Dungarpur II

Dear friends and family,

Next day at Udai Bilas palace; it's a little hard for me to leave this place.

I got permission to go upstairs and photograph. I think they would grant permission to anybody who asked. But you can see this wild, crazy and phantasmagoric tower from another angle. I love it.

Mr. Don aka Aldo. Chess, anyone?

Our trustworthy driver, Rajender Singh, picks us up to take us up the hill to the old palace, the Juna Mahal. I am so happy I convinced my travel agent, Noorul Islam of Grand Travel Planner, to modify our itinerary. I found out about Dungarpur and Bundi from web searches and he was very accommodating, after some initial resistance, and managed to switch our itinerary around. 

Sad to leave Udai Bilas palace

A little Hindu temple right outside the grounds. I like the different color stones they used.

Raj had to ask for directions several times; a couple people had never heard of Juna Mahal, the old palace. We passed through a Muslim village where people were doing their washing at the village pump.

The Old Palace, Juna Mahal. Rawal Veer Singh, seeking a protected location, built a two-story building with barracks in 1282 and successive generations expanded and added more stories, according to a plaque at the location. According to Wiki, the ruling family are descended from the senior branch of the Sisodiyas of Udaipur. Mahup, the eldest son of Karan Singh, head of the Mewar clan, was disinherited by his father and had to go live with his mother's side of the family around Dungarpur. The younger branch of the family, descended from a more favored son, are the Maharawals of Udaipur, the Mewar, a very big name around these parts.

The Juna Mahal is 7 stories high.

The caretaker of the Juna Mahal was a very sweet older man, painfully thin, who ran about opening doors and shuttered windows for us so that we could see the usually darkened rooms. Naturally, we gave him a big tip/donation (for India) at the end of the tour.

Attempting to get a detail.

The caretaker, whose name we didn't get, so let's call him Ajay, demonstrated how the queen or Rani sat on cushions in this very spot and was fanned by a retainer.

The village below

Moving on to another floor.

Mirrored floor

And on and on. We felt as if someone had opened the gates to Pompeii, and given us and only us free rein. There was absolutely no one else there. We took hundreds of photos and feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.

Part of the complex has fallen into ruin

So much of it is gloriously alive, although gently decaying. Some day it will be preserved by conservators, hopefully they will do a skillful job, and it will be protected with plexiglass. Probably necessary, but unfortunately so much less direct an experience.

Love from India,

Era and Don