Situated near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border in the foothills of the Aravalli mountain range, Danta Stud Farm is comprised of the royal house of Danta, one of India’s prestigious royal families. His Highness, H.H. Mahipendra Singh, Maharana and proprietor, is a world renowned equestrian and breeder of India’s indigenous Marwari horses.
The beauty of the Danta countryside is fortified with stately rivers, sprawling mountain peaks, and ancient magnetism. Through the landscape of massive rocks, verdant foliage, and isolated forests, Danta creates an epic scene that embodies India’s charm and rich history. Visitors entering Danta encounter the old palace with its red stone edifice, intricately carved balconies, and historical protocol, embracing and blending architecture of both Rajasthan and Gujarat. Native fauna, including peacock, fox, quail and partridge roam complacently through the canopied grounds.
On a hill a few hundred meters away is Bhavani Villa where Singh and his royal family reside. Bhavani Villa is positioned strategically on a higher elevation than the old palace. The villa embraces a woodland hillside and is built at several levels consisting of domes which offer a breathtaking, scenic view of the Aravalli horizon. The large Bhavani Villa is also a heritage hotel open to international tourists.
The famous Danta Stud Farm is located two kilometers from Bhavani Villa. Marwari are the only breed stabled at Danta, where they are kept in concrete-walled stables covered by protective natural fiber roofs. Singh indicates, “We only keep the Marwaris. As of now I have six mares and two stallions. All the horses are ridden and used for breeding purposes. We prefer to sell our young stock as weanlings (after the age of four months). We have been keeping, breeding and riding Marwari horses for 25 years. Horses have been kept by my family for generations. The emphasis was on riding, mainly polo and pig sticking. Breeding was not considered seriously as horses could be purchased when required from either the horse dealers who use to visit the princely states with their horses for sale or from the various horse fairs, Pushkar being the most important.”
Marwari, with their charismatic disposition, unique curved ears and unmatched loyalty, complete the royal heritage at Danta. Due to his legendary equestrian ancestry, Singh has a flair for only the best equines and through the years Danta has produced some of India’s finest Marwari. Singh has had two favorite horses, Sajni, a mare which he recently sold, and his black stallion, Baadal. Baadal is the top breeder at Danta and Singh’s most prized ride. “Baadal has a fantastic temperament, rides comfortably alongside mares and is good with carrying beginners, too,” says Singh.
Anish Gajjar, Equestrian Trainer and founder of the Equestrian Club of Gujarat frequently visits Danta to share ideas and interactions with Singh. He says, “Mr. Singh is a warehouse of equine knowledge and a gentleman. One can spend hours conversing with him and learn new things. The way he cares for his horses is visible in the way they reciprocate with love and affection. And the landscape of Danta is one of my favorite terrains to ride in Gujarat. A weekend in Danta sends you home as a relaxed and unwound person.”
Singh is a kind, debonair gentleman, representing centuries of India’s royal lineage and is well known for his hospitality, expertise in judging Marwari horses and love of Mother Earth. As a wildlife enthusiast, Singh supports wildlife conservation and management as well as the protection of his beloved horses, India’s indigenous Marwari.
Visitors are welcome to Danta; the old Palace and Bhavani Villa. Indian cuisine engages with romantic ambience and equine etiquette to create a relaxing, unforgettable experience. Guests can horseback ride or take a jeep excursion through ethereal winds and breathtaking terrain while discovering the legends of India’s past.
Editors note: For additional information or to book a room and schedule a retreat, visit Bhavani Villa’s website at http://www.bhavanivilladanta.com/