We drove to Deeg the next day – about
45 minutes north of Bharatpur. We
had heard about an impressive fort and palace there, and decided to give
the wildlife viewing a rest. After a colorful journey through the
backroads, we came to the town and wound our way to the imposing fort.
While the enormous walls and massive doors with elephant attack preventing
spikes were all very impressive, the thing we noticed most about the place
was the profusion of cow patties drying in the sun.
After getting yelled at by an old couple
winding their way through the fort walkways, we decided to head for the
more 'civilized' palace.
Deeg has a ‘water palace’; a summer
resort for the rich and famous Rajas of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Located just across from the fort,
the enormous ponds on either side of the complex help keep the palace cool
during the scorching summer days. There is still an annual festival held
where the fountains are filled with colored water to make fantastic displays,
but the only colors we could discern were those of the locals washing thir
clothes (and hair!) in the murky waters of both fonts.
Pulling back in view, the massive
buildings that surround the royal residence come into view.
The water palace itself fronts onto
one of the artificial lakes, and the overhangs and balconies must have
provided a cool place of rest. Even during our visit, they were shaded
The main palace still has all the original
furnishings, as it was occupied by the Maharashtra of the area until the
early 1970s. One of the cool pieces was a stuffed tiger, and another neat
artifact was a big black stone slab bed thing. We couldn't figure out what
it was for the longest time, until the guide - grunting and pointing -
helped us understand that it was a 'spoil of war' that had been brought
here when this kingdom sacked Delhi (!!) and expropriated all sorts of
stuff, including an entire palace that they rebuilt here. It was originally
a Jain dead body washing platform that was used by the kings here as a
bed - yuck.
There were also huge swaths of fabric
hanging from dowels on the ceiling and we couldn’t figure out what they
were. Acoustics? Decoration? Privacy screens? Dave finally figured out
they were fans, worked by an intricate system of weights and counterweights
along the ceiling. Not quite as neat as a dead body king bed, but much
Wandering around the grounds, we noticed
how the Hindu and Muslim architecture of different sites were all mixed
up in a 'desert eclectric' style that was unique to Rajasthan.
There was constant reconstruction work
being done, and locals out enjoying the sunlight.
To the winter break 2007-08 main
We decided Deeg had the premier
hide and go seek palace. We spent more than an hour running around and
hiding from each other. Dave added a new twist to the game by ‘flashing’
the kids with the camera flash to get them out. We spent the rest of the
evening back in Bharatpur eating dinner at a local place and playing rounds
of Connect Four.
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