Samode Palace –Heritage castle in the clouds.
Samode Palace in Rajasthan is a very secluded blissful gateway from the maddening hordes of urban life. The 400-year-old palace in its heritage hotel avatar has five times in a row won, the rare honor of being named the best heritage hotel and is still considered a must by all those travel guides, world over, which specifically are meant for the well heeled and widely traveled high spending leisure tourists. The architecture is a blend of Mughal and Rajput styles. Its three courtyards at different levels are full of florid frescoes and ornamental mirror works flanked by grand arches. Most magnificent in splendor are Darbar Hall, where royals held court in their days of glory and Sheesh Mahal, literally meaning palace of mirrors. Every inch and corner of roof and walls of Darbar hall are adorned with millions of miniatures paintings with each taken years to complete. Their natural colors, extracted from vegetables and flowers, are still in full glow as they have triumphantly weathered four long centuries and modernisation.
All the suites have private courtyards, washrooms half the size of football fields, fireplace with latticed windows, cool marble floors and ornate pillars; and are decorated with pure silver frames, old photographs and memorabilia of Raj, hand woven upholstery; and all this comes fitted with amenities of modern civilisation. If the idea of sheer indulgence exceeds the above mentioned then one can check into any one of three exclusive royal suites.
The kitchen is well equipped as one can choose from wide selection of authentic Rajasthani, European and American Cuisine and vintages wines. The nearby Aravali hills and forest offer a beautiful view when one dines in the breezy courtyard by the bar. For the ultimate laid up break one can swim for hours in its sunken marble pool decorated with local mosaic tiles or avail of services of its message center. The staff is fluent in Hindi and English with few conversant in French and each guest is treated like royalty.
As no holiday in Rajasthan is complete with mandatory local song –dance routine and souvenir shopping, same is a must here. Time seems to stand still in the palace as nearest airport is tucked 42 km away in Jaipur and while appreciating the grandeur of its marble fountain or beauty of its lotus pond one never realises when the time of departure arrives.