Orchard Resort, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

Plan A Luxurious Retreat At Orchard Resort In Pushkar


Green is a luxury in Rajasthan. But when greens combine with good food and luxury tents, it is heavenly. This is the world of Orchard Resort— 15 luxury tents are pegged in the middle of amla trees, hence the name orchard. With no sense of boundaries, the resort is a cosy place with little room for loud noises and city stress. Patches with vegetables and the flutter of birds and peacocks, here you’ll find the elusive calm.

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Each tent could be a chamber from an ancient palace or perhaps a studio apartment in today’s times. It is pretty big with a separate bedroom space; sheer curtains mark this separation. There is a small sitting area in the centre and another separate area which could double as a workspace or a dressing table. The tent roof is high and the beds have an electric heating pad. I forgot to try it on the first night, but the second night’s sleep was much warmer. The staff also leaves a blanket, just in case you need something more to keep warm. There is an air-conditioner too, as the day can be pretty hot. But I think, like me, you will like coming back for a good night’s sleep here.

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A very designer bathrobe lies on the chair and the fragrance of essential oil fills the tent. This little pampering touch makes it so lovely. The soft cotton and the cool interiors are soothing. The tent also has a verandah where you can sit on bamboo chairs and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. If you are silent, the strutting peacocks are a sight to behold, else they get scared and run away into the trees. The bathroom has amenities by Biotique and there is even washing powder, which is quite a surprise. And it’s the traditional lock and key tent.

The interesting thing, however, is the hand bell. The cluster has a tented lounge where one can play table tennis, carrom, read books or simply laze around. And here sits a member of the staff, who follows the tinkle of the bell. He knows that it’s a call from the guest. We did enjoy tea and biscuits here, but meals were all at Golghar. The meals are delicious and fresh. As a mark of respect to the location, the holy city of Pushkar, non-vegetarian dishes and alcohol are not served. We also enjoyed the traditional Rajasthani thali, seated like old timers on the floor. The thali comprised gatte kee sabzi, dal, ker sangri, kadi, dal batti churma, kheer, rice, papad and roti, and how can I forget the chilli pickle. With larger groups around, one normally finds a buffet. There is a la carte on offer too. Breakfast is typically a combination of Indian and Continental dishes with cereals, baked beans, poha, parathas, eggs, bread, milk etc. There is a separate open-air area, Panghat, for barbecue. The reception area too is an open-air one and the chabutara {the cemented sitting area around the tree} has folk paintings. This is a good place to get the feel of rural India. Lean against the tree and enjoy a glass of rose sherbet.

One can also practice archery here. The resort can organise traditional folk dances and cultural programmes for the guests on demand. We enjoyed the traditional Kalbeliya dance. One can also bicycle around the village. Camel carts can be arranged to see the neighbouring areas. We took a ride to the nearby dunes to watch the sun go down. I was surprised to see many small cafes around this area. For shopping, there is a market near the famous Brahma temple. Here, the pulse changes. There are cafes, hotels, small vendors with souvenirs, street food, men and women coercing you to buy anything and everything. The Pushkar lake is where all the sins can be washed out. People even come to offer prayers for their ancestors. The lake is in the form of a circle. And the road around it is a good way to explore the town. Best done on foot though. For those who enjoy other things, there is a ropeway to the Savitri temple, located on a nearby hill. One could choose to take the stairs too, provided you are fit enough for the 45 to 60-minute climb. Harpal Singh, the man who has been handling the resort since its inception, says it’s very popular with people who look for retreats. In fact, he was expecting a group of six ladies for a yoga retreat. Neat, clean, hygienic and almost homely, Orchard Resort takes you back to slow times, letting you enjoy the planet and the rhythm of nature. But if you like to be in touch with the world, there is free wi-fi. My recommendation would be: forget it and enjoy the sunrise and the sunset and see the play of colours. Did I mention that there is no television and the resort employs a lot of local people? Their smiles and simplicity are perhaps the most heartwarming experiences you carry back. And tread with care, for you might crush the green amlas which have fallen down. On getting there and bookings, visit http://www.orchard.in/contact.html

the article first appeared on lbb.in

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