Suryagarh Jaisalmer- Beautiful as Always

I visited Suryagarh Jaisalmer for the first time in 2012 and I have been a fan ever since! So when I was invited to visit for a third time in July 2016, I happily accepted, and I am glad that I did! Suryagarh remains as beautiful as ever, if anything it has only improved with time! Right from the grand welcome to the time I left, I had a gala time! Come along with me on a visual treat of the trip first, because I feel that is the best way to talk about a trip as special as this!

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The Grand Welcome at Suryagarh!

We were greeted with music and dance right at the entrance! It does wonders to the mood after the long drive from Jodhpur. While I do remember the grand vehicles that greet the guests about a kilometer or so before, I don’t remember the dances at the entrance! So I am guessing this is new.

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They Call it High Tea!

One of the first things I did after arriving was to sit down for high tea! There was so much food on the table, that I could not even get the tea in the same frame! When it comes to food, Suryagarh does it well, but then same is true for every other thing they do too!

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The Luxury Suite Where I Stayed!

I have stayed in different room categories on all my three visits. Of all that I have seen, the luxury suites are the most lavish!

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The Luxury Suite- Another Look!

And even these two pictures just give a glimpse of my room. The bathroom had a huge bathtub but being in the desert I didn’t fill it up even once!

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The Main Courtyard!

I love the spaces within the hotel, like its main courtyard! At breakfast there are pigeons, peacocks and a turtle roaming about in this space! A musician plays flute in the morning hours! They now have put tables outside too! I love the outdoor arrangement!

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Reflections!

When you visit and see a guest sitting on the ground with their camera, you know they are, like me, chasing the reflections. The good bit for me is that I know people there, like Nakul, whom I have met on every visit and he is now the general manager of the resort! So they are tolerant about my antics!

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The Swimming Pool at Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

And if you are looking for more reflections, head to the swimming pool. I guess you would head there anyway for a swim!

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Good Food!

I am confident that you would head to the pool because you will eat a lot of good food. Starting this year they have introduced healthy options too, but more on it in a subsequent post! I loved their daal pakwan which is a traditional Rajasthani dish. I ate so much that I need the pool for the rest of the year actually! There is a gym within the premises too. They have an excellent spa called Rait!

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Spaces in the Desert!

Not only does Suryagarh is beautiful inside, they know how to curate beautiful trips outside the resort too. They would show you the unseen in the desert.

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The Temples at Kiradu near Barmer!

I discovered the Temples of Kiradu near Barmer with Suryagar on this trip! It was the highlight of all the outdoor activities! I am sure for a lot of you this is the first time you came across the name Kiradu! If so, go Google it and then visit it!

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With the Talented Musicians of Suryagarh!

And if my write up sounds like a sell out, it is because I am sold out on the beautiful place called Suryagarh. If you are looking for a luxury vacation in Jaisalmer you know exactly where to go!

PS. I was invited to visit Suryagarh as a blogger.

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It is usually before a trip I feel most tired. It is logical to remember a wonderful spa experience at such times! I somehow never got around writing about my experience of the spa at Suryagarh. They call it Rait which means sand. This was my second visit to the Rait, both the times I had fabulous experiences. All the facilities at Suryagarh (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan) are on the ground floor which includes the restaurants, the bar, the swimming pool, the gym, spa etc and higher floors have rooms. I have written many times on this blog about Suryagarh. I really like the place.

A Room at The Spa, Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

A Room at Rait- the Spa at Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

I asked for aroma therapy this time. I will let you into a secret, I hardly know anything about spas and almost always I choose aroma therapy because the name sounds so exotic and hints of nice smells. After all there no rule that forbids me from using a spa even if I don’t know much about them. And there is no harm in choosing a treatment that sounds good!

Jacuzzi at Rait, Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

Jacuzzi at Rait Spa, Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

Last time when I was at the spa I had a great time. This was my second visit to the spa at Suryagarh and this time too it was no different. My therapist was a slender young girl, it was difficult to believe that she had such strong hands. This time they offered me a reiki experience as well. I would say once again that staying still for an hour and not staring at a flat surface (TV, laptop, etc) is a bliss. If being still also includes a nice aroma therapy massage with soothing music, it is all the more relaxing. I consider it ultimate luxury, a luxury I had indulged only on my trips on invitation other than the fish spa at Siem Reap!

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As a rule, I am not a big fan of monsoons. There are two reasons for it. One is my commute for work. When it rains the commute becomes hell. The second is trekking. When it rains on a trek, life becomes difficult again. But monsoons are beautiful if you are not trekking or commuting. I was doing neither on my vacation at Suryagarh, Jaisalmer. I was doubly lucky as I was invited to a blogger’s FAM.

Boys with a Camel, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

A Boy with Camels, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

We were clicking pictures by the side of the road after stopping the SUV. Out of nowhere suddenly this boy with the camels came into the view. But what happened afterwards is a clear indication of how far India has to go. He saw us clicking pictures with our fancy cameras. He came near us and asked for money, not because we clicked the picture but because he needed it probably. Or because tourists in the past gave money to him.

Monsoon Skies, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Monsoon Skies, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan 

I have been to Rajasthan in October and January. The land dons an ocher cover, the skies are deep blue. It was a pleasure to see the greens in the desert this time. The clouds of course added to the drama.

A Ploughed Filed, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

A Filed at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Manvendra Singh Shekhwat, the owner of Suryagarh was driving the vehicle. He mentioned that the rains have been so good in the past years that people have started farming. This he said, was leading to a shortage of stone masons which has been the traditional occupation in the region.

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Jaisalmer in Monsoon, Rajasthan

With the rains the land was turning green, it was shedding the ocher temporarily. It was a little after this place we spotted a Great Indian Bustard, which is on the critically endangered list.

Drama in the Sky, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Drama in the Sky, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

We would stop the SUV in middle of nowhere if we thought it would make for an interesting picture. This has been my one of my most beautiful monsoon days, one that I am going to cherish for a long long time.

This post is part of Sky Watch Friday. Do check them out.

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How many times have you seen me doing a post on food? Almost zilch is the answer. My umpteen years of hostel food have killed all my taste buds. But this time at Suryagarh there was something about food that I could not ignore. So here I am, trying to pen some food thoughts. I have also been encouraged my reading The Young Bigmouth’s posts on food.

This was my second visit to Suryagarh and even on my first visit I was impressed by food, I remember their dahi ke kabab quite fondly. They are still as good. But something has changed. Food has become a religion at Suryagarh now. And guess what? When I tried saying no to a few dishes, the young man who was serving me said, “Ma’am that is not possible, you have to taste the food!” And taste I did, a lot of food, much more that I ever ate in such a short visit.

Food at Suryagarh

Food at Suryagarh

For me this much food is enough for the lunch (sedentary life and all) . But the rice dish was part of nth course of the late lunch I had after I arrived at Suryagarh. And when I tried to say no to some of the dishes you know what I was told! I should have actually clicked all the courses and I could have done a post with 50 different food items at least.

Evening Drinks at a Hillock in Jaisalmer

Evening Drinks at a Hillock in Jaisalmer

At Suryagarh they are an expert at arranging for drinks and food at exotic venues. So our wine and cheese platter was served on a hillock, which was a short drive away from the hotel. There was a musician too. Sometimes life can be good. I could have sit back and enjoyed. Instead I tried to capture the lightening and the beautiful night sky along with a glass of wine. I have not given night photography a serious thought  till now.

I often get to exercise my camera only on my trips. So, here I was instead of sitting and enjoying the breeze, wine, cheese, and music (in that order) I was struggling with a tripod, f stops, and manual focus. And to top it all even the best picture that I managed to capture (squint and see that faint lightening) turned out to so flat. I should have left the camera at the hotel and enjoyed the drink (the voice in my head tells me not happening).

The Dinner Setting Near the Hotel

The Dinner Setting, on Day 1 at the Hillock near Suryagarh

While I was roaming around the premises earlier in the evening. I saw many hotel staff walking up and down the nearyby hillock. It dawned on me quite late that this was actually our dinner venue. And this was not all.

The Music at the Hillock with Suryagarh as the Backdrop

The Musicians at the Hillock with Suryagarh as the Backdrop

There was music by Mr. Mehboob Ali and his group. You can see Suryagarh in the background. The food was more than 2 hour affair which was course after course after course of good food. And guess what it was not over, after food we went on the haunted trail.

The Halwai Breakfast, Suryagarh

The Halwai Breakfast, Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

The next day morning it was the Halwai breakfast. Have you ever seen so many sweets at a breakfast ever? And guess what? I have a sweet tooth too. Yet I had only one bundi ka ladoo (sedentary lifestyle once again, when I was active in sports I would eat as many as I could, I  miss those days). Then what looks like Besan Ka Ladoo is not  Besan Ka Ladoo. It is bundi ka ladoo only, beaten to pulp and then disguised as besan ka ladoo. There were seven women bloggers and one woman PR personnel and we shared one disguised bundi ka ladoo between us. Nakul, the operations manager at Suryagarh said it was a pity that 8 of us could not finish one ladoo!

Puris for Breakfast

Puri and Chana

I can’t remember when was it last that I had puri for breakfast. Sure it is deep fried. But so what. I told all the calories to be damned and gobbled it up. It was good, finger licking good. After many hours of eating breakfast we set out for exploring the temple trail (see here). We converted it into a exploration around the Desert National Park. That way I finally managed to skip lunch and I was happy for it.

The Dinner at the Kanoi Sand Dunes

 The Dinner at the Kanoi Sand Dunes

This was the setting for our dinner on the second night at Kanoi Sand Dunes. Do I say anything more? It was a Rajasthani dinner and the kadhi was out of this world. The music was out of this world and the setting was out of this world. Looking at this shot I am thinking I need to give night photography a serious try!

Finding Flowers in the Desert

The Napkin Setting

Next day I again managed to skip breakfast. I went to my favorite place instead. I convinced Karan, the GM of the property to let me do so. That he agreed was a small miracle.

Swimming Pool, Suryagarh

Swimming Pool, Suryagarh

My favorite place was the swimming pool. I managed to swim everyday while I was there. Even then I am sure I gained every kilo back that I lost on trekking. Most of the times I had the swimming pool to myself. Once there was a music concert for a few foreign guests was going on. So that is the connection between the swimming pool and food at Suryagarh.

Dessert in Desert

Desserts in the Desert

This was the very last bit of indulgence at Suryagarh. It was as delicious as it looks. I am not an ice cream person at all but I finished the ice cream. Enjoyed every bit of it. With this I come to an end of the food odyssey. In the end I did enjoy doing this post.

Late next week I am heading out to Thailand and Cambodia courtesy Tourism Authority of Thailand. And this time I am looking forward to doing a food post from that trip too.

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