Bathed in a golden hue, the rugged landscape looked like a painting. Standing quietly on the sundeck when I soaked in the aura, the wind whispered, announcing the end of a beautiful day. As I looked at the setting sun on the unending horizon of the Thar Desert, I realized that I was in the middle of nowhere. All I cared about at that moment was indulging in the luxury of being at the world’s most extraordinary hotel, named by Lonely Planet.
Mihir Garh is nothing less than a dream in the middle of Thar Desert, far away from the bustling Jodhpur. Unlike many converted fort palace hotels in Rajasthan, Mihir Garh was the vision of Sidharth and Rashmi Rohet, who chased their dream to turn it into a reality by building this exceptional fairy-tale fortress in the desert.
The name Mihir Garh connotes ‘The Fort of the Sun’ and it appears as if the hotel has emerged out of the Marwar sand dune itself. The rustic brown color magnificent fort palace is unique and elegant. The seamless blend between the cherished dream and reality is what Mihir Garh signifies.
With only nine exclusive suites, Mihir Garh has redefined luxury in the true sense. The aesthetically designed, hand-picked artifacts, private courtyards, sitting area, fireplaces, terrace, plunge pools, Jacuzzi, and the uncompromising royal hospitality, you name it and they have it.
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The pure joy of experiencing the royal and elaborate lifestyle of the bygone days is what is truly defined here. I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome upon my arrival. I could not take my eyes off the spectacular sandcastle. Soon I have escorted to my appointed suite and the very first impression of the luxurious suite was jaw-dropping. I instantly realized why this unique boutique hotel is called “The Most Extraordinary in the world.” Everything was exclusive there.
With the mud-painted walls, stylish furnishings, intricately carved wooden ceilings, color-coordinated cushions, paintings to curtain holders; you will see the finest collection in every corner. I was told that the village women of Khandi and Haji have lovingly created the fireplaces using age-old techniques of cow dung and clay.
Quite interestingly, while taking a walk inside my room, I noticed the owner’s love for horses. Whether it is the pen stand, magazine holder, or anything for that matter, the reflection of his ardent love for horses is quite evident. They have the best collection of Marwari horses in India.
The mornings at Mihir Garh are pure bliss. I still remember the first glimpse of the Marwari horses wandering freely around the property with the rising sun. The luxury of having a morning cup of tea in the middle of the desert in your sun-drenched private terrace where the only sound audible is the sound of wind and tweeting birds was just the perfect setting for my long-cherished royal holiday.
I could spend the entire day languidly in those armchairs just by watching the unfolding layers of nature.
Having breakfast by the pool was quite a luxurious indulgence. Watching the Nilgai (the blue bull is the largest Asian Antelope) and gracefully wandering Peacocks in the golden bushes are the sights you would not like to miss from your breakfast table. The delicious spread of Indian traditional breakfast with the splendid views was what I enjoyed the most during the morning.
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Your experience of indulging in pure luxury will be incomplete if you miss the signature experiences that Mihir Garh offers to its guests. Mihir Garh likes you to travel a few extra miles to experience the real Rajasthan. The signature experiences are the exclusively designed holiday program that allows their guests to see the varied sides of Rajasthan, whether it is the village Safari, Royal Picnic, Shikar dinner, or culinary workshops. I had the best time experiencing all of these during my stay at the hotel.
The village Safari is the best way to introduce guests to rural Rajasthan. This was not the first time I embarked on a village safari in Rajasthan. I had visited the Khejarli village way back in 2012 to meet the Bishnoi community. The Bishnois are considered the first environmentalists of India. The Bishnoi people are very nature-driven people and they prefer to stay in their farmland rather than in a village. They are the great protector of nature and the Black Buck Antelope. As we negotiated our way through those dusted roads of the village in the jeep, the rustic scene of the village overwhelmed me.
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I also visited a traditional household of a Bishnoi family to have a close look at their daily lifestyle. I was welcomed by the lady of the house with a big smile. She took me around the mud houses, showing their traditional kitchen, and also introduced me to her husband and son. Interacting with them, sharing a smile, and also living those precious moments with the locals was absolutely priceless.
I also attended the opium ceremony in a Brahmin village nearby during my safari. This was one of the most thrilling parts of the safari where I was taken to a household in the village to see the ancient opium ceremony, performed by the elderly men.
Though opium is banned in India, it has become a daily community ritual in the interior parts of western Rajasthan. The village elders sit in the middle, grind the dried opium into powder, mix it with water, strain it through a fine wooden funnel, filter it, and then it is sipped from cupped hands three times.
During the ceremony, one of them even asked me if I wished to taste it. And I did not decline the offer.
It was everything you can imagine a royal picnic would be. The drive through the deserted land, accompanying the Black Bucks in those well-spread bushes when you are welcomed to the exclusive set up an ornate tent next to a lake, well laid out floor, proper sitting arrangement to relax under the tree, and the most authentic Rajasthani cuisines presented to you under the pitched tent was undoubtedly a luxurious royal indulgence in the desert. I honestly felt like Royalty at that moment.
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The Shikar Dinner –The name itself sounded quite intriguing to me. I had no idea how it would turn out to be until I experienced it. If I have to select my best moment at Mihir Garh, apart from everything I had so far, my pick will undoubtedly be the Shikar dinner.
This signature experience takes you back to the bygone era when Shikar or hunting was considered to be the sport of the day. And after a successful hunting session, it was being celebrated in the wilderness under the moonlight in the desert. I felt as if I was re-living those hunting days of a Maharaja when I was taken to the middle of the desert on a full moon night.
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Traveling on the camel cart, led by the man with a lantern, with the sound of camel bells creating a rhythm and the dazzling moon at its glorious best, I wanted to lose myself to the magical aura of the desert. How I wish to conspire to freeze that moment forever.
As soon as I reached the location for the Shikar Dinner, I was welcomed with the soulful song and dance performances by the Kalbalia dancers and folk artists and the delicious barbecues with the glow of the bonfire. The heartfelt songs, graceful dance performances, and endless conversations with the guests made me lose count of the hours.
Soon we were accompanied towards the dining set-up where the whole area was lit up for the Shikar dinner. The experience of having my dinner in the middle of the vast desert in the dark was undoubtedly the best takeaway from my trip to Mihir Garh.
When the endless expanse of nothingness entices you, the sound of the desert starts ringing loud in your ears, quest for solitude chases you and the urge to stay back in the middle of nowhere becomes inviting , that’s what I call an experience of a lifetime. Mihir Garh is not just a standalone boutique fort palace hotel in Thar Desert, it is one experience you must live through.
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I can definitely see why this was named the most extraordinary hotel in the world. The setting, the exterior, the experiences…everything seems absolutely blissful. My dream would be to go there and experience the Shikar dinner. Breathtaking!
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What a beautiful hotel! I especially love all of the shots of the windows and decks–the one of you surrounded by the curtains looks like a shot from a movie! Looks like an incredible place to relax and unwind while in India. Definitely different than the hustle and bustle of some areas of the country.
Mihir Garh looks stunning and authentic and staying here with all royal treatment would be a lifetime experience. I stayed in many desert hotels in UAE which are quite similar to this. I would love to see Marwari horses, go for an authentic village tour, Romantic royal picnics, having dinner with Kabilawala dance show. This royal stay here would be a blend of culture, heritage and nature.
Awesome to read about this beautiful Oasis in the desert. I am currently based in Rajasthan and I am so happy to read your post as it has given me a weekend place to explore. It truly is luxurious and you have explained every part of the fort so well. I loved the narration of village rituals which is not so common to find and that too clubbed on such a luxurious trip. Looks like you really had fun. Truly gorgeous. thanks for sharing
This place is truly mesmerising, I didn’t know of this before, but its simply beautiful. Perfect mixture of heritage and luxury. I loved those arm chairs, even I can sit the entire day and view the majestic scenery.
This sounds like an unforgettable experience! I’m in awe of the architecture of the hotel, with its round arches and warm shades of yellow and orange. In total contrast, the vivid blue of the room where the opium ceremony was held is also gorgeous!
I loved traveling in Rajasthan and your photos so much show the vibe of this amazing region. I can’t wait to go back and will definitely put this place on my list. Rajasthan is awesome, but damn this palace would totally add up to the amazing experience. Thanks for the tip!
Wow that is truly an impressive hotel and I would never argue why Lonely Planet awarded it that title. The amenities are so luxurious and it blends perfectly with the grand architecture too! I love that it is located right in the middle of the desert so you can truly stay in peace. The signature experiences is also something to look forward to while staying here!
Nice written by you and best famous place is this i had visted there thanks alot to share
I had no idea Mihir Garh was named as world’s most extraordinary hotel by Lonely Planet! The place looks pretty awesome and I cannot help but compare it with the hotels here in Dubai, in the middle of the Arabian Desert. The mud-painted walls, the infinity pool overlooking the desert landscape and the wildlife. Thar Desert has many experiences similar to the Arabian Desert.
Staying in such a Hotel is a luxury in itself, which literally got to me thanks to your amazing clicks. While the hotel looks luxurious in every aspect, the thing that fascinates me, was the unique experiences offered, like Village Safari, or the Shikar Dinner. After all, its the experience, that matters the most at such places, and what sets the place apart.
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Wow! Reading and looking at your pictures of Mihir Garh makes me feel like I am watching a beautiful movie about a Princess. The Mihir Garh really looks like a castle! I think it’s wonderful that the hotel offers signature experiences to its guests so that they can really experience Rajasthan. I totally would LOVE to do a royal picnic, what a great experience that would be.
Wow well I can definitely understand why they named it the world’s most extraordinary hotel. What an experience! The way Mihir Garh rises up from the desert is quite majestic, and I can definitely see how a stay here is reliving the royal and elaborate lifestyle of the bygone days. And I love how they promote experiening the real Rajasthan. Your people shots from the village Safari are incredible. And then the royal picnc and Shikar Dinner seem like something out of a film! What an experience, thankyou for sharing!
Oh wow wow wow Mihir Garh looks and sounds amazing, it really looks like a palace from a fairytale movie. I can’t get over how beautiful it is and that is in the middle of nowhere in India. I would love to do one of the signature experiences especially the Village Safari. This is definitely being added to my bucket list.
I like the way of your writing, how beautifully you defined your experience in Mihirgarh which is undoubtedly enough to increase the craving for luxury provided by the property.
Extraordinary indeed! I can almost imagine camel caravans making their way across the desert landscape around the property silhouetted against the setting sun. This seems like the ideal place to just laze around pretending to be a Maha Rawal of yore.
Oh Wow!! Makes sense why this hotel would win most extraordinary hotel. It really is spectacular. Look at it’s location, and a private pool? Just makes everything better. I’d love to visit and stay at a hotel like this one. Pure serenity and quiet. And I loved how everyone is dressed!!
Oh wow, I can see why this hotel won this accolade. It’s absolutely gorgeous, even more from your photos! I can definitely see myself booking a night or two here. Everything about the hotel and the location is what I imagine India to be like! I need to visit one day!
Wow Mihir Garh is pure luxury alright! It looks gorgeous! The activities the resort is providing seems interesting and fun! I would love to visit the Bishnoi community for then afterwards have the royal lunch by the lake! What an experience! I had once slept under the stars on the Thar desert and had delicious curry sitting on the dunes looking at the sunset…for me it was everything I needed.
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Ah, This is Amazing and Beautiful Pictures.