April 14, 2012

India : Jaipur - City Palace

Continuation from here...

Next to Jantar Mantar is the City Palace. The palace has been a museum since 1959 but what's interesting about this palace is that, it is still a royal residence.

The palace is a complex of palaces, pavilions, temples and gardens. The entrance is through a grand gateway, Virendra Pol.

Virendra Pol 

another entrance, Udai Pol

Past this gate, you will see the Mubarak Mahal (the Auspicious Palace), which mixes three architectural styles: Rajput, Islamic and European.

It was built as a reception hall in 1899 and currently, it is a museum displaying textiles and costumes used by the royalty in the past.

On the north side of the courtyard, the Armoury holds a vast array of weapons but photography was prohibited in there. 

There is also an ornate gateway flanked by a pair of stone elephants.

That gateway leads into the palace's second main courtyard, painted in pink.  

In its centre is the Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audience.

There are two big silver vessels, called Gangajelies, on display here.

It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest crafted silver objects in the world. Each Gangajelies has a weight of 340kg and stands at 1.6m with a capacity of 4000 litres. It was specially made to carry the water of the Ganges river for Maharaja Madho Singh II to drink on his trip to England in 1901 to attend the coronation of King Edward VII because he was so reluctant to trust the water in the West. :O 

On the opposite side of this Diwan-i-Khas courtyard, is the Sabha Niwas, which is the Hall of Public Audience or Diwan-i-Am. It is now an art gallery, displaying rare handwritten manuscripts, paintings, Kashmiri shawls and carpets.

Photography was also strictly prohibited inside here but me as usual, was a rebel. :p

This is Ridhi Sidhi Pol, which is a grand gateway that leads to Pritam Niwas Chowk, or Peacock Courtyard.

This courtyard is adorned with four beautiful gates which represent the four different seasons. The Peacock Gate is associated with autumn, the Green Gate is spring, the Lotus Gate is summer and lastly the Rose Gate, represents winter.

Peacock Gate (autumn)
 Green Gate (spring) 

Lotus Gate (summer) 

Rose Gate (winter)

Chandra Mahal is the next palace to see.  

It serves as the residence for the descendents of the former Jaipur rulers so only the ground floor is allowed for visitors.

City Palace is open daily.
Visiting hours are from 9.30 am to 5 pm.
Entrance fee is Rs300 for foreigners (includes camera fees) and Rs75 for Indians.
Location: Within the Pink City

Within those three attractions; the Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and City Palace, I kept on bumping into the same people. Oh yeah, I had a very good memory so I remembered who I saw before. Looks like everybody went to visit the same place. But there was this one place that attracted none. 

It is the Iswari Minar Swarg Suli, a tall minaret just west of the City Palace, which was built to celebrate victory over a combined Maratha-Rajput force in 1747. I didn't see any people up there so I thought it was closed to public but actually it wasn't. I read other people's travelogue and some of them did climbed the minaret. Oh well.. maybe next time. 

I spent some time walking around the bazaar in the Pink City and then headed back to the New Gate where I was dropped off. I looked on my map and saw that the Central Museum was just a short walk away on the south so I decided to go there. 

Central Museum is open daily, except Monday.
Visiting hours are from 9 am to 5.30 pm.
Entrance fee is Rs100 for foreigners and Rs15 for Indians.
Location: South of the Pink City

When I reached the museum, there was a major renovation going on plus it was already 5pm. I thought it was a waste as most part of the museum was closed and it would be rushing to finish looking around in half an hour so I decided not to go in. 

It was actually New Year's Eve but partying wasn't included in my itinerary so I went back to the hotel, had my dinner and had a good sleep. Yeah yeahh... I am such a boring person. 

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