The City Palace Jaipur in India has eluded me for more than a decade until our recent trip in April, this year.
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. I am fascinated by palaces and structures with traditional architecture as they give a glimpse into the thought process, craftsmanship and nuances of a bygone era that cannot be replicated without adulteration in today’s times.
Protect – Preserve – Practice
During a recent visit, I tried to capture the essence of the City Palace in all its glory- architecture, arcades, doorways, windows and vibrancy.
However, on the trip, 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.
Let us remember, we no longer have craftsmen and architects in large numbers who can build architectural wonders like the Temples of South India or the Taj Mahal or the City Palaces of yesteryears. The world is tilting more and more towards structures based on so-called ‘Modern architecture’ that lack 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!
The photo blog is my humble attempt to re-emphasize the beauty of Indian architectural wonders and provide a complete guide to City Palace Jaipur.
Content in this article
City Palace Jaipur Architecture – A brief history
The palace complex is located to the northeast of the centrally located walled city of Jaipur. The Royals, still, live on the premises in 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 is based on Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture and the Vaasthu Shastra. Apart from this, the structures inside the City Palace reflect a fusion of Rajput, European and Mughal architectures.
Virtual Guided Tour of City Palace Jaipur
Let me take you on a virtual tour of the City Palace Jaipur Architecture through this blog post.
The City Palace Jaipur 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 could be collected from these counters, adjacent to the Virendra Pol. We used the Virendra Pol for entry into the City Palace.
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. It is a confluence of Rajput, Islamic and European architectures that make the City Palace Jaipur Architecture one-of-its-kind. It is quite different from the forts and palaces in Jodhpur.
Just to the right of the Mubarak Mahal, is the beautifully ornated marble gateway- Rajendra Pol, that leads to the Hall of Public Audience and inner sections of the palace complex.
This gate is flanked on either side by huge white elephants that have been sculptured out of a single marble stone.
The intricately chiselled Mahout sitting in front of the wonderfully sculpted howdah and the natural looking flairs and folds of the Caparison is indeed commendable and brings 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 and 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.
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!
The colourful and intriguing aspect of this section is the four differently themed and well-designed gates through which the Maharaja of Jaipur used to enter Chandra Mahal. Each gate 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 season prevailing!
The northeastern peacock gate 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 Gate 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 gate is on the northwest side of the courtyard. It is also called the Lehariya (waves) gate as it has waves patterned around it. It is in green-colour indicating spring and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha who sits as marble idol on the lintel.
The fourth gate 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 true Mughlai style.
Looking for a stay option? Then do read this wonderful review of a Pearl Palace Heritage Hotel in Jaipur
Some more interesting captures
Perfect mix of Sandstone and Marble
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
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Image Source: All the photographs in this blog-post has been clicked by me on my iPad Mini 2
Photo edits:: Canva