We visited a beautiful site about 40 Kms from Jaipur. Set among the hills, the picturesque Samode Palace has been home to many a movie sets. We were extra lucky to have very favorable weather, it had rained a few times in the past week, the breeze was cool and the hills were painted green.
The palace, which was turned into a hotel in the 80s, was built almost 500 years ago by Rawal of Amber (Jaipur) state. There have been some additions along the line by the future generations of the family, while maintaining the beauty of the mughal and rajputi architecture. The palace welcomes you with beautiful lawns and fountain round about leading to (a lot of) steps which take you through a palatial gate into the first courtyard. The courtyard has been turned into a café surrounded by admin rooms, and guest rooms upstairs. Narrow stairs lead into Sultan Hall, named after Rawal Sultan Singh, and the regally decorated guest rooms. The grand rooms truly make you feel like Maharja/Maharani, with traditional furniture, antique doors and marble tub in the bathrooms.
A set of narrow alleys lead to the second courtyard, and then to Sheesh Mahal, and Durbar Hall. This is where the magic happens. The yellow sandstone palace suddenly turns into an art gallery with exquisite murals and painted ceilings preserved over centuries. Sheesh Mahal (glass palace) is decorated with thousands of pieces of different types of glasses, the whole room lights up with single candle. It looks over the Durbar Hall with walls depicting scenes of palaces, and beautiful mughal motifs which were later used in block printing on bedsheets, curtains, quilts and many other textiles.
All in all a romantic weekend getaway full of history, art and beauty.
- Hitesh Modi