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September 21, 2022 - Myths, murder, modern-day magic
“Worship me!” is a clumsy translation of the request made by goddess Chauth Mata to Chauhan ruler Maharaja Bhim Singh in his dream sometime around 1451. Many legends intertwine with the history of Six Senses Fort Barwara – what happened next?
Constructed during the 14th century on a 5.5-acre site and encompassed by 20-foot-high rock walls, Fort Barwara, along with neighboring Chauth ka Barwara Temple, is one of the most mysterious and uniquely interesting spots in this part of Rajasthan. That’s why you must venture to the cozy communal lobby-lounge, the Rajawat Room, named after the present royal dynasty who conquered the fort in 1734. You will meet storyteller Surya Pratap Singh for the Heritage and Rewilding Walk there. Through an impressive mustache that alludes to his own royal lineage, he eloquently peels back the layers of the fort’s history, packing each century full of cherry-picked anecdotes and myths. You may want to stay a while, so enjoy the slow life by considering the Extended Stay offer too.
To understand the ethos of Fort Barwara is to understand the folk symbols and local religious motifs surrounding it, even in its modern avatar as a luxury hotel and heritage property.
Let’s start with the Chauth ka Barwara Temple. It was decreed by goddess Chauth Mata to the Maharaja Bhim Singh in his dream. Her wish to be worshipped was the king’s command. The Chauth ka Barwara Temple was built. And still today, it stands proudly on a hilltop 1,100 feet above the Barwara village and is clearly visible from the north ramparts of the fort, which has served to protect it for all these years.
Another legend about the temple dates back to 1567. Rao Surjan Hada, the then King of Ranthambore, was suffering from an incurable disease. His wife came to the Chauth ka Barwara Temple, her eyes covered with a red cloth throughout her journey. Once she reached the temple, she took the fabric off, which fell to the feet of goddess Chauth Mata. On her return, she tied the cloth onto Rao Surjan’s hand. He made a complete recovery – and repaired the temple.
Over the centuries, multiple dynasties have ruled different parts of India. Fort Barwara has seen its fair share of action (including being conquered by the Rajawat Dynasty, which shares the same lineage as the present family, from the Hadas in 1734). This is an opportunity for Surya to share why the buildings are structured as they are.
Not everyone had the same ideology about warfare. Some dynasties were not content with killing the king but would kill the line of succession and take the remaining women into their harem. That’s why Fort Barwara was divided into two, to host diplomatic relations with neighboring dynasties in one palace while keeping the women and children hidden and safe in another.
The Rajawat Room is part of the former Mardana Mahal (the male palace), whereas Six Senses Spa is housed in the Zenana Mahal (the women’s palace), with access through a vestibule to ensure the privacy of the women inside. From the arched entrance of the spa’s baradari-style structure, there is a window known as a taak that houses a Ganesha painting.
The original features, including the Shekhawati-style frescoes, are still intact. The shimmering central pool in the courtyard where the sunlight falls on unbroken columns adds to the notion of self-care. The meditation area also features a sculpture of Vishnu resting in shavasana, cradled inside the coil of his ardent devotee, Sheshanaga.
There is even a hidey hole for the heirs. Honestly, for anyone under 5 years of age, this is the best space in the fort!
As already mentioned, the fort has been home to the current family since 1734. During World War II, Raja Man Singh, from the noble family of Barwara along with the Jaipur State Armed Forces, fought alongside the British. His grandson, Prithviraj Singh, started restoration work on the fort a little over a decade ago under the leadership of Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri, known and respected for their conservation work in overseeing the architectural design.
Outside the fort, the protected land to the east is being rewilded to remove invasive plants, replant endemic flora, and bring back birdlife, jackals, and leopards, vital for rebalancing the ecology. Inside the historic fort, three buildings that traditionally accommodated the common, men’s and women’s palaces, and two temples have been preserved and restored.
There are 48 newly designed one-bedroom suites housed within the fort’s walls and five specialty suites. These include the Raja Man Singh, our royal suite, the Rani Rajkumari Suite, named after his wife, and the Thakur Bhagwati Singh, named after his son and the present owner’s father, who was responsible for the reconstruction of the temple and the establishment of the Chauth Mata Temple Trust.
As you wander the corridors and terraces of Six Senses Fort Barwara, you are continually transported back in time. In this Golden Age of Indian heritage hospitality, there is a relic, fresco, or artifact at every turn. However, you are gently drawn back to the present with state-of-the-art amenities, pioneering wellness, including a biohacking menu, and innovative cuisine concepts.
Sadly, the beds are just too comfy for any goddess visitations at night!
Enjoy slow life at Six Senses Fort Barwara. Book your stay for a minimum of three nights to take advantage of one complimentary Six Senses Signature Spa treatment and dinner for two during the stay.
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Join us at Six Senses Fort Barwara this October and enjoy our exclusive offer when you stay two nights or more. Celebrate our first anniversary and create memories for a lifetime.
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