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April 20, 2020 / catherinebwrites

INDIA 14 – RICH AND POOR

Jal Mahal – the Water Palace.

On the way back to Jaipur we stopped at Man Sagar Lake to view Jal Mahal, the Water Palace . This is where the Maharajaha used to bring his pals to go duck hunting. When the lake is at its fullest, four stories of the palace has are under water. But that’s not a problem. That’s how it was designed to be.

Some time ago they did some repairs using modern materials. But the modern materials didn’t work. They had to redo the repairs using the traditional materials which had kept it dry for hundreds of years.

Now it’s being converted into a luxury hotel.  Imagine sleeping in a room where you could watch fish swim past the window! Well, whenever it’s ready you could… for a mere thousand dollars or so a night!

Outer courtyard of the Maharajah’s palace Jaipur

The Mahaarahah’s family still live in the palace in the center of Jaipur. It gets 20 million visitors a year. If each visitor paid 1 euro to see it that would be 20 million Euro a year. Not too shabby.

Foreigners pay 16 euro just to see the public part of the palace. If you want to see some of the private rooms, you pay 60 Euro. Indians pay less, which is only right, but still, they’re raking in a pretty decent annual income!

The peacock door
Facade in one of the courtyards

We saw rooms full of magnificent clothes, jewelled swords, engraved daggers, guns that looked like works of art. And this enormous Water Jar, called Gangajelies made from melted down silver coins. One of the Maharajahs had it filled with the holy water of the River Ganga and brought it with him in 1901 on a visit to England because, he believed, drinking foreign water was sinful. It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s largest silver vessel.

Gangajelies – the water jar filled with water from the Ganges river.
Some of the decoration

The Maharajah’s family also own private schools and clinics and several local businesses. Outside their walls, people are living on the street, barely scraping enough money to eat. They’re not begging, they’re working as hard as they can. We asked whether any of the family’s schools and clinics offered help to the poor. No, we were told, the family does nothing to help the poor.

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