HOME / HISTORY
We the Jojawar family welcome you to our very special place, and
the second property built after the Rawla Jojawar in the true tradition of
Rajput hospitality – Kesar Bagh
Though the word ‘Bagh’ literally means a Garden in Hindi, but here in
rural Rajasthan it also denotes a huge Hacienda like property in the
country of the once ruling feudal families. Kesar Bagh is one such oasis
where time and weather had taken a huge toll on the old buildings and the
orchards. The rain water gushing down from the Aravallis Hills in the
monsoons had breached the lake’s earthen dam on the banks of which once
stood the old and grand Kesar Bagh. The present Rao Sahib of Jojawar –
Maharaj Singh ji eager to restore the old traditions of the land and his
family, recreated the new Kesar Bagh right where the old buildings once
stood, but incorporated a few changes seeing to the modern times. Forest
is allowed to take over what was farm and orchard to give the visitor a
feeling of harmony and fulfillment by being in nature.
A stay at Kesar Bagh is a throwback to the laid back and indulgent life
style of the bygone era. The reversal of time feels so complete with
vintage cars taking you for spontaneous drives, mustached butlers waiting
by you in their starched bush coats, their turban tails flapping away
in the evening breeze, the entire estate with its fruit trees and forest
set amidst rural Rajasthan – and so far, far away from any major roads or
development, that one cannot help but relax and rejuvenate in its charm.
The warm sun, conversation and relaxed sundowners punctuated with
impromptu excursions, is the call of the day here.
We are Nagendra Singh and Amitvikram Singh Jojawar. The Rawla Jojawar in
the Jojawar town has been home since 1780. Our parents Rani and Rao sahib
Maharaj Singh ji have been the inspiration in our venture. These family
run hotels are also our homes, Vedehi and Kirti, our wives are the
‘Operation Heads’ at both the places. We all hope that you would give us
an opportunity to serve and show you our land and its people, and that you
take back pleasant memories of Jojawar with you.
The two residences of Kesar Bagh and Rawla Jojawar are our labour of love,
and lots of different people besides our family have come together to make
the Jojawar territory a destination and not merely a place to stay for the
tourist. Inspired by our father Rao sahib Maharaj Singh ji our endeavor is
to connect more and more people and communities living in the country
around Jojawar, in isolated homesteads and hamlets and are living a dying
lifestyle and practicing old professions like sheep and camel herding, but
with a culture so varied and colourful that it would have been a pity to
see them change. We have been successful to a great degree to encourage
them to continue to live on there and carry on their ancient ways by
sharing the profits of one of our major attractions – Jeep and Horse rides
into the country.
All the staff here are locals and their employment here has helped them
decide to stay on right at home rather than follow the crowds of job
seekers to the cities. The entire staff is from the town and its
neighbouring country. They are all trained in various fields of the hotel
and are constantly transferred so as to keep the job interesting.
With 10 air conditioned guest rooms, each lavishly appointed with its own
balcony and luxurious bathrooms, having views of the stunning forest
covered Aravalli Hills and the surrounding countryside, satiates your
craving for harmony and balance.
Complete the feeling of relaxation here by indulging yourself in our spa
treatments. The Spa is equipped with a stem bath, Jacuzzi, beauty salon
and a gymnasium. Besides, you have choice of venues for the treatment of
your choice – by the poolside, on the terrace enjoying the views, in the
massage room itself or maybe in the shady grove by the water. We offer
international massages with lovely perfumed oils.
Or just take a relaxed swim in the pool with its terrace overlooking the
Meal times are celebrations here - accompanied by the haunting melodies of
Ratno Jogi the local devotional singer who is usually asked to sing all
night long at the shrines of folk deities, or by the gusty drum beats and
the uplifting love songs of a Langa band – a tribe dedicated to music from
the deserts of western Rajasthan, the atmosphere is defiantly vibrant.
Added to that are exotic recipes from the family kitchen like khad murgo
or the bajre ro soyhito (?) – totally unheard of and simply heavenly. A
few western dishes are blended in for those not too adventurous. After
dinner coffees or drinks can be enjoyed on the terrace by the water, where
the gentle sounds of nature take over the musicians entertaining you
earlier in the evening. Sounds of crickets and frogs form a background to
calls of Jackal, or Lapwings rising up in alarm from one dark side of the
lake probably at the sight of a Jungle Cat, or maybe a distant haunting
‘laugh’ of a Mottled Owl.
RETURN TO NATURE
Kesar Bagh is a total effort to respect our environment. All of us
here being wildlife and nature enthusiasts, this ‘effort’ was but
pleasure. A natural forest is allowed to take over the estate creating a
natural habitat although small, to the local fauna, we’ve coordinated with
the Forest and Wildlife Services in planting the estate with grass, herbs,
and trees found in the neighboring forests. The water that the earthen
dam holds after the monsoons recharges the ground water in the dry months.
The building is built on a low technology platform using recycled wood and
stone material wherever possible, minimum machines were used during
construction which was done by local masons and labour, thereby involving
our community in the venture. Built on the principles of Vaastu, the
building makes most of the sun and wind to control the temperature and
reliance on air-conditioning & heating is reduced.
Kesar Bagh is committed to being chemical & plastic free and we use
natural products wherever possible. We source all our food locally to
support the community. A bio gas plant, solar power for water heating and
lighting in public areas has successfully saves about 35% energy. All this
is done in an effort to Go-Green so as to leave a minimal impact on the
surrounding farmland and forests.
All gray water is recycled through soak pits and then used for the garden.
The 150 acre farm has been returned to the wild. Wild trees and
plants have been planted in the entire estate in the hope that it’ll
create another habitat although small for wildlife from the nearby
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Preserve, boundary of which is barely a mile away.
The earthen dam is restored but the height considerably reduced to allow
most of the run off to flow on to the farmlands downstream, but hold
enough water to attract birds, waterfowl and animals to it. The very
common Nilgai Antelope, Indian Jackal, Wild Boar have made the estate
their home and can be seen quite often. The Indian Striped Hyena, or an
occasional leopard make their nocturnal visits to water here.
With over two hundred species of birds in the area, Birders would be
enthralled by the sheer multitude of avian wildlife just within the
estate, thickets in the nearby Wildlife Preserve would further yield rare
species like the Blue Throated and the Asian Paradise Flycatcher,
varieties of White eyes and Red Starts, Silver bills and Prinias are there
in good numbers. Water bodies there host a multitude of water fowl in the
winters and if you are lucky you can even spot the very rare Indian
Skimmer as it gently skims the water surface feeding.
One can go hiking into the forest with one of our staff guides for
assistance or take a jeep to cover a bigger area.
Explore the country around the Bagh in style in our Chevy 1934 or a vintage Land Rover. The territory around boasts of very interesting
landscapes, with the picturesque Aravalli Hills in the east, and broken
rocky hills interspersed with farms and scrub forests all around. The Pre-
Cambrian Aravalli Hills are one of the oldest mountain ranges of the
world, and a geologist’s paradise. The camel herding Rabaris are an ethnic
group only to be found around Jojawar. All this makes our Jeep Safaris the
most popular excursion. Our specially designed late afternoon tours take
you to homesteads of these Rabaris, into farms, through pretty little
hamlets where time seems to have stopped, and we take a break under the
shade of a drooping acacias next to a very beautiful small shrine
dedicated to a folk deity – Mamoji, where terracotta horses are offered in
return of divine favours. Some routes had to be excavated so as to see as
much in the given time. Our endeavor is to make your excursions
interactive and not merely a drive in the country. Unlike any other, our
jeep safaris are undertaken in our own fleet of classic vintage vehicles –
which makes the whole experience very special. Longer rides to your taste
and ability are recommended for people staying longer.
The train route between the cities of Jodhpur and Udaipur goes up the
scenic Kambli Ghat Pass. One of our favorite excursions is this daily
train service from the station at the start of the hill section to the
highest station in the Aravallis – the Kambli Ghat station, or the other
way round. The engine laboriously and slowly pulls the train through the
most beautiful forests and hills that you get to see in the state, this
one hour ride is really unique as you even get to interact with the locals
who’ll readily share their seats with you and try their best to make
conversation with you while trying to suppress their surprise and
excitement of sitting next to a foreigner from far away lands! The drive
to and back from the stations in your resplendent vintage Chevy, taking a
break for tea and cucumber sandwiches at a tiny Forest Rest House. The
entire excursion is escorted by one of our staff guides who’ll fill you in
with all the stories and legends of the land, and if you are able to dig
deep - even the latest gossip going around his village!
We are proud owners of several prized Marwari Horses – this
indigenous breed of the desert is endowed with sublime beauty and an
honest and a bold spirit. Known in the annals of history for its
magnificence and loyalty onto death to its master – it was the true Rajput
warrior battle charger. It was capable of ripping through the enemy with
the same fiery energy as the Rajput warrior he was carrying. Individual
horses have saved their injured and unconscious masters by taking them out
of the battle to safety in spite of being mortally injured themselves.
These horses were as famous as the people who rode them. Even today one
feels the hot rush of blood in his veins as he mounts a ‘Marwari’.
Riding one of these legendary steeds from our stables is a way to get into
areas where no vehicle can go, accompanied by one of us family members
you’d not only be guided but introduced to the land and its people. Half a
day to Full day rides are recommended to the visitor. We specialize in
organizing long distance horse rides of 2 to 7 days