The name, 'Rajasthan' literally translates to the land of Rajas or Rulers and almost every city of this state has beautiful and magnificent palaces and tourist spots. The rich culture and heritage which is still a part of its various prominent cities, Rajasthan continues to be on the tour list of almost everybody across India and the world.
Jaipur, can automatically be assumed as the first place to visit in Rajasthan and when in Jaipur, one has to visit the City Palace! This Palace complex is located in the heart of the city, near the Hawa Mahal and the Jantar Mantar. Opening up to the broad market lanes on all sides, the City Palace is pivotal to the city and its people, their culture and history. This castle is an exemplary and detailed specimen of the Rajputana grandeur, pride, magnificence, and eternal legacy!
Spread across a vast arena, the Jaipur City Palace can be best defined as a Palace complex with mutiple courtyards and segmented buildings. It was built by Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of the city of Jaipur between 1727 and 1732. The 288 year old structure is one of the most well preserved buildings of the Rajputana architecture and all Royal artifacts, from paintings to vessels and chandeliers of the yore era have been maintained!
The Royal Entry Gate
The Palace has multiple entry points which are all open and in use. Tourists are given access to all doors and exits, except the Tripolia gate which is reserved for the royal family that continues to stay there!
Museum Resident Palace
The City Palace is among the very few monumnets that are still used for the purpose for which they were built! Yes, you got that right! The descendents of Sawai Jai Singh II continue to live in the residential complex of the City Palace, that is, one half the Palace is a museum and the other half of is, well, still a Residential Palace!
The City Palace is large complex with multiple buildings and shows traces of typical Rajput and Mughal architecture. From delicate arches to intricate designs, the palace is exhibits a beautiful blend of Turkish, European and Indian structural designs. Besides Jai Singh II, who was the primary architect of the palace, Vidyadar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court, and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob were also involved in the development of the Jaipur City and its Palace!
Courtyard 1: Mubarak Mahal
The architectural designs have segmented the palace into three basic courtyard, the primary one being the one which houses the Mubarak Mahal. Built in 1900s by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, the marble engraved structure is a reception hall which amalgamates European, Mughal and Rajuptana architectural designs.
Courtyard 2: Rajendra Pol & Saratobhadra
The Second courtyard of the City Museum Palace can be accessed through the gateway called the Rajendra Pol or Sarhad-ki-Deorhi. The Saratobhadra, secondary courtyard houses the Diwan-e-Khas(The Hall of the Promininet) whose gallery shows traces of Mughal and Rajuptana styles of engineering.
Courtyard 3: Ridhi Sidhi Pol
The third courtyard of the Palace is probably the most popular chamber among visitors, tourists and historians alike. There are four small gates known as Ridhi Sidhi Pol that are embellished with themes symoblising four different seasons. At the axial centre of each door, there are small carved marble emblems dedicated to Hindu Gods. All four gates have beautiful, embossed brass doors.
The Peacock Gate, with peacock designs on the doorway, represents autumn and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This is the most famous and popular gate among the tourists, and maximum clicks of the City Palace are taken here, in front of the Peacock Gate. The Lotus Gate, with its never ending petal pattern, represents the summer season, and is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati.
Doors of season
The Green Leheriya Gate derives its name from its waves pattern and the green colour is suggestive of the spring season. This gate is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Rose Gate, with the continual rose flower patterns, represents the winter season, and is dedicated to Goddess Devi. The central emblems of both these doors are in the shape of sun, signifying the power of male and female in the universe.
The House of commons or the Diwan-e-aam is another prestigious closure that is a testimony of the Rajputana splendor. The Queens also attended the meetings held here and were hidden from the public eye by a single side screened jali. This former meeting hall now holds the Maharaja's private collection of rare paintings and manuscripts.
The Marble floored and chandelier lit foyer of the second courtyard is called the Diwan-e-Khas, a place where all important ceremonies among eminient officials and courtiers were conducted. The archways of red stone, supported by marble pillar and detailed with white paints is so breath taking, words hardly do any justice!
World Record Holder Artifacts
The City Palace has its name etched in the Guinness Book of World Record for this silver jar that has been recognised as the biggest sterling silver vessel in the world! Weighing about 345 kilograms, this 160 cm tall vessel was minted by melting 14000 Jhar Shahi (Jaipur coins, which are made of pure silver). These jars were used by the Maharaja to carry water from the holy Ganges on his trip to England in 1902. Due to this, the silver jars were named Gangajelies which means Ganges water urns.
These are just some of the facts about the Palace that has stood for almost 3 centuries now. From private rooms to galleries and museums, this palace is full of wonders which every individual must see. So, the next time you are in the city, or plan a trip to Jaipur, make sure you set aside a good two hours to check this splendid structure!