Accoutrements of luxury

Motion blur = falling stars

During a visit to Jodhpur, friends and I had a wonderful meal in the luxurious Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel, the home of the Jodhpur royals sprawled across 26 acres on a hill above the city and now a Taj hotel. We had not the finances to spend a night there, but the eats were good. (Many thanks to Katie and Simon for picking up this poor teacher’s share of the 11,000 rupee bill.)

The palace is sumptuously adorned as palaces are wont to be. The above photo comes from a dining patio lit by the stars and candles (and motion blur). Those below are from the lobby and public places around the hotel’s marble and stone interior. And yes, that was, at one point, a real tiger.

My only regret is not photographing the meal. Though the mood lighting wouldn’t have allowed it anyway.

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A palace rises from the sand

Jaisalmer fort is just too easy. It’s also a living fort — ancient homes and businesses still reside inside the walls.

There are still plenty of firangi, but it’s not on the prime tourist circuit, either, which makes it all the more alluring.

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Built for modesty


Typical Rajasthani forts have many rooms and screened sections built specifically for the women of the maharaja’s court. Seen one way, such cloistering protected the ladies from the coarse men of the day and gave them almost revered status. Yet, equally if not more, that kind of restriction was a way to contain and control women in a society that believed men deserved all power.

On a tour through the Bikaner fort, I repeatedly bumped in to this beautiful and obviously modest woman, vacationing with her new husband.

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It glitters and it’s gold

A sumptuous dining room wall

The blue-flowered dining hall in the former palace of the Maharaja of Bikaner. That’s brilliant gold leaf coating the walls. The room literally sparkles.

The palace is now a swank hotel. I didn’t stay there, but did have a fantastic meal. Gorged on lal maas, a fiery, wonderful mutton masala that’s a Rajasthani favorite.

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I’m cheering for ya, Mohan

Scribbled love

To the young, macho Indian man, there must be something irresistible about scrawling your romantic intentions on an old monument. This, from a nook at the palace of Jodhabai in Fatepur Sikri. I hope it worked out.

Of course, as much as a dark corner is perfect for inscribing the desires of the heart, it’s also a fine place to dump your litter.

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