Travel+Leisure India|January 2020
I spy peacocks and pigeons tiptoeing in the royal gardens of the City Palace. We last shot here in 2018, with the charming Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh posing in the historic sections of the palace. A little over a year later, the 21-year-old king is much more at ease as he welcomes us into his childhood home. In fact, life inside the private section of the City Palace is more casual than you’d imagine it to be. Guarding the khaasa gate of the private section for 34 years now, Rampal has been around since the time of Sawai Bhawani Singh, the last official Maharaja of Jaipur. With broad shoulders and a humble smile hiding under his big moustache, he tells me that he admires the youthful spontaneity of his new king. In a passing conversation about the changing times, he also regales me with tales of personalities like the late Princess Diana and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, who have stayed in the palace. “I wouldn’t have met the people I have if it wasn’t for this job,” he says, with evident pride.
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