|Devi Garh Palace|
|Location||Delwara, Udaipur, Rajasthan|
|Owner||Walled City Hotels Private Limited|
|Management||Walled City Hotels Private Limited|
|Number of suites||39|
|Number of restaurants||1|
Devi Garh Palace is a heritage hotel and resort, housed in the 18th-century Devi Garh palace in the village of Delwara. It was the royal residence of the rulers of Delwara principality, from mid-18th century till mid-20th century. Situated amidst in the Aravalli hills, 28 km northeast of Udaipur, Rajasthan, Devigarh forms one of the three main passes into the valley of Udaipur.
In 2006, The New York Times named it as is one of India's leading luxury hotels, and Frommer's Review, while calling it "the best hotel on the subcontinent", stated that "Devi Garh is more than beautiful, it is inspiring.". In 2008, it was featured in Lifestyle Channel Discovery Travel and Living series, 'Dream Hotels' spread over five continents, other two Indian hotels that made it to the list of 55, were Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, and Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Delwara, nestled in the Aravali hills, is about 28 km away from Udaipur and close to Eklingji Temple on way to temple town of Nathdwara. Delwara was originally known as ‘Devkul Patan Nagri’ which means the town of god, boasted of over 1500 temples at one time, out of which there were about 400 Jain temples. The ancient Jain temples of Delwara, now in total ruins, were built during the reign of Emperor Samprati (224-215 BC). He was grandson of Emperor Ashok and son of Ashoka’s blind son Kunal. Samprati became the Emperor of entire western and southern part of India (Maurya Empire) and ruled from Ujjain. It is said that Samprati, also known as ‘Jain Ashoka’, built thousands of Jain temples in India. It may be noted that all the ancient Jain monuments of Rajasthan and Gujarat, including the Jain temples at Delwara (Mewar), are also attributed to Emperor Samprati.
During 12th century, Rao Samant Singh of Jalore had four sons – Rao Kanhadeo, Maldeo, Raningdeo and Sagar. Rao Kanhadeo and his son Kunwar Viramdeo were killed in a battle against Allauddin Khilji in 1311, while Rao Maldeo and Rao Raningdeo ruled smaller Jagirs in Jalore. It is believed that Rao Sagar was given the Jagir of Delwara, as the adjoining areas of Girva (Udaipur) were ruled by Deora Chauhans until 14-15th century.
Around middle of 13th century, Raja Sagar, a Deora Chauhan and a descendant of Rao Kirtipal of Jalore was a very brave king of Delwara. He was the progenitor of Bachhawat Mehtas. Raja Sagar was blessed with three sons - Bohitya, Gangadas and Jaisingh. Whenever there was invasion from Muslims, Rana Jaitra Singh (1213–53) and later his son Rana Tej Singh (1262–73) called Raja Sagar for help in the battle. Raja Sagar always came along with army and fought valiantly against the invading Muslims.
Later, the Kingdom of Mewar was divided into 16 first grade thikanas or districts. Delwara was one of the 16 Rajwadas, along with Badi Sadri and Gogunda. Delwara was ruled by Jhala Rajputs from 15th Century onwards. The ancestor of the family was Raja Raj Singh of Halvad (Dhrangadhara), son of Harpal Singh Makwana. Jhalas performed meritorious service in Mewar along with Maharana Kumbha (1433–68). During the reign of Maharana Udai Singh I (1468–73) sons of Raja Raj Singh, Ajja and Sajja, came to Mewar. The Maharana granted the Jagir of Delwara to Kunwar Sajja and that of Bari Sadri to Kunwar Ajja Singh. Ajja fought alongside Maharana Sangram Singh I (1509-1527) and against Babur in 1527 at the Battle of Khanwa. When Maharana Sangram Singh (Rana Sanga) was wounded on the battlefield, Ajja donned the Maharana's tunic, which kept the Mewar army together but proved fatal for Raj Rana Ajja, who died in the battle. As many as 7 generations of the Jhala family had been sacrificing their lives for Maharanas of Mewar. Later, the second wife of Maharana Udai Singh II (1537–72) was a daughter of Raj Rana Jait Singh of Delwara.
The principality of Delwara was given out to Raja Sajja Singh, one of the lieutenant of Maharana Pratap, after the 'Battle of Haldighati' in 1576. First a rudimentary palace was built by Raghudev Singh II, which was later revamped a few years later in 1760s for a royal visit of the Maharani of Udaipur. The seven-storeyed hilltop fort palace in Rajasthani architecture was built in the 1760s.
Two centuries later, it was in ruins and empty for 20 years, when it was acquired by Poddars, an industrial family from Shekhawati region in 1984. The restoration took over 15 years and a team of 750 people, led by architect Gautam Bhatia and architect Navin Gupta. The interior spaces were redesigned in minimalistic style by Mumbai-based interior designer Rajiv Saini, to turn this palace into an all suite luxury hotel, complete with a spa and Ayurvedic retreat, today it is considered one of India's best designed hotels.
Visitors and events
In 2004, it came into limelight with British model-actress Liz Hurley and her NRI boyfriend Arun Nayar's visit to the Devigarh Palace to celebrate the latter's birthday. Since then it has also been visited by Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Fardeen Khan, and the Ambani brothers.
Located 28 km northeast of Udaipur, on the road between Udaipur and the religious township of Nathdwara, Devi Garh is a 45-minute drive from the city.
- New York Times Review - Devi Garh Archived 11 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine The New York Times.
- Arabian Nights The Dragon's Playground: Exploring Asia with Panache, by Christine Meaney, Various. Published by PPP Company Ltd, 2005. ISBN 988-98225-7-1. Page 164.
- Devi Garh, one of India's top hotels. The New York Times, 20 November 2006.
- Discovery brings home global Dream Hotels from 21 Aug The Economic Times, 13 August 2008.
- "Slip into the past with a trip to Devigarh". CNN-IBN. 20 December 2007.
- Where the past meets the future The Hindu, 9 July 2005.
- Rajasthan & Gujarat handbook, by Roma Bradnock, Anil Mulchandani. Published by Footprint Travel Guides, 2001. ISBN 1-900949-92-X. Page 202.
- ...The Mumbai-based Saini’s big moment was designing Devigarh Palace in Udaipur. Indian Express, 3 August 2008.
- India: Palace hotel with a minimalist twist The Daily Telegraph, 6 Feb 2001.
- Devi Garh Frommer's India, by Pippa De Bruyn, Keith Bain, Niloufer Venkatraman, Shonar Joshi. Published by Frommer's, 2008. ISBN 978-0-470-16908-7. Page 463.
- Devi Garh Best designed wellness hotels 1.: Indien, Südostasien, Australien, Südpazifik, by Martin Nicholas Kunz. Published by Birkhäuser, 2002. ISBN 3-929638-90-8. Page 28-30.
- India: decoration, interiors, design, by Henry Wilson. Published by Watson-Guptill Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-8230-2513-6. Page 47.
- Hollywood diva Liz Hurley and her boyfriend Arun Nayar arrived at the majestic Devigarh Palace in Udaipur to celebrate the latter's birthday Rediff.com, 5 November 2004.
- Rajputana Royalty The Economic Times, 22 June 2008.
- Eklavya belongs to Amitabh Bachchan! Aprajita Anil, Indian Express, 16 February 2007.
- Official website
- India: Palace hotel with a minimalist twist at The Daily Telegraph
- Palace of dreams at The Times
- Devi Garh Location wikimapia