As I flip through the pages of a fairytale, I reminiscent my childhood memories of admiring the palaces standing tall and wide atop the mountains, the long alleys past the forest wildernesses, the baked-brick walls, the ancient carvings and much more such adornments! Every craving since then has rolled up before me to not miss out on any chance to explore a palace whenever I get an opportunity to!

Whilst I drive past the winding roads, the virgin forests, the tribal settlements and the rolling arid hills of Jawhar, my eyes prick upon a grandeur of beauty in majestic pink stones standing atop the hill – The Jai Vilas Palace. My heart swoops to go the offbeat to capture this elegance located in the far corners of the village vicinity.

Bumping on the locals and struggling down to find the route, I finally transit on the right path crisscrossing mild forests guarded with cashew trees on both the sides, red mud decorating the pathway, tumbled broken barks of trees and some ancient ruins of the palatial neighbourhood. Past the lonesome forestry tracks, I happen to be fortunate enough to make it to the palace entrance in my first attempt without being squandered! (I suppose, I was the only one moving through the forest path!)

As my camera focuses to capture the first glimpse of it I murmur “..Beautiful!..”

Jai Vilas Palace

While I stroll past the palace gateways and the backyards, I witness an architecture blended with that of the ancient and the modern era, doorways and windows with subtle carvings, wild forests, a bird’s eye-view of the tribal villages, and a solitude in the atmosphere.

Somewhere I can hear folk music playing at a distance and the whistling of the winds swinging past my hair strands, I spot the scorching sun and the dotted green trees, bushes on the distant mountains. I catch sight of no local or tourist in the palace courtyards, there; it was just me..purely & entirely

In a minute or two, the caretaker appears to shoo away the dogs from loitering around the palace doorways. Initiating a random conversation he narrates to me the history of Jawhar and the king of the palace. That’s when he quotes “Madam, roj shaam ko Rajwada ke gate tak leopard ate hai, paani peene or agar kutte dikhe to kutton ko lekar chale jate hai..” (Every evening, a leopard pays a visit to the gates of the palace and if he’s lucky to spot a dog, he preys on him!)

This photo essay will take you around the virtual tour of the Jai Vilas Palace & a clear-water lake.

Rewinding back to the past –

  • Jawhar was renowned to be a princely state during the British Imperialism. It was founded by Raja Jayaba Mukne in 1343. Jawhar witnessed a significant development in the reign of Raja Patangshah IV and subsequent rulers. Raja Patang Shah V (Yashwant Rao) Mukne was the last ruler of Jawhar. This palace was built by Raja Yashwant Rao Mukne. It is also known as Rajwada or Rajabari and used to be a residential palace of the Mukne royal family.
  • Presently, the members of the succeeding generations live in Pune and visit the palace on every occasion.

As I bid a word of farewell to the caretaker he suggests me to visit a nearby lake, for which I thank him and assure him to visit it & proceed towards my next hide-out.

Driving through the bumpy narrow roads on the adjacent plateau, I witness a crystal clear pristine lake circled with soft mud and tall trees on its sides. Perceiving a sight of some local couples and few strollers I decide to spend some Murakami moments by the lake.

While I sit on the pavement & swing my legs to the breeze, I could hear the birds chirping, catch a sight of the couples getting cosy and the Sun dimming its light.for it’s time to venture out and rise in some other part of the world. Maybe, That’s what calls out for me to hop back into my car and embark back on my journey

..a journey somewhere yet again, to find some more value to the trivial things in life.

After all, what is travel if not witnessed in the most surreal and placid way? You tell me.

As I drive back.. somewhere on the road, taking another unplanned route..a different journey unfolds..!

**Safety Tip –

  • The Jai Vilas Palace can be ideally visited with a group as the ways to the palace are lonesome.

**Essential Information –

  • Jawhar is a mountainous region rich in its tribal culture and natural foliage.
  • Distance from Mumbai – 150 km (approx), from Nashik – 100 km (approx).
  • One cannot enter the palace, it’s usually closed. There’s no fixed time for it to be opened. However, one can stroll past the courtyards and the backyards anytime before 6 pm.

Also Read –

Within the Forested Regions, Among the Tribes! A Folk Saga

Postcards from Rural Maharashtra!The time of the year when the tropical green forests turn mustard

Capturing glimpses of Gujarat & Rajasthan: A Road Trip

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