Baggar is the region of the painted havelis (mansions), where the Marwaris, India’s wealthiest community, once lived. They were the trading community of Rajasthan and traded treasures with caravans which passed this way on the Southern Silk Route, bartering silk with opium, porcelain with spices. From 1820 onwards they migrated to the ports of Calcutta and Bombay, to become intermediaries in the vast trade the British marine conducted at the height of their Pax Britannica. They amassed huge fortunes, and even today control virtually every sector of the modern Indian economy.
The Piramal Haveli in Baggar is a Rajasthani-Italianate villa in the desert and is Shekhavati’s closest hotel to Delhi. It was built in 1928 with a large open garden and two pillared courtyards painted with colourful kitsch frescoes of flying angels, airplanes, and gods in motor cars. These add a special charm to this mansion reflecting the British presence in Jaipur since 1803. The gate of the village, which is a part of the haveli, was built by Seth Piramal to welcome the Maharaja of Jaipur on elephant back.
Serving the famed local vegetarian cuisine, the legendary Marwari thalis get seasoned gourmets guessing about the mysterious savours and spices which are in those little bowls!
This was the home of Seth Piramal Chaturbhuj Makharia (1892-1958) whose fortune was made in Bombay, trading in cotton, opium, silver and other commodities.
Walk out to Shekhavati’s painted streets – an open-air gallery of frescoes. Discover the lost villages – a fascinating adventure in itself, using Baggar as the base. As pillared corridors lead you into the past, the floors will tell their own chequered history.
Relish fine thali eating with desert-spiced delicacies. Have tea with the peacocks who are literally the house sparrows of The Piramal Haveli!
Discover sudden colour among the monotony of the desert.
When you stay at The Piramal Haveli you join Shekhavati’s fight to retain its magnificent heritage structures by making restoration a viable, self-sustainable tourism activity.