We stayed at Bhanwar Vilas Palace, one of the many heritage properties in India. It was built in the 1930s by the Maharaja of Kaurali. Some of his family still lives on the premises. At the time of Indian Independence in 1947, there were 555 or so princely states, under the rule of local kings. Generally speaking, those were absorbed into a united India (or Pakistan) and royal families could keep their properties, but since they no longer ruled in that area, they didn't generate funds to keep things going. Many of them turned into hotels and guest properties, so there's lots floating around the country that you can stay in. All very unique with modern comforts, even if you only get wifi in the main lobby area.
Here's our first glimpse of the estate.
We were greeted with cold drinks while we relaxed in here and waited for our room keys.
Here's a video tour of the wing where my room was located. I mostly had that side to myself!
Such beautiful details everywhere.
Looking back towards the front of the property, from my balcony area. We ate lunch down there, in the hotel restaurant. They have a local farm with fresh veggies and it was one of the best meals I had on this tour. I honestly couldn't get enough of the cooked cabbage!
Just in case you need to ride an elephant. After lunch we had a tour of the whole property and found all sorts of cool things like this.
Cars from the 1930s.
And the farm animals.
New calf. Born that week.
After our hotel tour, we drove into the city center to tour the City Palace, which was built in the 14th century, though updated during the 18th century. You can only see small bits of the original, even though the newer stuff is still quite old. The family who built our hotel lived in this place, until that property was finished in 1938. It's crazy to think about people living in this palace, or any palace, really.
300 rupees to enter, about $4.
For real, imagine living in this.
We walked up all sorts of stairs and through small passages all over this place.
This is some of the original party, from the 14th century. Not quite safe to be in.
I thought this was so beautiful.
We saw a band and procession to a temple. We'd go in there later to watch a ceremony, but I couldn't take any photos.
At the hotel Susan and Mel had henna done, and it was starting to look great.
After the palace, we went to a nearby temple to view an evening ceremony. I remember it being very loud with people moving in circles around a central altar. Other than that, I am not sure. And we didn't take photos.
We ended the day with a walk through the city. This was the only place that didn't have a plethora of stores selling bottled water. That was hard to come by and the hotel was our only water option.
Up early the next morning to continue our journey!