Fort JadhavGadh : Vacation like royalty

20:17:00 Sudipti Singh 0 Comments

Sometimes its hard not to let the city take toll on you. No matter how many weekends you try unwinding with friends in the cafes, lazing around on Sunday afternoons and working from home on Mondays just cause you can, a long drive away from the city hustle is what your mind actually craves.

And you, like me, may not realize it. But I only realized how much I needed a break when I set foot in the 300 year old fort-turned-hotel, that looked deceptively very far away from the city but actually took us only an hour and half drive to reach.

 Just about 22 kms away from the main city, this heritage hotel is much more than just a place to spend the night. The fort has been preserved in all its essence with only minimal, functional changes done to the structure to make it habitable. The grounds of the property provide beautiful sweeping views and makes for a great for hikes and walks. Or just staring at dreamily.

Our arrival to the property were welcomed by trumpets and drums, like royalty. In fact, all guests are given this special treatment and I never got tired of the sudden blasts of invigorating drumming the entire day. Mr. Biswajit and Mr. Lobo, in charge of the property, personally greeted us and showed us around to our rooms.

Our rooms were The Kholi- Deluxe rooms from their selection of rooms. The rooms had a part of the 300 year old fort wall on one side and some newly added partitions that made it really thrilling. There were cozy nooks around the room which were probably embrasures on the fort walls that were used in the olden days to fire cannons from, but now were (thankfully) used just to provide some natural light to the space.

The room also had window seats over looking the small walk-way outside and were wide enough cushioned and cushioned enough for one to laze/ sleep around.

The highlight of the day was perhaps the audio tour we got to the whole property. The good thing about the audio tour is that it does away with guides all together and any need to hurry or drag your pace in comparison to your fellow tour-takers. Each of us were handed headsets, maps to the property, information brochures and audio devices which could be operated manually to provide commentary in Hindi, English or Marathi.

The tour covered all parts of the fort including the scary looking, very dark and very narrow dungeon that triggered my claustrophobia quite a bit. But I did manage to climb down into it and have a look around in the dank, musty blackness before fleeing out.

The tour then took us to the original water reservoir or the kund that has now been transformed to a fancy temperature-controlled swimming pool.The swimming pool area has an island with a couple of neem trees you could lounge under.

The grounds also house the Aai (Mother) museum. It houses the small but very detailed collection lovingly curated by Doctor Vithal Venkatesh Kamat and dedicated to mothers across the world. The museum doesn't allow cameras but it's a treasure trove of knowledge that you could spend hours in.

The whole property is green and beautiful intact with a 200 year old temple where young couples can still get married if it strikes their particular fancy. But in any case, the hotel management has been trying to brand itself as a candidate for destination weddings. To be honest, a heritage fort could be a good place to host a lavish wedding.

There are a lot of activities to be involved in and fun to be had. Guests can indulge in archery, shooting, paintball, segway rides, zip lining or rappelling if they are in need of a distraction. Or they can simply take a hike up the hills lining one side of the fort that overlooks a stone quarry and lake and the fort with its beautiful grounds.

Meals are extensive affair with each served as a buffet. We had our breakfasts and lunches at the CHAJJA restaurant, closest to the rooms.

Dinner was had at the spacious PAYATHA, which touts itself as a ethnic foothill restaurant. I found the food more or less similar in taste, though the dishes may have been different.

With all the jazz about the place, the food wasn't really the high point of the visit. But what really got us on our feet was the amazing LAVANI and MARTIAL ARTS SHOW before dinner. The men performing the show performed brilliant stunts with fire and swords and like that ensured we remained at the edge of our seats until it was over.

LAVANI, a traditional maharashtrian dance form was enjoyed by the entire crowd and was the most popular show. The beautiful women, decked in sarees and jewellery made sure the crowd was engaged for the entire span of 2 hours that they were on the floor. No sooner, they had us dancing with them. Know Marathi or not, having fun is something everyone surely understands!

Next day was a day to bid the hotel a goodbye and we half wished to stay a bit more longer. I bid farewell to Jadhavgadh by fitting in a quick dip in the pool in the morning before we packed to leave. I mean, come on, wouldn't you?

It was a short trip, yes. Very (very) close to the city, yes. But the fun we had was immense. We got back to our regular monotone with happy hearts and lifted spirits. Isn't that what's a vacation about?

A big thanks to the entire team at Jadhavgadh for treating us like royalties. Also, hugs to the lovely Neha Joshi for having us come over.

If you are interested in staying over for the weekends or planning a one day fun trip for your family, I do recommend checking with the hotel for special packages suited to your needs! Do let us know how you liked the place and tag us in your pictures!

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