About Maharaja Palace
soon as you glimpse the Deogarh Mahal, you can see that its
rulers must have been serious players in the Mewar nobility,
their wonderful fort a fitting stronghold for one of its
sixteen “umraos” - the most senior feudal barons attending on
the Maharana of Udaipur. Even so, you might not necessarily
guess that the Rawats of Deogarh (a local title equivalent to
“Raja”) once ruled over the fourth largest jagir in the whole
of Rajasthan. At its most extensive, their territory comprised
some 210 villages, with one of their suspicious forts as far
as 100 km away. Yet there is little display and even less gold
to be found in their palace. Like most of the Mewar nobility,
they spent too much time fighting to have much to spare for
amassing great wealth.
the public face of the Deogarh rulers that we encounter first.
The gateway into the front courtyard passes beneath the
“Kacheri” where justice was administered - reminding us
immediately that they held powers of life and limb over their
subjects. Then the richly painted palace entrance leads us up,
past a couple of small family temples, through a series of
narrow passages and staircases.
(A grander entrance route would have been harder to defend!)
But notice how well-worn the steps are here, compared with other
parts of the palace. This is the area that saw the heavy
traffic, the villagers coming to pay their feudal dues or seek
some judicial remedy. Their business took them only as far as
the first floor, where the revenue and general administration
departments were situated at the front of the building.
The Central Courtyard
Emerging onto the second floor where the hotel’s house keeping
desk is now situated, it is difficult to imagine that this
little “piazza”, proudly displaying the white marble Deogarh
throne, was a relatively late addition to the palace. Not the
surrounding buildings but the actual floor on which you are
standing. It used to fall straight down to a garden on the level
below. There is another room on the first floor, exactly like
the bar lounge immediately above it on this level, giving the
building a symmetry that has now been obscured. But originally,
if you wanted to cross from here to the Bar on the other side,
you would have had to use one of the narrow galleries that once
surrounded this space.
Perhaps more attractively, the back wall used to be a shallow,
almost two-dimensional “screen”, with many more than the handful
of “jali” windows that you can see today. It must have been
extremely like a rural variant of the famous Hawa Mahal (or
Palace of the Winds) in Jaipur – that strange building, little
more than a façade, that was designed to give the Maharanis in
the City Palace a careful view of the outside world from its
dozens of "jalis".
According to one story of events, this similarity is not a
coincidence. Pratap Singh, the younger son of Maharaja Madho
Singh I of Jaipur and Princess Kundan Kunwar of Deogarh , came
here as a child to escape the dangerous plottings of the
nobility in Jaipur. His decision to build the Hawa Mahal in 1799
is said to have been directly motivated by his happy memories of
The Bar opening off this courtyard, is a former reception hall.
It is hung with various portraits, including those of Maharana
Raj Singh of Udaipur (1754-1761) on the left wall, Rawat
Gokuldas II on the left-hand side of the back wall and Rawat
Ranjit Singh on the right wall.
There are also some interesting photographs here. On the left
wall, top left is Sangram Singh II with his two sisters -
looking exactly like three brothers, except that the girls are
given away by their ankle bracelets. Bijay Singh also appears
bottom left and top right (with his staff). On the right wall
are two more photographs of Bijay, top left and centre, and one
of Sangram, bottom centre.
There are a number of photographs that feature Mayo College
where Rawat Nahar Singh ji II taught as a History master after
The heart of the palace
Anop Singh's adoptive father, Kishan Singh ji (1867-1900)
is honored by Room 206 - “Kishan Kunj”. Kishan – pictured
here in a couple of photographs – seems to have been a
colourful man with several wives and numerous concubines.
But he was also a great follower of Lord Krishna and this
is reflected in the ornamentation of this room, with
various paintings of Lord Krishna and even a canopied
ceiling of stars to evoke Kishan’s favourite idol.
However, the room was never a bedroom in Kishan’s own day.
It was initially a broad passage, leading behind the “Hawa
Mahal” look-alike. The room incorporates some of the few
small jali windows that survive from this, with other
original marked glass windows on the opposite side. It
also enjoys the benefit of a small private terrace.
Deogarh is reachable both by rail and road. It is a couple
of miles east of National Highway No 8. By rail, it is on
the Western Railway Route, between Udaipur and Marwar