In the heart of the Golden Triangle of Delhi-Jaipur-Agra lies the 14th century fort of Kesroli that has been converted into a five-star property
If you happen to be a heritage-lover, this can be one of your ideal weekend getaways. Not only do you get to visit one of the oldest heritage sites in India where you can stay, you have the option of using it as the base to get to Sariska Tiger Sanctuary, Kankwadi Fort, Neelkanth Temples, Pandupol , monuments of Tijara, Siliserh and Jaisamand lakes, Bhangarh- Ajabgarh, the hot springs of Talvriksh, Rajgarh, Machari, Viratnagar, Deeg, Bharatpur Sanctuary and the Jat mud fort of Govindgarh.
Kesroli, around 135 km from Gurgaon, is located in the heart of the Golden Triangle of Delhi-Jaipur-Agra and is famous for its 14th century hill fort. Sited atop the rare and dark Hornstone Breccia rocks, Hill Fort Kesroli commands a splendid agrarian view from its ramparts which rise to 50-65 m. The origins of the seven-turreted fort can be traced back to over seven centuries and is believed to have been built by the Yaduvanshi Rajputs who claim descent from Lord Krishna but later converted to Islam in mid-14th century. They were called Khanzadas thereon. Subsequently, the fort changed hands,conquered first by the Mughals and then the Jats, before reverting to the Rajputs in 1775 when the princely state of Alwar was founded. Kesroli witnessed its golden period under Ranawat Thakur Bhawani Singh (1882-1934) who was renowned for his equestrian skills.
It was in 1995 that the restoration process of the fort began and it opened doors for guests three years later under the aegis of Neemrana Hotels. The interior gardens, both in the mardana (men) and the zenana (women) quarters are refreshing and intimate. But one thing you need not miss is admire the spectacular sunset here. You can also go for long walks amid the mustard fields around the fort and enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you happen to be a book-lover then you can catch up with your reading here at the fort library.
At present, the Hill Fort Kesroli has 21 rooms including three grand rooms, 11 suites and seven rooms. A swimming pool and a massage service have been recently added for rejuvenation. After you have energised yourself with the countryside oxygen, you can plan treasure hunts for kids, play musical chairs and lose some calories instantly else choose to exercise the rejuvenated brain cells and play chess, carrom board or cards. A swimming pool and a massage service have been recently added for rejuvenation. The Hill Fort Kesroli has a private cliff pool situated at the back of the fort with countryside views of the colourful mustard fields.
Over the weekend, you can visit Kankwadi Fort located in Sariska Tiger Reserve. Founded by Jai Singh II as famine work, it was briefly used by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century to imprison his brother Dara Shikoh in the struggle for the succession to the Mughal throne. Else get to Pandupol or the bridge used by the Pandavas who spent part of their time in exile incognito. Another legend claims that it was at Pandupol that Lord Hanumana defeated Bheema, the most powerful of Pandava brothers, and curbed his pride.
At present, the Hanuman Temple has a giant idol of Lord Hanumana and inside its premises, langurs, macques and several species of birds can be spotted. However, one of the best places to get to is Talvriksh, around 10 km from Sariska, known for its hot water sulphur springs with healing capabilities. But don’t expect a fancy five-star centre with healers and beauty treatments as it is located in a small village.
Sariska Tiger Sanctuary, Alwar city, Siliserh Lake, Jaisamand Lake, Neelkanth Temple, Bhangarh and the monuments of Tijara are also worth a visit, especially if you happen to be in the vicinity.