Those of you on a quest for something unexplored need not look far for such an experience. Ranakpur, a small village nestled in Rajasthan's Aravali hills, promises such a getaway without burning a hole in your pocket.There are three things that make a trip memorable - stay, food and sight-seeing - and Mana Hotel promises all three.My trip started with a two-hour drive from Udaipur airport to the hotel. Green mountains riddled with temples and abandoned structures that make you ponder about the stories they want to share kept me engrossed while I reached the hotel.I stayed in one of the nine duplex villas.
The property, spread over 3.5 acres, boasts of two suites, seven deluxe rooms, 22 standard rooms and a swimming pool. The best part about the hotel is that not a single tree was cut for its construction.The man behind the resort - Rohan Rajgarhia - chose to venture into the hospitality industry instead of joining his family's transport business after obtaining an engineering degree."The idea was to add a vertical to the existing business. In addition, since we built this hotel from scratch, there was a fair bit of engineering involved. The focus was to place attention on this overlooked part of Rajasthan," Rajgarhia told IANS.
The hotel's ambiance is modern with a dash of rusticness to highlight the simple life of Ranakpur.Mana also satiates your foodie spirit with a multi-cuisine menu along with a wide range of liquor.Don't miss out the authentic Rajasthani Thali under a barh tree with twinkling stars and a glistening moon and a gentle breeze whispering in your ears.Start your trip with Ranakpur Jain Temple dedicated to Lord Adinath, which is the main attraction of the place.In the form of a celestial craft with "wings", it houses 84 small temples and 350 idols. It is believed that around 1,500 pillars inside the temple cannot be counted. You can try out your rational side by tallying it with the estimated numbers.Next, go for a trek on the Tirthankar trail, where you'll be surrounded by rich flora and fauna, and the twittering of of birds. Don't forget to take in a panoramic view of the town.
How often would yout get to enjoy tea on the top of a dam? There's something in the location around Ranakpur Dam that brings out your hopelessly romantic side as you enjoy refreshments laid out by the hotel.Stories of crocodiles will also keep you bewitched and watchful.
Go for an educational tour at Camel Charisma, a social enterprise to save the camel. The authorities there convert camel dung, wool and milk into a variety of products. You can taste camel ice-cream or buy soap made out of camel milk as a souvenir.Spend a day at the Kumbhalgarh Fort, which is guarded by what is said to be the second-largest manmade wall after the Great Wall of China. Built by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century, it is also the birth place of the legendary Maharana Pratap.
Brace yourself for a trek through a serpentine way to reach the top of the fort for a panoramic view of the valley below. The fort is home to countless ruins: take a walk through them and let your mind weave stories around them.Although Ranakpur is a mosaic of culture, tradition and history, it is the peaceful vibes from people that leave a lasting impression on you.
* How to reach:
By air: Udaipur airport is situated 95 km from Mana Hotel and it takes about two hours to reach.
Rail: Nearest railway station is Falna and is situated 30 km from the hotel.
* Tariff: Starts from Rs. 5,000 + taxes for two adults per night, which includes stay in a standard room and complimentary breakfast.