A journey to Samode Bagh - 2

Today it is a joyous and beautiful day, the children of the Tushita Foundation have been invited by the owner of Samode Hotels, Yadavendra Singh, to visit his fairy-tale palace and have lunch in Samode Bagh, a lush garden and a fabulous retreat for knowledgeable travellers who come to Rajasthan.


For the past three months, I have been volunteering at the Tushita Foundation, a house of learning and empowerment in the village of Amber near Jaipur. Together with the children and the teachers at the Foundation we have celebrated several festivals from all the religious traditions represented here: the festival of kites and Holi, Milad un Nabi and today, Easter, which is promising to be an eventful one.


My fellow volunteer and I woke early and a bit tired this morning, after having a very late day yesterday helping the teachers finish organizing the trip, followed by a traditional, Rajasthani dinner at Veenaji’s. I honestly don’t know how everything got pulled together, but it did. These teachers, headed by Veenaji and Gajju Bana, who are responsible for the Foundation, could lead military strategies, I think. Dheeraj, who animates Kamalan, has picked us up and as soon as we arrive in Amber, we pile into the buses and are off! I don’t know how exactly dancing on the bus works on bumpy roads, but here it does..


Upon arrival at the palace we take a quick tour – it is so beautiful, especially the paintings and the mirror rooms –but then we don’t have much time to linger on, we have to hide little Easter eggs in Samode Bagh for the children to find. Dheeraj, Gajju, Geeti and I dive into the daunting task of concealing them in a very large garden in only ten minutes. We are still finishing up as the kids come in shouting, “Go! Go!” It is hilarious and so much fun.


Being American, I am the only person who has ever hunted for eggs, or celebrated Easter for that matter, so I am quickly designated the “speech giver”. I tell the children that Easter is a festival Christians celebrate to signify the end of winter and the birth of spring, the eggs being a symbol of rebirth. I also say that they will collect all the eggs in one place and then share them equally among themselves, thus avoiding the possibility that someone could be left without any. And off they are, doing pretty well and finding the majority of eggs intact in spite of the heat I was worried about. There is a chipmunk flying away with an egg, the bird has played too.


After the children have finished the hunt, we sit down to a lovely lunch of paneer and dal, followed by gulabjamun, my favourite Indian dessert, and butterscotch ice cream, my colleague’s favourite. The chef, so considerate and respectful, has come to see the children and stopped by all their tables to ask them how they liked the food and if they were happy, just the way he would with any important guest. The children are thrilled, but never overexcited, they are actually so well mannered that we can all just relax and share a lovely lunch together.


Dulcis in fundo, so sweet at the end, we see a troupe of professional Rajasthani folk dancers arrive followed by a magical puppet show. We all join in the celebration and by the time we are ready to go, we all have stars in our eyes. I know that my words hardly do the day justice, but I guess I can just use one to sum it all up: unforgettable.


  • Take a stroll and explore the local village and engage with the locals while they do their daily chores
  • Take on adventure and saddle up for a Horse or Camel safari around the rugged countryside
  • Rejuvenate with a massage or enjoy the afternoon by the poolside.
  • Have a meal with a local family or indulge yourself in a scrumptious meal at Samode Palace


    November to February



A journey to samode Bagh - 5