Today she is telling us about some tips for Solo travelling while exploring Tijara Fort. So sit back and enjoy!
No one bats an eyelid now, if you proclaim you’re headed the solo travel way. In a sense, the loss of this exclusivity is a harbinger of great news for a traveller who wishes not to ‘collect places’, as Pico Iyer famously wrote.
With weekend getaways and staycations to beat the choking cauldron of city air, becoming the order of the day here’s where you can head and what you can do there, to kill the chill!
Dilli dur nahin…
So where are you going? Approximately a two-hour drive from Gurgugram, is this little heritage property armed with modern amenities of all kinds possible- Tijara Fort. Situated amidst verdant forests in Gram- Hasanpurmafi, Tehsil Tijara, District Alwar, Rajasthan – it is one of the 23 properties of the Neemrana chain of hotels- also, its most recent one.
Tiajra is a 19th century fort, restored and revitalised over a span of a decade. The suites and rooms have been named to honour India’s leading painters, designers, and aesthetics. Tijara Fort-Palace’s seven terraced gardens have been compared to the Hanging Gardens of Babylonia – one of the Seven wonders of the ancient world – and the ruins to Machu Picchu! Most rooms offer views of the Aravalli ranges and the countryside. Some overlook the Hawa Mahal, the hanging gardens and the pool. Mine had a vantage point of the Date tree-lined plains below. Sigh!
Things to do and not do
As a solo traveller you’re aware of the value of a good book to read, great playlist to record and whatever else works for your solo hours of solitude in the hotel room- Rubik’s cube maybe? Especially handy here, as the hotel does not have in-room televisions and does not offer room service. The intention to disconnect from technology is there. But, what would one do with uninterrupted panoramic views that the you could enjoy – but capture them in selfies and non-selfies (if there’s such a term !) So click away your Instagram stash here, in the lush lawns, and vistas that if offers. There are activities on demand at the hotel that include Camel Ride, Billiards, Badminton, Table Tennis, and of course lazing by the pool- a poor substitute to a beach, but heck bring out your beach dresses and kaftans- swim we can, later!
Relaxed ambience, laid back pace and a quiet charm of history in the fort, receives you much before the front office executive. Vistas spread across your line of sight as unappreciated jewels in the sand. You take a moment to capture them and insta story them- but no connectivity! There, welcome back to a time when you enjoyed a holiday for your own sake. There are patches where you can still smuggle, cheat, internet moments- but largely you will remain in the quest of signal- so come prepared, mentally.
Things not to do!
If you’re the outdoorsy kind, this place isn’t for you- though you could still do a lot of sightseeing, or hop across to Fort Neemrana to satiate your adventure streak, if time permits. Start with a tour of the fort itself then move to other places of interest in Alwar District – which is mind you – quite a drive away ( an hour plus). There’s Tijara Jain temple, Suraj Mukhi Kund, Bhatari (Former Ala-ud-Din Alam Shah Tomb in Tijara), Alwar government Museum Palace Museum in Alwar, Alwar Fort City Palace, Bala Quila Vijay Mandir Palace, Neelkanth Temple, Hanuman Temple, Karni Mata Temple, Moosi Maharani Ki Chhatri … phew! and Sariska national Park and Bhangarh fort…
But be warned- its a long weekend you’ve gone for, not a week! So ration your time well…
Jungle Safari much?
I ventured out to the Bala Quila in Alwar in search of the museum but was greeted by eager jungle safari guides and we soon whisked away in a modified off-roader! Off season jungle safari saw me spotting Peacocks and more peacocks! Sambhars added to the intrigue I must say! Best season to visit is Oct-Feb. The museum, I was told was shut and parts of the fort under renovation amidst visible signs of habitation within the fort precincts- such is the state of heritage buildings! Go prepare for such disappointments, like you aren’t already.
Relax and rejuvenate
Long weekend holidays are to rejuvenate and relax and that’s exactly what you too can do- a spa treatment at the Tijara Fort property – I tried the Balinese one! An infusion of orange and lavender and the massaging techniques of applying the right kind of pressure made up for the horrible culinary options in dusty bazaars of Alwar town earlier that day. Disclaimer- totally a personal take.
Intrigued? Pin it for later
Enjoy the quietude at the heritage hotel’s Arpana Mahal- only partially stirred by flashes of a cultural show by Rajastahni artists- not sure of their authenticity in being true to the musical traditions of the state as the Manganiyars and the Langas are- but an evening where you could join in, in the revelry in the end!
Don’t forget to take a watercolour impression of the Mahal you stay at- for keepsake! Not before also, keeping a part of the Rani Mahal, as captured in water colours – sketched in my heart! Enjoy the long weekend and tell me where you’re headed- Tijara, right?
PS: You might want to read my travel staples here
If you love Rajasthan, then you could explore some of my posts on my travels through this region. Here is one that I think would interest you the most.
You could check out the Guestpost I have done for Swati’s blog which is a book review of a book I just loved reading in 2018 – Wonder