“You’ve just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?”
Haha, couldn’t have thought of a better prompt for the opportunity to post a few photos of Rajasthan’s majestic hill forts :-) Inasmuch as you can call them crumbling grand mansions. But why not?
Of course, I would do up my mansion following Unesco World Heritage’s strict guidelines, open a museum, and rake in the money :-) But unfortunately, the relevant government bodies and / or royal families have beaten me to it.
In Jaisalmer fort, I would strongly encourage the drying of laundry, especially colourful saris, off the balconies, for an enhanced photographic experience for visitors.
I would clean up the area around the bastions and make it possible to walk around the perimeter of the fort on a nice, clean walkway for 360 degree views of the town and desert.
Some anti-pigeon measures would be necessary, though strongly adhering to the Jain principles of not hurting any living being. You don’t want to upset the richest local community.
Otherwise, of course, Jaisalmer fort is an endangered monument and still needs a lot of conservation work to stop it from just crumbling down the hill. I promise I would not embezzle the relevant funds.
Now, as for Amber fort…
I would deal with the elephant and jeep mafia, and make it easy for everyone to ascend the slope. If I’m still alive after this, I would make sure drinking water is sold inside the fort…. shouldn’t be a big deal.
I would do some kind of treasure hunt or dress-up game for visitors. The fort is beautiful, but too deserted (it was abandoned 300 years ago, they ran out of water as well), too lifeless, too plain in a sense. It needs to be more alive somehow. I know many people would hate my ideas, but if it’s my “mansion”, I could do as I please, right? :-)
By the way, I love the architecture here. There is a lot of Mughal (Persian) influence in the designs, but the ruling family was actually Hindu.
The Hindus had the same segregation of males and females as the Muslims. Even the queens were nothing more than hi-so prisoners looking at the outside world through marble or sandstone lattice windows….
…which are amazing artwork, my favourite feature of the Taj Mahal and all the other places as well. But it’s sad to think back to those days. I’m glad we’re living in different times, even in India.
(But just maybe, there is a market niche here, some rich western ladies would like to get locked up and pampered like queens for a day or two, while their husbands go on a camel safari? Should do some market research here.)
(And I really need to add this photo of my favourite Indian so far. He was giggling and laughing and screaming with delight when he saw me.)
I’m yet to visit Jodhpur fort (I can see it outside my room), I might choose that one for my crumbling mansion. How long is the offer standing? :-)
This is my 100th post in this blog. Thank you so much to all my readers and friends who have supported and encouraged me along this journey.