City Palace, Jaipur


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City Palace, Jaipur
City Palace, Jaipur

From Amber, their former capital, the Kachhwaha of Rajputs of Rajasthan moved to Jaipur. The City Palace is the core of the royal residences in Jaipur. Each new Maharaja made his own additions to Sawai Jai Singh's original city palace.

In the heart of the old city of Jaipur, the City Palace occupies a large area, divided into a series of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. The carved arches are supported by grey-white marble columns ornate with floral motifs in gold and colored stones. Two carved elephants in marble guard the entrance. The outer wall was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, but other additions are much more recent, some dating back to the beginning of this century. The palace is a wonderful blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.

The centre of the palace, is the Chandra Mahal, private palace of the ruler, which is approached through a number of courtyards. Mubarak Mahal, in the first courtyard, is a guesthouse now used as a textile museum. A magnificent gateway with a grand door in brass is to be crossed to reach the Diwan-I-Khas in a stately courtyard. It is an open hall with a double row of columns with scalloped arches. On display here are two gigantic silver urns used by Madho Singh II to carry water from the holy Ganges on board the ocean liner when he travelled to London in 1902. These are the largest silver vessels in the world - 242.7 kilograms of silver was required to cast each urn, which could contain 8182 gallons of water. These urns figure in the Guinness Book of World Records.

At the eastern corner of this courtyard stands the Diwan-I-Aam, now a museum of miniature paintings, palanquins, manuscripts and Persian carpets . At the other corner stands the Ridhi Sidhi Pol, splendid gateway to the Pritam Chowk. Herein four smaller doorways are decorated with motifs depicting the four seasons. Of immense charm is the Peacock door. Chandra Mahal, the main royal residence, is seven storeyed and topped by Mukut Mandir, an elegant pavilion with a curvilinear roof. The various apartments and floors carry their own distinctive style of ornamentation to suit the ruler's taste.

Such Niwas and Shobha Niwas are still occupied by the ex-Maharaja. Such Niwas has been painted in Wedgwood blue, ornamented with white lining. Only the ground floor is open to visitors. Through the glass panes you can see the Sri Govinda Temple, the first structure built by Sawai jai Singh in Jaipur. The Chandra Mahal is a fanciful medley of Mughal and Rajput architecture.

Opposite the Chandra Mahal lies the Badal Mahal. The Govind Devji Temple stands in the middle of the Chandra Mahal and the Badal Mahal. A delightful system of mountains is placed in the middle of the paved path between the Chandra Mahal and the Badal Mahal. The palace has extensive and sprawling gardens.