ROYALS // Bundi, India

The Bundi Palace is beautiful in a kind of untouched, slightly falling apart way. Many parts of the palace are closed off and inaccessible, and the rooms that are open often bear signs of decay. However, I found the experience to be a lot more authentic than the perfectly maintained forts seen in Agra and Jaipur. As an added bonus, we only saw two other tourists during our visit!

It felt a bit surreal being the only people in such a spectacular palace.

Out group tour guide had recruited a local tour guide from Bundi, who was incredibly informative about the history of the building.

More stunning views of the city.

One of the lesser known attractions of the palace is the untouched paintings that adorn numerous rooms. Our tour guide was obviously in the know about the palace, as he lead us up narrow staircases and around numerous twists and turns to bring us to the most amazing rooms.

Once one recovered from the dank smell of bat poo (that’s how little the palace was maintained) that was.

Our tour guide proved himself to be 100% in the know when he made a phone call and a previously locked door leading onto a terraced garden was opened for us.

The garden also featured what was possibly the most colourful and well maintained of the painted rooms. Many of the paintings depicted stories about the life of figures such as Ganesha and Krishna, as well as royal families.

As an optional activity in the afternoon, we took some jeeps from the hotel for a drive to a nearby village, where the same local guide from the morning took us around.

We were followed eagerly by a group of children who were obsessed with our cameras and asking us questions in English.

We visited a local potter, who whipped up one of these pots in about a minute. Some people in our tour group had a go, with far less success!

I asked our group tour guide about why cows wandered the streets in India, and he said that for good karma families would always feed the first chapati/bread to a cow, and the last to a dog. I suspect that is what this cow was eagerly waiting for!

On the way back into Bundi we stopped to see Kipling House, where Kipling was said to have spend his summers.

Our final stop was the 84 Pillared Cenotaph, a structure supported by, you guessed it, 84 pillars.

Back at the hotel we took part in a cooking class. The amount of spices used put every curry I have ever used to shame.

After dinner it was off to the train station to catch our last sleeper train of the trip back to Delhi! Thankfully we all had beds this time.

– Reanna

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