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Published: September 7th 2018
Looking rather sad :(
Today was a trip to the vintage car museum owned by the maharana. This was definitely a visit for Stephen more than me, having said that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
The museum is an easy walk at the far end of the palace from the old city. It is down a main road though so not a particularly pleasant walk. Entrance is 300 rupees per person, regardless of nationality. This is quite expensive given how small the museum is but if you have an interest in old cars it’s more than worth it.
All the cars and carriages are still in working order and have a team of staff to look after them. One of the men came around and opened all the doors of the garages and told as about the vehicles which was really useful. Some of the more interesting cars included a Rolls Royce converted into an off road hunting vehicle, a school bus from 1947 that was still in use until 1995 and a Jeep complete with axe & spade used as their polo car (the polo is miles away in Jodpur!). There are also electric bicycles, horse carriages,
ox carts and a buck trap to see.
On the way back from the museum we detoured into the gardens opposite. These were obviously part of the old palace gardens with areas which used to be used as lion & tiger cages, deer park, toy train track and fruit gardens. Most of these areas are now overgrown but it’s still beautiful and calm. There is a lovely rose garden and stunning fountains around a pretty building which is now the public library. We were particularly pleased to see hundreds of fruits bats hanging in the trees.
Leaving the garden we entered the back of the palace via the pay to enter Manek Chowk gate. At just 30 rupees each this is worth doing to look at the view and the buildings from the other side to the palace museum. Our main reason for entering was to try and see the Durbar hall from the gallery restaurant - unfortunately this has been closed since 2015! The only way of seeing the hall is to enter the crystal gallery at 700 rupees each which seems a bit much when we have no interest in crystal trinkets.
You also cannot
get through to the other side of the palace unless you have museum tickets so we had to walk right back round the outside.
After a rather late lunch we went to the Bangore Ki Haveli museum. This little museum has a slightly electric range of items but being cheap to get in it’s a pleasant way of spending an afternoon. The views from the roof top are great. On the way to the museum you get collared by yet another silk artist and a puppet maker but looking at their stock was interesting. The main body of the museum shows the rooms as they would have been when inhabited by royalty. Downstairs they have a turban collection which explains what all the different styles say about the wearing (they indicate religion, occupation & region of origin!).
The evening we planned to go on the sunset cruise around the lake but after a unexpectedly long tea & cake stop (due to rubbish service) we turned up to discover it sold out. Somewhat cross with ourselves we went to Breeze cafe (essentially a bar full of locals smoking the hubble bubble) for an unexpectedly good dinner.
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