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Dev Shree, Deogarh

Dev Shree luxury homestay in Deogarh, Rajasthan is situated on the edge of the Ragho Sagar Lake with the Gokul Fort at the far end, perched on a hill. The sun rises over the Fort streaming through palm trees on the swimming pool. The large verandah overlooking the lawn stretches out to the water infusing a sense of calm. The lake plays host to a large variety of migratory birds in the winter. The hotel has been constructed in a traditional haveli style with deep verandahs, pretty courtyards of Rajput architecture and influence. The interiors are airy and spacious, and the décor has a contemporary twist. The hotel only but depicts space and luxury and this is why tourists and residents in the state love to meet, dine, eat, get entertained and stay here.

Shatrunjai and Bhavna of Deogarh Royal Family, your hosts and they have moved back to their roots and have built themselves this heavenly home at Deogarh, in the heart of the Aravalli Hills of Western Rajasthan, where they welcome guests with open arms. Being traditionalists at heart and rightly proud of their heritage, they wanted a home that reflected a little of that past. Having involved as many local crafts people as possible to showcase the local architectural styles and craftsmanship in the area the result is Dev Shree and what a triumph it is.

Built in traditional Rajput design around a central courtyard, it straddles the slopes above the peaceful Ragno Sagar Lake with far-reaching views of ruined forts and domed cenotaphs. The whole place drips with delicious period style: deep verandas with low-slung rattan planter's chairs; lofty rooms hung with cascading chandeliers; polished marble floors. In the seven beautiful bedrooms there are window seats covered in exquisite hand-printed fabrics, illuminated by dancing rainbows cast by stained glass.

This luxury boutique property offers accommodation in 7 Suites with large luxurious bathrooms offering views of the surrounding flower gardens. Central courtyard feels like a "Moroccan Kasba" it is an open to sky courtyard with is ideal to soak in the sun as well as lounge and read the newspaper.

Verandah with a view – sitting in the verandah with the lawn stretching out to the shore of the Ragho Sagar lake infuses a sense of calm. An ideal spot to watch the daily routine activity of the migratory birds that are annual winter visitors at the hotel.

Dining room serves meals as prepared in Indian homes and menus are drawn as per guest preference. Presently they do not have bar license; however guests can bring their own liquor.

Guests may experience artisan walk – a walk through the village passing through the potters street and farmers houses connecting to the high street, trading part of the village reaching the central square called Manak Chawk and coming back via the Ker Ghati residential street of the more affluent villagers. The walk is about 1.9 kms in total.

Culinary workshop is available on request every evening in hotel's own kitchen where vegetables are brought in from the farm or the vegetable garden at home to produce a farm-fresh menu for the table.

Another experience is the sundowner special – an evening excursion into the countryside, evening jeep drive into the countryside lends an insight into the life of the people of the area. The drive is tailored to suit the interest of the guests; whether they are keen on the farming and agricultural side of the village, the temples and cultural aspects or the birds and natural scenic part of the area.

Chai bucks, tea at a local tea stall is something to look forward as Shatrunjai may often accompany the guests to a local tea stall and invite the villagers on a random basis for a cup of tea and a tete-a tete. The conversations range from interesting, to enlightening and sometimes outrageous!!

Bird Watching, a seasonal activity around the lake and from the garden of the house, spotters scope and guidance is available with the family for spotting birds must watch a fly- past of over thousand parakeets in the evening over the garden followed by flight of fruit bats over the lake. Deogarh Lake is small and monsoon dependent, however there is abundance of a number of species of birds, most of them are migratory and come from Central Asia and parts of Russia and Siberia, there are quite a few species of local birds that come here during monsoon for their mating season and make this place a heaven for bird lovers, surrounding countryside is also home to many wild animals including the blue bull, wolves, jackals and leopards.

If you get tired after doing all these activities, there is well acclaimed spa at the hotel for yoga classes, ayurvedic treatments for peace on body and mind and to rejuvenate yourself after experiencing so much at this amazing boutique hotel.

The Deogarh Family has a strong social and environmental awareness and loves the community is part of. It has supported over 3000 children annually on a rotational basis. They provide infrastructure to schools such as furniture and computers so children no longer have to sit on the floor. Other schools have had extensions, bathroom and classrooms added. The family help source teachers from the UK and other places to give the Deogarh Village children a head start and they also support gifted children in further education. Each year their raise funds to provide teachers in other, more rural areas and they currently have 15 teachers employed by us in 8 different villages. With the help of the actor Sir John Standing they provided an ICU for the Deogarh Hospital.

On the environmental side they practice water harvesting throughout the property – all rain is collected in an old well and in large water tanks and used from there. Shatrunjai himself is the game warden or Rajsamand district and spends a great deal of time helping to preserve the local wildlife and its habitat. They grow their own, organic vegetables on their next door farm and dairy products are sourced from the cattle there. Solar power is being introduced shortly.