A few days ago, I took a trip to Jaisalmer and got a chance to stay at Club Mahindra’s resort. The journey was tedious and took an entire day, but it was totally worth it.
At Jodhpur airport, I was greeted with a quaint and old world charm. It was mid-day by now and the last leg of my journey was to be the longest, even though it was within the state. Coming from Bhopal, I’d to take two flights to reach here and by now I was eager to see the desert.
The road trip from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer was mostly uneventful and pleasant. We spotted a few camels and I noticed that other than Pokharan, there was no major settlement in between the cities. We’d also spotted a deer which was crossing the road right in front of us. Was lovely to see animals running loose and being carefree in their natural habitats. Crossing Pokharan left me with a sense of pride, and which Indian wouldn’t feel great to be have stepped into the soils of the place which was witness to out country’s scientific excellence!
We reached the resort by about 8 pm. It was a slow drive after sunset as being a desert area, there was a lot of dust in the air and visibility would become zero at times. Added to the fact that there were no street lights all through the highway, it was only wise to drive carefully.
The resort mainly caters to members of the Club Mahindra Membership which I realised is a very interesting and unique form of membership to a resort of this kind, in India. Before the trip, I had spent hours going through the website, awed by the beautiful locations and properties. I’d also checked out the Club Mahindra Review/Feedback section and honestly, was impressed at how satisfied people were, in their own words. In the website, apart from the photographs, what had caught my eye was the activities all the Club Mahindra properties had lined up for children. Usually, when on a vacation, parents spend more time worrying how to keep the children entertained, than enjoy themselves. The idea of activities for the children seemed like a good idea and I specifically wanted to know more.
Upon arrival, we were given a hearty welcome by the staff lead by resort manager, Mr Ghosh. It was dark all around except for inside the resort so we couldn’t really see much of the locales around the resort. The first impression of the resort was – warm, homely and becoming.
We were told that a special private dinner had been organised for us, on the poolside. We were to have a hearty meal of Rajasthani food, sitting by the poolside and watching local musicians & dancers put up a performers just for us. Wow, exciting!
Walking up the stairs, being led to my room, I noticed how the resort is also made of the same yellow coloured stones which the rest of Jaisalmer is. I learnt later that this was a palace and had been acquired few years ago, to be converted into a resort. That explains the royal feeling I got right from the moment I stepped into the place, and I am not exaggerating here.
Local artists had been invited to perform and they presented a gala selection of folk songs and traditional dances. The dinner began with soup and delectable range of starters which were so good that we more or less, had our fill with the starters itself. Imagine our surprise when the main course arrived and we were presented with big, heavy platters full of food traditionally Rajasthani food items! Even if I had not ODed on the starters or had not been so tired, there was no way I could have eaten even a quarter of this platter! Well, there is a reason this meal was meant for a queen, and I am just a common girl!
The next day, was bright and sunny. I woke up at six and opened the blinds to the window facing the inside of the resort. I had planned to see the view and go back to sleep but when did we always do things as planned? The view was spellbinding and in five minutes, I had changed and was out of my room, camera in hand.
Breakfast at the Club Mahindra resort in Jaisalmer was grand, and why not! Aren’t you supposed to eat the first meal of the day, like a king? After a night of good rest, I was hungry and tucked in as much as I could.
By 9 in the morning, we were ready to go for a day in Jaisalmer. The itinerary was elaborate and we were not sure if we could actually cover all the places. But, this was a trip of a lifetime and though I’ve been to other parts of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer had never happened before – so the chances of it happening again in the near future is honestly, dim. Nevertheless, we started off. The resort manager allotted one of the resort’s employees to accompany us and he proved to be the best guide we could have asked for.
We headed off to Gadisar Lake where we saw the first glimpses of Rangeelo Rajasthan. The premises were dotted with sellers selling their colourful wares from bed sheets, clothes, bags to umbrellas. There were sellers who were also selling door knobs, artifacts and coins! Moving on, we headed to Jaisalmer Fort. I was specifically excited about this since being a Bengali kid who grew up with a heavy dose of Satyajit Ray’s Feluda, to visit ‘Sonar Kella’ was no less than an achievement. Well, more on that in a different post. From the fort, we visited Patwon-Ki-Haveli and Oh My God, what an experience that was. Inside the fort, I noticed a lot of interesting graffiti on the walls of the houses.
In the second half of the day, we explored the (in)famous haunted village, Kuldhara and later went to the sand dunes for desert safari. We ended the day by watching the sunset, from the middle of the Thar desert, a first for me, before heading back to the resort.
Back in the resort we learnt yet another interesting thing. The restaurant, Jeeman, has theme dinners every night and that night, it was Halloween! Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much but I have been telling stories of that night ever since I’ve been back. Not only was the restaurant decor perfect, music on point and the food perfectly named for the theme, the staff were in the character of the them as well. The amount of trouble they must have all gone to, in making everything so perfect, is unimaginable. The atmosphere was eerie, to the point.
During the tour of the resort, we’d been taken to the activity room and it was a shame that I wasn’t a child anymore, because the this place was super interesting. From getting to learn crafts like painting, puppet making, etc to playing games, reading books, watching movies, cycling, etc, children had a packed schedule. The resort was so safe, and the staff so friendly that I could see people actually let their hair down and relax. Apart from us, all the guests were families and of all my travels, this was the first time I saw people actually rejuvenate. Early in the morning, couples could be seen taking their morning walk together, jogging, playing badminton, or just sitting together and soaking the sun. Children were having their own fun and no bothered parent was after them, keeping an eye. Children of stranger families were meeting for the first time and becoming friends, over a game of puzzle. Who knows, where these childhood friendships will go? Elders too, were not worried about their children coming to harm or causing any harm. The staff was always alert and careful. Happy children, happy parents, happy resort.
The next morning, we headed off to Jodhpur to catch our flights back home. While I was looking forward to be back home and with my husband, I left a bit of me back there. The royal resort, the way the staff pampered us, the beautiful architecture, and the relaxed environment refreshed me beyond words, despite it being such a short trip. A Club Mahindra Membership seems like the exact things families which love to travel together should subscribe to.
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