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Tucked away in the midst of Rajasthan’s Thar Desert in the Jhunjhunu district of Shekhawati, the 17th century palace, Alsisar Mahal is one of Rajasthan’s hidden treasures. Parts of Alsisar Mahal which were destroyed in battle, were rebuilt in 1954, post which it was restored and renovated from 2000 to 2006, before opening as the Alsisar Mahal heritage hotel as it is known today.

Part of the Alsisar Group of Hotels, Alsisar Mahal is located 200-250 km away from Jaipur and New Delhi. The palace has 51 rooms across two categories, which exude old world charm, combined with traditional Rajput elements. The palace offers a coffee shop, which provides a regal dining experience with intricate gold work along the walls as well as beautiful paintings, serving a combination of continental, Indian and traditional Rajasthani cuisine.

Badal Mahal, or Palace in the Clouds, situated on the top floor, has multi-coloured glass windows, paintings adorning its walls and ceiling, and serves similar cuisines as the coffee shop; it also has an alfresco fine-dining area which overlooks the palace. The World War II lounge, as the name suggests, is themed with memorabilia from the war, serving an array of drinks and light snacks. The Dungeon Bar and Lounge is situated in what used to be the jail, in the basement of the palace. With dim lighting, handcuffs and chains hanging from the ceiling, a cage surrounding the DJ console and cell like booths for guests, the night club boasts a fully stocked bar and finger food. This venue is typically given out for private parties. Additionally, every meal prepared at the hotel is made with the freshest ingredients, sourced on a daily basis from the local village. Service is impeccable, with extremely personalised service for each and every guest, rivalling that of even the most luxurious hotels across the country.

Apart from its numerous courtyards, artwork, vintage artefacts, and grand swimming pool, the palace also has a range of activities for guests to indulge in, from sunset jeep safaris, horse and camel safaris, bullock cart rides, heritage walks and a fresco trail tour of Shekhawati. However, the best part of the palace does not lie in its palatial rooms, fine-dining experiences or safaris. Since 2014, for three days every December, Alsisar Mahal is converted into the electrifying venue of one of the most sought-after music festivals in India – the Magnetic Fields Festival. With some of the most renowned international artists from the world’s underground music scene, the festival has gained immense popularity since its inception, with over 4000 people in attendance in 2017. Despite only 51 rooms, Alsisar Mahal hosts 2000 guests year-on-year, pitching over 800 luxury tents behind the palace.

Alsisar Mahal has gained popularity over the last few years on the back of the Magnetic Fields Festival. Alsisar as a destination, being a small, little-known town, offers peace and tranquillity which is hard to come by in today’s day and age. Even though it typically loses out to Rajasthan’s more popular and better-marketed cities and towns, the palace is definitely one of the places to visit in Rajasthan, not only during the Magnetic Fields Festival, but year-round.