On Location: Rajasthan

Marie Claire's fashion team is inspired by the rich heritage of India's desert state

Marie Claire‘s fashion team is inspired by the rich heritage of India’s desert state

We stayed at…

Samode Palace (samode.com, from £255 with breakfast), a fairytale escape an hour’s drive north of Jaipur. This historic hotel has a magical atmosphere and is nearly 500 years old with lavishly decorated interiors featuring beautiful frescoes, a hall of mirrors and ornate antiques. The 43 rooms are super-romantic with four-poster beds and baths with a view to the stars, plus there’s a gorgeous rooftop pool. For a tailor-made package see cazloyd.com.

Fit for a maharajah: holiday in style at Samode Palace

Our top five things to do…

Take a stroll into the local village, its ancient buildings house many traditional fabric, grain and sweet shops. The people are friendly and welcoming, but be prepared to be gawped at by beautiful children with kohl-lined eyes.

Explore the Aravali Hills on foot, by camel or horse, or on a jeep safari.

Visit the splendid Mughal Gardens at nearby Samode Bagh.

The spa at Samode Palace is basic but very good with bowls of rose petals everywhere and excellent therapists. An hour-long invigorating massage costs £17.

Go shopping for jewellery, crafts and richly coloured clothes in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. The Gem Palace on MI Road (gempalacejaipur.com) has a fine selection of antique and modern Indian jewellery. It opened in 1852 and used to be the jewellers to the Moghul emperors so is like a mini-museum too. Prices range from £20 for a small raw diamond (it would be triple that back home) to hundreds of thousands….

Indian ocean: the pool at Samode Palace

Let’s go…

The best time to visit is from October to February. Air India (airindia.com) flies from London to Jaipur via Delhi, from £712 return in October. Visas are required, see in.vfsglobal.co.uk. DK Eyewitness Delhi, Agra and Jaipur (£14.00; DK) is a well-illustrated guide, for more information visit rajasthantourism.gov.in.

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