Stark, romantic and imposing... those are the words that came to mind when I first set eyes upon Hill Fort, Kesroli. This 14th century fort, just over two hours drive from Gurgaon, is now converted into a heritage hotel and is part of the Neemrana group of hotels.
I have been wanting to visit for the longest time. Sitting atop a rocky hillock, it looks out over the flat plains below and offers some spectacular views of the rural countryside from atop its ramparts.
I love places like this, places steeped in history- places that have an atmosphere. Don't expect to be pampered though, the way you would be in a five star hotel. Hill Fort Kesroli is more along the lines of a boutique hotel. It's not grand and the rooms don't ooze luxury. The charm of this heritage hotel lies in the fact that it allows you to relax and enjoy yourself in a historical setting.
This small fort has been lovingly restored and is a wonderful place to escape and disconnect from city life. We used it as a base to explore some of the sites around Alwar. We also drove down to the Chand Baoli step well in Abhaneri, which is about an hour and a half away.
We stayed in the Bhaaj Mahal, a tiny quaint little room which was cozy and pleasant in spite of its size. The staff were incredibly helpful and pleasant and the food was really good. One of the things I enjoyed most was afternoon tea, which was served on the lawns. Along with the tea they served these tiny little banana and almond cakelets which were absolutely delicious and something I'm going to try and replicate at home.
I was so taken with Kesroli Fort that I went a little crazy with the camera. I simply couldn't stop clicking pictures:) Much to the amusement of the hubby, who joked that he had created a monster by getting me the new camera :) But I really couldn't help myself, there were just so many pretty things to capture. The charming gardens, the rambling bougainvillea growing on the walls with its riot of red and pink flowers that looked so pretty against the mustard walls. On our last day there, I woke up early and carried my cup of coffee and my camera up onto a turret close to our room. From there I gazed out over the plains below. The mist was still creeping along the plains and it was magical and a little eerie. I closed my eyes and could almost imagine hearing the whispers of the fort's past occupants, or feeling the presence of the stoic guards that would have stood guard in that very spot centuries ago.
I'm getting a little melodramatic now so I'll stop before you start rolling your eyes :)
[Images- Shalini Pereira]
All images have been clicked by me. Please do not use images without prior written permission