January 15, 2020 : Royal Rajpipla
We begin the day with a Heritage Walk among the historical edifices in Rajpipla, then visit the magnificent Indrajit-Padmini Mahal. It was once a stunning royal palace, but it has recently been converted into a school and is in urgent need of repairs. Beautiful art painted directly on the walls is peeling off or has been covered by other layers and is barely visible. Finally the Maharaja (Prince Manvendra’s father) gives us a private tour of the museum in his own royal palace. It is wonderful to view his family’s heirlooms with personal explanations from someone who has lived with them his long and interesting life. After dinner we socialize in the Durbar Hall of the Palace into the evening, and Prince Manvendra provides us with a musical interlude by playing his harmonium.
A quick peek at my room in the Palace. Simple (spartan even), but delightful because of where we’re staying.
You transit through a dressing room going from the bedroom to the washroom. I’ve never had a dressing room before in any level of accommodation, and I put this one to good use!
I pass the rabbit hutch on the way to breakfast in the dining room. It’s feeding time for humans and bunnies alike!
This palace is alive with activity from morning until night. I have to break through this line of schoolgirls lined up to visit the palace museum as I make my way to breakfast.
The Prince and the Maharaja join us for breakfast. I’m wearing blue, and the Prince informs me that Wednesdays are green days – necessitating a quick costume change on my part before going out touring.
The group heads into town before I’m quite finished with my computer work, so I stay behind and catch up with the group later by this mode of transportation! Notice the green pants.
Approaching Victoria Gate on the motorcycle. We’ve been informed that the group is somewhere around here.
Sure enough – I am reunited with the group in front of the town’s central clock tower. We proceed to stop traffic with a group photo. I have no idea why people are so curious….
Well, if the truth be told, I can guess that this might be what has brought traffic to a screeching halt. The husband of a Prince simply can’t go about unveiled, can he? DeAndre purchased this bridal veil during a recent trip to Nepal. It is much easier to see out of when you turn your head quickly from side to side, causing the fringe to flare out.
The Prince and his husband at the base of a statue in the center of Rajpipla honoring of one of the Prince’s ancestors.
Arriving at the beautiful Indrajit-Padmini Mahal.
A water feature inside one of the palace salons. Perfume is placed in the top receptacle, which then drips into the lower containers and fills the room with fragrance.
A beautiful art deco fireplace inside the Palace.
A German and an Italian Artist combined their talents while residing at the palace to create stunning artworks on the walls. These are sadly being eroded by time and careless maintenance.
Badly faded art on the walls of the Indrajit-Padmini Palace.
One room at the Indrajit-Padmini Palace is called the “Oriental” room, and its walls are covered with scenes like this.
There is a temple room where the family worshipped the Hindu Gods. Its artwork is in much better shape than most of the other rooms.
The school office also has some artworks that are much better preserved.
Returning to our own royal residence, we pass another grand “guest house” that once belonged to the Royal family.
The former Maharaja escorts us into the Palace museum for a private tour.
This mirror certainly makes me look great, doesn’t it?
Hunting wild animals and displaying trophies was all the rage among Royals in the past.
The Maharaja and his wife with Prince Manvendra as a child.
Whoever colorized this photo of the Prince long ago maybe had a premonition about the infant’s future interests?
Gifts from Pakistan – the necklace parts comprised of folded crips Pakistani currency.
The Throne of the Maharaja’s Dynasty. It is huge, and made of marble.
Images of the former Maharajas are carved into the marble frame of the throne.
The family crest hangs beside the old throne.
By the conclusion of the tour a few of our members had retired to their rooms for a pre-dinner siesta. Here are the proud few who soldiered on to the end,, posing with members of the Royal Familiy.
Before dinner we have a tour of the Prince’s private apartments in the Palace. Here he shows the bed where he and his wife slept for 15 months – the marriage unconsummated – prior to her having the marriage annulled.
We make our way up to the rooftop terraces of the Palace just as the sun is setting.
A sunset chat on the palace roof.
Hanging out on the roof of the Maharaja’s Palace.
Just before dinner we meet the 96-year-old Private Secretary to the Prince. He has served three Maharajas in his long career.