The busy lanes of the old walled city of Jaipur conceal many treasures. The walled city moves to its own beat and is very different from the more modern parts of Jaipur. Going into the walled city is a bit like stepping back in time. The architecture, the traffic, the shops, the houses, even the people and their mindset is different. The best way to experience this difference is to spend time in the walled city, preferable walking and meeting people.
In this series of posts I will explore the world hidden inside the fortification walls of the pink city of Jaipur. The restaurants, the eateries, the havelis, the shops, the craftsmen, the artists, the temples and much more. The walled city is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered by the adventurous traveller willing to step off the beaten path.
The Ganga Pol area forms the northeastern corner of the walled city of Jaipur. It is primarily a run down residential zone into which few tourists ever step. Here, about half a kilometer from the main road, hidden in the congested sprawl of cheek by jowl houses, lies the Samode Haveli; the royal residence of the erstwhile Rawals’ of Samode. Built in the 18th century, the Samode Haveli is now one of the finest heritage hotels of India. It boasts of some of the best rooms and probably the best restaurant in the walled city of Jaipur. But this is not what this post is about.
The Samode Haveli conceals a jewelled secret that few visitors know about. Not many know of, and even fewer have seen, the stunning and exquisitely preserved “Sheesh Mahal” hidden deep in the the Samode Haveli. Built more than a century ago, the Sheesh Mahal, or “The mirrored palace”, functioned as the bedroom for the Rawals’ of Samode while in Jaipur.
The Sheesh Mahal can only be reached, probably deliberately, after walking through a series of courtyards and winding corridors. The long walk is well rewarded. A one steps into the Sheesh Mahal, one steps back in time and enters a fairy tale world of painted walls, gilded pillars, mirrored ceiling; a world of valor and gallantry, a world of beautiful princesses and chivalrous princes.
Amazingly, discerning guests can stay in the Sheesh Mahal, for it has now been converted in to a room which boasts of all modern facilities. This must be one of the few places in the world where one can actually spend a night in a centuries old gilded art gallery.
Even if you don’t plan to spend a night in the Sheesh Mahal, make it a point to go and see it on your next visit to the Samode Haveli.
To more about the Samode Haveli you can visit their website : www.samode.com/samodehaveli/