Many of the old forts and havelis in India have been converted into hotels, some already functioned as occasional residences for governors and, in earlier times, maharajahs. They can be great experiences for the odd night, sometimes 'experience' takes on a whole new meaning as you negotiate a maze of confusing staircases, the electricity massively fails and the enormous challenge and cost of keeping these places functioning - even at a very basic level - becomes apparent.
Neemrana is near the top end of these palace hotels, no chance of a power failure here. It's only 2 or 3 hours from Delhi and has become very popular but a mid week one night stopover on the way from Delhi to Jaipur of Shekawati is a great way to break the journey.
Wandering round the myriad staircases, corridors and battlements, finding the old water tank, sitting on the carved stone pavilions under the shade of chhatris, looking out over the countryside in the early morning - for a while you can have the rare experience of feeling like you're actually on holiday.
Wandering around in the evenings the colours are intense and the playful elegance of the layout is full of surprises, turn a corner and there's a staircase, a balcony and open doorway - which way to go?
This isn't an advert for Neemrana but a chance to show some photos of the beautiful traditional architecture and aesthetics of Rajasthan and the beauty of the furnishings and crafts, even simple water pots have grace and elegance. The interior spaces are designed for the extremes of heat and cold of the Rajasthan deserts - shady open anterooms outside the bedrooms, protected from the sun, open to the breeze and with views out over the countryside.
Neemrana isn't in the 5 star super deluxe category, the furnishings have a pleasantly used, slightly faded quality, you can quickly feel at ease here. And so much space! On our product pages you can see many items such as furnishings, statues and mirrors to create the look you see at Neemrana.
It's only a couple of miles from here to the magnificent Neemrana stepwell. Supposedly there's a hidden tunnel that leads from the Fort to the well but it's not clear if anyone knows its location nowadays. The stepwell at Neemrana is nine storeys deep and home to colourful nesting parrots, we've been there to photograph it on four occasions, you can see several different images in our Photographs collection.