There is a mahal (palace) in Karnal, like really? This was my first reaction when I heard about Noor Mahal in Karnal. Before I could think further, I was immediately informed that it is a luxury hotel with all the comforts of a five star. The image that conjured up in my mind was that of an old, palatial building converted into an hotel. Before I could imagine further, I was told that it a beautiful blend of old and modern. However, when I looked up for it on Google, the first thing that appealed to me was its grand architecture. It got me curious to the extent that I immediately gave a heads up for the trip. Another reason that fueled my interest was that I was quite surprised to know that Karnal had something like this and I was not even aware of it despite of being in Faridabad for years. This shows that Haryana as a state needs a whole lot of promotion. Thus, what followed next was a trip to the Land of Karna. The idea of a stay-cation was quite a good chance to discover its gems and know it better.
NOOR MAHAL IN KARNAL surprised me literally!
No doubt, Karnal or the city of ‘Raja Karna from Mahabharata’ is quite a well known city in the state of Haryana, not many people know that it is famous for its rice produce and is also known as the rice bowl of India. It is an evolving city while being centrally placed between Delhi and Chandigarh. It is also being developed into a smart city. But a property as grand as Noor Mahal was the last thing that I had expected in Karnal. This shows that many a times we do not know about the beautiful things in our own backyard and travel to far away places to look for more.
Personally, I had never had a chance to stop-by and explore the walled town of Karnal. The little that I knew about it was through friends and family and none had ever mentioned about NDRI (National Dairy Research Institute which is ranked among the first agricultural universities of India and also one of the best), Cantonment church tower, the Karna Lake or the recently done wall art under the flyovers. When I reached there, I learned about all of these and more. And most importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Noor Mahal.
5 EXPERIENCES THAT STOOD OUT AT NOOR MAHAL
Royal architecture and Luxury at every step
When it says luxury 5 star hotel, it aims to be one too. The palace like building showcases traditional Mughal and Rajputana architecture. The corridors, the stairs, the corners and the rooftops are decorated and laced with antique elements. It captures the royalty of the Indian Maharajas and rich heritage of India. Noor Mahal houses 16 banquet halls and has enough open space too. The rooms and washrooms are huge and spacious. There is a beautiful courtyard in the center and each of the 125 rooms are decked in comfort. Apart from a royal sleeping room and a presidential suite, there are 12 heritage suites, 32 club royal rooms and 77 club rooms.
Great Food and Frontier Mail Restaurant
This is an Indian specialty fine dine restaurant inside a train like setup. The sitting arrangements are inside a theme railway wagon. While the ambiance is great, hospitality is well to do, the food is fine. Personally, I liked the unique theme. There are three non-mobile train coaches which have proper seating arrangements, and the very last coach also features a full fledged Bar. The room where the train wagon stands also has more seats so that people can also sit there and eat with a great view of the train coaches.
This is based on the historic train which is considered to be one of the most oldest trains. Frontier Mail did a run from Bombay – Baroda – Delhi – Lahore – Peshawar in its heydays.
Also, I must mention about the Mango festival. Chef Andy has prepared 28 dishes made of mango and it was a heavenly treat. Breakfast buffet or Alacarte order, I quite loved the food at Noor Mahal.
Noor’s Make Over Studio By Tarun Kapoor
This is a must visit and it makes my personal favorite reason to visit Karnal again. I was very impressed with the services at Tarun Kapoor’s make over studio. He is a celebrity artist with no airs at all. The studio is beautifully made and lend a warm welcome to everyone who visits it. I really liked the way they begin with the consultation and educate you about your skin around the eyes, cheeks, forehead. Last but not the least, the services are top-notch and you feel like going back for all the pampering and care.
The Beautiful Chessboard overlooking the Swimming Pool
A hotel must have a few sections which should be so inviting that you shouldn’t feel like stepping out in the scorching sun. Though Noor Mahal has something for everyone and there are lovely artifacts that get your attention at every step, I quite liked the huge chessboard that overlooks the swimming pool. That is the section to have fun with kids and family. It is quite photogenic and one can use it for photo-opportunities. Take a dip in the pool or hit the gym close-by. If you love massage, there is spa too.
The well-spent evening at the gorgeous Khwabgah
When you get an opportunity to spend an evening in one of the most beautiful and classiest rooms of the property built over 2,700 sq. ft., you just can’t let it go. My memories of the royal high tea and then lavish dinner which took place on its terrace is still fresh in my mind.
Khwabgah is a royal sleeping chamber. Its decor and and magnificent furnishings includes 2 bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, separate bar, office chamber with a private terrace overviewing the Karnal city.
My visit to Noor Mahal made me sit up to two very important things. First, one must not ignore backyard tourism. Whenever we are visiting our neighboring cities, we must try and identify one special thing about it. Second, if you wish to do something in a place which may not be one of the most visited cities, you can definitely do it. While you need the investments, you definitely need the conviction and strong desire to offer something unique. If the world was not full of passionate people, things like Noor Mahal would never be conceptualized.