From a ‘khandar’ to a Majestic Fort: A Tale of Genius and Wizardry

In just two decades, what was once simply ruins of a few hundred years, this hilltop has been turned into an awe-inspiring experience, giving you the feel as it has always existed since times immemorial! However, it has been built from scratch and imagination, innovation based upon whatever research revealed, an enviable venue for holidays, corporate events and meetings and memorable weddings.

“Without any existing original plans, the onus of completing and finishing a ruin was both challenging and rewarding. The needs of an early 19th century fort-palace were very different from what we need today, especially for the changed end-use of a building initially built for security and the heavy footprint of a royal lifestyle with an entourage. Today, it is the services in a large heritage hotel that must occupy a lot of space and these have been put underground or tucked away in distant corners. To tackle the whole thing together – as corporates and architects often do – is to magnify a problem which is already larger than life. While I have a broad, overall plan, I work in that direction, in great detail, seeing it from two viewpoints : one, the guest experience and two , the facility for our staff to serve so many people in such a sprawled out area. Common sense is of course the predominant guiding instinct, but a contemporised aesthetic within the broad idiom of Rajasthani architecture, in which I have worked for 40 years now, comes almost intuitively to me. When people stand in the newer sections and think that they were old, that is the only compliment that someone who is revitalising a ruin should accept. The fact that people  are mesmerised with their first sight of Neemrana or Kesroli –and now Tijara just on arrival, is a tribute to our continuously alive civilisation. I would have loved to see the faces of the same people had they arrived when I did and only the stark ruin full of bats, civet cats and snakes ruled the place. In Neemrana the ruin was used as an open toilet as villagers walked up with the lotas. We’ve come a long, long way!”

– Aman Nath in an exlusive conversation

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