Ruins are what remains from history but Imagine if there’s a chance to go back in time to witness the glory of past architecture just like in the movies. That debris shouldn’t be forgotten and left, it should be restored and cherished. We have to breathe life into it. Neemrana Palace in Delhi, Jaipur Highway is proof that it only takes action to bring back a soul to Heritage. Jaipur was called the island of glory. It was also the first planned city in north India.
The famous historic town of Alwar, Neemrana, is a treasure trove of heritage and rich culture. It is a landmark adorned by history enthusiasts and curious explorers. The history of Neemrana dates back thousands of years, from when Chauhans occupied the 16th-century hill fort to 1947. Although the township has evolved into an industrial belt with sprawling industries and IT developments, Neemrana city has still preserved its historic sites and charm.
Nestled amid the stunning Aravalli mountains, the fort palace sprawls over ten hectares of land. The history of Neemrana Fort Palace dates back to the 15th century. After being defeated by Muhammad Ghori in battle, Prithviraj Chauhan III fled Delhi in 1464 and founded Neemrana Fort Palace.
In 1947, the palace was abandoned by its original owner Raja Rajinder Singh, due to the crumbling of the fort’s façade and rampart that started to give away. For forty years, he tried to rid himself of his liability till it was acquired in 1986 when they transformed it into an exquisite resort and opened it to public use in 1991.
The restoration process was done in two phases:
The first stage started in 1990 when Suraj Paul, Tea Terraces, and the Tulsi Chowk were restored.
The second stage started in 1991 with work done on Holi Kund, Aam Khas, and Panch Mahal.
Neemrana Fort-Palace opened its doors with the nobility of its façade raised and just 15 liveable rooms.
In 2000 Neemrana won the Intach-Satte award for restoration & tourism for ‘being the foremost example of how we can pick architectural treasures from the national dustbin and turn them around. Neemrana has become synonymous with ‘restoration for re-use.’
It was also nominated for the Aga Khan Award in 2004.
Seeing its architectural details, it’s what makes it unique. Starting from the landscape itself. The Fort followed the site’s typography and presented play of level, courtyard, and staircase. The wall was planned to enclose two hills and thus safeguard its occupants with plateau rocks used as natural bases. The stables and ministers are at the base of the hill.
Five levels hold within it, a different structure that was manoeuvred in the construction and restoration of the Place. An interplay of open spaces and built one creating a home for the Raja:
The Jait Mahal was used as a space for the master bedroom for the king, the bedroom of the prince/princess, private meeting area with the ministers. Now it has been divided into sections and made the most luxurious rooms. The walls have been refurbished, keeping the old essence of the place as same, with all the columns visible.
The Bhim Mahal, the ground level of the Panch Mahal, is an area divided into five levels. It was used as courtroom. Currently, it’s divided into sections and used as various types of guest rooms.
Unlike the remodelled interiors, the exterior remains in Stone, keeping the palace’s soul within the pre-existing architectural details.
Hawa Mahal was used as TeaTerrace, courtyards, and open meeting areas. Now they are used as open-air restaurants and bars.
Surya Mahal is where the sun can be witnessed and enjoy a starry night. Till today, this area attracts tourists just to enjoy the views.
Aam Khas used to be a place for the public where the king used to address all his ministers on a higher platform. This area is now used for open-air sitting in favour of restaurants and parties.
Holi kund is a private place for the king and his family during festivals.
The architectural style of the palace is mostly an amalgamation of Rajput, Mughal, Sultanate, and Raj styles.
The sultanate style is witnessed in the Jait Mahal by the numerous niches. Although, the Rajput style is vivid in Panch Mal where the place exudes a sense of mystery.
For the building techniques, they were several:
The Kalash were replicated from stone and grouted on the top.
Kangaroos were made of cement, mortar, and small pieces of bricks and wooden templates.
The Jalis of Sheesh were built using Berla stone from the Alwar district.
Stone construction was used on fluted columns, low parapets, curvaceous brackets, bungee, and a rather bulky dome in masonry.
Today it has 77 rooms/suites spread over 14 levels cut into the hill. Additional wings house the pool and health spa, an amphitheater, the hanging gardens with a salon, a restaurant with a roof-top garden, and conference hall rooms with special suites offering exceptional views of the Fort Palace. A host of features make our heritage property the best place to stay near Delhi ensuring a memorable experience.
www.neemranahotels.com. (n.d.). About Us | Neemrana Fort-Palace | Resorts near Delhi. [online] Available at: https://www.neemranahotels.com/fort-palace-neemrana/history/about-us.html.
www.civilsocietyonline.com. (n.d.). Restoring Alwar’s magical fort palaces – Civil Society Magazine. [online] Available at: https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/travel/restoring-alwars-magical-fort-palaces/
The Courtauld. (n.d.). Aman Nath: Cultural Heritage Preservation and Restoration in India. [online] Available at: https://courtauld.ac.uk/whats-on/aman-nath-cultural-heritage-preservation-and-restoration-in-india/www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in. (n.d.). Neemrana Fort Alwar In Rajasthan – Rajasthan
Tourism. [online] Available at: https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/content/rajasthan-tourism/en/tourist-destinations/neemrand-fort-alAlwarml#:~:text=Located%20in%20Alwar%2C%20Neemrana%20Fort