Day trip to City Palace - Jaipur, India
City Palace, located in the heart of Jaipur’s Old Town, is more than just a palace, it is a palace complex. With multiple courtyards framing several ornate buildings, an aerial perspective gives the impression of the most ornate patchwork blanket you’ve ever seen. Almost a microcosm of Rajasthan, the complex embodies all you could need to know about the lavish history, royalty and culture of this Indian state. The outer walls were built by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1732, and the other components were added later. This forms an intriguing mixture of Indian, Mughal and European architectural details. Combined with a rainbow of colours and clashing patterns, this regal complex is a feast for the eyes and a must see for anyone travelling in the Rajasthan area.
You won’t be able to miss the Chandra Mahal, a vast seven storied palace on the outskirts of the complex. Its name translates as ‘Moon Palace,’ and its large open windows and doors provide a spectacular view of the city, the lake and the beautiful extensive gardens. Step into the Indian masterpiece and gaze in awe as the ornate walls and ceilings blend into one, as if walking beneath the largest 3D canvas. No need to imagine the royal lives which would have wondered these halls as the Royal Family still reside here - you can even visit certain quarters of the inner Royal Residence by partaking in the Royal Grandeur Tour. Part of the palace is now a museum, displaying some of the Royal family’s precious artefacts such as manuscripts, weapons and dresses.
Continue your palace explorations by heading to the Mubarak Mahal. Built by Maharaja Madho Singh II in the late 19th century, its particularly delicate-looking exterior mimics the quintessential charm of medieval India. Its name translates as ‘Welcome Palace’ as it was originally used for welcoming important guests. Now, however, it has been transformed into a museum. This is a fashion lover’s dream as the museum centres on clothing and fabrics – from embroidered North Indian coats, to local hand printed cottons and royal costumes. Beyond this, ivory instruments, blue pottery and Mughal glass are just some of the ancient objects on display, giving you a glimpse into the region’s past.
Be sure to check out the Pritam Chowk. This is a majestic enclosed courtyard originally used to host royal dance performances. The walls are embedded with four huge 18th century brass doorways. Exquisitely ornate like giant-sized mosaics, these four colourful gateways are teaming with symbolism. Each door represents a season, making the courtyard a recollection of the endless cycle of life. On closer inspection, you’ll find Hindu idols sitting among the patterns. Strict rules were put into place years ago, stating the exact size, shape and material with which one must represent these idols.
At the centre of the Sarvatobhadra courtyard is the Diwan-i-Khas, which translates as ‘Hall of Private Audience.’ This is a pink and white hall, streaming with ornate florals, where the royalty used to meet with their ministers. Look out for 2 huge silver vessels. These are the Guinness World Record holders of the largest sterling silver vessels in the world. At 5.2 ft and capable of storing 4000 litres of water, these gigantic jugs were demanded by the king in order to carry the holy water of Ganga to England, as he believed that drinking foreign water was a sin.
The City Palace is a perfect day trip if you’re travelling in and around Jaipur. In the North East of the city, amongst a sea of other attractions, the palace is well connected by road. Located 104km North of Tonk and just 33.2km South of Chomu, City Palace is an ideal day trip from both of these destinations.
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