As the world continues to adapt and reawaken, new possibilities for exploration and discovery begin to arise. While wanderlust remains, many are unlocking a new pathway to escapism, experiencing all that is extraordinary, perhaps a little closer to home. The re-opening of Amanbagh on 1 September and Aman-i-Khas on 1 October answers to this calling, where restorative surroundings await, just a short trip from the city. With a number of new experiences across India, Aman continues to pave the way to wellness with the breathtaking locations of two extremely unique properties as its backdrop.
A secluded sanctuary in the Aravalli Hills of rural Rajasthan, Amanbagh’s towering palms and eucalyptus trees are ready once again to welcome guests into a hidden oasis. Meaning ‘peaceful garden’ in Sanskrit, the resort’s surroundings are among the most remote yet luscious in the region, once enjoyed by the Maharaja of Alwar. While wilderness provides the setting, the grounds of Amanbagh echo their royal history, with palatial pink walls and vaulted entrances appearing through the greenery, providing consummate privacy. Pavilions with private pools add to the feeling of solitude where space and stillness create a safe haven fit for a king.
Until 31 March 2021, residents of India can experience these tranquil, often deserted surroundings as a welcome escape from the frenzy of everyday life with exclusive rates for the new Restful Seclusion in Rural Rajasthan experience. Carefully curated for locals seeking a luxury retreat, the offer affords guests the opportunity to explore Rajasthan – the perfect place for relaxation, escapism and a wealth of cultural discovery – from the comfort of Amanbagh’s embrace. Guided sunrise walks rekindle the soul, while daily yoga sessions connect mind with body. Complimentary daily breakfast refuels and indulges the senses, while discounts on food, beverages and spa treatments offer endless ways in which to revitalise. With a holistic Aman Spa and the Sariska National Park on its doorstep, Amanbagh is a welcome solace.
As part of the programme, guests will also receive abhyanga; a massage using warm Ayurvedic herbal oils, encouraging a deep cleansing of body and mind. The resort’s Ayurveda garden is home to almost 100 different species of herbs, and the green-fingered experts at Amanbagh are currently working hard to double this figure by October. The on-property Ayurveda physician relishes in incorporating herbs from the garden into treatments at the spa. Herbal bundles including blue madar, tamarind and castor are well known for treating muscle pain and inflammation and for improving blood circulation, and aloe vera leaves and hibiscus can be incorporated into oils for massages to combat dry skin and various other ailments such as swelling or hair loss.
Locally sourced ingredients are integral to the cuisine at Amanbagh and almost 80% of the produce used in dishes at the restaurant is grown in the resort’s 1.5-hectare organic garden. The seeds are planted in mid-July following the rainy season and several varieties of fruit and vegetables are grown each year. A third of Amanbagh’s garden is dedicated to flowers, with an abundance of roses and marigolds. Edible flowers are also grown and include cosmos, nasturtiums, borage, pansies, zucchini blossoms, chamomile and sunflowers; ideal for salads and brightening dishes.
Amanbagh’s lush grounds and stunning surroundings offer over nine different private dining spots with panoramic views. The resort’s off-property Chhatri – a stone platform with an iconic dome – provides splendid isolation overlooking the Ajabjargh Valley. The perfect spot for a daytime picnic while reclining on cushions, it is also ideal for a romantic candlelit dinner of traditional Rajasthan thali with a private chef and musician beneath a canopy of stars. New this year, Amanbagh’s Farm to Fork Journey involves guests choosing their own vegetables from the resort’s gardens to create a special dish with the chef for lunch.
Set on the threshold of Ranthambore National Park, home to the majestic Bengal Tiger, Aman-i-Khas is a secluded wilderness camp offering exclusivity and a one-in-a-lifetime experience in rural Rajasthan. Re- opening on 1 October, the camp’s 10 Mughal-style tents designed by renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy, offer anything but a traditional camping experience, with deep soaking bathtubs and cashmere furnishings imagining private spaces, where luxury and nature are found in equilibrium. Here, in vast surrounds, animal encounters can be found in abundance, where during the day, adventure awaits and by night golden moments with loved ones are best enjoyed by moonlight.
Until 31 May 2021, groups catching up with family and friends and desiring a private insight into the destination can now commandeer the camp as their own by booking the 10 tents on an exclusive basis via the new A Camp of Your Own experience. With nature serving as a base for finding balance and rekindling social bonds, guests are invited to enjoy undisturbed seclusion amongst loved ones. Explorers of any age will reconnect on daily Jeep safaris in search of tigers, leopards, sloth bears, hyenas, crocodiles and more, while bird-watching trips along the verdant Banas riverbed and camel rides through local villages provide cultural tales to share. Make memories dining together in the remote hideaway, with a dedicated camp team catering to your every whim.
Camp life is influenced by its natural surroundings with thoughtfully crafted cuisine utilising ingredients that have been harvested on nearby farms or sourced from one of the camp’s three organic gardens. Supplying over 80 different varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, each 1,500 sq-m organic garden has its own separate location in the camp to protect the produce from inquisitive local wildlife. With a continued focus on self-sufficiency flora grown at the camp now includes five different varieties of lettuces, two different varieties of cabbage, four different varieties of chilli, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, fennel, brussels sprouts, courgettes, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, radishes, okra, aubergine, beans, cucumber and gourd. Six local farmers supply the herbs and vegetables not grown at the camp such as garlic, and a local family provides ghee and buffalo milk from which the chefs make yoghurt in clay pots.
The camp’s Mushroom Hut successfully produces fresh oyster and button mushrooms and following the monsoon season the chefs collect a wilder species of mushroom from the nearby mountains to introduce to the hut and camp menus. Demonstrating the close relationship with the environment it inhabits, Aman-i-Khas does not tend to its gardens for three months of the year to allow the ground to recover and to protect the camp’s precious surroundings.
Further efforts to improve on the camp’s self-sufficiency and to protect its precious surroundings can be seen in the various on-going conservation efforts that are carried out by the team. These include, collecting seeds, with a focus on indigenous species, to plant over 1,000 trees around the camp to reduce deforestation and to provide a habitat for birds and wild animals. In addition, the team regularly trains local farmers in the correct handling of reptiles and their behaviour habits, and a collaborative effort is now in place with the local community to release wild species into suitable habitats away from nearby villages.