India has great golf courses all over the country: in the mountains, plains, deserts and beach resorts. I also discovered one in a Maharajas’ backyard, in Gujarat. Lakshmi Vilas Palace Estate has its own golf course developed by the prince some eighty years ago.
I’m told peacocks are often seen strutting around as if they owned it, and our guide also tells me the membership at this club is so full and desirable that “If you believe in rebirth, you need to sign up for membership now, then come back to claim it in two more lifetimes.”
The palace was built in 1890, in a mixture of several styles (Mogul, Rajasthan, and Western) and is still the residence of the royal family: it has a large collection of old armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta. It took an Italian master craftsman nearly a year to complete the mosaic tile floor in the ballroom – and where club members are admitted to attend concerts put on by the Maharaja. I’m also told a British architect was hired to design the palace – unfortunately there were errors in the structure and legend say he suicided from shame soon after it was finished.