“We checked in to the Umaid Bhawan Palace, a huge palace that has been turned into a hotel. Quite breathtaking. Dinner was on a rooftop restaurant overlooking the city and the brightly lit-up Mehrangarh Fort. We arrived there in a fleet of motorised Tuk Tuks, each racing the other through the narrow streets bustling with people, slow moving cows, lazy dogs and colourful stalls. Everything wonderful so far!” – Alan Silverman
Having flown across the rippling sands of the driest places in North India, we checked into the resplendent cool of The Taj, Umaid Bhawan Palace, perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur and set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens.
Later that afternoon, we visited the majestic Jodhpur Mehrangarh Fort that lies at the base of a sheer rocky cliff and presides over the aptly named Blue City. The 16th-centuary grandeur of the old city is a living display of culture and tradition with a vibrant mosaic of palaces, temples, havelis, spices and fabrics creating a kaleidoscope of colours and tantalising aromas that pervade the senses. We discovered some of the fantastic shops in the Old City of Jodhpur: glass bangles, shawls (Richard Gere’s favourite shop in India), and a host of unusual things along the way.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace provided the perfect setting to experience the richness of Rajasthan. Built between 1928 and 1943, at the boom of the ancient clans, it is the last of the great palaces of India and one of the largest private residences in the world. When we weren’t relaxing at the hotel, visiting the spa or pools, or consulting with the palace palmist; we whiled away hours wandering the Brahmin-blue laneways of old Jodhpur and in the lush finery of the famed Mandore Gardens, enjoying all the colour and diversity of one of India’s grandest cities.