It’s usually the staff that first greets you when you check-in at a hotel or a resort property. But at Orchard Resort we were welcomed by a gorgeous peacock rambling around and that very moment I knew it’s going to be a great weekend amid nature.
Located in the Ganehra village of Pushkar, a rather inconspicuous gate opens to the Orchard Tents and Tranquility — 15 luxury tents set amid amla orchards. The property is open for guests between September and March which is also the high season for Rajasthan. The weather was perfect for our Pushkar sojourn and the Orchard Resort ensured that it was an exhilarating holiday.
For harried urban dwellers spending time amid acres of greenery and getting home style meals prepared with fresh ingredients is a luxury, Orchard is that luxury for travelers.
Rooms: The beauty of Orchard Resort lies in the fact that there are no rooms, but tents! I always wanted to go camping but never did for the fear of unkempt tents and shared bathrooms. However Orchard Resort offers spacious air-conditioned tents that have attached concrete bathrooms and all the five-star amenities. Each tent has a queen size double-bed and a beautifully done dressing area, with an extra bed. Done in Rajasthani style there are things that make the decor interesting— furniture that exudes old world charm, sitting area with low tables where you can sit and eat, game of Ludo for some fun time and an Indian-style bell that you ring for room service. There are no telephones or television but yes there is wi-fi and it’s free.
Farm-to-Fork: More and more hotels today are relying on serving food that uses fresh local ingredients, something that discerning travelers prefer. Orchard Resort sources most vegetables from its own gardens or local mandi (vegetable market). The food is simple and delectable. The restaurant- a circular tent- is called Golghar. We spent long leisurely hours at Golghar moving from soup to main course and dessert.
You must try their Rajasthani thali that not only looks sumptuous but is lip smacking. Orchard Resort, like most resorts in Pushkar, serves only vegetarian food ( though you have eggs on the menu), as it is a revered holy land that houses the only Brahma Temple in the world. Also it doesn’t serve alcohol. But trust us, you wouldn’t miss either.
Beyond Rooms: You don’t need fancy facilities when there are trees all around and birds to entertain you. The best thing to do during your stay at Orchard is to take long leisurely walks, pick some amlas and maybe learn a few things at their herb garden. There is a lounge-cum-library where you can read or get busy with indoor games such as Table Tennis and Carrom. You can try your hand at Archery or play a game of Badminton. There are also bicycles available on the premises for guests to explore the town on cycles — a fun and environment friendly way to do it. The resort organizes barbecue evenings where you can enjoy delish kebabs and some soulful folk music.
Do visit the Brahma Temple and Savitri Temple thats close by. Pushkar Lake which has 52 ghats is where many do the Pitra Paksh in remembrance of their ancestors. The resort arranges local guides that are reliable and well versed in history of the place.
What we enjoyed the most is the camel cart ride that the resort arranged for us to watch the sunset on the dunes. Watching the sun go down, walking barefoot on the sand while local singers play musical instruments is indeed the kind of magical moments that go down in travel diaries.
Pushkar is known for the annual Camel Fair that attracts many travellers and devotees every year. Its tough to get a hotel booking during this time and rentals are steep.
Baby-friendly: I was traveling with my three-month old baby and this resort is definitely baby-friendly. I could easily take strolls with my baby in the pram. The tents were big enough and the resort can provide a crib if you need. A fellow blogger friend had travelled the weekend before me to the resort with a toddler. She too agrees that the resort is great if you are traveling with kids. The friendly staff would even take care of my baby when I was busy with my long meals at the restaurant.
What really makes Orchard Tents and Tranquility a great stay option is its hospitality. The service is impeccable. Manager Harpalji, who has been with the resort since its inception personally takes care of all the guests. When I was hanging around the reception area, he narrated many stories about the sleepy town of Pushkar, the Brahma Temple and his stint at Orchard. Good travel places are where you will find great storytellers.
Affordable Luxury: The average room rent per night for Orchard Resort, offered by various booking portals, is Rs 6500 plus taxes. The resort also has a two night three day package for Rs 19,000 that includes all meals, pick and drop from the station and camel cart ride. At this price, considering these are luxe tents with all amenities thrown in, it’s an affordable luxury holiday that the resort is offering.
THE Tip: Remember you are amid lot of greenery, so carry mosquito repellent cream. Also Pushkar roads are bumpy, including the resort’s approach road so be prepared.