As soon as the months-long lockdown was lifted, I made a bucket list of places I wanted to travel solo, as well as with my family, and Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal was high up at the top. I am normally quite chill, down-for-whatever kind of a traveller, but I'd always had grand visions of a luxe holiday - just like royals - at a heritage property, and I wanted to get mine right. This was definitely not the time to book any random property that "looks pretty" on the internet and hope for the best. I wanted to be certain that I was putting myself in the absolute ideal (read: luxury) spot to take in all of the wine, kebabs, biryani and Negroni-infused epicness my luxury holiday has to offer.
That's why, when I got the availability at Jehan Numa, a 19th-century royal palace set on five acres of land in the heart of Bhopal, I jumped and booked my tickets. It was exactly what I had in mind. I can 100 percent confirm that Jehan Numa is the quintessential home base for all of your royal holiday dreams. Here's how to make the most of your time there if you want to get in on the magic...
Built on the slopes of Shamla hills in the 19th century by General Obaidullah Khan, son of the last Begum, the palace derives its name from its sweeping views of the entire city and its countryside. Converted into a world-class heritage hotel in 1983 by the General's grandsons, the erstwhile royal residence presents a medley of charming colonial styles and princely Indian culture that blends with rich ease to offer contemporary luxuries. It provides a real glimpse into the lives of the Nawabs and Begums.
Jehan Numa Palace Hotel truly has everything you could possibly want in a luxe heritage property. With 100 luxurious rooms and suites, Jehan Numa features all modern creature comforts and facilities for all kinds of guests. The gleaming white structure encompasses classical Greek, colonial and Italian renaissance styles of architecture. It was love at first sight when I opened the doors to my suite, which had stunning views of the swimming pool, manicured courtyards and the horse-riding track. Strewn with antiques, tribal art and crafts and memories on the walls, the palace is replete with history.
Dining experiences at Jehan Numa Palace are some of the finest with 5 internationally diverse restaurants and bars. The most celebrated amongst these is Under the Mango Tree. Seated under a 100-year-old mango tree, as the name suggests, the hotel's signature restaurant serves kababs and authentic curries along with dishes prepared upon preserved family recipes from the royal kitchen. Every dish is incredible here, but my favourites were the items from The General's Table - Bhopali Yakhni Pulao, Dhunga Daal Lauki, Kachumbar Karela, Bigan Ki Burani, Lehsun ki Chutney, Khameeri Roti and Sheer Khorma.
On speaking about the food and dining culture of Jehan Numa, Faiz Rashid, Director, Jehan Numa Palace says, "Culinary experience is a key highlight across all Jehan Numa hotels. Our kitchens not only re-create centuries-old recipes passed on through generations, directly from the Begums themselves but also aim to delight food connoisseurs with the finest fusion flavours from across the globe. The ingredients used across all the kitchens are fresh and most come from our own home-grown gardens."
I came back from Jehan Numa feeling more free, grounded and relaxed than before. After all, it's not often that you get this feeling.
About Shubham BhatnagarYou can often find Shubham at a small authentic Chinese or Italian restaurant sampling exotic foods and sipping a glass of wine, but he will wolf down a plate of piping hot samosas with equal gusto. However, his love for homemade food trumps all.