Around the World in 80 Books

Around the World in 80 Books - 1

India - A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi

“… we resumed our journey to Jaipur, a city that according to Gayatri Devi in her memoirs A Princess Remembers, ‘lies on a plain, encircled by brown desert hills with fortifications and walls snaking over their contours. The capital itself was the prettiest I had ever seen – an intricacy of domes and towers, lattices and verandas, with all the buildings coloured a deep oleander pink. In the wide well-planned streets the women wore skirts, bodices and shawls instead of saris, and all the men wore gloriously coloured turbans – red, magenta, daffodil yellow and a vivid pink that was both pale and piercing. It was an incredible effect, this pink against the background of the desert and the blue sky. … In all directions there were endless beautiful vistas and an almost stupefying wealth of buildings, constructed of the local sandstone.’ I had purchased this book on the recommendation of Narender and it had provided a great insight into the era of the maharajahs and their fabulous lifestyle a comparatively short time ago.”

An extract from My India by Valery Collins

The elephant ride to the Amber Fort in Jaipur

I was really drawn into this account of the lives of the Maharani and followed the story avidly as Gayatri Devi described her life as a member of a privileged family in India and then her life as the wife of a Maharajah. Not only does it describe the life of the privileged class in India but it also documents the history of that period of change in India and demonstrates once again the talent for survival so often displayed by the Maharajahs throughout their history. For anyone going to India and in particular Rajasthan this is essential reading.

The information I gleaned from this book enhanced my visits to Rajasthan and I never tire of the elephant ride up to the Amber Fort and then exploring the magnificent rooms and courtyards and enjoying the panoramic views across the surrounding countryside. It was so easy to get lost in my own thoughts which was how I managed to get separated from my group and raced anxiously through a the complex narrow corridors before finally resorting to modern technology and calling our guide on my mobile phone.

The City Palace in Jaipur

Author: Valery Collins, © 2014