Leaving peaceful Pushkar behind, we took an express train to the capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur, where we would stay for two nights before moving on to Agra. Known as the Pink City due to its historical pink buildings, Jaipur is included in the travel itinerary of most foreign visitors as part of the Golden Triangle (the other two cities being Agra and Delhi). After checking in at our hotel, the first place we visited in the bustling city was the City Palace, the royal residence of the maharaja. The palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727 as he moved his capital to Jaipur from Amber. The complex contains beautiful buildings, courtyards, and museums. We spent half the afternoon in the complex until the palace closed for the day.
The Mubarak Mahal courtyard and the Mubarak Mahal were some of the first highlights of our tour. Completed in 1900, the Mubarak Mahal was built to receive foreign guests. It is now converted into a museum.
In complement with Mubarak Mahal, the Rajendra Pol Gate connected the Mubarak Mahal Courtyard with the Sarvato Bhadra Courtyard.
Getting closer to Rajendra Pol Gate, we were amazed by the fine details.
The Sarvato Bhadra Courtyard is dominated by the Sarvato Bhadra Pavilion in the middle, and the Clock Tower at the south side. The clock was a manifestation of European influence in the court during the Victorian era. It was made by Black and Murray & Co. of Calcutta.
The Sarvato Bhadra is open at four sides. It was used It was used as a reception hall for private guests and coronation rituals
With 1.6m tin height and a capacity of 4000 litres and weight of 340kg, the two sterling silver vessels, Gangajali (Ganges-water urns), were the world largest. They were made to take the water of Ganges for an England trip of Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II.
From Sarvato Bhadra Courtyard, we could enter Pritam Niwas Chowk, the final courtyard where visitors were granted access. The yellow Chandra Mahal, the residence of the maharaja, is the centre piece of Pritam Niwas Chowk.
The 7 floors of Chandra Mahal is off limit for visitors. In Pritam Niwas Chowk, we could only admire the exterior facade of the palace, as well as the beautiful four small gates (known as Ridhi Sidhi Pol).
One of the gates we liked was the Peacock Gate at the northeast. It represents the season of autumn and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Motifs of peacock can be find even on the upper floor and roof structure.
Though the most magnificent features of the gate are the five peacocks at the lower level.
The vivid colours and three dimensional gestures of the peacocks were truly amazing.
Another gate we liked was the Rose Gate in the southwest. It represents the winter season and is dedicated to Goddess Devi.
The Rose Gate is heavily decorated with motifs of rose flower.
The Green Gate at northwest represents the spring season and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Lotus Gate at southeast, on the other hand, represents the summer season and is dedicated to Lord Shiva-Parvati.
After checking out the four Ridhi Sidhi Pol, we returned to the beautiful Rajendra Pol Gate and Mubarak Mahal courtyard to visit the museum.
Looking beyond Rajendra Pol, the beautiful Mubarak Mahal stood silently as if bidding us farewell.
Although not completely open to the public, the City Palace offered us a glimpse of the former grandeur of the royal family of Rajasthan.
Posts on 2018 Rajasthan:-
Day 1: Jodhpur
DAY 1.1: IN TRANSIT TO RAJASTHAN
DAY 1.2: PAL HAVELI & THE OMELETTE MAN, Jodhpur
DAY 1.3: SPLENDOR OF THE SUN FORT, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.4: SUNSET OVER THE BLUE CITY, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.5: SADAR MARKET AND GHANTA GHAR CLOCKTOWER, Jodhpur
Day 2: Jodhpur, Osian, Jaisalmer
DAY 2.1: MARBLE CENOTAPH JASWANT THADA, Jodhpur
DAY 2.2: MEDIEVAL STEPWELLS, Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra, Gulab Sagar, & Toorji Ka Jhalra, Jodhpur
DAY 2.3: PILGRIM OASIS IN THAR DESERT, Sachiya Mata Temple, Osian
DAY 2.4: SUNRISE AT THE FIRST GATE OF GOLDEN FORT, Jaisalmer
Day 4: Jaisalmer
DAY 4.1: RESERVOIR OF THE GOLDEN CITY, Gadsisar Lake, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.2: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 1, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.3: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 2, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.4: DESERT HERITAGE, Hotel Nachana Haveli and Thar Heritage Museum, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.5: LAST STROLL IN THE GOLDEN CITY, Jaisalmer
Day 8: Bhangarh, Abhaneri & Agra
DAY 8.1: ON THR ROAD TO AGRA
DAY 8.2: HAUNTED RUINS, Bhangarh, Rajasthan
DAY 8.3: CHAND BAORI, Abhaneri, Rajasthan
DAY 8.4: THE ABANDONED CAPITAL OF MUGHAL EMPIRE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 8.5: FRIDAY MOSQUE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Day 9: Agra
DAY 9.1: CROWN OF THE PALACES, Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.2: AGRA FORT, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.3: RAWATPARA SPICE MARKET, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.4: SUNSET AT MEHTAB BAGH, Agra, Uttar Pradesh