Srinagar’s Karan Mahal is a European-style villa that overlooks the Dal Lake.
Constructed in the ‘20s, the charming mansion has served as the official residence of Dr Karan Singh who was then the crown prince of Jammu and Kashmir.
After Kashmir became part of India, Dr Singh served as the Head of State of J&K and Governor. Eventually he moved to New Delhi where he served in Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s cabinet.
As the residence of Governor Dr Singh, Karan Mahal has served as the state’s Raj Bhawan and has hosted several major historical figures including Edwina Mountbatten and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, former Soviet premiere Nikita Khrushchev, former Indian President Rajendra Prasad, and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi among others.
Karan Mahal turned 100 years old recently and to mark this landmark, Dr Singh’s elder son, Vikramaditya Singh and Yuvrani Chitrangada Raje converted the mansion into a luxury hotel.
Singh and Raje are no newbies to the hospitality industry. They’ve been running the Taragarh Palace in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh and have brought in those sensibilities to Karan Mahal.
The seven key hotel includes three luxurious suites, each of them having a private balcony. All the rooms offer breath-taking views of the Zabarwan and Pir Panjal ranges.
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Exquisite artefacts, and stunning art deco furniture have been restored to throw back to an era when things were slower, simpler, and grander. Handwoven Kashmiri carpets everywhere remind you of the rich history of the tapestry even as modern trappings ensure that comfort isn’t sacrificed in the face of old world charm.
Karan Mahal’s kitchens bring to life age-old recipes that pay homage to the family’s Kashmiri, Dogra, and Nepalese heritage.
The hotel can be booked in its entirety or on a per-room basis. Either way, to really enjoy the hotel’s hospitality, it’s recommended that you spend at least five days there and not treat it simply as a lodging and boarding. For surely, even you will agree, Karan Mahal is much more than that.