Piramal Haveli was my first choice to stay at Shekhawati. My reason was simple, I have stayed with Neemrana hotels at Neemrana in Rajasthan, Baradari palace in Patiala, Diwan’s Bungalow in Ahmedabad. Their brand of hospitality perfectly matches my kind of travel. I like to time travel in ancient destinations. Neemrana Hotels provide a perfect option to stay grounded in that era. You can choose to forget that you are in the 21st CE.
So, here are some of the reasons you should consider staying with them when traveling in Shekhawati.
Period Stay with Piramal Haveli
Shekhawati Havelis – the primary reason for anyone tourist to visit the region is best experienced when you live in one of them. It is when you are surrounded by those painted walls, walk on the floors, sit beneath the neem tree or soak in the warmth of the sun in the open courtyard, that your Shekhawati experience is complete.
There are only a few Havelis that are run as hotels, and most of them are in Mandawa which is like the tourist hub of Shekhawati. I wanted to stay in a quieter location, which still has the feel of a village with quaint Havelis. Bagad, located about 10 km from Jhunjhunu, was a perfect location to base myself. I did day trips to Nawalgarh, Mandawa and Fatehgarh, Churu and Mayansar. One evening I explore Jhunjhunu and one evening I went for a village walk in Bagad itself.
Read More – Anatomy of a Shekhawati Haveli
Neemrana hotels specialize in restoring and keeping heritage alive through their heritage properties. They have restored many of the properties that they now operate as hotels across the country. They literally take you back in time. There is no cookie-cutter approach, every property is unique and reflects the ethos of the land it belongs to.
At Piramal Haveli in Bagad, the Haveli in the shades of Pistachio is about 90 years old. It has a curious mix of Indian and colonial architecture. 8 rooms in different shades ranging from White to Red surround the central courtyard. The property is small and hence cozy.
The dining hall is full of paintings that recreate the style of Raja Ravi Varma. I believe the style must have been in vogue when the Haveli was built. All those Raja Ravi Varma oleographs must have flooded the markets. There are paintings on the top of the courtyard pillars too. Some of the paintings include family portraits of the Piramals. However, this Haveli is not as profusely painted as the other Havelis of Shekhawati. There is a certain subtlety about this graceful Haveli.
The front porch has European ceramic tiles with scenes from India on them like there is the one showing Krishna playing Holi in Braj. Yet another scene depicts Sita asking for the golden hear in Ramayana.
The Caring Staff
When I visited in September, it was the offseason and I was the only guest at the Haveli. The staff left no stone unturned to take care of me. They even plucked a few Neem twigs from the tree that I wanted to bring back for using as a toothbrush.
They took care of me as if I am a personal guest at their home. Most of the people have been working in the property since the time it is operating as a Hotel. There is a sense of belongingness and ownership, which is something you rarely find in large chain hotels. Most of the staff are local, so they know the village and the surrounding areas like the back of their hand. It comes handy when you need some local information.
For example, I was curious about the Chavo-Vira temple nearby for its unusual name & they guided me to the temple and the right person to know more about the temple.
Simple Home Like Food at Piramal Haveli
The food is simple and primarily vegetarian. It is as close to home-cooked food as it can get in a commercial kitchen. The small size of the property allows them to cook what you ask for, instead of a set menu. The vegetables are locally sourced. The paper-thin Urad Dal Papads add the crunch to the food.
Highly recommend their Besan ki Barfi that is prepared inhouse.
Do peep into the old kitchen of the Haveli that has lovely marble sitting spaces surrounding the Chulha. You can only imagine the family eating the fresh Chapatis right out of the Chulha.
Bagad Village Walk
Bagad is still a small village that you can easily walk around. Good people at the Haveli took me for a village walk. I saw a series of Havelis belonging to different members of the same family. The one with all-white interiors is simply breathtaking – a stark contrast to the colorful Havelis everywhere around.
We also visited Rungta Havelis most of which are lying abandoned. The Piramal gate that leads to the Haveli has an interesting story that you must listen to from the staff only. It is a story of business egos at work.
At the walk, you see the simple and connected lives of people. Almost everyone we passed by in the market, we exchanged greetings. Even when everyone knew I am a guest at the hotel, they offered me tea or something to eat. They took out two minutes to speak or tell me some stories. This was the happiest part of my Shekhawati trip.
In the end, we picked up the famous Chirawa Pedas from a sweet shop. The Pedas here comes in a unique shaped, pinched on both sides.
Sprawling Lawns with Peacocks
I simply loved sitting in their sit out beneath the neem tree with my Kindle. This was my last day of a 10-day long trip and it was the best way to relax. On the opposite wall, peacocks were dancing, why not, it was the monsoon time.
It was a perfect trip, full of discoveries of Shekhawati gems, complemented by a relaxed stay at Neemrana Hotel’s Piramal Haveli. Do check out their website for more details.