“What is a land without its people?”
Sidharth Rohet, from the House of Rohet, grew up among the dunes of the great Thar Desert and Mihir Garh in India. Even as a young lad, he had a vision of building a fort, ‘which would look as if it has emerged from the desert itself.’ He and his wife, Rashmi, created that dream of ‘The Fort of the Sun,’ a small, luxurious five-star heritage hotel in Rajasthan, Jodhpur.
But before Mihir Garh became a reality, Sidharth inherited his family’s crumbling 17th-century feudal estate and provincial manor at Rohet Garh. That became their first project. Over 15 years, the family redeveloped it with great love and care into one of the finest heritage hotels in the country.
Both exquisite properties offer guests the experience of the village safari, a signature program that enables you to uncover rural Rajasthan in its little mud houses, the turban clad men, and the shy, beautiful women dressed in their traditional costumes. The village visit is made all the more remarkable because your guide is a member of the royal family. You enter the homes of the village folks to share a slice of their life. As one of the earliest pioneers of this concept, the Rohet family is proud to share the rich and vibrant cultural heritage at Mihir Garh.
About an hour and a half away in the ancient the Aravallis Hills, Kesar Bagh is another family’s passion that harks back to a time of vintage cars and mustached butlers in starched bush coats, their turban tails flapping away in the evening breeze. Although the word ‘bagh’ literally means a garden in Hindi, in rural Rajasthan it also denotes a huge estate property in the country of the once ruling feudal families. Kesar Bagh is one such oasis where time and weather took a huge toll on the old buildings and the orchards. The rainwater gushing down from the hills in the monsoons had breached the lake’s earthen dam on the banks of which once stood the old Kesar Bagh.
The Jojawar family was eager to restore the old traditions of the land and the family home, which has been the Rawla Jojawar in the Jojawar town since 1780. The new Kesar Bagh now stands where the old buildings once stood.
Two brothers, Nagendra Singh and Amitvikram Singh Jojawar, their wives and other family members oversee both boutique, luxury hotels – Kesar Bagh and Rawla Jojawar. Here, too, members of the royal family serve as guides for their guests. You can explore the country around the Bagh in style in a Chevy 1934 or a vintage Land Rover, or opt for a train safari. Both adventures present you with opportunities to engage with local villagers and others.
The families responsible for the restoration and running of these heritage properties are eager to connect guests with the people and cultures in the villages and hamlets of the region. You encounter communities living traditional lifestyles and practicing age-old professions like sheep and camel herding.
After all, what is a land without its people?
To discover this fascinating region and charming hotels, consider our 14-day Authentic India.