When someone mentions “Naila” in Jaipur it usually means Naila school or night parties at Naila House – Club Naila. Naila House New Year Parties are quite famous among the party crowd in Jaipur. If you find clubbing pictures with the crowd reveling at a heritage building with a pool in Jaipur, then it has to be Club Naila. There’s a history behind Naila House too but I will stick to Naila village in this write-up. The Rajput family of Naila House is called Naila Thikana & has its origins in Naila Village. Technically it was part of Jaipur state before India’s independence. It was an estate assigned to a Rajput lineage. The family that is assigned an estate is called Thikanedaar in Rajasthan.
Naila village located about 30 km from Jaipur first shot into the limelight when US President Bill Clinton visited this quaint village in the year 2000. Projected as a model village, the media highlighted Naila; now it’s far from reality.
This post is not a guide to Naila. It’s just a photo journey. I haven’t captured much of local life in the following pictures; just the surroundings and built heritage and architecture.
Surprisingly, the rampart which surrounds the village is still in a very good condition. Intended to protect the village from attacking armies as the first line of defense, the fortification runs all around the village, including the Naila fort perched on the hilltop.
Naila Fort History
This fort was built to provide protection to the Naila village and the settlement around. The Fort was built by Champawats after they moved to Jaipur in 1849 AD. They were part of the Rathore Rajput clan originally from Peelwa which was part of Jodhpur. In Jaipur court, Naila was an important and influential “Thikana”. Thakur Fateh Singh Naila and Thakur Roop Singh Naila were influential and held important posts in Jaipur state.
The Naila fort is now owned by Oberois; it was sold to the owner of the famous Indian hotel chain Oberoi by its original owners. Though privately owned, the guests at the Oberoi Rajvilas Hotel in Jaipur can experience a visit to Naila Fort. The hotel offers a sunset experience for its guests. Other than this, the fort is not accessible to the public since it is a private residence. The fort is built in an English-style castle.
This is a picture of the palace in Naila village, constructed and once owned by the erstwhile rulers of the Naila estate. It conjures up two different sets of emotions.
I was excited about finding a lovely heritage building dating back to 1875 AD. The second one is a feeling of letdown looking at its condition. Advertisement on its facade is a bummer. The saddest part is the fact that now it is run by the government as a primary health center. It could have rather been a beautiful heritage hotel; it’s just waiting for things to fall apart.
I’m not sure how this beautiful property ended up with the government but the current state of the building is quite sad.
Naila estate was part of Jaipur. Jaipur merged with other smaller states to form a bigger state Rajasthan. The architecture is a unique amalgamation of European and Rajasthani styles which was prevalent post-1850 AD.
You end up thinking about the sad state; destruction & decay of heritage, architecture, and history is no one’s concern unless it generates revenue. The Araish work as shown in the above picture (white marble-like polished surface with black border) is impossible to reproduce today to the same level even though we know the processes because of expensive labor and lack of skilled workers; we are simply allowing it to decay!!
Read Sunrise in Naila
While the old Naila town has heritage houses and Havelis, new housing structures are coming up fast in the vicinity. As seen above, the vacant area next to the village gave way to the residential quarters for the low-income groups.
You can look at the surrounding views of Naila village in the above picture. Probably these views are short-lived as plotting for dwelling units has already started.
Hawa Bungalow at Naila village is also referred to as Kanota Hawa Bungalow. It is well known among the party crowd in Jaipur. The owners of Hawa Bungalow also run a paintball facility and were the first to offer paintball in Jaipur. Of course, now even Tao experiences also offer Paintball in Jaipur. Who offers the best paintball in Jaipur? I think the paintball in Naila village is the best paintball facility in Jaipur because of the terrain. More on Naila Village, Naila Fort, and Hawa Bungalow some other day. In Jaipur, when someone mentions the word “Naila” it generally means parties at Club Naila or the lounge elephant Naila Bagh.