Location: In the heart of the Old walled city
Time to Visit: Open on all days, except Holi
Admission & Photography charges: For foreigner entrance plus a still camera costs INR 180, while for a citizen it is INR 35 (entrance) plus INR 50 for a camera.
Timings: 9.30 a.m.- 4.30 p.m.
Video charges: Citizen: INR 100 / Foreigner INR 200
How to Reach: Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach the central museum or they can hire rickshaws, tempos and taxis
Nearest Railway Station: Jaipur Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Jaipur Airport
Time required for sightseeing: 1½ hour
(Data as of November 2005)
Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in the early 18th century, the monolithic City Palace is an architectural feather in the delightful cap of Jaipur. A haunt where the Royal family had stayed for centuries, the palace today is a much visited tourist spot in the region. Located in the heart of the old city of Jaipur, occupying about one-seventh of the old city area, the place offers a perfect amalgamation of Mughal and Rajasthani cultures. The marvel is divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings and numerous additions that were made by Jai Singh's successors adds further grace to the existing glory of the Palace, where the son of the last Maharaja and his family still lives.
Some of the beautiful buildings in the City Palace complex include Mubarak Mahal, Govind Devji Temple, Chandra Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Aam, Pritam Niwas and Sawai Man Singh II Museum. The different Mahals of this palace are decorated with pillars, arches, Mehrabs, and grills along with beautiful inlay works. There are two main entrances to the palace - One is from Jaleb Chowk and another from Tripolia Gate side. The Tripolia Gate facing the Chaura Rasta is reserved exclusively for the royal family and their guests.
The huge and fascinating double storied structure of Mubarak Mahal (Welcome Palace) built in the 19th century is seen as one enters through the ornate gateway called as Virendra Pol. The construction of this structure was completed in 1899 during the reign of Sawai Madho Singh II under the able guidance of Colonel Jacob, who was the Architect of this building. Thus the amorous blend of Mughal and European architecture adds a further lure to this charming structure. Beautifully decorated with fine marble on its exterior side, the design of the building follows the same pattern as that of the city and is divided into a 9 x 3 square grid. In the early days at the order of Mughal Emperor Akbar, famous manuscripts such as the Mahabharata, Shahi-Ramayana, Surpadawali etc. were displayed here. The structure now forms the part of the Sawai Mansingh II Museum and houses the textile section of the museum. It is home to a wide array of display, showcasing the mesmerising collection of royal costumes kamarbandhs, and superb shawls including sanganeri block prints, royal shawls, Kashmiri Pashmina (goat's wool) shawls, folk embroideries and Benaras saris. Do look at the costumes of Madho Singh I as he was a huge figure and weighed 250 kgs.
Though earlier used as a place where the classical singers and Kathak dancers refined their skills and as well as trained their pupils, Sileh Khana at Old Gunjankhana near the Mubarak Mahal is one of the major attractions of the City Palace complex as it now houses a large section of antique weapons of the 15th century used by the Jaipur rulers and their armies. Apart from the several Persian and Rajput swords, the major exhibit here is the original sword of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh, weighing more than 10 kgs. It also has a sword incrusted with precious stones like emeralds and rubies gifted by Queen Victoria to Sawai Ram Singh (1835-80). The armoury includes different types of guns from early handguns to double barrel guns and percussion cap guns, glittering daggers, variety of bows and arrows, axes and a range of shields that would surely amuse any seasoned tourist.
At the heart of the City Palace complex is the seven storeyed Chandra Mahal where the erstwhile royal family is still in residence, though only a small part of the apartments are occupied. However, it is only the buildings around Chandra Mahal and some parts of the palace that are open to the public, and these also form the part of the museum. Set in the beautiful quadrangular garden of Jai Niwas Bagh, the two most beautiful apartments in the palace are the Shobha Niwas, adorned with hundreds of colored mirrors and Chandra Mandir. Rare manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit languages are on display in the Chandra Mandir. It has antique carpets, miniature paintings depicting a range of themes from scenes of wars to marriages to scenes from life of Lord Krishna and Radha and 'heavy' royal outfits made of gold threads among the various displays. There is also a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, the patron deity of the royal family of Jaipur on the top of the palace known as Mukut Mandir.
However, the not-to-be-missed feature of the Chandra Mahal is the Pritam Niwas Chowk also known as 'the square of the beloved'. Located on the western side of Diwan-i-Khas, it has four intricately carved gateways decorated with peacocks representing the four seasons of the year.
Built in 1760, Hall of Public Audience now functions as an art gallery and has a rare collection of manuscripts in Persian and Sanskrit languages. Decorated with magnificent semi-precious stones studded in the ceilings, and embellished pillars painted with rajasthani motifs, the hall has a fine collection of Persian and Indian miniatures as well as large portraits of the rulers of Jaipur. The main attraction among the exhibits are the precious miniature copies of the Bhagwat Gita and other Hindu scriptures made of this size to protect them from the campaign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's onslaught on Hindu scriptures. There are also glass cases in the hall with the interesting translation in Arabic and Sanskrit of the astronomical writings of scientists like Euclid and Ptolemy by Jai Singh. It also has on display the elephant saddles called "haudha".
Located in the centre of the courtyard, the Diwan-i-Khas was built in 1730. It has a beautiful marble paved gallery and contains the world's largest silver objects in shape of urns. The gallery has two huge silver urns known as Gangajalis that were used by Maharaja Madho Singh II to carry water from the River Ganges to England in 1902, on his trip to attend the coronation of King Edward VII. He did this because he was a devout Hindu King and was not ready to take any risk concerning his religion outside his country. The Diwan-i-Khas is a good place to rest before exploring the other parts of the palace complex.
Just next to the Chandra Mahal is the temple of Govind Deviji, in the garden. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
A tour of the City Palace Jaipur is an enlightening and fascinating trip, and the sights you will see are truly unforgettable.
Johari Bazaar, Chandpol Bazaar, Tripolia Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar, Kishanpol Bazaar and Khazana Walon Ka Rasta
Hawa Mahal, Isar Lat, Central Museum, Jantar Mantar, Jal Mahal and Seven Gates of the Old walled city.
Chanakya restaurant, LMB hotel, Niro's, Natraj restaurant, Surya Mahal, Copper Chimney, Handi restaurant, Sagar Ratna and Jaipur Inn.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/08