An Evening in Jodhpur @ Pal Haveli

There’s an old world charm that Jodhpur still holds intact. Growing up in this city was like living life out of history pages, with its palaces and its forts, its stonewalled lakes and its temples hosting within themselves several stories of valour and elegance, opulence and loyalty, abundance and draughts. And hence when some bank related work came up that called me back to the city again, during my birthday week, I thought of hanging out at a few sites that I really love visiting. A walk through the bustling market area around the clocktower, a visit to the Mehrangarh fort, and spending an early morning sitting by the Gulab Sagar lake, thus made their way into my to-do list.

Though my mental map was intact, the work that had bought me to the city kept me so occupied that I couldn’t go escape the call of duty. Amidst all the running around, I couldn’t visit any place, the July Jodhpur heat took a toll on my health, and I couldn’t spare even a day to enjoy the city by myself. I had lost all hopes of having any fun as even on my birthday, by the time I got free with all the tasks at hand, it was 7 in the evening. I was left with a throbbing headache and a sullen birthday, where it suddenly dawned upon me that growing old was probably like this – all work and no play!

It was then that my friend called me up. He asked me to just drive to the location he had Whatsapped me a second ago. It would take 15 minutes from my place, and as per him, could help me revive some sense of joy at growing old(er). I decided to oblige. How bad could this day get, anyway!

Driving down, I realised that the place was Pal Haveli, just walking distance from the Clock Tower. I had heard a lot about it from my friends, and even from colleagues who had visited the city. As I reached the place, and after having found a place to park the car in this narrow lanes of the old city, I could finally see what the buzz was all about.

The Haveli, was a well-lit, renovated old stone house, with butlers and bell-boys dressed in traditional attires. As one of them greeted me with a traditional Khamma Ghani, and led me to the lift, he also showed the place around a bit. I was here to dine at the roof-top dining place of the haveli, named Indique, but the haveli in itself is a three star hotel, with 20 odd rooms to house guests – in the traditional, regal – Rajasthani style of hospitality. He told me that most of the tourists who stayed there were foreigners, visiting the haveli for the “experience” it offered.

As the lift opened, and I walked out to the rooftop, I could feel happiness seeping back into the day. The view was simply stunning with the Mehrangarh Fort as the backdrop, the Gulab Sagar by the right hand side, and the well-lit clock tower in plain sight! Though the Haveli hosts a cool and tempting indoor fine-dining space, the charm of the rooftop experience was simply irresistible. The candle lit table was set, with Rajasthani folk music playing in the background. A good old friend to laugh at life as its turning out to be, awesome authentic Rajasthani food, an amazing birthday cake and an ambient space, in a city that I love the most – the day, and the week just ended perfect.

As long as growing old(er) meant having all such new experiences, I decided, perhaps it was not bad at all!

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