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“A real dip into the faded grandeur of Rajasthan's past”

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Narayan Niwas Castle
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mahansar
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 16, 2010

Imagine owning the most enormous magnificent stately pile, slightly off the beaten track, but not having the money to turn it into a posh high class hotel. This really is an intrepid traveller's gain. What's happened with this fantastic fort palace is that just 12 rooms are open to visitors, hot water has to be brought to your room in a bucket (because this place is so huge that they can't afford to put in the necessary plumbing) and you dine with the family. But what an experience! A real dip into the past, with kindly hospitality and the pleasure of experiencing the real thing - no frills. It's a peek into the grandeur and glamour (if now faded and dusty) of how Rajasthani princes used to live! If you don't mind roughing it just slightly, don't give this experience a miss!

Stayed: December 2009
Thank ann1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
narayanniwasmahensar, Owner at Narayan Niwas Castle, responded to this reviewResponded August 27, 2015

Thank you very much for your review about Naryan Niwas Castle. We feel great to read superb comment by you. Hope to see you again at castle very soon

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66 - 72 of 92 reviews

Reviewed February 14, 2010

Where else can you be the guest of the eighth lineal descendant of the founder of a Rajput castle? This was truly a once-in-lifetime type of adventure. The Narayan Niwas Castle in the remote town of Mahansar is an experience for adventuresome travelers who want to get off the tourist mainstream. The owners were extremely gracious with their time. We spent many hours chatting with them about their community, their family history, and the Shekawati region. We stayed in one of their heritage suites, an elaborately decorated room that spoke of faded royalty. The view from the castle tower over the town and the nearby countryside is majestic. Mahansar is a fascinating town to wander about with several interesting building. It can also be used as a base to visit other Shekawati towns, especially Ramgarh. The delicious food is beautifully prepared from family recipes and one is likely to have some dishes not to be found elsewhere.
This is not a fancy place. The bathroom is clean but basic and the hot water is delivered in a bucket. So if modern Western conveniences are important to you, this would not be a good match. But we found the two nights we spent here to be truly magical.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank sptravelers5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
narayanniwasmahensar, Owner at Narayan Niwas Castle, responded to this reviewResponded August 27, 2015

Thank you very much for your review about Naryan Niwas Castle. It boost our energy to read superb comment by you. Hope to see you again at castle very soon

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2009

Stayed here one night as part of a self organised Shekhawati tour.

If you are looking for the genuine, authentic Shekhawati experience, this is the place. In one part of a large fort, in the middle of the dusty village of Mahansar, is this 12 room hotel run by the Thakur and his wife. It is much more like staying as a family guest than in a characterless hotel. The village has several painted havelis, including the best preserved gold painted frescoes in the region, temples and a totally unspoilt back-in-time feel. Ask the Thakur to arrange a local guide (150-200 INR for half day) to guide you round the village.

Rates for rooms, meals and drinks are all very reasonable. The cooking is famed throughout the area and I was not disappointed. The best food I ate in Rajasthan.

Opt for a suite rather than a room. They are huge, full of character and a bargain.

Mod cons are few. The bathrooms are quite basic, but hot water is available by the bucket and everything is clean. My suite was very comfortable, with lots of chairs, cushions and quilts. The bed was excellent and, with a plug in mozzie zapper, mosquitos were not an issue.

I cannot recommend this place highly enough. Staying here you really feel like you are ataying in a real living castle.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled solo
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1  Thank savvy_dave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
narayanniwasmahensar, Manager at Narayan Niwas Castle, responded to this reviewResponded August 27, 2015

Thank you very much for your review about Naryan Niwas Castle. It boost our energy to read superb comment by you. Hope to see you again at castle very soon

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2008

We were looking for somewhere to stay in Shekhawati at short notice and thought this place looked interesting based on the previous review. It didn't disappoint - we loved it and would like to have stayed longer if time had permitted. It was quite difficult to find as our driver didn't know the area and once we left the main road had to ask many people for directions. We arrived in what felt like a ghost town, wondering if it was indeed the right place. We were given a warm welcome by the owner and a brief introduction to the place. He had relatives staying for a family celebration so had only one room available for us which was up several flights of stairs in a little tower at the top of the castle with views over the surrounding area. It had original paintings on the walls, simply furnished yet comfortable - I loved it. The owner offered us the services of a guide that afternoon, which we accepted and soon realised it would have been pointless not to have one as the most interesting buildings are privately owned and not accessible to the general public. Our guide (Lal Singh) and his family also live in the castle so was very knowledgeable about the area. We had a wonderful home cooked meal that evening and breakfast before leaving early the next morning. I think this place is magical! It was a without a doubt the highlight of our time in Rajasthan.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank wmwmwmwmwmwmwmwm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
narayanniwasmahensar, Owner at Narayan Niwas Castle, responded to this reviewResponded August 27, 2015

Thank you very much for your review about Naryan Niwas Castle. It boost our energy to read superb comment by you. Hope to see you again at castle very soon

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2008

If you want an amazing 'out of this world' experience, head for this hotel.

I have visited India 11 times since 1982 and have stayed in many hotels throughout Rajasthan and UP. However I came across a real find on my last trip, which made a huge, lasting impression.

I travelled in January 08, with my husband and our 6 year old daughter (on her first visit), around Rajasthan and Punjab for 4 weeks.

I had wanted to visit the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan for years and finally made it there. The area is famous for its numerous 250 year old havelis (private mansion type houses), which were built by wealthy businessmen who prospered in this area, due to it being on the silk route. The interior and exterior of these havelis have been intricately painted by skilled artisans and many have fine, beautifully carved woodwork. This makes them unique and the area has been described by the UN as the only open air art gallery in the world. Although now the area feels quite deserted (as the businessmen and their families have left), it is still worth visiting for the architechtural gems to be found in this area.

We stayed for 5 nights in Narayan Niwas Castle in the small village/town of Mehansar. The hotel was briefly mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide and we expected it to be a run of the mill hotel. But we were in for a big surprise!

The hotel is in fact a huge fort built some 250 years ago. It boasts the most beautiful original paintings and woodwork I have come across. It has only been properly run as a hotel for the past few years and has a very uncommercialised air about it.

From the moment we arrived in the village and at the fort, we felt as if we had been transported back some 200 years into the past. The fort has the most atmospheric feel to it and the place is brimming full of 250 year old original art and woodwork. The hosts (the direct descendants of the family who built the fort) are so welcoming and friendly and go out of their way to make sure that you are comfortable.

There are 16 rooms in total and I would recommend staying in a suite (we stayed in number 1). Our suite was huge, with an outer courtyard, an inner courtyard, a bedroom and bathroom. It was full of carved pillars and antiques and 250 year old paintings.

Our days were spent visiting local havelis in the surrounding villages and towns and knowledgable guides are arranged for you. We also went on a camel safari, which ended in an amazing picnic out in the desert. The evenings were spent in the main communal courtyard, sitting around a fire, chatting to the hosts and other guests.

It is by no means a swish and swanky hotel. It doesn't have hot running water yet and so buckets of hot water are delivered to you in the morning and the orignal stairways are narrow, windy and steep. Therefore, if you are looking for modern day luxury - do not visit.

However, if you are more of an intrepid traveller, trying to discover the real, untainted India and want an amazing experience that you will never forget - then do try and visit this area and stay in this delightful heritage hotel.

The price is very reasonable too - with our suite costing around 1800 rupees per night (about £30) and all of the meals were made with locally produced, organic ingredients and were very reasonably priced.

The Lonely Planet guide's brief review was written some 9 years ago, when the current owner's father ran the place as a very low key enterprise. However, the current owner has turned it around quite a bit since then.

Throughout all of my travels in India, this has been the most special and memorable hotel I have come across.

This area will no doubt follow in Jaiselmere's footsteps and become a tourist hot spot. I would recommend visting now, before this happens.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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2  Thank Ria115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
narayanniwasmahensar, Owner at Narayan Niwas Castle, responded to this reviewResponded August 27, 2015

Thank you very much for your review about Naryan Niwas Castle. It boost our energy to read superb comment by you. Hope to see you again at castle very soon

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: September 2017, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Dorothée E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2017 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: August 2017, traveled with family
Thank Sophie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Narayan Niwas Castle

Address: P O Mahansar | District Jhunjhunu, Mahansar 331030, India
Location: India > Rajasthan > Jhunjhunu District > Mahansar
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mahansar
Price Range: $23 - $31 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Thakur Nahar Singh laid the foundation of Narayan Niwas Castle at Mehansar in 1768. Family has lived in the castle for centuries and now have opened its gates to the honored guests. Hotel Narayan Niwas Castle also popularly known as Mehansar castle is situated amongst the midst of semi desert and rural surroundings. Hotel Narayan Niwas Castle is free from all sorts of pollutions commercial or natural. And it is the most authentic castle of the area where no new building has being made during the renovation. Castle is becoming popular among the writers, fashion photographers and art lovers. Mehansar itself has several frescoed temples, havelis, cenotaphs and wells. ... more   less 
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