Raas Chhatra Sagar, Nimaj
As Raas Chhatra Sagar describes: “In the late nineteenth century, Thakur Chhatra Singh of Nimaj, a powerful noble of the desert kingdom of Marwar (Jodhpur), decided to dam a seasonal stream flowing through his estate. His vision was to create a water reservoir which would harvest the monsoon rains. It was an ambitious project and a great drain on his resources but Thakur Chhatra Singh remained true to his vision. The dam was completed in 1890 and changed the dry scrub into prime agricultural land. Farmers struggling for sustenance on parched lands were invited by Thakur Chhatra Singh to settle around the reservoir. The reservoir was named Chhatra Sagar in his memory”.
Well off the beaten track and a perfect stop between Jaipur and Jodhpur is this beautiful camp in the open countryside – a series of 16 luxury tents pitched along the dam of this reservoir, far removed from the hustle and bustle of India’s cities.
Chhatra Sagar’s ownership has recently changed hands and we were filled with trepidation that the feel of the old colonial style camp which we loved and adored would have been lost in the modernisation and refurbishment to Raas’ hallmark modern, contemporary look. We have to say Raas have managed to retain everything that was wonderful about the camp and have hugely enhanced its luxury, without compromising on its unique atmosphere.
Your arrival is met with a warm, friendly welcome and your bags whisked away to your tent whilst you’re escorted up the steps past the sparkling pool to enjoy a welcome drink on the lovely open verandah overlooking the wide dam and hills in the distance.
The tented accommodation has been brought into the 21st century – with ensuite marble bathrooms and attention to detail in luxury being of the highest order. Each tent has a private verandah and small courtyard with panoramic views over the dam – and facing the beautiful golden sunrise across the water.
The all-day dining restaurant with its wrap around verandah overlook the dam or the pool and serves a wide variety of excellent Indian and international cuisine. Room service is also available, beautifully and graciously served in your private courtyard. Evening pre dinner drinks are served around a roaring bonfire where you can meet your fellow guests, before separating to your own table for dinner either in the dining room if it’s chilly or out on the wide verandah. There are also a number of spots around the property to enjoy a memorable sunset down the reservoir waters at this pristine wetland, and special Sundowners with a chef curated menu can be organised for a lovely dining experience. The staff could not be more helpful and attentive, and the service is excellent.
The water level and birdlife vary enormously depending on the monsoon rains – so the view out over the vast expanse across the lake and the countryside is literally a breath of fresh air. Birdlife abounds with over 200 species in the surrounding area. Take a birdwatching nature walk along the local countryside trails with the camp naturalist or go boating to explore the lake, rich mangroves and birdlife in the early morning before breakfast – with refreshing and warming tea, coffee and blankets provided.
The farmers and shepherds invited to Chhatrasagar by Thakur Chhatra Singh still live a self-contained and harmonious life in settlements around RAAS Chhatrasagar. The Camp organises farm and village visits to experience their lifestyle closely. The villagers life depends on the water supply in the dam, and when you visit you’re seeing life as it actually is – and not something put on specially for