» The Royal Architecture
Walks and Gateways
Extremely preoccupied with palace security, Maharajas would also build fortified walls and gateways around their residences. These heavily guarded structures were architectural marvels in themselves, mammoth in size and wrought with complex geometric designs that communicated the authority of the royal family. The beating of drums at palace gateways would announce the coming of visitors to Indian royalty.
The Indian nobility's belief in their divine right to power manifested itself in the planning of palaces. The palace was designed following architectural guidelines described in ancient Indian texts known as the Vastushastras some of which are more than fifteen hundred years old and was meant to be a physical and spiritual microcosm of the universe. The central courtyard of a palace was said to be the building's most powerful point, and always contained a representation of a prominent deity. Views of the courtyard and deity could thus be enjoyed from each of the palace's residential quarters.
The secret tunnels and doorways that abounded in Indian palaces allowed Maharajas easy access to their queens' quarters and provided them with quick getaways from public reception halls. More importantly, these clandestine passageways were a precaution against assassination plots and enabled a king and his entourage to slip in and out unnoticed.
When The Maharaja would sit on his throne or walk an umbrella like jeweled canopy was held over his head, the palaces would have similar umbrella like structures called chhatri on top of their buildings these actually were a common design indicating celestial power, its multiple tiers indicated the ascending realms of heaven.
Indian rulers and their courtiers drank, ate and listened to music in the privacy of verdant, breathtaking gardens. Gardens were planned according to geometric patterns and were usually arranged in plots of four, known in Persian as charbagh. Court celebrations such as Holi took place in gardens, during which courtiers squirted each other with vivid colours.