Jodhpur, one of Rajasthan’s larger cities, is home to the Umaid Bhawan, perhaps the largest private residence in the world.
The Maharajah of Jodhpur started building the palace as a home for his family in 1929. He already had a nice home but he created this one to provide employment during hard times caused by a long-lasting drought and famine. It kept more than 3,000 construction workers on the payroll for 15 years. The palace is still the Maharajah’s residence today (actually the grandson of the Maharajah who built it), but portions of it now include a Taj hotel and a museum about the Maharajah and the palace. Mere mortals can gain admittance only to the museum these days.
The museum has a photograph of the Maharajah’s bathroom. The room is as large as the footprint of our Provincetown home (around 40’ x 40’), with walls, floor and tub made of polished black onyx. It’s hard to imagine using those over-the-top surroundings as a “library” for a leisurely read of a good book or magazine.
The museum also describes the construction of the palace. Apparently, some of the stone blocks used in the construction were too large to be set in place with precision using the available equipment. The solution was to place a block of ice on top of the previously set stone block and then to place the new stone block on top of the block of ice. As the ice melted, the new stone could be maneuvered into perfect position on top of the lower stone. Imagine the “eureka” moment when that idea was born.
Another remarkable structure in Jodhpur is the fort that looms more than 400 feet over the city. It was built over a 100-year period starting in 1459. The ramparts are up to 120 feet high and 70 feet wide, and enclose a vast area containing many palaces and other buildings. Here are photos of one of the ramparts and a couple of the palace rooms and galleries. When Sam saw the throne room shown in the first interior photo he suggested that my law firm get such a room for partner meetings.