Jaipur 1

By Navin Advani | 2007

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City Gate. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II founded Jaipur in 1727. It is the capital of Rajasthan state, was the first planned city of its time. He laid out the city with its surrounding walls and rectangular blocks, according to the principles set down in the Shilpa-Shastra, an ancient Indian treatise on architecture. It is also known as the Pink City and pink it is with beautiful places, havelis and forts. Places to see are Hawa Mahal, City Fort, Jantar Mantar etc. What I am not showing you is Nahargarh or Tiger Fort, is floodlit at night. It is 8 kms from the city and a great place to go for sunset. Also visit Jal Mahal (Water Palace).

A closer view of the City Gate. To the right of the picture see the huge wooden gate. All through Rajasthan, parts of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh you would see similar gates.

Hawa Mahal is Jaipur’s best known monument. Constructed in 1799, the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds is a five storey building overlooking the main street of the bustling old city, is a stunning example of Rajput artistry with its pink, delicately honeycombed sandstone windows. It was originally built to enable ladies of the royal household to watch every day life & processions of the city. When I went inside the Hawa Mahal and stood there I found the place very breezy as compared to its surroundings. There is something about the design & architecture of the place, which makes it very breezy, lovely place to sit.

Clock in the City Palace.

Tourist take this entry to see the City Palace complex. Following two pictures have a closer view of the entrance. One is of carvings above entrance and two is close up of elephants that you see on either side of the entrance.

A closer look at the carvings that adorn the entrance to the City Palace. Top center of the picture you see a small icon of Lord Ganesh. A number of houses in India have Ganesha ka icon at the entrance to their homes. The City Palace a former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur is no different. Lord Ganesh protects his devotees from all obstacles. He is the master of knowledge & achievement.

A closer look at beautifully carved elephant. Indians used elephants in war, be it King Porus around 326 B.C. or the Rajputs thereafter.

Two palace attendants. Wearing a Pagdi or headgear is common in Rajasthan like in other parts of North India. However, residents of different areas tie the padgi in different ways.

Inside the City Place. It occupies a large area divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. Jai Singh built the outer wall but other additions are more recent around the 20th century. Note the water urns on each side. You will see a close up later.

Inside the Palace. See the Chandra Mahal, Hall of Public/Private Audiences and the Peacock gate in the Chandra Mahal courtyard.

This is the Maharaja’s current residence, forms part of the City Palace. The flag that you see on the top indicates that the Maharaja is in Jaipur.

Weapons on display inside the palace.

Inside Palace. What you see is the silver pot within which the Maharaja (king) took Holy Ganga water to England. We were told the pot weighed more than 500 kgs.

Inside the palace you see a palanquin.

Inside the palace you see a palanquin.

Entrance to a section of the palace. See how the entrance is artistically done.

Cannot help but admire the paintings. You can see peacock painting on all sides above the door. Rajasthan & peacocks are synonymous.

Welcome to the Rambaugh Palace Hotel. Spread over 47 acres it was built in 1835 as a hunting lodge. It got converted into a palace in 1925 when Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II moved in. Converted into a hotel since 1957 India’s premier hotel chain, Taj Hotels, have been running it since 1972. A part of the Palace continues to be the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur/family. What you see is the palace courtyard.

Another view of the palace grounds. We sat in the lawns and had bhujiya and masala tea. The hotel has 90 rooms.

Another view of the Palace hotel. The Taj Group have maintained the palace very well.

What you see are guest rooms in the palace.

A visit to Jaipur is incomplete without going to Chowki Dhani. Its rustic village settings, traditional Rajasthani food & handicrafts made it a very memorable visit for us. You see a lady who is dancing as well as balancing the different size matkas on her head.

The lady is now on glasses with five matkas on her head and performing a great balancing act.

Now you see a lady with eight matkas on her head with money in between her lips. This one looks really tough.

Puppets in the background. In his mouth he is doing a delicate balancing act.

The men who served us. Bright pagdis, smart kurtas.

We went into the kitchen and clicked them making Bajre ki roti for us. My granny (nani) told me ki food cooked on coal is always tastier.

Papad being made for us.

You see me (right) and friends having our meal. Sitting Indian style. I found the arrangement very comfortable and enjoyable.

What you see is the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Built in the mid 1980’s by Hindustan Charity Trust, a Birla Foundation. It was the devotional aspiration of Shri B K Birla & Smt Rukmani D Birla. The temple is situated at the foot of the Moti Doongri Fort. What you see is the temple overview.

Main entrance to the temple. Note the carvings and plinth levels.

Entrance to where icons are kept.

Entrance to where icons are kept.