravalli range and famous living warrior fort, Bishangarh is an enchanting destination for travellers fascinated with the rural face of Rajasthan. This quaint village offers excellent views of majestic mountains and sprawling meadows with the backdrop of magnificent fortress.
Bishangarh is a straight out of a fairy-tale, complimented by a warrior fortress with its extraordinary scenic beauty and picturesque landscape. With charming havelis and artisans dotted throughout the village, Bishangarh in particular is noted as rural Rajasthan at its finest, with great opportunities to explore the many different aspects of village life, without the hustle and bustle of the crowds. One will find warming and curious villagers greeting you at every turn, it is difficult not to be enchanted by the certain charm of the simplicities of this area; one will want to soak up the low-key atmosphere, and stay and talk to the locals for as long as possible.
“This 18th-century fort once designed for combat is now luxury resort. Brand Alila is managed by a skilled local and global team that gave a facelift to Yangshuo a former sugar mill in Guilin-China and reopened it as a luxury resort,” recalls Binny Sebastian, General Manager of Alila Fort Bishangarh.
The history of the Shahpura royalty is reflected well in Fort Bishangarh with its mix of stark and refined features. The architecture is influenced by Mughals and the British, and the fortified seven foot thick walls still retain openings for cannons and guns. Like most military posts, the fort’s first line of defence was its location—the steep, rocky terrain leading up to it. The structure was built for battle—designed to be invincible, impregnable and uninviting. The main attraction of Bishangarh is the grandeur fort, forever imposing over the village, and is a vital part of the scenic views. Perched upon a granite hill, the bold, striking architecture of the fort is a unique example of the Jaipur Gharana architecture influenced by both the Mughals and the British.
“The history of the fort dates back 230 years and was built by members of the Shahpura-Shekhawat family, owing allegiance to the Amer (or Jaipur) royals. It was built as a warrior fort, and battles were fought at Amarsar, not too far from here, but not directly from this Fort. It served its purpose as a watch and an advanced warning for invaders from the North coming to Jaipur, before falling to ruin and vandalism. Eventually, it was restored to its former glory and transformed into the heritage hotel with 59 stately rooms and suites,” explains Binny.
It was no easy task to restore the abandoned fort to its modern day grandeur. As the story goes, in 2007, Atul Kapur, one of the three owners of Alila Fort Bishangarh, began a 10-year battle to resurrect an abandoned fort on the outskirts of Jaipur into the 59-suite hotel. It was Sandeep and Ritu Khandelwal of Sthapatya, a Jaipur-based architecture practice who gave it a final facelift after 10 years of craft and toil.
The Fort appears seamlessly sculpted from the surrounding rustic terrain, overlooking 360-degree views of the impressive Rajasthani landscape. It allows visitors to feel connected to the wonderful setting with the finest ancient touch in a Rajputana setting. In addition to the historic landmark, the state of Rajasthan is also recognized for its authentic cuisine. Keeping its culture in mind, here is one of the traditional culinary experiences of the fort, that offers local food experience at ‘Daya ki Rasoi’ wherein guests can indulge in traditional chullah cooking and grab a bite of traditional Rajasthani platter.
Tourists can also explore local life by meeting local artisans, known for unique style and exquisite workmanship of handmade jewellery and carpet weaving. Visitors can walk around the local jewellery shop for handcrafted gold and silver jewellery, which has been there for over three decades. This place is a perfect way to unwind, especially for travel enthusiasts or millennials, who are looking at exploring off-beat destinations with unique experiences and personal enrichment.