Mr. Noni Singh has done a beautiful job restoring, maintaining and expanding this old farmhouse (more like a castle!) and the grounds. He has sacrificed a lot to live his dream of running this farm and breeding his horses, so he's a host who is truly proud to welcome you to his place and wants to make the experience perfect and special for each guest.
The haveli is located about a 30 minute drive from Amritsar, set among rice paddy and pear orchards, with only one small village nearby for company. The estate has been added onto twice, so the property is divided into 3 basic sections, each with it's own swimming pool. We stayed in the original house, which is a brick fortress surrounding a large courtyard (outdoor restaurant) with stage for the nightly dancing, and a swimming pool. The rooms are well equipped, with double bed, single bed and refrigerator in each, along with table and chairs. The attached bath was clean, with 24/7 hot water. The bed was comfortable and felt clean. Our only complaint about the rooms is that because they are semi-underground with only two small grill windows it is always dark, it would be nice to be able to turn on more lights when needed. We had great sleep, but hard to wake up in that room cause you always feel it's night time! The bathroom is also very dark, would have loved to have a bright light above the mirror at least, for shaving, makeup etc. Anyway, a very small complaint, cause you would not want to sit in your room for long at this place! They have camels, and horses and goats and cows and a very good restaurant. We loved the tandoor and chicken tikka, as well as the breads.
The staff at Virasat tried to make each and every request of ours come true. They took us to plant rice in the neighbor's field, which led to some fun joking with the locals and we even got the field's owner to toss off his flip flops and join us planting rice for the first time in his life!
We got to help milk the cows each morning and evening and spent time with the horses and goats... we even had a kitten to play with one evening.
The driver they provided picked us up at the airport on time and took us for all the sight seeing and shopping we wanted, and also dropped us to the bus when we left. It was very convenient.
The place is great for solo travelers, couples, families, friends even for business men to meet up. A lot of large groups kept coming for pool parties which were catered by the restaurant and looked like a whole lot of fun!
Only word of warning, if you're an early sleeper, make sure you ask for a room away from all the music, they keep it pumping every night till about 11:30 pm!
Note: this is not a typical hotel or homestay. Mr. Singh has a unique arrangement where he charges only a flat fee for unlimited food, drink and transport, and doesn't charge for the room at all! He is really promoting Punjabi culture to outsiders and only offers rooms to people traveling there, not just for locals to come and stay (though locals can certainly come for a day party and use all the facilities) We found the arrangement to be very generous and we really appreciate Mr. Singh's hospitality and the great introduction to Punjabi culture, food, dress, music etc. We hope to come again soon!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This is an old heritage building converted to a comfortable home stay, with attached toilets and air-conditioned rooms, in a small village just 12km from Golden Temple outside Amritsar on road towards Delhi. Actually there is no room rent of this place, the charges are for all the three meals which are served here, there is nothing to pay extra for food & soft drinks, free pick-drop facility, visit to Golden Temple, local sight seeing and visit to Vagah border is all inclusive. This place has been approved by government under promotion of rural tourism, people can see how the people in villages of Punjab live. There are three fresh water pools here. You can also try your skills in horse riding and camel ride. There is a local tour conducted to see the village way of life, to see nearby pear and guava orchards. Early morning milking of cows and buffalos. One can also see village way of life here. ... more less