Jaipur had been on my mind since a long time. Blame it to the proximity to Delhi, plans kept getting made and cancelled for bigger and better travels. Finally, I made it to Jaipur with my mum this January and realized that this trip was so special, that it would have been wrong any other way, or with any other co-traveller, at any other time. ITC Rajputana hosted me for a couple of days and that added to charm of Jaipur. We were treated like princesses at this property which was no less than a palace in itself. ITC Rajputana, designed much like a huge haveli pays homage to “Rajputana” the stronghold of the Rajpoot Clan.
Royalty stares you in the face as you enter the grand lobby of ITC Rajputana. The golden Jaali with the Tree of Life motif behind reception counter is a tribute to craftsmanship of Rajasthan. The lotus pond is reminiscent of the Mughal gardens seen across the city in the City Palace. The staircase behind the water body is inspired by the elevated entrances of Havelis. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most beautiful lobbies I have ever seen and rightly so. Inspired by such pretty architecture, it sure leaves you staring in awe.
ITC properties are known for their art collections, and ITC Rajputana is no exception. A huge fresco by Kripal Singhji Shekhawat caught my attention, depicting Sawai Jai Singh 11 leading a procession of soldiers, carrying a five-colored flag that was designed by Akbar’s Commando-in-chief, Sawai Madho Singhji, king of Amber. This one is almost life-like, bringing back a bygone era alive in the lobby.
One cannot miss the bar, Sheesh Mahal near the lobby. It draws its name from “Palace of Mirrors” in Amber fort. I happened to visit the real Sheesh Mahal just before reaching ITC Rajputana, and trust me I could absolutely agree to the bar being named after the palace of mirrors. A glow island bar with a convex roof is a tribute to “Sawan Bhadon” jharokas of Deeg Palace. This bar serves top international brands with an expanded array of cocktails and mocktails.
Jal Mahal – Jal Mahal literally translates to the “Water Palace” representing Jaipur’s famous architectural marvel that was intended as a getaway spot for the royalty during summer. This restaurant offers a variety of flavors from Rajasthan as well as India’s finest Global Cuisine. The fountains in the center of the restaurant and the live gazal performance in the evening gives a glimpse of the cultural heritage of erstwhile Rajputana and almost instantly transports the guests to another era when royalty was still for real.
Peshawri at ITC Rajputana is a specialty restaurant with its rugged interiors and North West Frontier Cuisine. The décor comprises of stone walls with carpets hung on the walls, woven in Bukhara motifs. Rough-hewn trestle tables and wooden stools complete the rugged look. At Peshawri, the tandoori cuisine of the North West Frontier of India, finds a new meaning, reveling in the most delicious kebabs, dals and breads found anywhere in the world. Dal Bukhara is not to be missed if you’re here.
Jaipur Pavilion, ITC Rajputana’s all day dining restaurant, presents a glimpse of the kaleidoscopic “Rajasthani’’ culture with a distinctive character. Traditional textures entwined with contemporary techniques create an ambiance that revives the gracious royal lifestyles in a modern setting. Palace-style chandeliers overlook the Jaipur Pavilion, reminiscent of the region’s historical glory.
The corridors of ITC Rajputana, like other ITC properties are decorated with a lot of traditional as well as contemporary art. Anywhere you look, there’s a piece of art staring right back at you, transporting you into a world of it’s own. There are sunlit spaces, water bodies, balconies with carved jaalis and fretwork, overlooking courtyards and cobbled pathways, walls covered with the portraits of rulers of Jaipur, intrinsic wood and stone carved metal doors. It won’t be incorrect to say that this hotel is a work of art in itself.
The brick facade of the hotel is a contemporary reflection of the symbolic pink of Jaipur and its design is inspired by the traditional Haveli –Nobleman’s mansion. There’s a courtyard as well, which is quite unusual and lives up to ITC Standards.
The Royal Thikana Suites of ITC Rajputana are named after the princely states of erstwhile Rajputana under British Rule. When you enter these private mansions, there is something at almost every step of the way for you to experience luxurious resting retreat of kings and the royal families. I put up at the Krishangarh Suite, and absolutely loved it. With a private butler always ready to help out in case we need anything, ITC Rajputana pampered me with a royal treatment that’s hard to forget.