The City Palace is a palace complex, situated in the core of the Pink City Jaipur. The beautiful complex comprising numerous edifices, vast courtyards and attractive gardens, is a souvenir of the majestic history. The Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal are some of the significant structures in the complex. To preserve the valuable items of the bygone era, many compartments of the palace have been converted into museums and art galleries. To witness the beauty of the palace, thousands of visitors from across the world visit the City Palace every year.
The City Palace housed the throne of the Maharaja of Jaipur who headed the Kachwaha Rajput clan. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who ruled Amber from 1699 to 1744, initiated the construction of the city complex that spreads over several acres. He first ordered to erect the outer wall of the palace complex. The construction that was started in 1729, took three years to be completed. The palace complex was completely built in 1732.
The palace and its structures have been designed, combining the architectural elements of the Mughal, Europe and the Shilpa Shastra of India. A perfect blend of colours, designs, art and culture can be seen in every nook and corner of the palace.
One of the most striking features of the complex is its richly decorated gateways. There are in total three entry gates to the complex, namely Virendra Pol, Udai Pol and the Tripolia Gate.
For the visitors, the entry has been arranged from the Udai Pol (the Atish Pol) and the Virendra Pol, while the members of the royal family use the Tripolia entrance.
Built with a fusion of the Islamic, Rajput and European architectural styles, the two-floored Mubarak Mahal was made to serve the purpose of a reception centre. Also known as the palace of welcome, it was designed and built by Maharaja Madho Singh II in the late 19th century.
Presently, it is being visited by the tourists and travellers as a costume museum. It has been turned into a fine storehouse containing various kinds of fabrics like sanganeri block prints, Kashmiri pashminas, and regal garments.
Must See: Among the collection at the museum, there are capacious clothes stored here that belong to the ruler Sawai Madho Singh I. He weighed about 250 kilograms and had 108 wives.
The seven-storeyed Chandra Mahal, also known as the Chandra Niwas, is located in the west end of the complex amidst beautiful gardens and a lake. Each floor of the structure has been given a name such as the Pitam-Niwas, Ranga-Mandir, Sukh-Niwas, Shri-Niwas, Mukut Mahal and Chabi-Niwas. The walls of the building have been ornamented with exclusive paintings, splendid works of mirror and floral adornments. However, the visitors can visit only the ground floor where manuscripts, carpets and some other goods from the royal treasure have been stored.
The visitors enter the mahal via a beautiful peacock gate. The upper floors of the building have balconies, while there is a pavilion at the roof that provides a panoramic view of the city.
Also, at the top of the Chandra Mahal is a flag whose furling symbolises the presence of the royal family in the palace. The flag hoisted at the palace is evidently "one and a quarter" in size, being in accordance to the meaning of the name of the royal family, 'Sawai'.
Pitam Niwas Chowk
While paving your way to the Chandra Mahal, you will walk through an inner courtyard, Pitam Niwas Chowk. The chowk has four entry points, also called as Ridhi Sidhi Pol; each has its own beauty and significance. The four gateways symbolise the four seasons and are dedicated to Hindu deities.
The gateways are:
A private audience pavilion of the Maharajas was called as Diwan-I-Khas. The chamber is also known as Sarvato Bhadra, meaning open from all four sides but not corners. It is a marble floored hall, located between the armoury and the art gallery. In the hall, there are two 1.6 metres high vessels of pure silver having a volume of 4000 litres and weighing 340 kilograms.
The two grand vessels have been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest sterling silver vessels. They were made on the orders of the Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, from 14000 melted silver coins without soldering, for the purpose of storing the holy water of the Ganges. Therefore, the vessels were named as Gangajelies, meaning urns containing Ganges' water. The two vessels were carried by the king to England in 1901 as he didn't want to commit a religious blunder by drinking the English water.
A hall made for holding public meetings and gatherings, the 'Diwan-E-Aam' or the Sabha Niwas is one of the important structures of the complex. The ceiling of the building has been painted in vibrant colours. However, the chamber has now been turned into an art gallery, displaying exquisite miniature paintings of Persian, Mughal and Rajasthani art. Under the richly decorated ceiling, it also stores ancient texts, embellished rugs and carpets. Also, the visitors must take a look at the Golden throne, famous as Takth-e-Rawal which was used as the seat of the Maharaja.
As the name suggests, this place was occupied by the royal queen. Presently, it's serving the purpose of a museum, housing arms and weapons of the royal clan. The ceiling of this compartment has been adorned using semiprecious stones and gems.
Must See: If you happen to visit the palace, you must enter the Maharani Palace to have a sight of the scissor-action dagger. It is one of the most dangerous weapons of those times, if this is pulled back after inserting into someone's body, it disembowels the victim.
In the palace complex, the Bhaggi Khana is one place where you can get a glimpse of different kinds of old carriages, palanquins and European cabs which were used by the royal family. Among the numerous coaches and carriages here, there is a European bhaggi which the Maharaja received as a gift from the Prince of Wales in the year 1876. It is famous as the Victoria bhaggi.
Govind Dev Ji temple
The palace complex also incorporates a temple called Govind Dev Ji temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Constructed in the early 18th century, the temple is surrounded by a lovely garden environment. The prayers are offered to the Lord in this temple seven times in a day. The temple was constructed at this place so that the Maharaja can have a clear view of the temple while sitting in the Chandra Mahal.
Best Time to Visit
October - March
The City Palace can be visited on any day of the week, except on the gazetted holidays, between 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Foreigners: INR 150/80 for adult/child
Indians : INR 35/20 for adult/child
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