5 things that can make you go WOW at the City Palace Jaipur

posted in: Asia, Cities, Heritage, India, Rajasthan | 41

The City Palace Jaipur is one of the most popular tourist destinations, especially for first timers in Jaipur. Me – being a first timer in Jaipur and of course, a sucker for palaces, obviously could not wait to tour it myself. Bang opposite the Jantar Mantar, my heart pushed me to just cross over and explore it before the ancient observatory (Jantar Mantar) but the rational part of my brain asked me to wait a bit so that we could seek some shade at noon by exploring it later.

Still owned by the Royal Family of Jaipur, parts of this palace have been opened out to the public by the private trust of the royal family. The palace is well-curated and organized with an audio guide but we being a larger group, opted for a regular guide. While the palace has plenty of interesting things to talk about, I will share my pick of 5 things that made me go WOW about the City Palace Jaipur.

1) Mubarak Mahal at City Palace Jaipur

Mubarak Mahal, City Palace Jaipur
Mubarak Mahal, City Palace Jaipur
The royal guest house – the last addition to the original palace, made by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. What I loved about this palace was the beautiful fusion of designs from three different cultures – Mughal, Rajput and British.
Close up of the Mubarak Mahal, City Palace Jaipur
Close up of the Mubarak Mahal, City Palace Jaipur

Spot the lovely arches with intricate designs that remind you of the Mughal palaces while at the same time, check out the Rajput Hindu temple designs atop the doors. The seamless blend of these cultures enhanced the beauty of this “Auspicious Palace” ย – Mubarak in Urdu meaning Auspicious. The 2- storied palace indeed added to the charm of City Palace Jaipur.

2) The Royal Clothes

The Mubarak Mahal now houses a textile and handicrafts museum where you can see a display of the Royal wares and clothes. Unfortunately, I cannot treat you to any of the pictures as photography is not allowed here. It was quite amazing to see the heavy dresses of the princesses and Queens – so heavy that she could not carry it herself and needed more than a maid to help. What was even more fascinating was that she could not walk with all that weight. So, a palanquin or a wheelchair was what was used to move around within the palace. I am not sure, if I would have liked that!
The highlight of it all was the voluminous clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I. Humungous may be the right term here for the clothes were 4 ft wide. Yes, you could say it was for a giant of a Man who weighed 250kgs. Seeing those clothes was quite a wonder – I think two of normal sized humans would have fit into them. And if that has not popped open your mouth – here is one more astonishing fact. The Giant Maharaja had 108 wives!!!
Like my hubby remarked – managing one is a task and over 100…GOSH! ๐Ÿ˜‰

3) Pritam Niwas Chowk at City Palace Jaipur

Monolithic Elephant at the Virendra Pol, City Palace Jaipur
Monolithic Elephant at the Virendra Pol, City Palace Jaipur

Once you make your way out of the Mubarak Mahal, you need to pass through the gate called Virendra Pol. One impressive feature that I remember here is the monolithic marble elephants kept on either side of the gate. The elephant with its Mahout is a stunning gate decor – one that you cannot miss as you pass through these gates.

Standing against the Chandra Mahal, City Palace, Jaipur
Standing against the Chandra Mahal, City Palace, Jaipur
It is here that you can see the main palace – the Moon Palace or the Chandra Mahal. The Palace is a 7 storied one, and some parts are still occupied by the Royal Family. A flag, larger than the regular flags flies atop this palace. They say that the reason for this flag being large was the name “Sawai” meaning one and a quarter. Sawai was a title given by Aurangazeb to Maharaja Jai Singh during his wedding and was taken forth by the dynasty thereon. As the story goes, when Aurangazeb wasย impressed with the witty quips of the young Maharaja Jai Singh and conferred the title of some one who is one and a quarter. Since then, the larger flag was adopted by the family. Even today, it is unfurled when the Royal family is in residence.
Today, only the ground floor is open to the public in the general tour and while I am unaware of what treasures that other floors hold, the ground floor for me was the highlight of this entire City Palace Jaipur.

Pritam Niwas Chowk

The Pritam Niwas Chowk is one of the unique Royal Courtyards that I have come across. Pritam Niwas Chowk means “courtyard of the beloved” and was extensively used by the Royal family for festive occasions and ceremonies. The women observed the proceedings from the jharokhas on the first floor. The most beautiful feature of it is the four gates that have been designed based on the 4 Indian Seasons. Let’s start with my favorite – The Mor or Peacock gate, that represents the Autumn season.

Mor Gate or the Peacock Gate, Prtiam Niwas Chowk, Jaipur City Palace
Mor Gate or the Peacock Gate, Prtiam Niwas Chowk, Jaipur City Palace
The gorgeous 3D models of peacocks made this a popular photography spot – so much that we were not able to get one devoid of crowds. ๐Ÿ™ Nonetheless, I managed to get a zoom in of the peacocks on this gate. ๐Ÿ˜€
Mor Gate or the Peacock Gate, City Palace Jaipur
Mor Gate or the Peacock Gate, City Palace Jaipur

 

3D Peacock of the Mor Gate at Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace Jaipur
3D Peacock of the Mor Gate at Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace Jaipur
The next one is the Lotus gate representative of the Summer season. The repetitive pattern of the Lotus petals is suggestive of the same.
Lotus Gate (Summer Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, Jaipur City Palace
Lotus Gate (Summer Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, Jaipur City Palace
Lotus Gate (Summer Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, Jaipur City Palace
Lotus Gate (Summer Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, Jaipur City Palace

The green gate or the Leheriya gate was done to showcase the greens of the Spring season.

Green Gate (Spring Gate) at Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace, Jaipur
Green Gate (Spring Gate) at Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace, Jaipur
Leheriya Gate (Spring Gate) at Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace Jaipur
Leheriya Gate (Spring Gate) at Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace Jaipur
The winter gate or the Rose Gate was a soft pastel shade with delicate blooms to indicate this season. This gate appealed to my feminine nature. Loved the soft pastel shades on it.
Rose Gate (Winter Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace Jaipur
Rose Gate (Winter Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace Jaipur
Rose Gate (Winter Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace, Jaipur
Rose Gate (Winter Gate) of Pritam Niwas Chowk, City Palace, Jaipur
To me, the uniqueness of this courtyard is what I will always remember City Palace Jaipur for.

4) Gangajelies &ย Chandeliers of Diwan-I Khas

Diwan-I Khaas, City Palace Jaipur
Diwan-I Khaas, City Palace Jaipur
Right opposite the Chandra Mahal, is a huge hall that is full of impressive crystal Chandeliers. This is the hall of Private audience with the king.
Chandeliers of Diwan-I Khas, City Palace Jaipur
Chandeliers of Diwan-I Khas, City Palace Jaipur

In the earlier days, it was covered with lovely curtains, but today, it stands open on all sides. This was the actual court of the king, the stronghold of his power.

Gangajelie at Jaipur City Palace
Gangajelie at Jaipur City Palace

The most interesting artifact here are the Gangajelies or the water urns that carry Ganga water. 2 huge silver urns that are 5 feet high and weigh around 340 kgs are on display. Our guide told us that they are officially the biggest sterling silver urns in the world. as per theย Guinnessย Book of Records. These urns were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II for his visit to London. The Maharaja would only drink Ganga Water and hence, 2 large silver urns with 4000 l of water were packed for his visit to Britain. ๐Ÿ™‚ The large size and the story is what had me go WOW.

5) The Golden Throne at Diwan-I Aam

Diwan-I Aam or the Hall of Public Audience is another place within the palace, where photography is not permitted. Hence, devoid of pictures, I am hoping you can visualize this. Imagine a huge hall of red and gold, with painted ceiling and an ornate carpet, ending at a golden throne.

It is this Golden throne or the Takhat E Rawal that had me going WOW. Ornate as a throne should be, this was used not just as a seating in the Public Hall but also, doubled up as a howdah on an elephant. Well, multi-purpose utility existed back then too, and that too, in the most royal manner as possible!

Besides these highlights, you are bound to spot several other interesting things within the palace like these gorgeous hallways

Passages at City Palace, Jaipur
Passages at City Palace, Jaipur

Or the cannon outside the Diwan-I Aam – as you see the boys did have fun around it ๐Ÿ˜€

Cannon at Jaipur City Palace
Cannon at Jaipur City Palace

Or the Baggi Khana with its various chariots and buggies. There is also, a special tour (Royal Grandeur tour) that allows you to see the interiors of the Chandra Mahal – however, I have left the same for my next visit to the City Palace. From what I have seen, for me, these 5 aspects represent the highlights of the City Palace, Jaipur. If you have been here, let me know what are your favorite parts of the palace. If not, well, what do you think of my highlights ย of the Jaipur City Palaceย ๐Ÿ™‚

So go on – and leave a comment for me ๐Ÿ˜€

Getting here:

  • The City Palace is right in the middle of Jaipur city and one can visit it using any of the local transport options – Autos, Electric Autos, Buses or Private Taxis.
  • Jaipur City is the capital city of Rajasthan and has a well-connected airport, railway station as well as bus station. There are daily flights and trains from all the major cities of India to this city.

Travel Tips:

  • This is the official website of the City Palace, Jaipur. All information on the ticket charges, the audio guides and visiting hours are documented on it. Remember to check it before heading here to ensure that your visit is not timed with a Palace holiday or special event.
  • The tickets to the City Palace, Jaipur is also, a part of the composite ticket option that allows you to visit several other attractions within a span of 3 days. Remember to check this option out before buying an individual ticket.
  • The audio guides are available in 4 languages – English, Hindi, French and German. The regular guides here are well trained and can speak other languages as well. Hence, do inquire about the same at the entrance of the palace.
  • Flat shoes are recommended for the sheer amount of walking to be done.
  • Food is available at the Palace Cafe. There are restroom facilities as well.
  • As you exit the palace, there are plenty of handloom and handicrafts shops. The prices at the same are fairly competitive and the articles seem genuine. You can choose to browse through and buy some of them for yourself and friends. Check out the Jaipur bedsheets and bedspreads, Pashmina shawls and the Jaipuri home decor while here.

 

 

 

 

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41 Responses

  1. Sweet Sharing

    Jaipur is my hometown. I have seen this place several times but your style of narration has such a novelty that it feels as if I am exploring a new place. Great piece Ami.

  2. 2 Travel Dads blog

    I have seen some incredible shots of India, but I've never seen such fascinating art. The peacocks and lotus door really caught me off guard and are some of the most striking things I've seen.

  3. MartaC

    I was in India years ago but unfortunately missed Jaipur: I remember being torn about it and eventually skipped it – now I wish I didn't, it looks so beautiful and interesting

  4. ArchanaC Kapoor

    Your family pic is awesome sweetie… and I loveee Jaipur… there's so much to do… but the best thing is… SHOPPING!!! yay!! following you now.. finally!!! hugsies ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Kishor Kumar

    Nice guide to Jaipur. Though, I've been there I must have missed a few of these places. Would surely remember to visit them next time. Nice photographs too!

  6. Ami Bhat

    Shopping is fun alright. Loads of stuff to carry back home. Though this time, I could not indulge much. Keeping it for another visit.

  7. Ami Bhat

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Happens to the best of us Nisha…Time is always short. Hope my virtual tour made up for some disappointment ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. arv!

    City Palace in Jaipur is not to be missed. You seemed to have made most out of your trip, Ami. Looking at your pictures, it seems it was all fun!

Would love to know what you think