We left Pushkar dusty and dirty with our minds filled with the overwhelming assault on all the senses that is India. Words are inadequate to describe the noise, the crowds, the colors, the smells. We'd read and watched videos, but until you are really here submerged in this amazing culture, you cannot comprehend this unique country. That's why we came…
Back in Jaipur we had one more major sight to see - the City Palace Museum. The maharajah here was especially rich and powerful and resisted becoming part of the unification of India for as long as possible. But when it became inevitable, he put his main palace into a trust. This allows his descendants to live there in the private section today and the admission prices tourists pay to see the rest funds the upkeep of the rest of this astounding residence. Whenever I wander through such a place, I alternate between being bowled over by the opulence and beauty and appalled by the thought of how many poor people slaved away to serve this royal family and create its obscene wealth. India must have been so much more wealthy than the Europeans who tried to establish colonies here and eventually took it over. Each rajah ruled over a small piece of territory and the wealth each one had easily outdid what was going on in Portugal, Holland, and England during the 17th and 18th century. Perhaps if the rajahs had banded together instead of competing and fighting with one another, they could have resisted this invasion of white faces. It also makes me wonder what India would be like today if all its riches could have stayed here.
A series of arched doorways with interlocking courtyards each tall enough to allow a parade of elephants to enter brought us to the public area. The public area had two silver urns each five feet tall that were made to transport water from the River Ganges that went along with the Maharajah when he went to London during a state visit in 1907. His astrologer had told him never to cross foreign water and by taking Indian water with him, this was a work around to enable him to go. Some of the interior rooms had a huge collection of royal clothing in amazing condition for being 300 years old. A huge collection of the weapons of war, some jewel encrusted and ornately embellished was in another area. The lives these people lead are hard to relate to today. It was common for the rajahs to father literally 1,000's of children from their wives and concubines, and sometimes it was challenging to decide which one would be the next in line to rule.
This beautiful place is often used as a location in films set in India. Next time I see one I'll recognize this spot.