Friday, March 3rd
Today we had a nice leisurely start to the day. We didn’t have to be to the bus until 9:30 am; it felt like we had a weekend off! Our drive was also very short, just 8 kilometers to the village of Mandawa, which has many beautiful haveli.
We visited only a few but got a much better feeling for these large homes. Some of them have frescoes from the early 20th century and contain images of bicycles, gramophones, trains and telephones. In one haveli, we saw a particularly ornate room with masses of gilding. We also saw some very large elephants . . . On the walls not in the streets but we did learn that one of the reasons some of the gates are so large was so that they could accommodate actual elephants.
After a very tasty lunch at the Monica Restaurant where each table was given dishes of both spicy and not-so-spicy chicken, and spicy and not-so-spicy dal (along with several other dishes), we visited the Mandawa Palace Hotel. The nephew of the maharaja showed us around the grounds and into various suites and rooms. All were lovely. He runs high end horseback safaris. I wonder if I could talk Michael into such a thing; unfortunately, they use English saddles, so, probably not.
After our perambulation around the palace, we sat and had coffee/tea and sweets with the nephew while getting a little history lesson about various aspects of India and Indian royalty. He was extraordinarily gracious and it was a particularly nice afternoon.