Rajasthan – The Land Of Sand And Sky
People Of Rajasthan
Religion, Myth and Folklore
Music and Dance
Rajasthan's Top Attractions
The fort houses a number of historic treasures which are on public display. The rarest of these is the ancient pugal or sandalwood throne of the Kanauj kings, possibly the oldest piece of furniture existing in India. This was one of the Rathor heirlooms brought from Jodhpur by Bikaji after the deaths of his father and elder brother. Another is Bikaji’s small silver-legged bed. Remembering how his grandfather, Rao Riddmall, was tied to his own bed and treacherously killed at Chittaurgarh by enemies who had hidden under the bed, Bika always slept on a low, narrow bed under which no one could hide. Sitting or sleeping on this bed is strictly taboo even for members of Bika’s dynasty. Entering the fort and continuing on through Daulat Pol, a passageway lead visitors up into the intimate Vikram Vilas courtyard, beyond which is the fort’s main courtyard, surrounded by some of the palace’s oldest and most beautiful rooms.
The walls of the 17th-century Karan Mahal are so skillfully painted with gold leaf and jewel tones that it seems like outrageously expensive pietra dura inlay, although in fact the walls are not even marble, but simply lime plaster polished to perfection with shells. Above the chamber you can see a traditional punkah, a kind of fan which was operated by a rope pulled by a specially appointed servant, the punkah-wallah, and which was the best that even the rulers of Rajasthan enjoyed in the way of air-conditioning before the advent of electricity. The enclosed area beyond Karan Mahal is the lovely Rai Niwas, part of Rai Singh’s original palace. The white marble pool here not only beautifies the palace but also functions as a cooling system.