I found a 50-year-old farmhouse surrounded by the Aravalli Hills and spent a decade transforming it into our family homestay…
Premkunj is a boutique homestay set on the outskirts of Udaipur, where I live with my wife and son. I belong to the royal family of Bassi in Chittorgarh but always dreamed of living here, surrounded by the Aravalli Hills, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Eventually, I found a 50-year-old farmhouse with stables that I spent 10 years restoring. Premkunj now has eight rooms with panoramic views of the hills; there are two gardens and plenty of space to relax among nature. I’m keen to preserve the natural beauty and have planted around 4,000 trees in the area to date.
The property has a blend of colonial and Indian architecture, with grand pillars and wide verandas, decorated with items I’ve collected on my travels. Then there are some modern luxuries like a pool that we’re planning to heat with solar power, a restaurant, bar and a small games room. We wanted to keep the homestay small and personal; it’s a family affair and we love to take care of each guest and interact with everyone. Most of our staff are from the village and our chef and my wife serve Rajasthan dishes that you don’t get in the big cities, made with locally-grown produce.
This area has such beautiful vibes with views of the mountains and nearby lakes. Although Premkunj is only a 15-minute drive from the centre of Udaipur, we’re very lucky to on the boundary of a sanctuary, Sajjangarh Reserve. People come to Udaipur for the palaces and monuments but we wanted to offer something different. We’re close to Badi, a hamlet which you can visit to experience rural Udaipur culture, you might even be invited in for tea by a villager. It’s important to us that we support the local school and we’re particularly passionate about funding girls’ education.
I like to take people on a one-hour trek to the neighbouring hill to enjoy the sunrise with tea – it’s probably the best view over Udaipur. There’s lots of wildlife here; I’ve even seen leopards from the terrace. Many guests go to the city for sightseeing but then just spend time here relaxing by the pool or reading on the rooftop, all you can hear is the birds singing. We also offer horse-riding and evening campfires. I love meeting people from all over the world, spending time with them and sharing stories – at Premkunj, you’ll come as a guest and leave as an old friend.