Gujarat – Day 4

January 16, 2020 : Vadodara

We bid a fond farewell to the staff of the Maharaja’s Palace in Rajpipla this morning and return to Vadodara to visit the offices of the Prince’s Charitable Trust and see the largest palace in all of India. I have the privilege of riding with the Prince in his vehicle, with him driving! You’d think he’d have his own driver, but he prefers to be independent and drive himself everywhere. I’m sorry that he won’t be accompanying us on the rest of the tour, but we have formed a firm friendship and we’ll be seeing each other during future trips in India – no doubt!

After meeting the staff of the Lakshya Trust (offering many services to the LGBTQA+ Community) we have lunch and then tour the Laxmi Vilas Palace and its adjoining museum. Unfortunately photos are not allowed inside either building, so we’re light on what we can show you of today’s activities. Suffice it to say we have had a wonderful day!

Prince Manvendra – who often masquerades in public as “Jimmy the Driver” – actually serves in that role for me today.
With the Prince’s Royal Navigation Instincts, we beat the bus back to Vadodara,, so we have time for a coffee break before the others arrive.
Meeting with the excellent staff at the Lakshya Trust,, the Charitable Foundation established by the Prince and a local doctor to provide services to the gay community.
We see several educational posters at the Lakshya Trust. This one features the Prince himself, and proclaims: “I know my status.” It is promoting the idea that knowledge is power.
A second educational poster at the Trust encourages bisexual men to be considerate to their partners and wear protection.
A third poster encourages monogamy, eliciting a few giggles and questions about who exactly in the target audience is likely to practice it?
After lunch we arrive at the Laxmi Vilas Palace – the largest Palace in all of India. Photos are only allowed outside.
The stunning Laxmi Vilas Palace
A bride and groom are having pre-wedding photos taken.
He works in Dubai, and the couple will be moving there shortly after the ceremony.
The wedding couple celebrating their joyous union.
The couple poses with our group a mere hour before their ceremony is scheduled to begin. As always, Indian people are most welcoming and inclusive when interacting with travelers.

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