The Pink city invited us with the allurance of all its grandeur. Especially when it was my first visit to Rajasthan, the clichéd palace doors also posed as some keeper of the past royalty and indeed picture perfect for posing.
Within the tropical weather of August, we gathered our courage to visit Jaipur. As we arrived at the city at night, it was cool and balmy. Next day morning we did our breakfast and arranged a cab from the hotel for the day’s city tour.
Our city excursion started at around 10:30 a.m. where the driver first showed us the Raj Mandir Cinema Hall on the way. It is one of the oldest theatres in India and is well-maintained for the tourists and movie goers. After this, we directly went to the Jaipur Museum or the Albert Hall Museum.
The Albert Hall Museum is the oldest museum of the state and functions as the State museum of Rajasthan. Situated in Ram Niwas Garden outside the city wall opposite New gate, its Indo-Saracenic architecture is worth to watch. The building was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, assisted by Mir Tujumool Hoosein, and was opened as a public museum in 1887.
Inside the Museum, only mobile photography was allowed. So I took all the photos here with my Samsung C9 Pro. This museum is well-maintained with a rich collection of paintings, carpets, ivory, stone, metal sculptures, and works of crystal. You will get the right kick of starting your journey with this museum.
After this, as the cab took us to the old city area, we were welcomed through one of the seven huge ‘Pink-city’ gates. Since the Metro lines are being developed, we faced some traffic even on the Saturday morning. But it acted on us as a boon as we could observe the Gate and the old shops lined upon both the sides of the street. We got off our cab on this Hawa Mahal Road at Badi Choupad to walk through the market area. As heard before, this architectural beauty is best viewed from the opposite of the road. There is also a Top View Café located opposite to the Hawa Mahal for the best view of the same. We though didn’t opt for that as we were not so hungry. After few snaps from the road, we went straight to the inside the Hawa Mahal.
Hawa Mahal (“Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”) was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. Constructed of red and pink sandstone, the palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur, and extends to the zenana, or women’s chambers. The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh.
The building has around 950 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework. These lattices also allow cool air from the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) through the intricate pattern. While roaming in the hot and humid weather, we couldn’t feel the heat due to this architectural air conditioning in the whole area.
The City Palace and the Jantar Mantar are at a walking distance from the Hawa Mahal. City Palace was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The Chandra Mahal palace now houses the museum, but the greatest part of it is still a royal residence. The palace complex, located northeast of the center of the grid patterned Jaipur city, holds a vast array of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer. He planned and built the outer walls, and later additions were made by successive rulers continuing up to the 20th century. The credit for the urban layout of the city and its structures is attributed to two architects namely, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, apart from the Sawai himself who was a keen architectural enthusiast. The architects achieved a fusion of the Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture with Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture. [WikiPedia]
This perennial structure no doubt requires approximately 1.5hrs hours to stroll through. And it houses detailed historical reminiscence for the enthusiasts. Photography is not allowed inside the museums. But the palace campus has a lot for great snaps. The exquisite designs on the doors give a feel of the past royal entity. The museums are worth visiting and spending the time to know about the Rajput cult.
It was around 3:00 p.m. when we completed visiting City Palace. Before entering the Amer Fort, which is approximately 8kms from the City Palace, we completed our lunch in a roadside shack. Amer Fort has an entry from the back side where cars are allowed till the entry door of the palace. But I would suggest taking the steps that lead to the Fort from the front to enjoy the view of the lake and the front guarding palaces.
The gate to the fort is indeed designed opulently. But more to it lies the interior Sheesh Mahal which has its own grandeur and glory. Spending some time here is what anyone suggests. I would suggest exploring the palace in your own way as there are many ways to get lost within the confusing map of the fort.
With Amer Fort, we ended the Day 1 trip – our very first day at Jaipur. Hope you liked it 🙂