Bundi’s shine is dulled by neglect — but magic is intact
Driving in to Bundi from the train station, through the flat, dusty unpromising outskirts, did nothing to portend charm, beauty or cultural significance. But then the road veered around a mountain and the valley bowl that holds the ancient town appeared. Nawal Sagar, the artificial lake, lay at the centre, dotted with shrines, covered in leaves, and surrounded by crumbling palaces and havelis. On the far side, an improbable gothic palace – made by goblins, according to Rudyard Kipling – hung from the far mountain, providing a dramatic backdrop, and a medieval fort ran across the top. I was instantly fascinated.
We drove right into the heart of the old town, parked, and began walking up a sloping, narrow lane. As the lane twisted and turned, and the walls and protruding, carved balconies of decaying havelis closed in around us, I got the distinct feeling that I had entered into an altered state – suddenly I was in medieval Europe, perhaps walking up a Venetian alley. Finally, the alley led up a ramp to a very, very high arch: the entrance to my hotel, Bundi Vilas. Read about this wonderful place Bundi Vilas: The perfect haveli hotel. Continue Reading →