Ranakpur was next in our itinerary after Kumbhalgarh Fort. Driving past hamlets and a winding mountainous road, it took us about an hour from Kumbhalgarh to reach Ranakpur. It was way past 2 o’clock and our lunchtime. We were famished. The famed Ranakpur Temple could wait. We needed a nice, clean restaurant first.
Ranakpur didn’t look very big to us and honestly, we doubted if we could find a good place to eat. What if we had to do with a road-side eatery? Scary thought, for we never buy anything for our daughter from the roadside. And as luck would have it, we hadn’t packed anything for her from the hotel.
We came across the Tourism Department’s Hotel Shilpi, but our driver zoomed past it. He stopped about 3 kms away from the temple grounds as this place called Hotel Roopam. And announced that we could wash up and have lunch here. We nodded and entered the place quite cynically. Well, we were surprised. The place has a huge garden and is actually a hotel that caters mostly to back-packers from outside India. It looked extremely clean.
We walked up to the restaurant which was more or less a huge hall sans its walls, with few chairs and tables. Again very clean. We enquired about the food there. You could order both a la carte or opt for their buffet. We had a good mind to order a la carte, but the manager advised us to first take a look at their buffet spread. Once again, our cynicism vanished when we saw a good spread of rice, lentils, vegetables, chicken, salad and roti, laid out in clean utensils in a nice, clean corner. Fresh and steaming, we beamed at the sight of food and instantly settled for rotis, veggies and dal. The veg buffet cost you INR 170 per person and the non-veg fare is for INR 270 per person. No charges for our little one. And they served hot rotis, straight off the tava in our plate.
I tell you, it was one of the best lunches we have had during our travels. Nothing beats good, simple food in a clean ambiance when you are starving. My daughter, who is usually a painful eater, didn’t need any prodding. She had her fill of rice, dal and veggies while we opted for rotis, as rotis do not make you feel heavy on the stomach.
A meager spend of INR 440 plus tips saw us satiated and happy and headed for the Ranakpur Jain temple. But not before we thanked our driver for taking us to Hotel Roopam.