The Baradari Palace or Neemrana Patiala was the only hotel in Patiala I could think of when I was planning my trip to the city. There were a few reasons for this. It is located at Rajinder Kothi of The Baradari Gardens in Patiala – a place that I had visited as a kid. It was like a dream come true to go and stay at a place that you have seen with awe as a child.
Secondly, I have stayed at the group properties earlier at Neemrana and Ahmedabad and I love their heritage-soaked experience. I always say that the Neemrana fort is the best example of living heritage. So, I was keen to experience another of their properties.
History of The Baradari Palace Patiala
The palace is a 19th CE building. It was commissioned by the then king Rajinder Singh and hence bears his name and is locally called Rajinder Kothi. The architect was his younger brother Ranbir Singh. Some legends say that the king built it for the queen when she was pregnant and planted oxygen-giving trees all around it.
Over the years post-independence, it has served as state guest house, has been a part of Punjabi University campus and houses the Punjab archives before becoming Neemrana’s heritage property.
This palace used to have its own cricket field, a skating rink, and a monorail.
The architecture of Baradari Palace
This palace is a rectangular structure in pristine white standing in the middle of sprawling gardens. From its entrance gate, it looks like a pile of rectangles standing on each other like a jigsaw puzzle.
An arched corridor runs around the property on the ground floor. A semi-circular balcony overlooks the public garden part of the heritage property. A vast wooded area has old trees at the back. This is where I saw lots of birds. I wonder if hotel management has thought of birding walks or bird watching activities here. On a short walk, I could see Grey Hornbills, Doves and Rose Ringed Parakeets.
The heart of this heritage property is the 12 door pavilion that gives it the name. Now what is different here is that unlike most Baradaris that are open pavilions, here it is the heart of the building. A 12 doored pavilion is at the center and it looks like the rest of the building came around it. The thickness of the walls of this property is to be seen to believed.
The team there has put lovely Phulkari cushions in the 8 of the 12 doors with long bolsters to sit and chat. To me, this was the perfect place to sit and read or gather for a family function or a small reunion.
Rooms at Baradari Palace – Neemrana Patiala
There are 18 rooms at the heritage property spread across 3 floors. The rooms on the ground floor have a high ceiling. I stayed at Room No 2 on the ground floor named after Raja Sardul Singh. It is a big room with very high ceilings. The bathroom was bigger than rooms in average hotels. To go from bed to the bathroom took a small walk of sorts.
The curtains were 2-3 times the height of normal curtains and it made us look so small.
I requested the staff to show me other rooms as well. Interestingly, all the rooms are named after the Maharajas of Patiala. They all have some portraits of Kings and Queens along with portraits of Sikh Gurus. I liked a full wall outside our room with Sikh Gurus’ portraits. Then there are scenes from everyday Punjabi life, like women embroidering the colorful Phulkaris or churning the milk to make the famous Punjabi Lassi.
In all, you can never forget that you are in Punjab. Every wall and every frame on it will introduce you a bit more to the food bowl of India.
Check out their other rooms on their website.
All rooms have a four-poster wooden bed. I loved the one at Baba Ala Singh Room.
Period furniture adds to the old world charm.
Remember there is no elevator as the building was built before they became fashionable. So, if you have trouble climbing up and down, choose the rooms on the ground floor. Bathrooms are large on the ground floor but relatively smaller & more modern on the upper floors.
Neemrana Patiala and Bollywood
One of the recent claim to fame that this heritage property has is its connection with Bollywood. Besides many Punjabi films, some prominent Bollywood films have been shot here. Ask the staff, and they would proudly tell you the room where the ghost scenes of Phillauri were shot.
This heritage property is featured in the blockbuster film Bodyguard and numerous other films. It looks like when the Bollywood thinks of Punjab they think of Patiala. And when they think of Patiala the obvious choice is this heritage hotel.
Our food experience in Patiala began the moment we stepped inside the heritage property converted to a hotel. Our welcome drink was a Haldi Wali Lassi. And that set the tone for the next two days that we spent in Patiala.
The dining room has lovely wooden furniture. I only wish they played classical Punjabi music instead of loud modern music. But, I know, they must have figured out what the majority of their clientele likes. I was told that the restaurant is very popular with locals who love to come here for dining or for family celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries.
They offer primarily Punjabi food – and why not when the place as a whole celebrates Punjab. However, the menu does have options for other cuisines like Chinese and Continental.
I was all nostalgic about Punjabi food so I requested Makki ki Roti & Sarson Ka Saag. In breakfast, I had my fill of Paranthas with white butter.
Rooms at Neemrana Patiala come with free breakfast. The view of the gardens from their breakfast room gives a refreshing start to the day.
The staff there are helpful and always with a smile. We were lost and they promptly sent a person to fetch us. They enthusiastically shared information about places to see in Patiala, especially some hidden gems.
Thank you for being such wonderful hosts, as always, Neemrana Hotels.
Read more about Patiala Heritage Walk – Discovering the Royal City of Punjab