Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Palatial surroundings

Kaurali. Never heard of it before. But there's a palace there belonging to the Maharajah. And we stayed there.

Apparently all the Maharajahs and Rajahs (Kings in their kingdoms) had to give up their lands and palaces at the time of independence (1947). Our Maharajah was no different. But he inherited the property at a relatively young age and decided he head better convert it to a "Heritage Property" to make a few bob.

We met the "Queen" who, it turns out, is also the local Mayor. She is a formidable lady. Apart from running the Palace as a Heritage Property and running the local Council, she also manages an extraordinary amount of charitable work including a mobile hospital and an amazing 96 local schools. She was hugely critical of corruption in Indian politics and said that was why she concentrated on helping the local people.

Only the palace we stayed in was only the new palace. We also visited the grand palace. Wow! Not an exclamation I use lightly - in it's time (the oldest part of the palace is 700 years old) it must have been spectacular - its features included:

- separate winter and summer palace sections
- elaborate wall paintings
- a Royal Temlple
- a swimming pool
- ornate gardens with fountains
- a Royal Hamam
- a dance theatre
- a grand hall for public audience and an interior one for private audiences
- and much much more

India keeps surprising.

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