Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – India chapter Rajasthan has to say about Jaisalmer’s Fort Palace:
“Towering over the fort’s main square, and partly built on top of the Hawa Pol (the fourth fort gate), is the former rulers’ elegant seven-storey palace. Highlights of the tour include the mirrored and painted Rang Mahal (the bedroom of the 18th-century ruler Mulraj II), a gallery of finely wrought 15th-century sculptures donated to the rulers by the builders of the fort’s temples, and the spectacular 360-degree views from the rooftop.
On the eastern wall of the palace is a sculpted pavilion-style balcony. Here drummers raised the alarm when the fort was under siege. You can also see numerous round rocks piled on top of the battlements, ready to be rolled onto advancing enemies.
Much of the palace is open to the public – floor upon floor of small rooms provide a fascinating sense of how such buildings were designed for spying on the outside world. The doorways connecting the rooms of the palace are quite low. This isn’t a reflection on the stature of the Rajputs, but was a means of forcing people to adopt a humble, stooped position in case the room they were entering contained the Maharawal.
The last part of the tour moves from the king’s palace (Raja-ka-Mahal) into the queen’s palace (Rani-ka-Mahal), which contains an interesting section on Jaisalmer’s annual Gangaur processions in spring.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
Though we had been in Jaisalmer for a full five days when we visited in 2008, for some reason, we didn’t visit the Fort Palace. That seems odd to me now, because we really enjoyed touring the extensive seven-storey palace, especially with the complimentary audio guides. I’m wondering, as I write this, if it was possible to tour the palace twelve years ago. Perhaps they have set it up as a proper museum and developed the audio guides as tourism exploded in the region, and more and more visitors began to extend their trips to the far west of the state.
We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent viewing the displays and especially the views from the roof when we finally made our way up all the narrow staircases all the way to the top. There were rooms full of things to see at each level, so it wasn’t a chore climbing, and we hardly knew we’d come so far, we were all engrossed in listening and learning more about the history of the fort and the palace.
I want to mention at this point, how wonderful it’s been to travel with Donna and Duncan once again. It’s not always easy to find people who have similar interests in common, and all four of us seem to appreciate museums, art galleries, historic sights, walking for good stretches of the day, and eating similar foods at similar times of the day. When people’s interests are misaligned, it can easily cause hard feelings and/or conflict, but we’ve experienced none of that with the McColls. Quite the contrary, we get along like a house on fire.
This is our fourth trip together – our first was in Vietnam for Christmas 2007, next came Colombia in March 2018, then, Cyprus in November 2018 and finally this trip to India. In between Donna has travelled twice with us before Duncan retired and wasn’t able to get away from his duties as principal at a school in Edmonton. Donna joined us in Spain in 2009 and then again in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in 2012.
Let’s hope that once this COVID-19 pandemic has run its course, and international travel becomes possible again, that we have a chance to travel together once more. In the meantime, there’s always lots to explore in Canada, but we’ll have to wait for safe and healthy times for that as well.