The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. ― William Blake
Here are a few preliminary glimpses of my Rajasthan trip and my travel through the Shekhawati region (North-Eastern part of the state) – will post more details later. “Rajasthan” literally means “Land of Kings”, hence decided to check out a few affordable palaces and experience the “royal” life 😉 🙂
Before Independence, there were many small independent princely states in this region and each state had it’s own fort or palace. All these states were later integrated into India after Independence. Some royal families have converted their forts or palaces into hotels, and guests can get a peek into their heritage, traditions and history.
Many towns in this region fall on the ancient “Silk Route” (old international trade routes), and were home to a lot of wealthy Marwadi merchants. These traders built magnificent “havelis” (mansions) to showcase their wealth. However after the (silk, opium and spices) trade declined, many of them moved to Calcutta or Bombay, abandoning their mansions. A few descendants have restored and preserved their ancestral homes, and they are the main attraction in this area. All have distinct architecture and beautiful frescoes and paintings in them.
It was an enchanting experience to stay in these palaces and visit the havelis on the Silk Route and feel transported back in history 🙂 🙂 On some days we were the only guests in the palace, and almost felt like we owned it!! In addition, the people of this region are very warm, friendly, hospitable and proud of their culture, so I ended up having a truly wonderful trip!