Patiala, Sep.5 : Punjab being an erstwhile princely State today boasts of several heritage buildings. These edifices are now being converted into heritage hotels while opening an entirely new industry in the state.
Once a famous princely state, the city of Patiala has inherited a bouquet of historically and culturally significant buildings.
The grandeur of the past was lying either in an abandoned state or remained unattended till the Punjab government realized it as a latent treasure. The first among them is Patiala's Rajendra Kothi, once the abode of Punjab's nobility, which today gears itself up to host visitors, as the State government has started its campaign to rejuvenate the rich heritage of the state.
Neemrana Group of Heritage Hotels has been assigned the responsibility to convert Rajendra Kothi into a brilliant showpiece in Punjab's Royal landscape and also assumes the role of a "practical building", redesigned for leisure in contemporary time. It is hoped to set the trend for heritage hotels in Punjab.
Aman Nath, co-chariman, Neemrana hotels, says: " We got it as a sort of crumbling ruin because Rajendra Kothi has become government's archive. So there were not enough funds to maintain it. But, fortunately, doors and windows were there but in the case of Neemrana fort we had nothing except some shells with fort walls and nothing beyond that. So it has taken us two years and today we are absolutely delighted with the results." Meanwhile, Heritage hotels are offering a range of Ayurvedic treatments such as rejuvenation, stress relief, yoga and meditation. And, to provide something distinct' to its customers, hotels like Fort Ramgarh serve organic food and non-alcoholic beverages.
While the rest of India has 200 heritage hotels across the country, Punjab had none.
The only royal comfort tourists enjoy in Punjab is at Fort Ramgarh, 10 miles from Chandigarh, where one is transported to an environment of exotic splendour, where the Royal traditions unfold at every step.
The 17th century fort, which belongs to the Chandel dynasty of central India, resonates with a glorious 350-years of history.
Punjab would follow Rajasthan's mantra of heritage tourism by bringing alive its majestic past.
Amar Chandel, Managing Director, Ragarh Fort, says: "Like Rajasthan, this concept can be taken all around. Punjab has some excellent buildings, so has Haryana. All of them somehow have to be brought back in to this map. Once theses facilities are available all over the country, we can attract tourists not just from across India but from all over the world. The foreign tourists want to see something unique, which is unique to India as well. And such a pleasure can be offered through heritage buildings."
he fact that maintenance is the key to the success of heritage hotels is now being well understood in Punjab. y Sunil Sharma