The area of Shergarh consists of a number of desert villages located in the heart of sand dune country. Predominantly inhabited by Rajputs, this desert area has a rich legacy of generations engaged in pursuits that this region is famous for - incredible valour and martial excellence on the battlefield. It’s almost a sort of unwritten code of honour that most families of Shergarh send at least one young male to join the Indian Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces. If it’s any yardstick of measuring supremacy on the scale of courage, Shergarh nurses the maximum number of war widows with a sense of quiet fortitude. The great grandfather of Moti Singh Rathore (the man behind Manvar) had the distinction of having fought in World War-I. He was also a decorated Major in the Sardar infantry – in the erstwhile state of Jodhpur. Tales of the Rajputs’ fierce loyalty to their tribe, honour and land are part of Indian folklore. Evocative of valour, glamour and romance, the desert warrior has played a key role in the numerous stories of adventure and glory that colour the pages of local lore and the annals of Indian history alike.
So how did this oasis of sorts appear out of such an unforgiving landscape? Consider this – there is no natural drinking water source available 15 kilometers from Moti Singh’s private farm. On one side of the farm, about thirty to forty villages have water while approximately 60 villages on the other side are parched. It wasn’t anything short of a miracle then, when Moti Singh’s father tried his luck digging a 100 ft. bore well for water and struck gold – a gusher of life-giving water spouted high up in the air and the villagers celebrated with joy! It was named Sagat Sagar after Moti Singh’s illustrious grandfather.
With five star luxury fort and palace hotels mushrooming across the state of Rajasthan, not many young Rajput men gave thought to preserving the real way of life in the desert and sharing it with those who care to travel and see behind the veil of make believe. Moti Singh Rathore, a direct descendant of the Thakurs of Shergarh thought of doing this. To him the location was ideal - an area far, far away from the sounds and sights of urban chaos and closer to the captivating quietude of rural Rajasthan. He dreamed of creating an experience in the area that was not quite the regular heritage hotel one often finds in Rajasthan today.
Moti Singh wished MANVAR (symbolizing desert hospitality in the local dialect) - to become a desert destination known for its culture and surroundings by ushering in a movement to preserve the local heritage, culture, flora and fauna. Firmly in the saddle with his unique idea and armed with a dream, Moti enlisted the professional expertise of Architect Rajiv Narain, who helped him graph project Manvar.
Today Manvar nestles close to the ground, almost blending with the surrounding landscape - it has not only become a tourist destination but also an economic hub from which a large portion of the neighbouring villages draw their sustenance.
Manvar is an ideal base to explore Indian desert life, culture, wildlife and landscape of breathtaking beauty. It offers a stark and contrasting desert experience. On one hand is the Manvar Desert Resort, built in traditional desert village style with eco-friendly innovations. On the other hand, and even more precious in today’s commercialized world – lies Manvar Camp a tented camp seven kilometers from the resort in the midst of the Thar desert, a rare sanctuary of pristine beauty, tranquility and solitude.
Within Manvar’s timeless horizons, you will find yourself one with nature.
What better way to spend a day than on camel back, gazing at groups of frisky chinkara - shy Indian gazelle - as they make their way across the silent sands, see herds of cattle and sheep roaming around, sometimes grazing, sometimes wandering, as if under the watchful eye of a greater shepherd in a cloud-less sky. Watch village children ambling off to school, while their mothers rustle up their afternoon meal on a ‘Chullah’ (typical village kitchen fireplace made of clay) fired by dung as bio-fuel. And as the sun takes a bow behind the dunes, something inside tells you that this is your sanctuary… and theirs.