To explore Indian art and architecture, head to Samode, a bucolic and sleepy part of Rajasthan.
Set in Northern side, Samode is a picture-postcard village only half an hour distance from Jaipur. Here, nestled among the Aravali Hills, is the majestic Samode Palace, a heritage home that’s older than the Taj Mahal.
With a fortress like a setting, the Palace was initially built in the sixteenth century, then converted into an exquisitely designed palace by Rawal Berisal, the lineage of Prithvi Raj Chauhan’s 12th son as well as protectorate of Jaipur. In 1987, the structure was converted into the Samode Palace Hotel, till now a living art gallery of the past Amber kingdom.
As a reminder of the royal heritage is the The Durbar Hall, where the Maharaja used to hold meetings regarding the state of the country. There, every inch of the ceiling and the walls is covered with floral, paisley and geometric motifs. All over the property there are copper inscriptions, statues, and unique wood and silver carved pieces of furniture. Frescoes and stuccoes are said to be 250 years old, therefore these delicate creations, from time to time, are restored by local experts with the traditional know-how for the proper conservation.
The intricate painting continuous through the Sultan Mahal, the airy passage to the private verandah that overlooks the main courtyard.
The royal suites are obviously part of the fairy tale setting, lavishly decorated with lux touches, such as marble, white linen, four-poster beds, and inviting sink-and-laze bathtub full of rose petals.
Just like it used to be centuries ago, the Samode family still warmly supports and promotes the local community offering employment, infrastructures and business opportunities for the village. There is an old ruined fort 368 steps above the Palace. In fact, if you ask to the locals, they’ll tell you that there is a secret underground passage once used as emergency exit and still linking the two properties together.
For motorcars lovers, the Samode holds a vintage cars collection right in front of the Palace.