It was anything but a lazy Sunday. I woke up at the Lake Palace, Nahargarh in Rajasthan. As I wanted to click pictures when the light was good I woke up 15 minutes before sunrise at the ungodly hour of 6.15 am. I had manage to crash only at 11.45 pm the previous night. I was staying there only one night, though it was all my fault.
When the Justa group invited me to visit The Rajputana, Udaipur and the Lake Palace at Nahargarh they wanted me to spend more time. However, as it is March end, I have hardly got any leaves left. I took Friday off to travel till Sunday. Beyond that I had no scope. So there I was up at sunrise, clicking pictures.
After I was done with clicking pictures, I went for a swim in this gorgeous pool at the Lake Palace, Nahargarh. I didn’t had much time as I was leaving at 9.30 am for the Udaipur airport to catch the flight back home. But it was fun swimming a few laps in beauty of a pool, which I had all to myself at about 7.00 am today. Surprisingly the water was not too cold, which was perfect for me. The palace has a lot of birds, particularly pigeons which like to hang around in the changing rooms sometimes.
I quite reluctantly tore myself out of the pool as there was no way I could afford to miss my flight. In the rush, I went charging to the changing room, only to find two pigeons taking offense at my approach what they considered to be their domain. One of them flew past my nose giving it a light graze. Now it was my turn to get startled.
The hotel is about 32 kilometers from Chittorgarh, so if you are looking for an offbeat place to stay near Chittorgarh you could give this a try. You go to the hotel by a boat as it is in the middle of a lake.
There are many trips to document now, and at least one more trip to go, starting next Saturday. Stay tuned, I will keep them coming.
I was attending a one-day conference organized by my institute at The Radisson, Delhi. A speaker was talking about the HRH group of hotels (Historic Resort Hotels). It usually takes me a minute or two to pay real attention to a presentation. I was not in that frame of mind yet.
Suddenly I heard the words, “When my father decided to convert it into a hotel, all the family members were opposed to the idea, including myself. You see The Lake Palace, Udaipur used to be our summer home.”
Forget about getting attentive, I nearly fell off my chair after hearing this. It has never crossed my mind that the Lake Palace could be someone’s summer home! The speaker was the Maharaja Arvind Singh of Mewar.
After listening to his talk, I was wondering if they monitor what is written about them on the net? I had this vague idea about reading something about bird droppings and ants in a balcony of the Lake Palace Hotel room! But how do you tell this to a Maharaja?
During the lunch, I dared to approach him and said, “Can I ask you a question?” Standard procedure of breaking ice during a conference with a speaker, only I had never done it with some who has Maharaja attached to his name (though he uses the title of Mewar and not Maharaja). He was gracious enough and said yes. So I tried to keep a neutral territory and inquired if they monitor the web and keep a tab of what their customers say about their stay at the various properties owned by them? He replied that they have a website and I could find a lot of information there! I tried again, and said these days many people search the net before planning a trip and many people write about their experiences at various places, a lot of information can come up in these searches. While I was trying to explain this to him in some detail with examples, he suddenly said, “I cannot eat standing, why don’t we go inside the conference hall and continue this talk there?”
So a few minutes later, the Maharaja with a small portion of boiled food on his plate and me with a soup, occupied a table. There were two other people with us and I think they worked with him.
We did a bit of small talk, where I told him I am a hard core budget traveler and though I have been to Udaipur, I do not even dream of staying in the Lake Palace. He added that all kind of travelers have a place in Udaipur and even the hippies are good for the economy. I was wondering if he kept me in that category! Because if he did, it is funny even to try and imagine myself as a hippie! But I did not press the point.
Gradually, I mentioned having read about ants (could not bring the bird dropping part) in the hotel room and the need in today’s world to keep a tab about what is written about a company on the web in general. He became thoughtful and then added; “Maybe my managers block some feedback.” He added to the lady in his group, “We probably need to open a web based feedback from our customers but the problem is if we get to know about it after they have left, we cannot do anything about it.” Then he turned to me and said, “Why don’t you send the links to me that you are talking about and send it directly to me.” I added in a low voice, “In that case, I need your email address.” He took out his card and wrote his email and phone number on it.His card has three lines:
Arvind Singh Mewar
Soon our head of school for the Bengal campus joined the group and we chitchatted about tourism in general. Then I took their leave to grab some food before another session of the conference started.
PS. I have sent the links to him but I wonder if I will ever get a reply?
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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