Fort Chanwa, Rajasthan
Maharajah Jaswant Singh II, Ruler of Jodhpur, Marwar, from 1876-1895 A.D, is remembered as a benevolent monarch who steered the administration and economy of the state away from chaos and instability to a period of sustained development, security and justice for all. Amongst the prominent civil servants in this Ruler’s coterie of administrators, there was a young from Charan caste by the name of Kaviraj Muraridanji. He was an astute politician and a farsighted administrator.
In 1894, Kaviraj Muraridanji was granted the rarely known hamlet of Chanwa as “jagir” – a territory awarded in recognition of military operations. There he built an exquisite little fortified haveli, today known as Heritage Hotel Fort Chanwa. In 1941, however, the village of Chanwa became “khalsa” (owned by the State) as ironically Muraridanji fell victim to a law introduced by himself in the best interest of Marwar, whereby feudal states lacking a male successor or without a recognized adoption in lifetime of the deceased “jagirdar” (owner of the Jagir) were automatically resumed by the state, after his death.
In 1948, Chanwa was granted as “jagir” to Maharajah Dalip Singh, the youngest son of Maharajah Umaid Singh. However, over time, the fortress sank into years of abandonment and decay. In 1992, inspired by a wave of successful restorations to heritage properties and encouraged by the burgeoning tourism traffic into Western Rajasthan, Maharaj Dalip Singh, the 24th generation of direct descent from Rao Jodha, ruler and founder of Jodhpur in the 15th century, decided to open the gates of Chanwa to these new “invaders”.
Today, Fort Chanwa has been restored to its pristine glory and charm by its proud owners Maharaj Dalip Singh & Rani Madhu Devi, who warmly welcome travellers from distant lands offering them princely hospitality in an inimitably enchanting setting: a Heritage Hotel in the finest of traditions.
Heritage Hotel Fort Chanwa Luni is an exceptional example of elegance and symmetry in Indian architecture of the 18th century.
The entire haveli is built out of the famous red sandstone of Jodhpur and with its ornately carved lattice work friezes and intricate “jharokas” or balconies it exquisitely captures the romance and grace of yesteryear.
This fortified haveli is composed of a complex of courtyards, towers, a water wheel, passages and unexpected stairways to secret pavilions and panoramic roof tops spanning the village below and the Thar horizon beyond.
The traditional paintings on the walls harmoniously reflect the skills of the master craftsmen and the bygone days.
The village of Luni nestles in the shadow of the castle walls and is a hub of activity with its many artisans fashioning metal, clay or wood into intricate forms and demonstrating their skills passed down over the centuries by their ancestors.