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Museums are Diya Kumari's window to the world

Born into the Jaipur Royal family to Maharaja Sawai Bhavani Singh, Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur is married to Maharaja Narendra Singh.

travel Updated: Dec 26, 2011 17:17 IST
Kashish Singh
Kashish Singh

Born into the Jaipur Royal family to Maharaja Sawai Bhavani Singh, Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur is married to Maharaja Narendra Singh. She has played a key role in shaping the tourism and hospitality scene in Jaipur. She is actively involved in charity, running schools and museums with aplomb, dedicated to preserving the royal heritage of the state of Rajasthan with an eye on what the modern tourist - both the domestic and the international are seeking. Her overseas travels are opportunities to learn, experience and bring back learnings to be implemented in her home state. When taking a break from the responsibilities of The City Palace, Jaipur, she likes to trail to the yet unexplored counties like, Egypt, Morocco, Jordon and Greece.

Q: Which is the last holiday you took and what were the highlights of the trip?
The last trip that I took with the family was for a charity Polo match to Toronto and London. I love the picturesque countryside in Canada and the Niagara falls were beautiful. While kids loved spending time at the amusement parks we also got to catch up with lots of friends.

Q: When on vacation what do you like to do?
My holidays have to be stress-free and relaxed. We do plan things, but keep it to bare minimum- essentials. Once on a vacation, I like to take it easy and prefer being spontaneous.

Q: What has been the most bizarre thing you have eaten when experimenting with food in a foreign location?
Oh that reminds me of a trip to China in 1993 with my father. We took a trip to Brunei and nearly ate insects. That was the first time I had Octopus and deep fried Scorpions. That was pretty bizarre as then we didn't hear of these dishes on your table in India.

Q: Which destination for you has the highest repeat value?
Given an option, I would anytime do an encore with New York and London. I have been travelling the two places since I was very young with my parents, so know them jolly well. Besides we do have lots of friends around there to spend time with. Once there I also end up spending a lot of time shopping.

Q: Which place according to you is highly over rated?
I personally think Malaysia s a tad over rated, even though I love Thai food and the spas.

Q: Most embarrassing travel moment?
I distinctly remember those 30 minutes at the John F. Kennedy airport in the year 2008. My passport bore my name as Diya Kumari and for surname it was written unknown. US airport authorities as you know are rather strict and I was interrogated for almost half an hour with the kids who were looking forward to be at Disneyworld. Later of course I first thing that I did when I returned to India was add my surname in the passport.

Q: While on vacation what is most important to you?

Wherever we travel, we love to touch base with their history via the many museums they have and in many places speciality museums as in museums that cover different aspects of their history, culture and traditions.

Q: Which place do you recommend for a weekend getaway in India?
I'm not really a beach person. For a weekend I love to be in the hills, the Himalaya. Given an option I would love a weekend break at either at Manali or Ananda at Rishikesh. Closer home it would be Ranthambhore.

Q: How do you think the travel scene has changed in India in recent times?
The travel scenario in India has changed a lot for the better. The infrastructure is better and we have a lot of foreign chains in hospitality. Now, Indians too are more open to travelling and are out exploring new places. But still there is a lot of untapped potential in the sector.

Q: Which are the five places that are there in your 'must visit' list?
Clearly it would be anywhere in Europe, Paris, Italy, Switzerland or New York. But I enjoy China too.

Q: What are the things that really put you off when holidaying?
Too much formal socialising when one formal event rolls into the other, really gets on to me. There have been occasions when I had to attend a lot of formal events and it really drains me.

Q: A monument that you have seen and which has stayed most vividly in your memory?

Come to think, many have. But to name a few it would be the Colosseum, the Vatican, Forbidden City in China and Twin Towers in New York.

First Published: Dec 26, 2011 17:17 IST