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Delwara

Located in the Aravalli hills of Rajasthan and home to the fort-hotel RAAS Devigarh, the picturesque farming village of Delwara commands one of the three main passes into the valley of Udaipur. Built in the 18th century and once home to the rulers of Delwara, RAAS Devigarh perfectly captures the magic of rural Rajasthan and it is one of Ampersand’s favourites hotels. This magnificent fort-hotel is perched on a hillside overlooking the colourful village of Delwara, a gentle stroll away.

Delwara is easy to explore on foot and the village itself boasts four 14th century Jain temples, which formed the inspiration for the famous temples of Dilwara near Mount Abu. Known as the “town on the gods”, Delwara once boasted over 1,000 temples, of which 400 were Jain Mandir Temples. Though many have turned to ruins, today every street in Delwara has at least one temple. Aside from temples, other highlights in Delwara include the Indra Kund, a lovely Step Well with beautiful carvings, and Audhi, which is an old hunting tower on Kantya Hill with panoramic views.

Delwara’s community is varied, made up of Jhalas (Rajputs), Patels, Gametis (Bhil tribe), Muslims and Jains. An NGO called Seva Mandir has helped Delwara develop sustainably as a socially, historically and environmentally-aware village. They run excellent personalised village walks by a small number of well-trained trained locals, as well as a patchwork program called Sadhna Workshop to generate income to promote women’s empowerment. Today, this initiative has transformed into a self-owned enterprise involving more than 600 women from various villages.

Delwara offers visitors a rare glimpse of authentic small-town life without the hordes of tourists found elsewhere in Rajasthan. Although now a destination in its own right, it is also an ideal base for exploring Rajasthan’s most romantic city, Udaipur, which is just 45 minutes’ drive from Delwara; in this peaceful rural oasis, you are far enough away from the bustle, but within easy reach of some fascinating forts, palaces and temples, such as 1st century temples of Nathdwara and Eklingji. Further afield you can take a day trip to Kumbhalgarh and Chittorgarh Forts or the elaborately carved Jain temple in Ranakpur.

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