The City Palace Jaipur in India has eluded me for more than a decade, until our trip to Jaipur, the last year.I’ve always been fascinated by the architecture of this Pink Palace, and I consider it one of the elegant and well-preserved of palaces in Rajasthan.
Jaipur, the capital city of majestic Rajasthan, has been one of the most frequented places on my travel list, after Agra and Hyderabad. Yet, I could never spend ample time exploring the City Palace, before.
However, during a recent visit, I tried to capture the essence of the Jaipur City Palace in all its glory- architecture, arcades, doorways, windows, and vibrancy. So, come with me as I take you on a guided tour of the Jaipur City Palace with emphasis on its architecture, doorways, and history.
A Guide to City Palace Jaipur
Palaces and structures with traditional architecture give a glimpse into the thought process, craftsmanship, and nuances of a bygone era that cannot be replicated without adulteration in today’s times.
However, on my recent trip to Jaipur City Palace, I observed the apathy of the tourists towards the upkeep of our traditional architectural structures and a lack of reverence to our past glory. This indeed was quite appalling.
The world is tilting more and more towards structures based on the so-called ‘modern architecture’ that lacks finesse (according to me) in relation to the intricate, elaborate, vibrant yet sustainable, eco-friendly structures of our glorious past. Hence, it is every individual’s duty to protect and preserve these structures of the bygone era and practice Responsible Tourism. Protect – Preserve – Practice should be our mantra!
This photo tour on City Palace Jaipur is my humble attempt to re-emphasize the beauty of Indian architectural wonders and provide a complete guide to this Pink Palace in Jaipur, with a plea to travel responsibly and sensibly.
Let us know the history of the City Palace Jaipur before we get to know its architectural aspects.
Jaipur Palace history
The Pink palace complex is located to the northeast of the centrally located walled city of Jaipur. The royals, still, live on the premises inside the Chandra Mahal complex.
The City Palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls and subsequently it was expanded by the later rulers.
Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, apart from the Sawai himself ought to be given credits for conceiving an architectural marvel and executing it with finesse.
The City Palace Jaipur Architecture has been based on Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture, as well as Vaasthu Shastra. Apart from this, the structures inside the City Palace reflect a fusion of Rajput, European and Mughal architectural styles.
A virtual guided tour of the Pink Palace in Jaipur
Now that we know the City Palace Jaipur history, let us continue our virtual tour of the Pink Palace aka City Palace Jaipur with a focus on its splendid architecture.
Entrance Gates of the Jaipur City Palace
- The City Palace Jaipur’s architecture renders three entry gates to the complex – Virendra Pol, Udai Pol, or Atish Pol and the Tripolia Gate.
- Tourists and visitors enter the place complex only through the Virendra Pol and the Udai Pol.
- The Tripolia Gate is used only by the Royals.
- The entry from Virendra Pol leads to the Mubarak Mahal.
- There are ticket counters and audio-guides that could be collected from these counters, adjacent to the Virendra Pol. We used the Virendra Pol for entry into the Jaipur City Palace.
You may also want to read about the Thirumalai Nayakar Palace of Madurai, which again has a unique architecture like that of the City Palace Jaipur.
Mubarak Mahal of the City Palace Jaipur
Mubarak Mahal, meaning the ‘welcome palace’, served as a reception centre and was built in the late 19th century. The ground floor of it has now been converted into a textile museum.
The Mubarak Mahal is a perfect confluence of Rajput, Islamic, and European architectures, and is the hallmark to showcase the City Palace Jaipur Architecture, which is definitely one-of-its-kind. This aspect makes the Pink Palace quite different from the other prominent forts and palaces, like those in Jodhpur.
Just to the right of the Mubarak Mahal, is the beautifully ornate marble gateway- Rajendra Pol, that leads to the hall of public audience and inner sections of the palace complex.
The Rajendra Pol gateway is flanked on either side by huge white elephants that have been sculptured out of single marble stone.
Do not miss the intricately chiselled Mahout sitting in front of the wonderfully sculpted howdah, and the natural-looking flairs and folds of the Caparison. These works of art are indeed commendable and bring into limelight the experience and quality of the artisans involved.
Sarvotra Bhadra or Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of the Commons/Public audience) is an open pink-pavilion with stout columns surrounded by wide pathways. One enters this courtyard through the Rajendra Pol.
You can catch a glimpse of the two massive-silver urns here, that have their names etched in the Guinness Book of world records.
The pavilion is flanked on four sides by beautiful lamp-posts chiselled out of red-sandstone.
At the fag-end of the Diwan-i-Aam courtyard is a gate that leads to the seven-storeyed Chandra Mahal, the primary residence of the Maharajas of Jaipur within the City Palace.
Pritam Chowk – The most visited place in Jaipur City Palace
The Riddhi-Siddhi pol marks the gateway and passage to the inner courtyards of Pritam Chowk which indeed is the cherry on the cake of the City Palace Jaipur Architecture.
The gateway is flanked by beautifully carved doors on either side. The mirror near the entrance interestingly depicts Buddha figurines. This is the only Buddhist influence that I could observe inside the City Palace. Maybe, this was gifted to the Maharaja!
Significance of the Insta-worthy doors of the City Palace Jaipur
The colourful and intriguing aspect of the Pritam Chowk is the four differently themed and well-designed gates/doors and doorways through which the Maharaja of Jaipur used to enter Chandra Mahal.
Each door is dedicated to a particular Hindu God. A guide informed us that the Maharaja used to enter ChandraMahal through each of these doors as per the prevailing season at that time!
I’ve tried to explain the significance of each of these gates and the explanation behind the motifs and designs that ornate them.
The northeastern peacock doorway in the Pritam chowk represents autumn. It is decorated elaborately with colourful and intricate frescoes with peacock images and has a small marble idol of Lord Vishnu on its lintel.
The Lotus doorway in the southwest is adorned with colourful lotus petals and flower patterns. It represents the summer and has a marble idol of Goddess Devi on its lintel.
The third doorway is on the northwest side of the courtyard. It is also called the Lehariya (waves) gate/ door as it has waves patterned around it. It’s green in colour indicating spring and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha who sits as a marble idol on the lintel.
The fourth door is dedicated to Lord Shiva and represents the Winter Season. It has dramatic roses painted on the frescoes.
I could not capture the beautiful door as it was too crowded with visitors trying to snap selfies beside it. There were also many tourists who were trying to touch the frescoes not realizing that constant touch can actually chip-away the paints! Please, be a responsible tourist…
Here are glimpses of the inner courtyard and the view from there of the seven-storeyed Chandra Mahal- the floors of which are accessible through the Royal Grandeur Tour ticket that costs Rs2,500/- per ticket.
This hall is also known as Diwan-i-Aam. It has witnessed the welcoming of Viceroy Mountbatten and the likes. The period room encompassing the Art-Gallery- showcases original furniture, artworks, lights, and a special display of ceremonial garments and medals. Photography is not allowed inside the hall. I was able to capture the two different beautiful golden doors that lead to the hall, though, from outside.
The Sabha Niwas opens to the Baggi Khana just outside- housing the handicraft shops and the transport gallery that showcases some of the transport collections of the bygone era. It has been built in the true Mughlai style.
Looking for a stay option? Then do read this wonderful review of a Pearl Palace Heritage Hotel in Jaipur
A collection of Jaipur Palace Photos
An intricately carved wooden cabinet in one of the corridors
Do look up towards the ceiling of the Maharani Palace that houses the museum with collections of weapons, guns, gunpowder, etc., The ceiling of this chamber has unique frescoes, which are said to be preserved using jewel dust of semiprecious stones. Photography is not allowed inside this museum and the below snap was taken by my husband many years back when it was allowed.
Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the City Palace Jaipur Architecture in the series on Royal Rajasthan. Do let me know your thoughts on this post in the comments section!
Remember the 3 Ps of Responsible Tourism
Pin this article for a later read!
The 3 Ps of Responsible Tourism Protect-Preserve-Practice has been conceived by me. Please refrain from copying or reproducing it.
Image Source: All the photographs in this blog-post has been clicked by me on my iPad Mini 2
Photo edits:: Canva