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From Warrior Fort to Luxury Resort , Alila Fort Bishangarh

THE MAKING OF ALILA FORT BISHANGARH

FROM WARRIOR FORT TO LUXURY RESORT: REBUILDING THE PAST FOR THE FUTURE

 

Alila Fort

Alila means “Surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of this luxury resort, a bridge between the past and the future. The hallmark of Alila is the combination of innovative design and luxury in unique locations, set apart by an unprecedented level of private space, crafted artisan-ship, personalized hospitality, and bespoke journeys.

Perched on top of a granite hillock in the midst of a vast expanse of the Aravalli Range, surrounded by hills dotted with havelis, villages and temples, Alila Fort Bishangarh is the result of the adaptive reuse of a 230-year-old warrior fort into one of India’s most unique heritage properties.

Adaptive reuse offers a sustainable option for the reclamation of heritage sites, an inspiring way to preserve and revive an existing building by merging its traditional ideals with modern culture, usage, design techniques and ideas.

Built during Rajasthan’s royal era as an outpost guarding the kingdom of Jaipur (Amber) against invaders from the North, the fort at Bishangarh had long outlived its original purpose. Almost a decade ago, as the fort stood abandoned in a dilapidated condition, inhabited by thousands of bats and monkeys, the owners – a Rajput leader by birth and election and two successful entrepreneurs – together with Alila took a visionary decision to breathe new life into its reincarnation as a boutique resort, while maintaining its stark sanctity.

What followed was an extraordinary journey of transformation to keep this piece of tangible heritage alive, taking complete care to retain the original structure in its full integrity while reinventing it for the 21st century.

Immense challenges had to be overcome – including stabilising and strengthening the ruins, constructing a road up to the fort, finding circulation through 3m thick walls, and deciphering the unconventional puzzle of the organic structure, which featured not a single 90-degree wall.

Upper and outer wings were adapted to the original fortification to carve out 59 suites following the curved and sloping walls of the existing turrets. Rooms and restaurants have been made to fit around the original walls – 2 to 3 m-wide in many places. With no typical floor plan, there were 23 different room configurations in all, the precise details of which took some 1,800 hours to draw up. To add to that, 23 unique venues  have been created for meetings and celebratory events.

 

Stay tuned more on our visit to Alila Fort and the lovely experience there.

 

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