Beach vacations are always fun, but for the nature lovers, an escape from the hectic city life, into nature’s retreat is just the way childhood dreams come true. Living in the woods, by the lake, in a wonderfully secluded setting; everyone desires to be at such a place. And, if it’s a trip to India, we have just found the perfect nature’s retreat amongst the foothills of the Aravali mountain range in Rajasthan, India. It’s the kind of place you’ll retreat to for exploring the village life, watching the birds, trekking into the jungle and for a unique catch-and-eat dining experience. Lakshman Sagar (named after the heritage site owner, where Sagar means lake in Sanskrit), an imposing structure built in the 19th century at Raipur, Pali District, is a nature lover’s haven.
The heritage hunting lodge commissioned by the then Thakur of Raipur, Lakshman Singh to host other noble families and British emissaries, had remained untouched for over 200 years before finally being turned into a heritage resort by the Sewara group.
Located in the Marwar region near the village of Haripur in the Pali district of Rajasthan, approximately 350 miles from Jodhpur, Lakshman Sagar is strategically located for travelers en route to Udaipur and Jodhpur areas of Rajasthan. Every aspect of the camp has been designed to be environmentally friendly yet lavishly. The former hunting lodge is completely redesigned with a bright and colorful nature theme. Spanning over 32 acres of land between the Aravali hills and desert, this all-villa resort combines luxury and nature at its best with beautiful water views of the Lakshman Sagar lake and its surroundings.
Architecture and Accomodation:-
Architects Vasant and Revathy Kamath conceptualised twelve mud and stone cottages of about 1200 sq.ft. each. The stunning villa accommodations feature an earthern fireplace, a mini bar with nesprsso coffee machine and a private plunge pool overlooking the Laxman Sagar lake.
The resort features separate Mardana (male) and Zanana (female) sections to lounge around. Though both the lounge areas are not restricted to entry, the concept dates back to the times when Laxman Sagar served as a hunting lodge. Back then the hunting lodge was divided into 2 lounging areas for Thakur Laxman Sagar and his wife. The two separate towers have been envisioned in blue versus pink to liven up the theme. Both sections feature lounging space with comfortable seating arrangements where guests are welcome to lounge during mealtimes or otherwise. There is even an option of private dining in each of the wings.
The style and interiors has been done by Sahil Bagga and Sarthak Sengupta, with a unique concept in mind, called ‘zero kilometer’. The philosophy is derived from a conscious effort to use the traditional materials to offer an untouched experience true to its sustainable environment. Just as the locals decorate their dwellings using traditional materials such as mud and stone with colorfully painted earthern stuff, the resort enlivens up the bright image and grandeur of Rajasthan into its environs. From drawing inspiration from the local culture to taking care of nifty details to bring harmony with the nature, the pool villas makes use of everyday objects, like traditional milk cans turned into lamp shades and bullock cart into a full-fledged wine bar stocked with popular spirits along with a taste of the finest local whiskies like the saffron whisky.
Food & Dining:-
The unique experience that Lakshman Sagar offers its guests comprises of live cooking, which includes handpicking your choice of vegetables from the fields for your next meal, or catch-and-eat dining experience at the Laksman Sagar lake. Their well-equipped and hygienic kitchen serves some of the finest continental, Indian and Rajasthani cuisines including vegetarian and some of the finest non-vegetarian chicken delicacies like their signature Handi bhoot chicken cooked in local-style besides the red meat curry, a special and famous non-vegetarian dish of Rajasthan.
The custom dining options include a dinner on the lake or a visit to Raipur Fort for a lunch.
Activities at Laksman Sagar:-
The range of activities is designed to let you experience the nature in every sense; from nature walk to jungle safari, and experience the traditional arts with the locals, like turban tying, pottery to trekking to the nearby historic places to interacting with the locals to a chance to explore local village culture, there are lots of options to enrich your travel experience.
Tip: Don’t forget to meet the 40 year old talking parrot owned by a local on your way back from a day-trip to Raipur Fort with a chance to meet Kunwar Manavjeet Singh, from the family of Thakur Lakshman Sagar. The surrounding areas of the property besides the Raipur Fort too are owned by the Thakur family.
- The earthern décor is enhanced with luxury elements like stone-walled bathroom with rainshower and private pool overlooking Lakshman Sagar lake.
- Custom dining experiences include in-boat dining on the lake to private dining at your choice of location within the property.
- The highlight of the excursion and activities remains field breakfast, which features a morning walk through the outstretched henna fields, responsible for major export of henna (mehandi/temporary tattoos) products , with an authentic breakfast at the farmer’s hut in the midst of the natural topography.
- All the activities are well planned with a member of Laksman Sagar staff accompanying you as guide along with a porter-of-sorts to take care of your small needs like having a cool beverage just when you need it.
- Wellness yoga classes and meditation point by the well in the property
Best time to visit:-
The resort closes after April as that is when the summer starts and reopens in August. During the monsoon, the Laxman Sara lake which is 10-12 feet deep increases to 15 feet, which makes it perfect to enjoy your stay even in the rainy season. Though best time to visit the place is anytime thereafter starting from August – April, the peak months are from October- April.
One of the many great things about being in Indian imperial towns is that they tend to have wonderful crafts and artisans still practicing the age old trades—weaving, embroidery, pottery & other art forms, following the footsteps of their great-great grandfathers. You too will get to explore the local culture and the villagers day-today-life besides some of the local industries like one of the largest Henna (Mehendi/Temporary Tattoos) manufacturers & exporters in India, one of the largest chilly industry on the filed exploration side.
Other Sewara group properties include Pushkar Resort situated near Pushkar Lake. The resort is renowned for hosting the film crew for the 1998 Hollywood film ‘Holy Smoke’ that was shot in Rajasthan. Noticeably, the resort's completion was speeded up at the behest of Kate Winslet as she stayed at this resort.
Depending on your itinerary, you can plan to explore the other nearby destinations like Pushkar, Jaipur known as the Pink city of India, Bhilwara, Nagaur and Bundi.