Saturday, 3 December 2011

Jai Vilas Palace

We were driving from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh to Delhi, on our way; we stayed in Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) for a few days. Getting here from Jabalpur was like the climactic scene from a movie (where we have to fight the villains off, under gun fire and explosion); the villain here was the roads. As I have stated before, roads in Madhya Pradesh are the worst once I have driven on. It's like driving on a battle field. 

A fair warning to all travelling by road, if its monsoon season, be afraid, be very afraid. The pot holes grow into deep wells and also failing of trees can block roads. Either carry a GPS device or a map which is utterly useless in India or a guide or someone to show you alternative routes. If you are travelling on a time constrain, then plan ahead, a lot ahead.

Distance from Jabalpur to Delhi is about 790kms about 20hrs. But it took us about 15hrs just to get to Gwalior (455kms) and 11hrs from there to Delhi. 

It was our first visit ever to Gwalior. I grew up listening to the phrase "Gwalior Ka Pagalkhane Jana Hai Kya" (Do you want to go to the mental hospital in Gwalior?) For me it was more famous for its "Pagalkhana" than the fort or even Tansen. We reached Gwalior late at night, so had to book a place through internet. This hotel looked fine, but had no hot water available in the bathrooms and the food wasn't so good. The truth is we couldn't really find any good place to eat except for McDonald's. I'm glad the city had McDonald's. We even tried a 3 Star restaurant thinking it would be good, the food did taste good but by evening every-ones stomach was upset. So be careful where you choose to eat.

Gwalior is a small town, looks very dry and dull for most parts. But it is developing rapidly with shopping malls (which are congested) and all the big brands are coming in. Though we weren't really keen on shopping from there, we did go to the mall often as McDonald's was there.

As usual, exploration was on our mind. My sister in law (SiL) who had joined us for the trip had a flight to catch from Bangalore; we had to be selective for our sightseeing, since we had to drive back the next day. We asked around and realized that there were two important places we needed to see. We had to see Jai Vilas Mahal (Scindia Museum) and Gwalior Fort.

Jai Vilas Mahal was built in 1809; it was designed by Lt. Col Sir Michael Filose. It actually is a residence, where the Scindia family still lives, about 35 rooms of the residence is converted into a museum. The structure combines elements of Tuscan and Corinthian style. It's a palace and I guess I would enjoy living in one. 

Jai Vilas Palace Or Scindia Museum
The family had exquisite taste for colleting bizarre items and some royal memorabilias. 

Its a Dining Table that weights a ton or so

Its a Table Fan that runs on petrol engine

BMW Isetta

This is the part, where I am about to shout out and kick some ass. This family probably went out and hunted so many animals just because they wanted trophies or maybe it's for the game. Probably, whatever the reason, I don't like it. I would say this family probably are the reason for the decreased number of tigers in India. I know, I am going a bit over broad, but for someone like me, this was getting personal. 

Thats the amount of Tigers they killed in one hunt

Yeah for sure, they needed to stuff it and show it off

Hunting Trophy

This is made of Ivory
There were a lot more of hunting trophies and ivory stuff, I just don't have the heart to put up any more pictures. 

Now, with a big place like this, I guess the tables can't be small too. Oh Hell! Forget the tables; the dining room itself can't be small. I guess then all they had to do was build dining rooms as big as football fields. Why stop there, make two tables for vegetarians and non vegetarians, make a table for drinks only, put in some fancy plates and you have a dining hall fit for royalty.

One of the Dining Halls with Silver Plates

Oh yeah! the other Dining Hall

This is kind of my favorite part of the palace; a silver train with cut glass wagons, serves guests as it goes around the table on miniature rails. The train carries drinks, dry fruit or snacks and cigars. Lifting of containers or bottles would automatically reduce pressure on the track and thus stopping the silver train. This I guess, is a must have feature for all houses. I would even recommend the government to make it mandatory in all homes. 

Miniature Tracks on the Dining Table
The Silver Train

Now, Durbar Hall (dining hall again) with two central chandeliers, both weighing a couple of tonnes. It seems they actually got ten Elephants on the roof (wonder how) to test its strength before they hung the chandeliers. It's sometimes better to be safe than sorry. It's furnitured with antique furniture's, ceilings painted in gold, heavy draperies and tapestries. The hall is covered with the largest carpet in Asia, made by Gwalior Jail prisoners. 

Durbar Hall

There is a lot to see...

1 comment:

  1.'s really awesome Palace. I really like it. Thank you for sharing.

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