February 19, 2014
Rajasthan isn’t known as the land of kings for nothing: golden deserts stretch out into rolling hills of ruby-coloured earth, scattered with the barren glory of ancient ruins. What better way to explore this majestic landscape than to spend a night glamping in India, sleeping like royals beneath the stars? Indulge yourself in this unique desert experience in Rajasthan with our guide to India’s top luxury tented camps.
There’s nothing rudimental about camping at Aman i KhÃ¡s, a luxury wilderness resort situated on the outskirts of Ranthambore National Park. Between the opulent air-conditioned Mughal tents, (each furnished with a king size bed, twin writing desks and a private en suite bathroom), and the spa tent and private dipping pool, every imaginable creature comfort is catered for. Go rambling on a guided nature walk or take a safari excursion, and return for an evening spent communing with fellow travellers at the fireside.
Experience the royal treatment at Jhajhar KhÃ¡s in Shekhawati, where aristocratic grandeur meets the warmth of traditional Shekhawati hospitality. Hidden within nine acres of unspoilt land, this retreat provides an oasis of shelter and calm from the outside world.
The camp comprises eight cosy Shikar tents, a spacious veranda, and a beautiful dining room and lounge where guests may congregate. At the centre of the camp is a communal fireplace, where kindred spirits come together to enjoy local musicians and relax under a starry sky.
Claiming to be one of India’s original luxury tented camps, Sher Bagh is a glamping spot on the edge of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Individually hand-stitched tents evoke the nostalgia of campaign-style safari – though decked out with old-fashioned commodities, guests are free to venture out for a safari of their own on morning and evening drives around the local area. Don’t miss the Sher Bagh Jungle Spa under the boughs of an ancient Peepal tree, where therapies include full body massage and traditional reflexology treatments.
The Manvar Desert Camp offers further proof that eco-consciousness doesn’t need to mean sacrificing on style. Buried among the golden sand dunes of the Thar Desert, Manvar is bigger and more isolated than most tented camps, and includes 30 lavishly decorated tents in the main camp, with a further 10 deluxe tents situated 400m away. Highlights include traditional Rajasthani music and dancing around the campfire, and camel rides at sunset.
The beautifully romantic tents of Chhatra Sagar encapsulate the spirit of camping in Rajasthan. Each hand-stitched tent is uniquely palatial, comprising a fusion of modern luxuries, locally crafted furniture, and floral prints on the canvas walls. All tents benefit from their own private deck, where you can enjoy mesmerising vistas of the lake imbued with pink and gold at sunset.
Mealtimes at Chhatra Sagar are a family affair: traditional recipes passed down through the generations, and prepared using fresh, local farm produce. Dine in the splendid communal tent overlooking the lake, or else by the campfire, beneath the canopy of stars.
Not quite the dangerous den of big cats it might sound, the Jawai Leopard Camp comprises eight deluxe tents situated within a remote area on the outskirts of Rajasthan.
The latest innovation by the people who created Sher Bagh, the camp is designed to be environmentally sustainable and eco-conscious, where guests can enjoy private leopard safaris and luxury boutique accommodation. Each canvas tent is elegantly furnished with leather and stainless steel, while the dining tent offers a refined dining experience that does not compromise the remote nature of the setting.
Have you tried glamping in India? Or visited Rajasthan and experienced the royal treatment at any of these luxury tented camps? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Written by Elizabeth Gourd