Urvashi Singh Khimsar is a young, bright noble from the sleepy hamlet of Khimsar, now better known for its ITC resort that is simply Urvashi’s family palace turned into a hotel. While her father and brother look after this resort, Urvashi lives, works and breathes for her retreat, a spectacular hill home in Manali that she has converted into a resort. Living there through summer, she works with her people to develop local farm produce and develop the fabled Dham cuisine that Himachal is known for. Served up as temple cuisine during Dusshera, this royal cuisine is known for its use of herbs, its love for beans and it›s amazing panjiris and halvas. Now living in lockdown in her family home in Khimsar, “where I reached with great difficulty, with an e-pass”, she is busy working on an exciting project. A book of poems inspired by folk music of Rajasthan, the sufi saints of her region and her own deep thoughts that stem from being a writer first. She is of the firm belief that noble and royal scions are “citizens of a democratic India, living the same life every young middle-class Indian does. Same dreams, aspirations, career goals”. And it is this belief that has got her to print a unique quarterly publication Rajputana Collective that profiles royals like her doing something meaningful with their life. “Yet ensuring that as custodians of a legacy they take their inheritance forward, making it plausible and liveable for a modern world.” And, in these quiet times she has something great brewing in that quarter too. Once a writer, always a writer she smiles.
The Jawai region, home to Bera nobles, is a leopard park just ahead of Jodhpur. One of the many noble families who were part of the Jodhpur Maharaja’s court and also part of his extended family, Bera is a nobility that belongs to the brave Rathore clan. The Jodhpur region is known for its world-class heritage hospitality offers, each one a veritable oasis of pleasure. Yaduveer, the 24-year-old scion of the Bera family works and drives one such property, Castle Bera, his home which is also part of a leopard park. His enchanting leopard tours and his knowledge of the region have christened him the ‘Leopard Prince’. Bera is also known for creating the most spectacular hand-tucked hunting jackets in canvas and cords. Besides Bera Fulgars (hand-tucked coats in velvet) that are worn by the Rajputs during the cold desert winter. Yaduveer works hard to give them a modern, chic touch also doubling up as their perfect model. A generously handsome Yaduveer is spending the lockdown time exercising, losing imaginary flab, “Actually building muscles.” Otherwise, it is “actually life as usual. The villages around our home still till the land and live simply. Our region is untouched and I can still walk into the village”. What he is happy about is how the Jawai lake is so clean today. “I have worked closely with NGO projects to help clean it for years and look, two months of no human intervention and it is clean on its own.” What of hospitality post-lockdown? “I am working on ways to ensure that our Castle is totally sanitised and clean. Ready for tourists whenever they decide to travel. When life gets back.” Till then it is time to unwind and enjoy this time with family. Royal Gazette