Thursday, April 24, 2014

What it's like to stay in a Maharaja's palace in India

While on my small group adventure tour in Northern India in January of 2007 we ventured into "non tourist" territory and visited the small city of Karauli.  This was definitely the highlight of my time in India.  I will talk about our short time in the city touring the city palace, meeting the children and taking a camel cart ride in an upcoming post but this one is all about my accommodation.  We stayed at the Bhanwar Vilas Palace which is owned by the Maharaja and his wife.  Sadly they were not in residence while we were there.  They rent out rooms in their palace to help pay for restoration of the City palace in the centre of town as well as to help run a local school.  Built in 1938, the palace is a bit rough around the edges and probably needs a bit of  a reno but that just adds to its rakish charm.  I would rather help to support educating children than stay in fancier rooms.  It was clean and that's all that matters.

The palace viewed from the garden - we enjoyed a wonderful meal here with beautiful fresh veggies (red carrots!) from this garden.

All very retro - not sure why there was a mattress at the foot of the bed though.  I was lucky and was given one of the nicer bigger rooms.

Do you think this bathroom is big enough?  I remember tripping on the elevated platform on one of my nocturnal bathroom visits! 

The lovely courtyard area -it was great to spend time here before and after dinner.  

One of many sculptures along the walls.

Another view of the courtyard - there is so much detail it took us a while to check it out.

Upon our arrival we were given garlands - and told there were puppies!  Puppies we could actually hold and cuddle (sadly you cannot approach the stray dogs in India for fear of rabies - I did feed everyone I met though...)  - the three dog lovers in our crew which included me went CRAZY!!!! Even though I did not approve of these dogs being bred how could you resist these little squirming bundles.

Here is Simone, the pup's mom along with one of the Maharaja's staff. 
And here's a picture of the front of the palace with Simon, the dad of the puppies snoozing.  Judging from the look of those you think there is something Simone isn't telling Simon?

I hope you enjoyed our quick trip to the palace...we only stayed one night but it was something I will always cherish...a chance to see a glimpse of colonial India.  And stay in a normal "untouristy" town.  Only one little scallywag asked for money and we know that's because some stupid tourist gave it to him.  The other children just wanted our smiles.  Stay tuned for a photo essay on our walk around Karauli.


Sammi Egan said...

HAHAHA that's so funny about those puppies! So cute, I loves them.

It looks like an amazing place to stay, I have yet to visit India- maybe one day!

Rebel said...

What a great experience, I would love to go to India, hopefully will get there one day. I love going to places that aren't "touristy" too, it makes the experience more special.

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