13. Jaipur's last queen presides over the dining room

There's a majestic portrait of Jaipur's last Queen in a peach sari in the #hotel's Rajput Room, designed in traditional carved marble floral designs on walls and white scalloped arches, where I had dinner one night. 

But the formal #restaurant, Suvarna Mahal (Golden Palace), the #Maharajah's former banquet hall, where a teak table once seated 80, each with a personal valet, is strictly European-style luxury: damask-covered walls, Italian chandeliers and alabaster lamps,frescoes painted by - I was told - Italian prisoners from World War II, and 22-carat gold-plated cutlery and goblets.

Male waiters, in red turbans with long fabric billowing down their backs, flared black knee-length jackets and white pants, feed the illusion you're being waited on by Rajasthani courtiers. The menu reflects food from four regions in #India - #Rajasthan, Punjab (north India near Pakistan, where tandooris are popular), Awadh (Lucknow, north-central India, known for kebabs), and Hyderabad (in south-central India, famed for biryanis). 

Sipping a red wine from Bordeaux, Les Pagodes de Cos, I note it's from Cos L'Estournel, an estate that enjoyed a long relationship with India, shipping over 90% of its wines there in the early 19th century.

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