Explore the beauties of Rajasthan and the splendor of a maharaja’s palace!

The splendor of the palaces of the maharajas in India is no longer something only to be described: We have visited them in Seattle Art Museum and we are amazed. The exhibition “Peacock in the Desert” takes us to the kingdom of Marwar-Jodphur, in the state of Rajasthan.

From the first steps and the first look, there is a remarkable atmosphere.

Life-size elephants and horses: An incredible reconstruction of a royal wedding procession. A splendid 18th-century palanquin in carved wood and glass, known as the Mahadol, used to transport the maharaja and queens.

A giant video screen shows the life of the palaces and contributes to the feeling of being transported into the sumptuous life of the royal Indian families.

You can admire about 250 extraordinary objects, some of which have never been seen outside of Jodhpur before: paintings, furniture, jewels, weapons and armor, ornate sabers, rifle daggers, clothes.

The role of women at court. The objects transport us in a royal zenana, the female wing of the palace. Women have always preserved culture and the arts and are the guarantors of tradition, even today. Furniture, richly embroidered clothes, paintings are on display.

We go back in time, the exhibition shows the importance attached to the family, to marriages, to the representation of power and strength, military alliances and of course to deities. In 1561, political and military alliances were established between the Mughal Empire and the Rathores clan which ruled the region from the 13th to the 20th century. Jodhpur is experiencing a period of openness to the world, a time of architectural and cultural renewal. The exchange of works of art as gifts and the wish to be impressive contributed to the creation of these magnificent objects.

A chronological frieze compares the history of India and that of Europe and America through a selected sample of events.

The palace is now operated as a hotel. Today, this legacy continues with the current leader of Marwar-Jodhpur, His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II who continues this concern for innovation and artistic support.

To learn more about the exhibition: Peacock in the Desert at the Seattle Art Museum