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Weekend escape
May 25, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Weekend escape
By Purva Bhatia
 
Looking for a break away from the city where you wish to practise the art of doing nothing? Head to Patan Mahal, a heritage home in Rajasthan, for an idle weekend. Nestled in the lap of the Aravalli hills, this heritage hotel offers a calm and quiet break from all kinds of citylife noises. All you need to do here is nothing. The place comes alive during the monsoon with greenery all over the hills.
 
 
There's a long weekend coming up but you don't have budget or the time to plan an exotic retreat. There are some options that come to your mind except you have visited most and others aren't enticing enough.
 
Lonely Planet, the publication which brings out travel guides, is hearing you. It has come out with guides called Short Escapes from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru that give you plenty of options, which may not exactly be off the beaten tracks but are places that fit the bill when looking for a quick getaway.
 
One such escape destination listed in the guide book is Patan Mahal on Kotputli Sikar road in Rajasthan – an ideal destination when you're looking for a relaxing space where the kids can enjoy at the pool and you can put your feet up and read a book without having to worry about 'exploring the place'.
 
Nestled in the lap of the Aravalli hills, this heritage hotel offers a calm and quiet break from all kinds of city-life noises. All you need to do here is nothing. Historically speaking, Patan was a war place for many rulers of India. It later became the centre of a minor state called Torawati (after Tomar, the clan name). Owned by Rao Digvijay Singh, a descendant of the Tomar Rajputs, the palace is surrounded by an 800-year-old fort and another palace halfway up a hill.
 
The owner, while restoring the palace, has been careful to retain the past with old rooms along with period furniture. The palace maintains its exclusivity by offering just 18 rooms, each of which is different; mine had walls adorned wiThexquisite paintings that spoke to me. There are no television sets in the room since the idea is to offer a truly idle break.
 
 
But there are all the amenities that we city dwellers are used to: Air conditioning (though you will not require them since the rooms are large and airy), bath tubs, hair dryers, et al. There's a small library in one corner of the main patio along with space for you to enjoy your tea. Take a dip in the swimming pool or take a walk in the surrounding farm, from where the palace gets most of its veggies (the rest are sourced locally) and consequently the food you get is fresh, simple and delicious.
 
Trekkers can go up the hill to Badal Mahal, and further to the old fort, one of the few ones to have never been conquered by an invading army.
 
Alternatively, you can walk down to the village nearby, which is home to bangle makers and potters. Interestingly, most men of the village are away working for the army or in countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia working as labourers. A womendominated area, this poorly developed area offers nothing much for a tourist.
 
That's one drawback of this place besides the fact that poor road conditions make the journey to this palace a little tedious.
 
But that's bearable when what you get in return is a refreshing change from everyday chaotic city life.
 
•Distance: Patan is 157 km from Delhi and 100 km from Jaipur, on the Kotputli Sikar road, off the National Highway 8.
•Tariff: Rs 6,000 plus taxes per head

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