Rajasthan is a land of the royals that has seen some of the greatest Rajput rulers rule over it. I still remember, reading about Rajputs in the medieval Indian history was one of my favourite topics in the school and that love has lingered on till date. And why not... The regality, the royalty and the opulence of Rajput rulers definitely make you crave to know more about it. And once you think of Indian Royals, Jaipur is one of the names that first comes to the mind. If you go to Jaipur then you will see the imprints of the great Rajputs everywhere in this city. And the City Palace is one such grand and regal place in Jaipur to see the grandeur and opulence of the Jaipur royal family.
I had visited Jaipur many times since my childhood, given the advantage that it is only about 4-5 hours distant from Delhi. So a weekend getaway to Jaipur is something that is really worth it especially in the winters. However City Place of Jaipur had always eluded me due to some reason or the other. But this time I made sure I visited this great palace and I am really glad that I did. There are some nicely preserved sections of the City Palace that offer an insight into their really lavish lifestyle. There is a 7 storied building called Chandra Mahal inside the palace where the current Royal family of Jaipur lived about a couple of years back as told by our guide. And now the royal family lives in a new abode somewhere nearby this City Palace.
I opted for the Royal grandeur tour which cost 2000 INR per head that gave me an entry into some of the most magnificent and private sections of the Chandra Mahal inside the Palace that were not open for public having normal entry tickets. Getting a chance to see even a bit of life of Jaipur royals was something I just couldn't let go. We were also provided with a guide in the cost of this ticket who accompanied us inside the City Place on a 45 minutes tour and told us some really interesting tales about various parts of the City Palace. I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the City Palace but there were some things that totally bowled me over and I was totally smitten by the beauty of the palace. And here under I am giving an account of the 11 things in this palace that left me totally spellbound and these are definitely the things for which you should visit the Jaipur City Palace at least once.
1) The Grand Entrance Gates
The first thing that captivates your attention when you reach this palace is its extremely beautiful grand entrance gates. There are three entrance gates to this palace- Udai pol, Virendra pol and Tripolia pol of which the last one is reserved only for the royal family. We entered the palace through the Virendra pol gate which was a pale yellow coloured gate adorned with beautiful work of blue and green vines and red flowers. The intricate detailing on this gate left me totally spellbound. At both sides of the gate there was a figure of a king carved beautifully. The entrance gate undoubtedly displayed the highly skilful craftsmanship of those times and was surely a harbinger of the beauty that we were to encounter inside the palace.
2) The Royal Costumes displayed in the Mubarak Mahal
Mubarak mahal is the first building that one sees when entering from the Virendra Pol gate. It has a stunning architecture which is an amalgamation of the Mughal, Rajput and European styles. This building has now been converted into a museum in which can you can see the grand and elaborate costumes that were once worn by the Maharajas or kings of Jaipur and their Queens or Maharanis. The heavy and elaborate royal costumes will leave you spellbound and make you wonder how the royals wore so heavy attires.Though photography is not allowed inside the Mubarak Mahal but it will definitely leave you with some memories that shall remain with you for the lifetime.
3) The Art Gallery and Golden Throne at Diwan-i-Aam or Sabha Niwas
Diwan-i-Aam means the Hall of Public Audience where the Jaipur King held his public court for daily proceedings. The one thing that leaves you spellbound here is the Golden throne on which the King sat while addressing the public. The beautiful throne was so beautiful that I just couldn't take my eyes off it. I so wished to take a photo of the throne but photography is not allowed inside the Sabha Niwas. Inside Diwan-i-Aam there is an art gallery also where you can see various paintings and the hand written miniature copies of Bhagwad Gita and other Hindu scriptures. Another thing that will catch your attention is the cannons outside the Diwan-i-Aam that were so popular photography props for the tourists.
4) The pleasing peachish Orange walls, the crystal chandeliers And the Gangajalis of Diwan-i-Khas or SarvatoBhadra
Diwan-i-Khas means the Hall of Private Audience, where the king conversed with his ministers and nobles. This is certainly one of the most stunning buildings in the City Palace. What I loved the most about it was it's pleasing peachish orange walls and ceilings which were heavily engraved with stunning white ornamentations of vines and flowers. And you just can't ignore those antique crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceilings.
In Sarvatobhadra or Diwan-i-Khas, there are two large Gangajalis or Sterling Silver Urns that will immediately catch your attention. These vessels are 5.2 feet high, 340 kilograms heavy and have a capacity of 4000 litres each. The two silver urns are recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records for being the largest Sterling silver vessels in the world. These vessels were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II who was a very religious ruler and carried holy water of River Ganga in these vessels when he had to attend the coronation ceremony of Prince Edward VII in 1901. These stunning vessels are sure to leave you spellbound. This pillared pavilion was undoubtedly one of the most sought-after places amongst tourists for photography.
5) The royal weapons at Sileh Khana
This is a must visit place if you are an enthusiast of the centuries old Royal Weapons. Here you can find a vast collection of royal weapons with inscriptions and some even belonged to the Mughal Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan.
6)The four seasons gates at the Pritam Niwas Chowk
Pritam Niwas Chowk is an open courtyard surrounded by four gates representing the four seasons. These four gates are some of the finest works in the City Palace and are really popular among the tourists. These gates have jharokas or balconies on the first floor which were used by the royal ladies to observe the festivals and celebrations taking place in the courtyard. The four gates are the Peacock gate, Lotus Gate, Leheriya Gate and the Rose Gate. The Peacock Gate also known as the Autumn season gate has beautiful three dimensional peacocks etched out of the gate ceilings that leave you spellbound. This was definitely my favourite gate of all. The lotus gate or the summer gate has beautiful lotus petals in vivid colours engraved on the gate. The Rose gate or the winter gate similarly has stunning rose flowers work made all over them. And the Leheriya gate or the spring gate is a beautiful vividly green coloured gate that definitely too left me spellbound. So Pritam Niwas Chowk is one place you should not even dare to miss if you visit the City Palace.
7) The royal drawing room and dining room in Sukh Niwas in Chandra mahal
Sukh Niwas on the third floor of the Chandra Mahal has the dining room and the drawing room of the royal family. Sukh Niwas will leave you spellbound because here you can see the real grandeur of the royal family. You can see some rare photographs of the Jaipur royal family, some really valuable antique decorative items made of real gold, antique paintings and antique furniture. However photography is not allowed inside Sukh Niwas also, so all I could do was take a picture of the exterior of the Sukh Niwas.
8) The Golden room of Shobha Niwas in Chandra Mahal
This is another stunning room called Shobha Niwas in Chandra mahal where the royal family still performs pooja and prayers during Diwali festival every year. Shobha Niwas is made with marble interiors with gold columns and panels all over.The entire room is basically floral theme based with red and green coloured stones engraved into the flowers all over the walls and ceilings. The golden pillars are something that will take your breath away and leave you spell bound. The big mirrors on the walls and the chandeliers further add to the beauty of the room. Don't forget to sit on the deep red velvet floor seat in this room and strike a royal pose for that memorable photograph of yours.
9) The Room of Mirrors or the Sri Niwas
Sri Niwas on the sixth floor of Chandra Mahal, is a treat for eyes. It is a room made of small mirrors all over the walls and ceilings. It is a maze of mirrors...mirrors mirrors everywhere. No doubt the beauty of this room will surely leave you spellbound. The guard posted in this room will switch off all the lights of this room and will light a candle to show you how beautiful and illuminated the room looks even in the light of a single candle. When I saw Sri Niwas, I was wondering how skillful those people were who had so beautifully made this room using shards of mirrors. This one is surely not to be missed.
10)The Blue Palace in Chandra Mahal
The fourth and the fifth floors of the Chandra Mahal are beautifully adorned with blue and white coloured rooms. Our guide took us to one such room where restoration work was taking place. The blue and white room gave a look of Persian influence and was my favourite one in the Chandra Mahal. The bright Persian blue coloured walls and ceilings of this room were decorated with some really stunning paint works of white coloured flowers and leaves. This room left me spellbound and I just didn't want to leave it at all. Such was the spell of this room's beauty on me.
11)Stunning view of the Jaipur city and the legendary royal flag at the top floor of Chandra Mahal
The seventh or the top floor of the Chandra Mahal also called as Mukut Mandir gave a stunning view of the Jaipur city and the surrounding hills. I could easily spot Hawa mahal and Jantar Mantar from here. And from here you can have a close look at the royal flag mounted on the top of this storey. Our guide told us that the five colours in this flag are synonymous with the five colours in the shirt of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II which he was wearing when he died playing Polo. And also this flag is unfurled on the top floor when the present Maharaja or King of Jaipur is in the city. The lovely breeze and the lovely view here is sure to leave you spellbound.
So there are actually so many things to see here and so many reasons you should visit the Jaipur City Palace. This palace still has the stately grandeur intact which can be inferred by the number of the tourists that visit here everyday.
Best time to visit
November to February is the winter season here which is the best time to visit. From March to July is the hot summer season when temperature even crosses 45 degrees celsius so better avoid visiting during the time.
What clothes to wear
Summers are really hot so carry light breezy clothes for the day time. However nights are chilly since it is a semi-arid area so carry woolens and a light blanket even during summers. For winters carrying woolen clothes is a must.
Some tips that may help you
About Jaipur and the Royals
Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who belonged to the Kachhwaha clan of Rajput rulers who had earlier ruled from Amer. And since then many great rulers had ruled the Jaipur princely state. However after India's independence from the British in 1947, the princely state of Jaipur was merged with the Dominion of India and Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jaipur. And his third wife Maharani Gayatri Devi was also a legendary figure and a fashion icon of her times who later also got into politics. To read more about the history of Jaipur and its rulers visit the official site of Jaipur Royals Click here. To read more about the present ruling family about Jaipur Click here
Top 10 things to do in Jaipur, the City of Royals
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Location of City Palace
The City palace is located in the Old part of the Jaipur city near Jantar Mantar. Refer the map below for exact location.