Samode’s romantic palace, immortalized in films such as The Far Pavilions, is the main reason why this minor Rajput hamlet is now a luxurious tourist destination. Erected in the late 19th century by a powerful noble of the Jaipur state, this jewel like palace nestles among the hills below an older hill fort. A flight of stairs leads up to a massive gateway and into the palace. Its simple exterior is highly deceptive for, surrounding the vast central courtyard, are spacious rooms on three levels, Of these, the chambers on the uppermost level are the most opulent. The Durhar Hall, Stteesh Mahal and Sultan Mahal are embellished all over with dazzling mirrot work and elaborate murals that depict courtly life, hunting scenes and religious themes, along with floral and geometric motifs.
The murals represent the best of the Jaipur style and are said to rival those at Jaipur’s Chandra Mahal (see pp188-9) and Tonk’s Sunehri Kothi . However, entrance is restricted since it is now a luxury hotel. A short distance away is Samode Bagh where the more adventurous can stay in one of the 50 deluxe tents pitched in the formal garden. Other points of interest are the abandoned old fort at the end of a strenuous walk up 376 steps, and the quaint little village where a wide variety of local handicrafts such as colourful hand-woven dhurries, tie-and-dye fabric, lac bangles and jootis (slippers) are available.
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