Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Behind the palace gates in Jodhpur ...

Already well-established on the tourist map as home of Mehrangarh Fort, and city of blue houses, Jodhpur (where I visited Chokelao Bagh Garden last week), also has a secret garden that's rarely featured on the tourist map - the 60-acre site at Balsamand Palace - outside the bustling city centre, on the Mandore Road - one of the finest garden oases in Rajasthan!
Nestling on the edge of a huge artificial lake constructed in 1159 by Balak Rao Parihar, the Balsamand Palace (above) is an impressive sandstone structure, built by Maharaja Jaswant Singh I of Jodhpur in the 17th century. This remarkable palace property has some of the loveliest gardens in Rajasthan, extending to more than 60 acres and filled with fruit trees and water features that are hard to find in this arid western area, where the norm is rocky outcrops and dusty vistas.
Many tourists stop here overnight, but most stay in the converted stable block at the lower end of the property. And many leave without ever visiting the main palace at the top of the hill, with its lush gardens, lake views and abundant bird life (not to mention the sumptuous interior of the palace, with its marble staircases and beautiful suites). 
When I first visited in 2008, water here was scarce, because of many years of poor monsoon, but this time, the gardens were green, the canals were flowing (above), and there were many plants in bloom - even the flower garden was reminiscent of an English garden in May, with coloured heads bobbing in the early morning breeze.
Definitely one to add to your wish list if you're visiting Western Rajasthan! Splash out and stay in a suite here and you won't regret your decision. It's away from the hustle and bustle of the city - which never sleeps - and you'll still be able to access all the main tourist sites in town as it's only a short way outside the city, but know you're returning to sleep in peace, with nothing but the sounds of bird song to wake you in the morning.

And for more on our India travels, you can read Paul and Pauline of Sussex Prairies here.

5 comments:

  1. Hello Charlotte you certainly have the knack of finding good gardens...and they are so much better when there has been a good monsoon and the pools and fountains are flowing...have you tried the lassi bar just by the clock tower in Jodhpur? the best in the world they tell me!

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  2. Greetings from Southern California

    I added myself to follow your blog. I invite you to visit mine and follow me if you want too.

    God bless you :-)

    ~Ron

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  3. Absolutely stunning! Were I to visit India, this would be on my wish list. I love the sandstone walls of the palace and the beautiful reflections in the canal. Your photos portray the elegance and mood of another era. I can't imagine visiting and not seeing the palace and gardens!

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  4. Charlotte, he last photo is very interesting---I am not sure what I am looking at. A beautiful spot that I would love to visit but more likely to happen in my dreams. Carolyn

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  5. So many wonderful gardens. Maybe you should pin a map to mark all that you have visited. Thank you for the tip about staying in the castle. Hopefully, someday . . .

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