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Rajasthan is known for several things—its top-notch hospitality, architectural gems that have stood the test of time, the royal legacy, and a plethora of arts and crafts that have emerged from the state. It is no surprise that it attracts some of the highest number of international tourists in the country. But the pandemic put a halt on global travel, and invariably gave a boost to domestic tourism. With remote working becoming the norm, several people took up staycations and workcations in different cities around India, ranging from a week to months. And we think Rajasthan should certainly top your list for the next one.
The state’s rich design influence is evident in the properties that have been built recently, or restored from their past glory. Says Nikhil Agrawal, architect and founder of Design Atelier, a multidisciplinary design practice in Jaipur, “The architecture of Rajasthan is deeply rooted in its context. Whether it's the narrow street flanked by towering haveli structures in Jaisalmer, or the Amber Fort in Jaipur, each building follows the principles of climatology while being aesthetic. These classics influence how a lot of young architects not only in the state but across the country approach contextual architecture.”
Not just architecture, the age-old regional crafts and arts in different cities of Rajasthan are also a major attraction. To give tourists an authentic experience of these, Rajasthan Studio connects travellers with master artisans to co-create souvenirs with a short workshop. These experiences range from jutti making, fresco painting, Meenakari work, making puppets and more—all native to different cities of the state. “The beauty of art lies in the experience of the co-creation process rather than the finished products. We started Rajasthan Studio with a firm belief of uplifting dying art forms of India by pairing them intriguingly with tourism. Apart from workshops that last a couple of hours, tourists can also live in artist residencies that can range from three days to a week,” says founder and CEO, Kartik Suresh Gaggar.
When you live in a city, you feel its pulse, you understand the culture and the history, and why it depicts a certain aesthetic. Insia Lacewalla, who lived in the state for close to two years, has a special place in her heart for Rajasthan. The founder of India With Insia that offers unique stays, regional cuisine and underground culture of India, says, “Living in Rajasthan introduced me to heritage, lineage and grandeur. What fascinates me is the minute detailing, patience, perseverance, and effort that goes into keeping traditional styles of architecture alive. For me, Rajasthani hospitality is simply four words—home away from home. Wherever you stay, be it a boutique home or a palace hotel, you're looked after with such conviction that you feel like you're at home.”
So if you are looking for stays that have an interesting design story to tell, we have curated a list for you featuring homestays, boutique hotels and guesthouses that you can book for your next trip to Rajasthan.
The Johri, Jaipur
A five-suite boutique hotel in the city’s iconic jewellers’ market, The Johri is a 19th-century ancestral haveli that has been restored over a period of nine years. Designed by New-York based Naina Shah, it showcases craftsmanship and Indian design heritage, with a contemporary flair. Each suite is distinctly designed, and features antique furniture, textiles and art from the state. It offers patrons farm-fresh organic vegetarian fare and experimental cocktails from its restaurant and bar. Indulge in complimentary yoga and meditation sessions, enjoy the high-tea service and Ayurvedic massages during your stay.
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The Artist’s Studio, Jaipur
A real sculptor’s studio is turned into a stay with his works and tools on display. Designed by artist Tarpan Patel, this homestay is perfect for two to four guests as it offers a studio apartment with a double bed, and a private terrace. You can also meet the renowned sculptor Ankit Patel, who lives a floor below and get a private viewing of his latest works. Done up in aesthetically-pleasing decor, the stay is peppered with curios and potted plants, giving it a homely vibe without taking away its uniqueness.
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Kothi Umednagar, Jodhpur
A red sandstone facade gives way to a four-bedroom property that is nestled in the 40-acre land. The interiors boast of tasteful art deco chandeliers with a touch of colonial heritage. Apart from the manicured lawn, the bungalow is surrounded by uninhabited land that is home to flora and fauna native to the region. Experience Rajasthani flavour as the in-house chef prepares your food using authentic recipes and fresh local produce, or learn to cook the region’s cuisine from them. Dine under the stars in the lawn, explore the surroundings on a walking tour during your stay.
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Jaipura Garh, Jaipur
A certified heritage home, this stay was built in the 1800s and has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. From ancestral memorabilia to traditional artefacts, you can find these around the property that comes fitted with modern amenities. While there are six rooms in total, guests can book two choosing from Jaipura Garh—Imperial, Royal and Noble. Two courtyards, a winding terrace and a lawn are also part of the estate. On request, one can experience a host of activities including kite flying, camel cart ride, pottery and folk dance show. You can also savour a traditional Rajasthani thali here.
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Ashapura Niwas, Jaipur
Taking its design inspiration from the popular Bar Palladio in Jaipur, this villa is drenched in blue, giving guests a similar vibe in a home setting. Six bedrooms, two kitchens, two living and dining rooms, a lawn and a terrace are at one’s disposal at this property, which are spread across two floors. Guests can request for barbeque dinners, savour home-cooked meals or enjoy a book from the stay’s library when here. Traditional Rajasthani elements like jharokha, colourful, tinted glass windows and screen dividers add charm to the villa’s decor.
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De Bougainvilla, Udaipur
A blend of bohemian and traditional decor, this villa is located at the foothills of the Aravallis and is a two-minute walk from Fatehsagar Lake. The stay offers two en-suite bedrooms, a living and dining room, kitchen, and an outdoor space. Cane pendants hang from the ceiling while an arch separates the living and dining areas. Nooks are filled with planters and objects of decor occupy the wall niches. Get a taste of traditional Mewari culture and cuisine on request, try your hand at pottery or watch a puppet show by a folk artist during your stay.
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28 Kothi, Jaipur
A boutique guesthouse offering two suites, two double rooms, and a single room, 28 Kothi is designed by Jaipur-based Lebanese designer Nur Kaoukji and French architect Georges Floret. The aesthetic melds local creations and antique treasures with a refreshing elegance, and features hand-painted murals and latticed windows. The property also has a terrace, lush lawns, a cosy library and lounge for its guests to enjoy. There’s an in-house cafe serving vegetarian fare and offers yoga classes, spa services and cultural workshops on request. The quiet neighbourhood of Civil Lines provides an escape from the city’s hustle bustle.
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