City Palace, Jaipur: A Must Visit

Posted on July 25, 2010 in Travel

By Richa Patil:

The “pink city” Jaipur, cradled in the sand dunes of Rajasthan, is one of the major tourist attractions in the state. Jaipur city is in harmony with the taste of the rajputs, and the royal families. The city of Jaipur, painted in pink, grasps the appreciation of every visitor. The Ancient Testimonials in the form of mind-blowing monuments remind one of the past ages. The city is home to the famous monuments like Hawa Mahal, City Palace and Amber Fort, the best architectural examples of India. Artistic temples and gardens of Jaipur, marks the atmosphere of serenity. Celebrations of the Kite festival and Elephant festival, are indigenous to Jaipur.

Jaipur is the reservoir of Indian customs, traditions, civilization and legacy. It lies at a distance of 260 kilometres from Delhi, the capital of India, and is well connected with other major cities of India.

One of the major attractions in Jaipur is the City Palace. It is an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal art and architecture. It is divided into two parts- one houses the Sawai Man Singh museum and other is still the residential palace of the former maharaja. The area covered by the City Palace is around one seventh of total area of the Jaipur.

Though the foundation was laid in the 18th century itself, further additions and modification in the palace complex continued for the next two centuries.  The royal family of Jaipur lives in the Chandra Mahal Palace, inside the City Palace complex. However, the ground floor of this palace is open to the public.

The City Palace

Inside the Mahal

The entire complex is divided into numerous courtyards, gardens and buildings. There are two main entrances from to the palace; the first one is from Jaleb Chowk and the other one from Tripolia Gate. The first courtyard, while entering from the Tripolia side, houses the Mubarak Mahal, which Maharaja Madho Singh II built, late in the 19th century.

The Mubarak Mahal, or the Auspicious Palace, was earlier the reception hall of the Maharaja of Jaipur. This probably is the reason, hence the nomenclature. Nowadays, the ground floor of this Mahal is used as an office and a library while the first floor houses the Textile Museum.

In the museum, there are many weapons, which the members of the royal family used. This palace now houses the museum of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. The museum has a rich collection of royal costumes, folk embroidery, rare and invaluable Pashmina Shawls, Sanganeri prints and Benaras silk saris. Also on display, are some of the clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I.

A Scene from inside the City Palace

Also inside the complex of the City Palace of Rajasthan is the Maharani’s Palace, the palace of the Queen. All the weaponry is exquisite and very well preserved. The display includes pistols, jewelled swords, guns and gunpowder pouches, a belt swords, chain armours, small cannons, poison tipped blades, etc.

Some of the invaluable handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures are exhibited in the museum, especially the miniature copies of the sacred Bhagwat Gita. Also on display are delicate miniature paintings belonging to the Rajasthani and Mughal royal families. There are some paintings based on Ramayana.

Other significant attractions within the City Palace complex are the Textile, Art Gallery, Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Badal Mahal, Sukh Nivas & Shobha Nivas, Chhavi Nivas & Mukut Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple.

The Chandra Mahal or the Moon Palace is situated in the northwest part of the palace complex. The Mahal is seven storied, with an individual name for each storey. The ground and first floors of the Chandra Mahal are a part of the Sawai Man Singh II Museum, and houses weapons, carpets and other rarities. The third floor is the Sukh Niwas, the drawing and dining area of Chandra Mahal. As per its name, the Sukh Niwas provided relaxation and rest. Shobha Niwas, or the ‘Hall of Beauty”, occupies the fourth floor and exudes an extraordinary beauty because of its remarkable decorations of mirrors, gold leaf and mica all over. The fifth floor is the Chavi Niwas while the top most floors, true to its position are known as the Mukut Mahal or the Crown Palace.

Very near to the Chandra Mahal are the Bada Mahal and the Jai Niwas Garden. In the Jai Niwas Garden stands the famous Shri Govindji temple. Numerous fountains line up the lane connecting the Bada Mahal with the Govindji Temple.

One of the most eye-catching features in city mahal is the Peacock gate.

Description of peacock gate:

The Ganesh Pol stands upright in the middle of the west wall of the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Am and leads into the Pritam Niwas Chowk through the Peacock Gate. The Peacock Gate, most famous of the four gates depicting seasons that lead into the Pritam Niwas Chowk, symbolizes the monsoon. Turbaned figures and painted stucco peacocks guard the entrance, and surround the marble idol of a deity.

The Peacock Gate - City palace, Jaipur

To conclude, I must say India is probably the only country that offers various categories of tourism. These include history tourism, adventure tourism, and medical tourism.

India’s tourism industry is thriving due to an increase in foreign tourist arrivals. A great number of Indians are also now travelling to various historical places in the country. The visitors are pouring in from all over the world: Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia- and our rich cultural heritage does not fail to regale and enthral our guests from across the seas…