The award winning artiste, Ashley Judd shares her thoughts on SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace following her recent visit to Jaipur and India.
What were your first impressions upon arriving at SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace?
My first impression was calm, order, abundant loveliness. There was impeccable, quiet serenity, and beauty everywhere I looked.
SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace is one of the oldest and most treasured palaces in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Only the City Palace and the royal family’s private forts hold this distinction. Home to the Maharaja of Jaipur, it is the repository of a celebrated history. Did you get a sense of the heritage and history of the Palace during your stay?
When I began to restore my 1819 farmhouse, each room’s decor began with wonderful wallpaper. Still, rooms are known by their wall covering: Garland Room, Morning Glory room. I’ve painted one room with a mural that recreates what one sees out the room’s window, a lush rural panorama of green, birds, critters. My home is, of course, inestimably more humble than the hotel, but my own sensibility has a lot in common with it! Thus I think I had a particular appreciation for the historic wall coverings.
If you could take back home with you 3 things from SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace what would they be? ( From your butler, to the wallpaper, to a plant)
I do have in my own home the sense of spaciousness and peace that SUJÁN has, which I valued so much about my stay, in the midst of grueiling (and wonderful) month long trip to India working toward freedom from sexual exploitation and gender equality for the most vulnerable, marginalized, and discriminated against populations.
That is something SUJÁN has that is essential to my sense of home.
Some of the chandeliers are so fabulously beautiful, they mightn’t go well with a rural Tennessee farm house, but it’s fun to think about! My laundry came back in the most darling basket, and this may seem tiny, but the shampoo, conditioner, and lotion are in the most drop dead chic marble jars.
Finding time to switch off during your travels and busy schedule is really important, did you manage to find some peace and quiet at SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace? How do you relax?
India is colourful and magnetic. With what I do, I am mostly entrenched in poverty, in states like Bihar, or with vanishing tribes in Orissa. I love it.
I love my life. Yet having that retreat for a few days at SUJÁN, where all hardship is suspended and I could float in calm beauty and perfect, unobtrusive service, was much needed.
SUJÁN let me relax, so when it was time to get back to the brothels, for example, my cup had been filled and I had my reserves full again.