Forts, palaces and where the wild roam in forest tracts
Kumbhalgarh’s reputation precedes it in the context of being the address to one of the most magnificent forts of Rajasthan. The sprawling fort stands 1,100 metres from sea level in the midst of the sun-baked Aravalli Hills with 36 kilometres of walls encompassing 365 temples, palaces, gardens and 700 cannon bunkers. It was built in the 15th century and was only once taken over by the Mughal Emperor Akbar who was forced to abandon it two days later. Overlooking the fort is the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The 600 sq. kms of the lush and evergreen forest reserve was once a popular hunting ground for the royalty, and was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1971.
Just four suites nestled into the rugged Aravallis is Mountbatten Lodge said to have been inspired by a popular lore that believes that Lord Mountbatten once camped here. It was built to reflect the British penchant for the wilderness with no compromise on space or luxury. With an attitude that spells colonial India, open spaces under the sun, stylishly laid out dinners with liveried staff in attendance bring to fore a languid sense of being pampered as in the days of the Raj.
Perfectly set en-route between Udaipur and Ranakpur or to make it your private paradise to revel with friends and family, Mountbatten Lodge offers activities like riding, sunset safaris, leopard tracking and treks to Kumbhalgarh but it is the Jazz sessions at the bar in the main lodge that you will come away with and come back for. The Lodge is a perfect base to explore small villages and communities set deep in this hilly terrain, one can ride on horseback or trek through a few miles of forests dotted with brief villages. Ranakpur is an explorers dream, clean state roads cuts through gently rolling hills with forests on both sides, you may come up with small interesting villages and friendly village folk. Don’t be surprised if you see a handsome villager working his ox over a water wheel!
The rugged surrounds, and the proximity to Ranakpur Temples and the Kumbhalgarh Fort makes it a great address to park yourself at. You can do nothing for days, or step out for short day trips to explore rural life of Rajasthan with the two highlights that get many visitors.
The proximity to Kumbhalgarh fort, the Ranakpur Temples apart, seeing local life at close quarters is what makes this property special. Also, there are only four suites so you can be assured of a blissfully isolated time without holidaying hordes.
Know Your Host
Owner Reggie Singh had been coming to the Ranakpur valley for a number of years and fell in love with the unspoilt beauty of the jungle and surrounding hills. Building The Mountbatten Lodge in that location thus was a passion project, and he wanted a boutique property that would nestle into...
Owner Reggie Singh had been coming to the Ranakpur valley for a number of years and fell in love with the unspoilt beauty of the jungle and surrounding hills. Building The Mountbatten Lodge in that location thus was a passion project, and he wanted a boutique property that would nestle into the surroundings without too much intrusion and be part of a legacy.
The main Art Deco style building is nothing like Rajasthan’s other heritage properties. Instead of arches, coves, and intricate jali-work, the building emanates a once modern structure that harks back to a western style inspiration than the palaces of Rajasthan. This is refreshing when you are travelling in the state for a long time. Sprawling rooms, verandahs overlooking a large grassy patch, high columns and ceilings dominate the architectural style. Nature does it’s work on the outside with ample greenery and its habitants who keep you company. The furniture, décor and furnishings are decidedly vintage but all modern comforts are part of the stay.
The suites at Mountbatten Lodge are set in two bungalows – each Bungalow independent and private with a brief lounge leading to the two suites as well as a pool, verandah and sun decks. The living spaces of each suite have to be spoken about in terms of space and scale – everything is generous, large beds and couches, high windows, beautiful bathrooms that incorporate a shower, hamman and a spa bed, twin vanities, everywhere there is the a glimpse of nature, thanks to the high windows. To this scale and space are design features like a back lit piece of art, corner lamps, whites and beige dominate, large cushions and rugs fill the space with warm and style and make up for a very inviting, comfortable and private space.
Dining are special times at Mountbatten. Lunch is usually served under a large banyan tree brought to your table. Dinner is when the ‘colonial experience’ is laid out to full and fabulous effect, candle lit, flowers adorning the table, each cover set to perfection for that dreamy meal to be served course upon course. You will be tempted to go that additional mile to dress for dinner. For its privacy and sheer individual space, Mountbatten Lodge is perfect for customization; hence every activity here has the potential to be tailored to individual interest and taste.
Some of the signature activities here include the Leopard trail which is a must if you are keen to see one of India’s most elusive cats in the wild and will take you the better part of an afternoon. Riding trails to explore the countryside on horseback and pre-booked elephant safaris combined with camping in the wild are some of the recommended adventures while jeep safaris into the Aravallis to catch the iridescent sunsets are time to toast your time on earth to chilled sparkling wine. It would surely be a moment to remember to be seated right on top of a hill and on edge, champagne in hand watching a spectacle that plays out in front of you!
A trek through tiny hamlets around the lodge is another one of the activities, bringing in the essential connect with local communities while excursions to Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh can be accomplished in half a day. One of the most endearing features of Mountbatten Lodge and which we personally endorse and believe will get you coming back for more, is its element of fun. The main lodge which is the heart of Mountbatten Lodge is a hub of social activity as it houses the bar, a careful selection of books, charming artefacts, a billiards table and plenty of places to just be. This is also where Reggie’s collection of Jazz music plays through the evening setting the mood for relaxation and revelry. And on those occasions that Reggie joins in.... the party doesn’t end in a hurry.
The Lodge is apt seeing another side of Rajasthan, away from the usual suspects.
The Mountbatten Lodge is open all year.
The hospitality at the lodge is one of the most memorable things about it. Other than that, a conscious traveller would love the connection with nature, a peek into history and authentic interactions with the local community.
All members of the staff are from the local villages or from the clan the hosts belong to and therefore there is a strong sense of obligation to ensure that the business continues to support them and their families. There is an intern training program for local village tribals, the maintenance and building work is carried out by local trades, and all vegetable and dairy products are sourced responsibly from the nearby villages. In addition, The Mountbatten Lodge provides support to an under privileged local village school which was without water, electricity or school supplies. This is a collaborative effort from both the Lodge and guests and projects include providing the 70 students with shoes, installing a water tank and filter, improving sanitary conditions, and supplying teaching materials.
The Lodge tracks their energy consumption and make an effort to conserve energy by using power efficient chillers, boilers, and lighting, have measures to reduce water usage and have a comprehensive recycling program. The attempt is to continue to head towards zero food waste and the elimination of single use plastic. As a regular occurrence, staff clean up garbage and plastic waste from the road and surrounding areas leading between the property and Ranakpur Temples which is through the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary.
by filmg on 04/14/2022
You will think it’s 1922. The whole vibe is the Raj and British India. Massive rooms, innumerable nooks and crannies, and tubs that fit 6 — really. Excellent food and service. Be aware that this is a...
by Fariba F on 03/29/2022
Excellent stay for 3 nights with friends at the Mountbatten Lodge. The property is beautiful, well maintained and clean. Beautiful and huge rooms which make your stay very comfortable. Every meal was...
by Zagrebacka on 03/28/2022
This is one of the nicest places we have stopped at during our two weeks tour of Sri Lanka. The charm of this place is just incredible. The quality of service is remarkable, with a level of attention...