Recreating Old Charm

In a country as vast and geographically diverse as India, with every changing mile there’s a different story—and the history which it bestows. India is a  treasure trove of world heritage sites, the smallest curiosities and there is no dearth of the wonders which can be seen.

Although there are only thirty-seven ancient architectural buildings that are recognised by the UNESCO as world heritage, in India’s vast landscapes there stands a most outstanding sites to explore— tucked in far-flung corners. These may be little-known and hiding in plain sight, in the shadows of an oft-visited attractions, but their rich history never fails to fascinate one.

However, in recent times many of these ancient and forgotten architectural wonders are being refurbished and open to the general public in the form of boutique resorts and luxury vacations. A little effort turns such places into a must-to-visit places.

One such hidden gem is the 325-year-old Ramgarh Heritage, nestled in Panchkula, Haryana, also called Quila wich is reminiscent of the pre-independence era. A 20-minute drive from the Chandigarh airport brings you to the hustling-bustling Ramgarh village market bric-a-brac with things all and sundry, a blink later you find a 17th century Nanakshahi bricked wall leading you to the main Dwar of Ramgarh Heritage.

The ancestral architecture belongs to the Ramgarh family, descendants of the Chandela Rajputs, who ruled over central India from the 13th century to 19th century, and are known to built the Kajuraho temples.

It is, however, now turned into a luxury boutique resort, making it an awe-inspiring heritage interwoven in historical elegance. Eighth generations down, the family has now opened its home for discerning travellers.

Jaideep Singh, the present owner of Ramgarh Heritage, said: “This property is a legacy passed down for the eight generations now. For centuries, Ramgarh has been the choice of royalty, nobility and high-ranking dignitaries. We have taken great care to retain the old charm and ambience and at the same time provide modern-day comforts for our guests.”

The property is dotted with historic art and antiques. On a closer look, one can decipher many stories behind the frescoes and murals adorning the Quila’s walls and doorways. There’s a 300 years old banyan tree in the Quila premise that bestows the testimony of the royal family.

Singh explained how the founders of Ramgarh first set camp in the area and used the small sampling to hold up their barricades. Most of the historical elements in the Quila have been painstakingly restored to their original grandeur—weaving a history of long lost art, culture, flora and fauna together.

The oldest structure in the Quila still stands tall is perhaps the more-than-300-years old temple of Thakurdwara—dedicated to Lord Krishna—which largely has been left untouched.

There are three main building in Ramgarh— Deori, Jagjit Mahal and the Diwan-Khana. Deori, which now serves as the reception area of the resort, was built over a century back. The frescoes found there are peculiar to Mughal artisans with inscription that depicts a tale of the bygone era.

Jagjit Mahal has a small museum inside it that displays relics and Chandaila Rajput treasures in form of historical books, documents, clothes, utensils etc.

The Diwan-Khana is the present-day multi-cuisine restaurant. But it once used be the courtroom of the Ramgarh ruler. The interiors of the building engulf one in a colourful tradition. The ceiling and the wall are an ode to the former rulers, their love for the neighbouring forests and shikaar exploits. The bar stools are saddles mounted on wheels of a tank, which were gifted to the Chandailas.

Shells and cartridges decorate the walls in varying patterns giving a glimpse of the royal history. The menu revisits gourmet antiquities of India, the colonial world and the orient apart from the popular contemporary delicacies from around the world.

The premises also hosts a swimming pool called The Hathi Thaan— a space which used to be allocated for the elephants to be tethered.

“While the property goes back centuries, the amenities and comforts that are offered are modern.  With an inventory of just 26 rooms, the hotel offers a huge open green space to the guests, whether it is for yoga or just to relax or to take a dip in the swimming pool.  In fact the hotel offers absolute peace and tranquility to guests looking for private long stay options without any kind of disturbance. A short break with friends or family or a business trip will be a welcome change for all guests looking for an experiential stay, away from the busy city life, while being so close to the city," Singh said

Although the main inflow of guests is at the place is domestic but they do get international guests from France, England and Russia. Lately,

“Unlike a business hotel, we focus more on offering our guests a memorable experience,” he said.

So if you are planning any weekend gateway or looking for any place that takes you away from the hay-wire city life, head over to Ramgarh Heritage. It doesn’t just offer luxury it also helps rejuvenate while bringing you closer to the rich history of India.