wealth and sophistication is an idyllic retreat for jaded minds and bodies. For here, amid tranquil surroundings, overlooking the lake, teeming with migratory fowls of every size and description, one can sip a lazy cup of tea and give in to one's wildest daydreams. For those in a mood for an active holiday, a dip in the palace pool, a game of tennis or squash, rowing and fishing are alternative pastimes. Besides, a stroll in the vast shrubby forest dotted with a variety of flora and fauna is enough to raise anybody's spirits.
The drive through mountain, desert, and farmland 100 km further leads to a cluster of Jain temples at one of the five most sacred Jain sites-Ranakpur. Four km away, nestling in the remote valley, surrounded by the wooded Aravali Hills, the mango orchards of Maharani Bagh provide a silent retreat for those visiting the renowned Jain temples. Open daily between noon and 5 pm, the temples with 29 halls supported by 1,044 pillars offer a great visual experience.
Maharani Bagh, the Queen's Orchard, was designed and laid out by the Maharani of Maharaja Takhat Singh of Jodhpur. As the sun dips into the desert horizon, leaving a trail of glorious light, special theme dinners in flaming torchlights are held. The smell of bar-be-qued food fills the air and tribal folks dance to the rhythm of the desert tunes.
HOW TO REACH
Sardar Samand Lake lays on the Jodhpur-Udaipur road. It is 62 km from Jodhpur. Another three-hour drive from Sardar Samand leads one to Maharani Bagh.
The nearest airports are Jodhpur and Udaipur.