A couple weeks ago, I was invited by the owners of Godunda Palace, Udaipur to experience luxe stay at this beautifuly fortress that’s surrounded by the beautiful Aravalli Hills.
Built in the 16th century, at the height of royal rule in Mewar,The Gogunda Palace is one of the very few fortresses in India that have been restored over years by talented artisans to retain their original flooring, murals, woodwork, artworks and even structure. This gorgeous yellow ocher fortress now nestles as an inviting edifice amidst pink bougainvilleas making a vivid portrait of sheer grandeur.
The 40 grand suites and rooms offer a treasure trove of experiences for connoisseurs of heritage, design and history, with each room / suite having unique art, murals and craftsmanship from the vast repertoire of Mewar’s ancient art forms.
While the restored Gogunda Palace is a fortress waiting to be discovered with ancient doors, jharokhas, miniature windows, turrets, passages and secret tunnels, it is also a scenic and peaceful getaway from the hustle bustle of city life. Surrounded by the Aravalli range and the scenic farm lands of Gogunda, this destination hotel is the perfect escape into a world of history revisited with all the luxurious, modern day fittings as well as an idyllic poolside, yoga sessions and a quintessentially Rajasthani décor spa (opening shortly).
Its three lush courtyard gardens and rooftop spaces lend themselves to make the most beautiful backdrop for intimate wedding functions, celebrations and destination events for a select group.
Gogunda Palace boasts of a royal Rajput repast that is inspired by “Mewar” royalty’s favourite meats and vegetarian dishes, reminiscent of days where slow charcoal fires cooked game and recipes were handed down over generations to create dishes that are fragrant from flavouring ittars like chameli and juhi.
The Gogunda Palace is a property of the Gandhi Mining Group (Mumbai) and is managed by Amritara Private Hideaways.
RaajTilak Suite MaharanaPratap Coronation Suite
The RaajTilak suite was the celebrated venue that witnessed the magnificent coronation of Kunwar Pratap Singh, giving him the title of MaharanaPratap. Elegantly adorned with hand-painted murals, hand carved wood, stone and marble, this suite stands out for its lowered entrance way (As this was the venue for his coronation, it was decreed that no one should be in a position to have his head raised in front of him, thereby making the door low so they all entered with their heads deferentially bowed).
The RaajMahal suites blend vivid colour, rich upholstery with marble, wood and stone accents to make every room inviting and comforting. The bathrooms rival their opulence with marble inlay patterns as well as marble carved shower bases handcrafted by local artisans. The walls are adorned with murals or mirror work with traditional jarokhas that house small niches, to create natural mood lighting.
Separate living and sleeping rooms offer families the privacy they need. The inner most rooms are reserved for slumber as they are known to remain cool in the summer and warm in the winters.
The best of Rajasthan and Gogunda come together bringing you rooms and suites with hand painted walls, old murals and palatial bathrooms.
Heritage Suites and Palace Rooms
Old world charm and the potent spell of old Rajasthani charm beckon you into the Heritage suites. High ceilings, graceful décor, four-poster beds, marble carved shower trays and bathrooms with patterned marble decorate these luxurious spaces.
The Heritage Quarter
Rajput royal cuisine is modelled on royalty’s favourite past-time – hunting. Initially created to make game meat taste good, these recipes now feature even vegetarian dishes with equal elan. Dal mewari, diljani, gate kisabzi, laalmaas, imarti with rabdi. The grand royal ceremonial repasts speak of days where slow charcoal fires cooked the game. When generations of hands flavoured curries. The slow-burning fire (aanch) was most suitable for imbuing the exotic royal dishes with exotic flavours (ruaab). They either boiled, cooked by dum (by sealing the dish with wheat paste and allowing the food to cook in its own juices) or they slow roasted over a low flame for hours, sometimes even overnight. Now a dying art, the Gogunda Palace chefs work hard to keep it alive with fresh, seasonal ingredients, traditional cooking utensils and their slow, unhurried marination and preparation.
A connoisseur’s selection of wines and spirits makes this poolside bar a royal retreat to enjoy a lazy sundowner or an afternoon cooler.
While visits can be organised to destinations around Gogunda such as Udaipur City 40 kms, HaldiGhati 40 kms, Eklingji temple 40 kms, Ranakpur temple 55 kms, Kumbhalgarh Fort 65 kms, NathdwaraShrinathji temple 65 kms , Mount Abu 125 kms, Chittorgarh fort 150 kms.
For a true experience of the region, indulge in a Village Walk in Gogunda, a visit to the Bhiil farms, local potters, UdaiSinghji Chhatri, a visit to Myra ki Gufah or an adventurous Jeep Safari in the Aravalli Hills.
Name: Gogunda Palace
Address Rajputon Ka Mohalla, Gogunda 313705
Social Media @gogundapalace, #gogundapalace
Tariff: INR 8000 – 20000 Per Room Per Night + Taxes.
GOGUNDA PALACE: HISTORY
Through Wars and Valour
Most palaces were built to house royal families. But some of them, like the glorious Gogunda Palace, was built as part of a war strategy. Situated in the Aravalli hills, it was here that Maharana Pratap Singh was crowned in 1572 and it is why, among other reasons, Gogunda has played an important role in Mewar’s history. In November 1567, the mighty Akbar attacked Mewar, laid siege on Chittorgarh and sent his army to Udaipur to capture and kill Maharana Udai Singh II and his family. In the absence of great cavalry and artillery, MaharanaUday Singh II moved to Gogunda – a “van durgh” (a forest protected area) with 15km of impassable forest around it.
The founder of Udaipur, Maharana Udai Singh II died here (1572) and his eldest son and successor, MaharanaPratap Singh ascended the throne.
Being on the road between Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh, Gogunda became a tactical centre for wartime logistics.Maharana Pratap Singh made Gogunda the capital of Mewar until the city of Udaipur was built, which then became the new capital.
As Akbar sent his powerful army, MaharanaPratap decided to oppose them by using guerilla warfare and made Gogunda his base. He also held his final war council here prior to the Battle of Haldighati (June 1576) often referred to as the Battle of Gogunda. The Mughals conquered Gogunda, but the Rajputs retaliated by disrupting their supply chain and claiming it back.