Monday, March 10, 2008

The Palaces of Deeg

*Secluded in a sleepy little town far off the tourist trail, the Palaces of Deeg offered the solace that we'd been craving. . .we pretty much had the entire palace to ourselves!

*A couple hours away from Bharatpur on small and sometimes bumpy roads, this special place is not easy to find, and our driver made several wrong turns. But I enjoyed getting lost as I was able to soak in the countryside and charming villages along the way.

*There was something so mystical about this area - a spirit that touched on all your senses, and then some.

*The sunlight radiated on the 250+ year old Mughal architectural wonder, gently touching each structure, tree and blade of grass like magic...I wonder if this is what heaven is like.

*There was something special about the sunlight here; this warm hazy glow that fell on everything. It was as if a cinematographer had used a ProMist filter to create that special pearlescent halo - what a dreamy look.

*Along with the cool crisp breeze, it provided us with a haven away from the chaos just outside.

*We had visited the famous Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur earlier in the day (home to some 300+ species of migratory birds!) , but due to the drought the past few years, the birds have been giving the sanctuary a miss. Sad. We actually saw more birds at these palaces including these very vocal parakeets.

*At least 500 ancient fountains (some sources claim as high as 2000) connected with underground pipelines dotted the palace lot. They were originally built to provide air conditioning for the tenants. The mists would cool the area during the sweltering summer days.

*I've been learning how the majority of palace architecture in India takes temperature into consideration. The Jag Niwas palace (The Taj Lake Palace) is a good example, as it was built in conjunction with Lake Pichola so that the water currents that flow around the structure cool the palace.

*Apparently, it is quite rare when the fountains are turned on, but I was able to find this picture online that captured the moment. They'll fill these incredibly old tanks and turn them on usually during Brij Mahotsava, (a festival of colour, song, music and dance in Bharatpur in honour of Lord Krishna), which takes place around March, which is a few days before Holi. Sometimes they'll put bags of colored powder within the pipes so the fountains will spray out different colored water. Hmmm, I guess this is the perfect excuse for needing to make another visit here. :)

*Local children who had been playing with their cute puppies in the gardens pose for the camera.

*Steps leading down to the water that surrounded the palaces show their age. I wonder all the stories these steps could tell...

Pathways here, there, everywhere.

*I wandered through the empty ruins in awe - no entrance or gateway was roped off so I explored this labyrinth-like playground as much as my hearts content...each pathway led to some other pathway, rooftop, temple or secret room.

*My footsteps echoed in rthymn with the parakeet calls as I walked through some of the enclosed hallways. It was almost eerie how not too many people were around - but at the same time, I completely loved the seclusion of it all.

*After my curiousity had been satisfied, I went to find my husband, who was basking in the warm sunrays in the beautifully landscaped gardens.

The fountains...
The sunlight...
The crisp clean air...
The peace...
The magnificant gardens...

...a special place I will cherish in my memory forever.


priya said...

what magnificent photographs. you are fortunate indeed to have visited this place.

Mary Elizabeth Liberty said...

seems very peaceful, thanks for transporting us there!

mimi said...

these are gorgeous, gorgeous pictures. these gorgeous, thoughtful places fit you so well. i'm so happy you went (home).

indian yarn said...

i was here almost 13 years ago and am surprised to learn that it is still off the touristy trail.