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Phenomenal Palace and Me- “Lakshmivilas”

Incredible Lakshmivilas Palace- Vadodara-

It was not in my life, that I plan too much for things and then make them happen. So, visiting to Vadodara, was much like this. I had few cousins staying over there and then when I got a weekend, I thought of visiting them. It was just an amazing time I had with them and since I love to visit the nearby places, I decided to go to Laxmivilas Palace, about which I have heard a lot in the last 15-20 years.The best thing about this palace is that it is still a living palace which means, that still the Gaekwad family stay there in one part of the palace. Its a home for them. This is not usually seen in other palaces, where they are kept just for visits and maintenance. One can make out, how different one feels, when one enters someone’s home, which is a palace itself and how those energies are felt all around.

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“Incredible piece of Art and Creativity indeed”

My niece, Namita, came along with me and we really had some really enriching, wonderful and incredible experience. I never thought that this palace is so huge. Being in Rajasthan, I had visited to many palaces and so I was not really thinking this to be an incredible and marvellous piece of art.When you see it from outside, it look like a massive giant palace with enormous facets and when you go closer the massiveness becomes eye catching and mesmerizing in its own ways. Whether its paintings, or wall hangings, gardens or architecture, weapons collection or handmade things, hunting tiger or deer skins or the mehfil khana all just makes you feel speechless.

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We left early morning, had our breakfast, shared some stories of our work and then left to visit the palace. Namita, already knew a lot about this palace from the beginning, so she endlessly continued to share stories from the past about the prince, the Gaekwad family and their ancestral anecdotes one after the other. She was quite informative that way and being a localite it was an added advantage. This is my experience that more, you are familiar to the place, more comfortable you become and if you have a local person with you, there is nothing like it. It adds on to your comfort and also well-being in a great way. I really admire Namita and her warm presence around me. She must have visited this place 100s of times, but her curiosity to be a child, and her willingness to share things with me, were something that I relished beyond measures.  She has an impeccable command over the stories of the past related to Gaekwad Gharana. What I  loved about the palace was the audio system, which helped to listen to stories and information in a great details.

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The term Maharaja Palace actually refers to a series of palaces in Vadodara, Gujarat, India, constructed since the Gaekwad a prominent Maratha family started ruling the Baroda State. The first one was a building known as the Sarkar Wada. This building, not really a palace, was given up for the Nazarbaug Palace built in old classical style. This palace was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890.I was really mesmerized by the way the whole architecture was done. In those days ,when technology was not there, when it was difficult to communicate to each other in that era, something so beautiful, unimaginable palace like this was built. Really feels hats off to the workers, laborers and everyone who had contributed to this, due to which today we area able to see some great structures like this.

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Long shot taken from a distance by me.

It is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. At the time of construction it boasted the most modern amenities such as elevators and the interior is reminiscent of a large European country house. It remains the residence of the Royal Family, who continue to be held in high esteem by the residents of Baroda.

Darbar Hall featuring the Rajas Throne: This was simply marvellous. My eyes are stuck on the kind of artistic work that was done and that too in those days.

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Darbar hall featuring the Ornate artwork:Its ornate Darbar Hall, which is sometimes the venue of music concerts and other cultural events, has a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgium stained glass windows and walls with intricate mosaic decorations.This is the same place where “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” movie was shot in 2015. The place was dedicated for Mehfils by renowned poets, musicians and dancers of those times. The females of the palace, used to see this mehfil from the top windows. They were not allowed to come down and be a part of the larger community. The were considered special and were not given the same treatment as men.

27-DSC_0874Outside of the Darbar Hall is an Italianate courtyard of water fountains. The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta by Fellici. Each stone/marble was imported through different parts of the world, through water transport. The palace is full of Italian, Russian, Indo-western styles of architecture.   The grounds were landscaped by William Goldring, a specialist from Kew Gardens. The Palace “compound” covers over 700 acres (2.8 km2) and houses a number of buildings, particularly the Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building.

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This was one of the unimaginable place with absolute peace and quiet ambience. What more you need? 

When I entered this place I really thought, why there is not water source here, and the moment I reached to this fountain space,I was on the top of the world. Water, is one thing I have loved the most and still love it. The cleanliness in and around the palace is something, I really wish to share about. The toilets were in very good condition, neat, clean and tidy with water facility. This also speaks about how our culture was and what we have made it like today.

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The Museum building was constructed as a school for the Maharaja’s children. Today a large number of works of art belonging to the Royal family have been displayed in the museum. The most remarkable of these is the fabulous collection of the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, who was specially commissioned by the then Maharaja of Baroda. The collection includes portraits of the Royal family in addition to the paintings based on Hindu mythology for which Raja Ravi Varma was famous.

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The charm and convenience to hear the stories with the help of technology is really an innovative way. 

Some more pics:

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Elephant at the entrance which signifies strength, power and massiveness.

 

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POWER OF 1% OVER 99%

When it comes to “LEARNING” and “CONNECTING WITH YOURSELF”

 And we say that man learns through books, television and internet but the best of the learning has happened to me only through my experiences of life. Definitely the formers have influenced me to a great extent in the way I think and exhibit my response to situations but most of it is merely through experience.

 

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The journey of experiential education also came in my life, with this subtle realization as a young girl, looking at life and its huge canvas. Looking at people, following their dreams and yet learning in their own ways and putting their ideas in place, really gives me a feeling of self-contentment and encouragement.

This is an experience of my life, which I want to share, to connect with those souls, who had experienced something similar in their lives in the past. It was somewhere at night when I was on my way back home and suddenly when in a meditative phase. I was a bit tired and wanted to relax for a while. When I closed my eyes, I could sense a lot of negativity in my mind and I was recalling some viscous painful memories that were juxtaposing over each other in an endless manner. I was getting overwhelmed and wanted to be at peace and in isolation for some time. And I did the same.

The more I tried to go away from it; more I was getting closer towards it. Slowly there was something BEAUTIFUL that happened the moment I realized that though everything is negative and low in energy, there is a small part within me which is blowing, growing and is happy and I was wondering why it is happening? It was magical and unimaginable. I was surprized to see how it was growing and expanding from within. Slowly, that small part made me realize how happy and blessed I am? How this small beauty touched me, made me realize that all those pains, struggles and sadness was just another part of me, which was somewhere needing a place to rest and reflect itself. It was longing for acknowledgement and a sense of liberty to express itself the “”WAY IT IS.”  Those experiences have taught me few things:

  • To be more grounded and be mindful.
  • To acknowledge life with both its facets.
  • Be alert and conscious, because in the most painful experiences of life also, there will a small beam of light, which will take you to the path of consciousness.
  • Pain has its own beauty and its needs to be acknowledged and appreciated.

That incidence made me realize the power of 1% over the 99% which was more in terms of numbers and intensity but had an energy that was pushing me down and was also asking me to “LET GO” and feel it completely till it’s done.  1% was just there, but was not visible. It needed some extra efforts, some patience and perseverance that certain things happen at their own pace.

It was a wonderful discovery that happened to me while travelling. I don’t know what others think about it and how it lands for them, but for me it gave a “SENSE OF HOPE” and energy to move ahead.

 

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Dried Leaf

I am alive..!!I am…!!

Early morning, just after my meditation I came out to take a walk and do some exercise. This is when I was travelling to Pench Mah tiger Reserve this August in 2015. I was walking with my camera just with a hope to see some flowers, birds and animals around.  At the same time I am a kind of a person, who moves with the spontaneity of my inner energy.  Suddenly the moment I was about to take my next foot ahead, I saw this piece of a dried leaf and found it beautiful.

I know there are so many lively things when we go to the forests but at the same time some very simple things, makes me feel attracted towards them. Thankful to the Mother Earth, who keeps on giving different shades, to our life just by mere observation..!!

This dried leaf looked so simple yet beautiful. Its pattern was still so appealing. The small knitted network was so alive and made me feel as if it’s greeting you.

It reminded me of the excerpt of the poem that I had read long back:

My leaf clings to the tree,
It is new to life,
Pure green,
Feeling as soft as skin.

My leaf falls down,
Ageing,
Changing,
Dying.

My leaf lives on the ground,
Swept away by the wind,
Feeling crumpled like used paper.

My leaf is dead,
From green to brown,
Soft to crumpled,
Spring to autumn.Dried Leaf