Picture taken in Durbar Hall, Samode Palace
I am Maharajah Singh Kapoor Sans!
I am sure many of you are curious to know what a typical day in the life of a great man like me is like : what I eat, how I behave, do I snore when I sleep? You are in for a treat today as I shall endeavour to show you what it is like indeed to live a day in the life of a Maharajah.
Neemrama Palace Fort- taken with a digital camera and therefore could not capture the full length of the Palace
They say "A man's house is his castle"
Except that my house is really a castle *chuckles. Seriously now, this is one of the oldest palace in India and the one closest to New Delhi. It is called the Neemrama Fort Palace and was built since 1467 by the direct descendants of Prithviraj Chauhan III after the latter was killed in battle and they fled from Delhi in 1192.
View through a cannon hole in the fort.
The Palace is located 122km on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway, high up a hillock, commanding the most magnificent views of the surrounding beauty. You may find it baffling how the Chauhans could think this was a safe enough distance from Delhi. Especially as it was a mere 1 1/2 hour car ride away barring traffic jam. But back in those days when men travelled by elephants and camels and there was no highway or my way, the journey might have taken months. Maybe even years if the elephants were on strike. I will show you what I meant by that later.
Camel resting outside Neemrama Fort Palace at the Camel and Car Park
Car or Camel? Same Same No Difference
But first let me tell you about the Day. I was in Delhi the day before for some party business, the ha-ha champagne type and nothing to do with politics. Since we were unable to get our train tickets for the Shatabdi Express (having been conned four times, ask me in comment and I may tell you), my entourage and I decided to take the car early next morning (i.e. The Day) to Jaipur. By early, we meant 8 am and of course, we ran into the worst nightmare of a weekend traffic jam ever. That was when we decided to stop over at Neemrama Fort Palace.
Keys hung very high up on the wall right after the fort door.
Palace or tribal house, the keys are the same.
Jars of water for a Maharajah's entourage?
Upon arrival, I spotted these jars on the wall facing the fort door. They must be for water offered to a thirsty guest but we did not come for the water. We came for this:
Palace toilet at Neemrama Fort Palace
Now I will have you know that this is not just any toilet. It is a palace toilet and you mustn't expect it to look like the one in your home. The one that a Maharajah uses is really quite splendid.
Firstly there are the flowers, surely they are for quelling any unpleasant odour. And then, notice how the door can be locked from the front? Must be to prevent anyone else from using it. Of course once a Maharajah is expected at the palace, I assume all toilets will be immediately unlocked to prevent a embarrassing situation of the Maharajah having to, heaven forbids, wait in a state of emergency.
Hallway from Fort Door to Palace's Reception Room
The palace is of course more than just its splendid toilets. Once you step inside, you are quickly transported to an entirely different world.
Beautiful iron railings flanking the pathways of the palace
Stairway to stargazing at the Verandah
Samovar against the sky
Be it walking through the baghs (gardens), one of them a Hanging Garden, or meandering from terraces to verandahs, one can't help but be captivated by the ambience.
Stone seat in one of the baghs
with its period furniture
for the children
A prince's play chair in the drawing room
or the adults.
The entourage enjoying the view on a hitchkar
But what is a palace without the works of art? And a Maharajah is surrounded with only the best.
Clay sculptures at entrance
Art in the Open
Spotted- An intricately carved wooden shutter encased on an ancient wall.
As far as I am concerned though, the true beauty of an Indian palace lies in its ancient facade.
Unapologetic, unabashed, undoing.
In 1947, Raja Rajinder Singh of Neemrana, deprived of his privy purse, moved down to Vijay Bagh as the façade of his Fort-Palace crumbled and its ramparts began to give way. For forty years he tried to rid himself of his liability but there were no takers. Finally, in 1986, the ruins were acquired for restoration and today, Neemrama Fort Palace is amongst India's oldest heritage resort.
And so it is that this palace is no longer a Maharajah's lodging. Where once an amphitheatre stood for mighty princes and kings to tame wild elephants, today it is a popular venue for weddings or
picture taking for the tourist
who may dream for that fleeting moment when the picture is snapped that all the splendour is hers....
Well, all sojourns, no matter how good, must end. It was noon already and we had thought if we leave then, we might be in time for tea at Jaipur, the pink city. This was an even wilder dream than the tourist's for no sooner have we left the road, we ran smack into another jam and a
"I am not a happy harem camper!" says the unhappy harem camper.
Maybe we should have gone with the camel. Speaking of which, do you know that a camel is a highly intelligent animal? They can find their own way through the desert back home and are sometimes used to transport contrabands across borders. And then there are the really special ones, the Maharajah's Favourite who can perform special abilities. Like this one that can swallow a log .
"The picture above was taken when I was yawning, silly!" says the camel.
Told you they are intelligent. And sometimes a little rude.
.....to be continued