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Mountbatten Lodge – a hidden gem in the Rajasthan mountains, fit for a maharaja

Oppdatert: 1. feb.

 

Deep into the wilderness of the Aravalli mountains of Rajasthan, you find Mountbatten lodge, a paradise of tranquility and breathtaking beauty.



The charming, jazz loving owner Reggie Singh has created a unique place that brings you back to a bygone era when the Rajas still ruled and hunted in the area. This royal retreat is an ideal place both to relax and explore a different Rajasthan away from the crowds. 


Mountbatten lodge with its four luxury suits is placed in middle Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary and close to two of India’s most significant historic sights: the magnificent Ranakpur Jain Temple and the dramatic Kumbhalgarh Fort. Close by you also find Jawai nature reserve well known for its leopard safari.

 

The hospitality at Mountbatten lodge is one of a kind. The moment you enter the gate you are taken care of in every way, you will never lack for anything.

 

We were lucky to be hosted by Reggie and his beautiful wife, Mandira and their friendliness made us feel truly at home and made our stay so special. Listening to their stories about the history of the area and India of today was a real treat. 


There are small surprises on every corner from the early morning walk with Reggie and his dogs, Sultan and Khan, with al fresco pre-breakfast in the forest, sundowner at the top of the hill, Indian street food for lunch – always something different, exiting and fun. And, to top it off, every meal was a feast and among the best we had on our journey in India. They go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.

 

The grounds are large and lush with small sitting areas, fireplaces, flowers all in an untamed natural way that add to the lodge´s wilderness atmosphere. You could spend your days just wandering around in the garden exploring something new. 


At the center of the property, you find the grand game-room with deep leather sofas, family photos and antiquity designed to pay homage to history and heritage. This is the place to listen to music and enjoy your favorite drink and getting the feel of visiting you royal friends at their hunting lodge.

 

A stay in the Mountbatten Lodge creates memories for a lifetime!

 

Make sure to stay at least three days so can both enjoy the lodge and explore the area, there are so much to see. The lodge is easily reached from both Jodhpur and Udaipur.

 

A fun fact: we were the first Norwegian to stay at the lodge. I read an article in an international magazine about travel into the Aravalli hills and Mountbatte lodge and I knew this was a place I wanted to visit. 

The place is named after Indias last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, It Is said that Lord Mountbatten once camped here.

 

The dining experience


Every meal is arranged in a different location; lunch under the 300-year Banyan tree, breakfast in the early morning sun on the patio outside our suites and dinner is a romantic affair in a tented room with candles and crystals. If the weather is warm dinner can also be had under the stars.


The food is delicious, varied, and plentiful. We were served everything from British mulligatawny-soup and fish& chips – crisp and light as should be –  to classic Indian food like butter chicken, and even Chinese – everything perfectly cooked with the freshest of ingredients. For breakfast you can chose between classic western style or Indian. I have fallen in love with dosa-breakfast, a form of unsweet pancake, so that was my choice. Heads up, the dosa must be ordered in advance.


The rooms are large, comfortable and beautiful decorated


The four suits are like nothing I have ever seen before in size and beauty; luxurious and elegantly decorated, each in their own style. There are large four-poster beds, soft sofas, and a huge marble bathroom with step-down tubs so deep and large that they resemble wells. 


Two of the suites each with their own plunge-pool and sitting areas. In addition, there are two suits sharing a large outdoor pool, with daybeds and beautiful lounge areas. These suites are ideal for families or two couples traveling together as we did. It is hard to leave your room but there are just so much to explore outside.

 


What can you do?

The lodge might be remotely located but there are plenty to do in the area from historic sites to leopard safaris. You can also visit a local tribal village with some very special marriage rituals and not the least have sundowner in the hills. 

 

Sundowner in the hills


Ready for the sun-downer and for the sun to go down!


Late afternoon the car took us up a small winding road to the top of a nearby hill with the most magnificent view over the Arawalli hills. When we arrived, there was a set-up of a full sun-downer treat. It was just to sit down and enjoy the drinks, snacks and the sun going down.

 

Leopard safari at Jawai


The hills around Mountbatten Lodge have plenty of leopards but the dense forest makes it too difficult to spot them. A better place to observe leopards are the Jawai natural reserve, a place of such stunningly beauty that you should visit even if you are not interested in seeing the leopards. In fact, Jawai is the best place to spot leopards in India. It is said to be 50-60 individuals in the reserve.

 

In the late afternoon we drove the 1 ½ hour from Mountbatten Lodge to Jawai and just before it was getting dark the leopards came from the rocks and caves out to enjoy the warm stones. It was a marvelous sight.

 


Ranakpur Jain Temple 


Ranakpur Jain temple is one of the largest, and most important temple of Jainism. It is an impressive building in white marble with elaborate decorations,  exceptionally beautiful.

 

It is unclear when the temple was constructed.  Sources reports that it began in 1389 and was finished in 1458 and involved nearly 2900 workers. Others say the construction continued for nearly 50 years more.The temple, as well as the nearby town of Ranakpur, are named after the ruler of the time, Rana Kumbha, who supported the Jains.

 

Tips:

-       Bring a scarf. Women need t cover their head.

-       Pay to take photos. The inside of the temple is just stunning.

-       If, priests say they will pray for you or help you they expect donations.

 

Jainism

Jainism is one of the world’s oldest religions and originates in India at least 2,500 years ago. It has many similarities to Hinduism but is a separate religion. The Jains are completely dedication to nonviolence and are very strict vegetarian There are additional four vows that guide believers: always speak the truth, do not steal, show sexual restraint (with celibacy as an ideal), and do not become attached to worldly things.


Today, 0,4% of India’s population is identifies as Jain.


Kumbalgarh Fort, a center for Rajasthan´s dramatic history

Kumbhalgarh Fort is an UNESCO world Heritage Site and has the second largest wall in the world.

One hour drive from Mountbatten Lodge you find Kumbhalgarh Fort known for having the second longest wall in the world after The Great Wall of China. The fort is also known for having played an important part in Rajasthan dramatic history. Kumbhalgarh Fort is an UNESCO world heritage site.


The fort is enormous and breathtakingly beautiful with a wide view over the Aravelli mountains.  You can vividly imagine how the Rajput rulers courageously fought to protect their kingdoms from invaders both from Gujerat-rulers in the south and the Mughals from the north.


Rana Kumbha is considered to have built the fort in the 15th century. He ruled Mewar for thirty-five years and the historians often called this era ‘the golden period of Mewar` and he is also known as a 'King who Never lost a battle' in years of reign. Rana Kumbha exceptionally tall, 9 ft , and his hands went below his knees. He is also remembered as the only Hindu king of the time when the rest of India was under Muslim dynasties. 


However, in 1615, the Mewar ruler at the time surrendered to Mughal Emperor Jehangir and Kumbhalgarh’s strategic importance started declining. The fort later again changed hands from Mughals to Marathas and finally to East India company in the 18th century.


The Kingdom of Mewar, sometimes known as Udaipur State, was an independent kingdom in Rajputana region of India, established around the 7th century.

 

Kumbhalgarh Fort, along with Amber fort outside Jaipur, Jaisalmer Fort and three other forts in Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site  in 2013.

 

Neelkanth Mahadeo Temple


Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple boasts of a 6 feet tall stone Shivlinga . As per legend, Rana Kumbha used to worship the deity in this temple every day. The king was so tall that he used to sit  on the temple’s floor for offering prayers.  And this devout king  was beheaded by his own son in the same temple, while offering prayers to the Lord.


We unfortunately did not see this temple. We are told it is very impressive and has a strong religious force so make sure to visit.


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