Tuesday, 26 August 2008

26 August 2008: Jai Vilas Palace

Jai Vilas Palace is the ancestral home of the Scindias who are the wealthiest family of India. The head of the family is the Maharaja of Gwalior. The palace was stunning for its sheer extravagance. There were sepia tinged photos of hunting parties with rows of dead tigers laid out for display. Some of these tigers ended up in the trophy cabinet of the palace's museum.

Room after room was full of exquisite antique furniture, ancient sculptures from around India and sheer decadence (not all very tasteful mind – the pool side bar had a late seventies retro feel about it). The highlights of the palace were photos of the Maharaja meeting heads of state including Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussain; the silver brandy and cigar train (with track) and the royal court hall. The hall is said to contain the world's largest chandeliers. The strength of the roof was apparently tested using eight elephants.

After the museum, we luncheoned in five-star luxury at the Usha Kiran Palace (although neither of us was dressed for the occasion).

This afternoon we caught the train to Agra. Whilst waiting on platform two, we got chatting to a 30-year-old gentleman. He asked us how long we had been married (ten years of course), and he announced that he had been married for just ten days. He then revealed that he was rather frustrated in the bedroom department – his new wife was not obliging – and tried to seek our advice on the matter! On the same subject, we were on a computer in the internet cafĂ© today. The search history of previous users was rather interesting, e.g. Bollywood babes and cheerleaders – plus some verbs and adjectives.

This evening we ate at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Taj Mahal. An early start tomorrow morning to get there for the sunrise at 6am. Even with an overcast sky, the Taj looked more magical than we had imagined.

Read the Gwalior Fort posting.


Anonymous said...

do you have any plans to go trekking in nepal? i have been thinking that i might do 7-14 days trek at annapurna area, or it doesn´t have to be annapurna, anyway if you have similar plans, maybe we could do some trekking together? i haven`t book the flights yet, but i am gonna be hole november in nepal.