The White Lady Sings


The Legendary Nawab Begums that virtually ruled Bhopal for over 100 years literally emblazoned the city with their grand vision, resources, magnanimity and able administration. They created a magnificent collection of Palaces, grand Mosques and other opulent structures. They pioneered socially beneficial projects, like instituting waterworks, railways, hospitals, schools and continuously worked for the upliftment of women. They verily built the erstwhile old city.

From this Royal Pedigree of blood and thought, was born “The General” (Obaidullah Khan) the 2nd son of the last Begum Sultan Jehan Begum, who forged a new Fire in Stone on Shamla Hills.

Nestling beautifully on several acres of land, this Regal Neo-Classical structure dressed in immaculate white stands in mystique at the end of the long “Carriage Way”, that was used by the General and other royals as they came to the Palace in their horse-driven Carriages and Cadillac’s. Now this Tarmac lends itself to Mercs, BMWs and Jaguars.

On alighting, you gaze upon giant Corinthian pillars, at the porch, which makes a formidable Imperial façade, for the grand lobby, of traditional Italian marble that follows. Liveried Darbans and modelesque nubiles engaged the guests in Floral and Incensed welcome greetings.

A descend from the lobby, further interior, reveals a huge open luxuriously pruned oasis of green lawns, presided over by a Wizened old mango tree, a legendary spot where the General held his repast, over a century ago.

The Palace rooms around the central courtyard surround this vestige of nature. They are designed such, that the guests have immediate direct access to the freshly dewed lawns and can choose to electrify their morning rising experience by walking on this manicured marvel. Adjoining this courtyard are the Regal rooms affording the same natural experience on the Frangipani lawns and rocks. The erstwhile Palace reflects the General’s penchant for nature and the great outdoors. Built, close to the ground (Not high rise), a major safety feature in these unpredictable times, the ornate rooms are well spread over a few acres of lush courtyards, pruned gardens, palm trees lining a pristine pool that reflects nature’s abundance.

Exterior-Jehan Numa Palace Bhopal-hotels in Bhopal 3

“Regal Retention” is perceived in every detail. It is not normal to gaze upon race horses being taken through their paces on a specially created track, right in front of your Imperial rooms. This “Grand Paradis” or trot can be witnessed from the luxury of your sit out balcony while sipping a “Cuppa” (All part of the General’s indulgence in breeding horses and his family’s love for the business of having bred thoroughbreds for over 50 years).

Tradition Continues!
A perambulating allowance around the central courtyard reveals, a preserved, structured and crafted “Museum” display of Royal history in a walkthrough timeline, containing age-old pictures, artefacts, memorabilia, arms and robes spanning more than 250 years of the Begums and the General’s Legacy. This lovely experience culminates at a beautiful fountain bedecked with an emblem of the state of Bhopal which is described as Mahi Muratib (A prestigious honour in the Mughal Empire).

1 4

Ideology, Ethos, Passion, Inspiration and Continuity, inspiring “Purple Habit” is verily visible in the management practices of the current Scions, who personally run this Grand 100 room Palace hotel. In fact, it is the late Mr. Yawar Rashid and his brother Mr. Nadir Rashid, grandsons of the General, who were inspired to convert the Palace into a thriving luxury hotel in 1983. Super Specialists, in the natural art of Regal Hospitality, they have continued and built upon the General’s Legacy with a fiery determination and focused vision.

For more than 35 years, this “iconic cultural vestige”, has created a brand that evokes elegance, class and impeccable Service Standards, hailed by the cognoscenti of travel, both nationally and internationally.

It prides itself in isolation as “Pilgrim Destination for the Gourmand”. The story of its “Aliment” is unique and must be told.

Like many talismanic epicurean luxuries, the recipes have been derived from the needs, tastes and the predilections of the ruling family, over two and half centuries, with lots of time on their hands and unlimited resources to experiment and perfect.

The hotel’s Chefs have been enriched by this lineage, and are trained by Khansamas (Old Royal Cooks) employing old cooking techniques operationally maintaining “home styles” against methods of mass cooking. Standards are guaranteed through the continuous supervision of the culinary perfections of the senior Begums of the family. Replicating the General’s lust and passion for food and outdoor dining, the hotel has created “The Mango Tree”, where this special menu is the “Piece De Resistance”.

Today it is an essential “Pit stop” for every International and indigenous tourist or guest as also for the city gentry.

The family’s international travels and their roving eye for high class experiences have inspired them to also bring in a diversity of global cuisine on offer at four other individual speciality restaurants.

A family visit to Sicily in Italy gave birth to “La Kuchina”, a Pizzeria, Trattoria and Bistro. Their love for horses (A family indulgence!) brought in Tattenham Across the Orient (TAO), a Pan Asian Resto bar. For those familiar with horse racing, Tattenham is a very critically sharp bend on Epson race course in Surrey, which needs critical skills by the jockey to surmount that bend.The Palace hotel’s dedicated Bar “Shergar” is named after the Derby winning horse owned by the Aga Khan. “Shahanama” is an all-day dining restaurant for the discerning diner, whereas “Café Chino” is a contemporary classic café, a haven for the trendy.

Regally furbished by internationally reputed Design Professionals, all the outlets have contemporary luxury style and decor that easily amalgamate and blend into the Heritage Grandeur, allowing the incumbent guest a “Babylonian” experience.

Like Romulus of Rome built his Palace on the Palatine Hill, giving birth to the eternal city 2700 years ago, “the General” chose an exclusive domain unto himself and built his grand palace and residences on Shamla Hills, picking a location that overlooked the beautiful large lake, around which the city gradually emerged and grew.

Providentially located the Palace is within 0.5 to 3 kilo meters of all important tourist sites of the city. Some of them include Bharat Bhavan, Van Vihar, Upper Lake, The Museum of Man, The State Museum, The Tribal Museum (within walking distance), in close proximity is also the old city with its host of old Palaces and Mosques, most centred around the Iqbal Maidan.

“The Mirage” is strategically positioned to serve the absolute convenience of the luxury and business traveller.

This Sentinel of Imperial Hospitality has played host to world personalities, some of whom are... Dalai Lama, Princess Alexandra of UK, Prince Michael of Greece, Maharaj Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, Ratan Tata, Bianca Jagger, Ismail Merchant, Sir Mark Tully, Dominique Lappierre, Khuswant Singh, The Birla Family and innumerable politicians, diplomats and of course Bollywood stars. The obvious choice for Royalty and corporate czars!

In Solitary Splendour, the White Lady continues to sing, playing “Hôte Au Connasseur De La Vie”.

A Story from the eyes of a contemporary world traveller!