Ten-Second Takeaway

If you need a summary of what Talabgaon Castle’s all about, the name holds more clues than Watson could hope for. There is a talab {lake}. There is a gaon. And there is one lone castle turned hotel, run by the family that’s owned it for more than a century.

A Family Affair

In the sprawling acres of green, you’ll find the 24 rooms of this heritage hotel, and the Singh brothers who’ve fought for the right to keep their ancestral property within the family. A classic restoration project gone right, Talabgaon Castle blends modern elegance with royal history, and is as tasteful as it is immaculately looked after.

Image courtesy: Talab Gaon Castle

Image courtesy: Talab Gaon Castle

The structure of the haveli has remained intact, which means that rooms are not uniform, since the regal residents who occupied the building had varying needs for {and rights to} privacy and space. For those inclined towards history or architecture, working out the function of each block makes for good musing material over an evening glass of wine.

The Burj rooms, for instance, that served as watchtowers, are on the outer periphery of the property, and now work as the most secluded spot on the property {if you don’t mind sharing all that space with one set of neighbours and the pride of peacocks outside your window}.

Lowdown On The Ambience

Colourful kathputlis, glass chandeliers, bits of mosaic, and hand-painted ceilings make up the walls and courtyards of this castle. Our favourite spots were the reading room and the quaint bar where the courtesans {okay, just us} gather for a drink.

Unlike bigger Rajasthan tourist magnets, there isn’t much to do around town. There is the Mahakali Devi temple at a distance of five kilometres, and Ranthambore National Park at about 120 kms. The team behind Talabgaon try to keep it interesting, especially for visitors with young ones to entertain, with camel cart rides, local village tours, and an evening entertainment program, fire-eaters et al, that never fail to light up the night.

A Great Escape

Image courtesy: Talab Gaon Castle

Image courtesy: Talab Gaon Castle

You’ll share your space with more species of birds than we could count, and the sweetly attentive but never intrusive staff. If our experience is anything to go by, one of their crew will be subtly assigned to your group and by the second day of your stay, will know what you’d like for tea, supper, and everything in between.

If there was ever a reason to leave behind the hecticness of holidays, it’s this. The pool {and poolside bar} are enough for the day; walking around the polo grounds and horses’ stables {the brothers are in the professional polo league} are enough for the evening; the starlit buffet is just right for the night. While the buffet is sufficiently good – if you’re going to be going, you should go for the stars.

Don’t expect five-star style clockwork efficiency, hot water kettles and minibars. {If the ancestral family didn’t need them for living, are they really that important?}. They’re making it up as they go along; we highly recommend that you do too.

Where: Talabgaon Village, Lalsot Tahsil, Dausa {about 100 kms farther than Alwar}, Rajasthan

Contact: +91 9001565757, +91 9549061606, or write to reservations@talabgaoncastle.com

Price: Starts at INR 8,000 {there are always discounts available online, though}

Check out their website here.

Featured image courtesy: Talabgaon Castle