A single day in the city of palaces – Jaipur
The pink city of India and the capital of Rajasthan – Jaipur! Famous for infinite constructions, palaces, Indian architecture known as Shilpa shastra and forts, it’s still one among those ancient wonders built by man. A single day in the flowering pink city can give you a lot of lovely moments to treasure whole throughout your life. So, come and join me for an amazing journey for a single day trip to the ancient city of palaces and lovely sculptures.
When we enter the city
Almost all male residents wear a lovely turban while ladies cover their heads with shining shawls. Their shawls jingle along with their lovely bangles and anklets. When you see people wearing such ancient dresses in this city you may wonder and ask yourself, “Is this state still ruled by kings?” The city streets still possess the royal and elegant touch of those golden days which people are not willing to paint with ultra modern colours of today.
From railway station to Amber Fort
Amber Fort – the place 16 kms away from Jaipur city is believed to be the first empire of Kachwaha of Rajputh Dynasty. It was built by Raja Mansingh and his descendants renewed it for the next 150 years, staying there. Thus beautiful palace and fort became a beautiful blend of Hindu-Mugal architecture in those reigning years. When you view the fort from hilltop it resembles a python a lot. When you come near, it appears as if a computer digitalized snake without head and tail changes to a gigantic fort. Fort unfolds in the lap of Aravilli mountain ranges assuring enough safety to the palace.
Those gone days of golden reign
Those stone paths glitter in the morning sun shine and everywhere, you can see foreigners and students. Elephants walk through the paths one by one carrying foreigners on their back. The palace made with sandstone and marble is really impressive.
Raja Mansingh made this palace in four stages using four-level layout plan. In the first stage, you can see Diwan-e-Aam. This vast courtyard is also known as “Hall of Private Audience” from where people used to tell complaints and ask justice from their king. Second part is a private courtyard known as ‘Diwan-e-Khas’ and inside it is the third part – Sheesh Mahal (The Mirror palace). Just inside the first door, you can see a temple built for Siladevi.
Goddess is in ‘Mahishasura Mardhanam’ form where she kills Mahishasura and the shrine is built in dark coloured rock. It’s believed that this idol was gifted by King of Jasora when defeated by King of Kachwaha. It’s believed that Kamsa killed the elder brothers of Krishna by trashing them on this stone. Raja was pleased by the gift and gave back Jasora to the king. But he returned back with that stone, carved Goddess in that stone and fixed it near his palace.
While passing through the cold marble stone paths the royal garden will be visible. It fills your eyes with green. Once there were streams in this royal garden where princesses used to bath and play.
Now let us reach the mirror palace. It’s said that if a lamp is lighted in this magic palace, it reflects as 1000 giving fireworks to eyes. How romantic would have been those days a few centuries back!
The scenes outside the palace
When we travel in the midst of foreigners we can see a lot of natives selling instruments and traditional crafts. Many people are there who make money by posing to the cameras of foreigners in traditional costumes. Sights are far more beyond descriptions. Here and there you can find elephant travelers as well as resting elephants. Their trunks will be beautifully decorated giving blessings to the travelers. Many people are excited to get those blessings and take their photographs.
According to rules, only 2 persons can travel at a time on elephant top. Also elephants can be used only before 10am and after 4pm.
City Palace is our next destination
It was Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Amber who shifted the city capital from Amber to Jaipur. Since then City Palace has been their ruling capital. City Palace is a group of palaces and if you enter, it may take hours to exit. You need to walk for kilometers to enjoy the full mansions. Special pappads are available in front of the palace, some traditional items too. You can taste them before entering the palaces.
Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Maharani Mahal, the list is long. If you have enough time and patience you can enjoy them all. Only the ground floor of City Palace is opened for tourists. In the upper storey still lives the descendents of Raja.
The flag flying on the tower of Chandra Mahal has some peculiarities. It’s the flag of Kachwaha Dynasty. Though it can be said to be a double flag, one is big and the other, small.
Story behind the flag
It happened years ago. Mughal King Aurengazeb came as guest to attend Raja Jaisingh’s wedding. While Raja welcomed him in a pleasing manner, Aurengazeb hold the hand of king. According to them, if an emperor holds the hands of a king, it’s the duty of the emperor to protect the king and the kingdom. Aurengazeb praised him saying, Raja is Sawai (meaning one and a half). From that day onwards, Sawai became the official name of the empire.
Museums and silver pots
Mubarak Mahal that was once used as guest house by Raja Madho Singh is now changed to museum. Royal costumes woven in silk, Pashmeena Shawl 200 year old, block-printed shirts and similar accessories are kept in this Mahal. The palace of queen is now used as armory museum where weapons used at that time are kept. Sword with precious gems gifted by British Queen is also found in this collection.
World’s biggest silver pots are found in City Palace. Each one weighs 340 kg. When Raja Madho Singh visited England these pots were made to keep Holy Ganga water. He was a blind follower of his religion and was not willing to drink water from another country. 1400 silver coins were melted that time to make those silver pots.
When tears fell on the ground
From the above descriptions it’s enough to prove that rajas enjoyed a royal life that time, also that they used to spend a lot of money in developing their palaces and its belongings. But later, this palace witnessed a lot of tears too! When the king Ishwari Singh committed suicide when he lost confidence to fight against Maratas, his 21 wives committed sati in the same palace ground. Similar to humans, palaces and monuments also share both happy stories and tragic ends and they pass those sighs to the next generation and seasons to come.
Hawa Mahal - The Mahal with windows
Next destination is Hawa Mahal. Hawa Mahal with 953 windows stays in the heart of the city. It’s pyramid in shape with deep red colour. When sun showers its blessings in the form of sun rays, this monument gets votes of thanks in the form of golden cheers.
This palace was built for the royal women to view processions and celebrations without disturbances. A lot of windows were built so that they can view all celebrations and festivals witnessed by public road without any problems. Also, windows allow the free passage of air. In simple words, Hawa Mahal is jail for beauties of the palace! The brain with this master idea should be praised hundred times!
What else? In quick glance
In the evening it’s comfortable to travel through the streets to buy ‘Jaipur specials’. From Johari Bazaar you can bargain to buy Jaipur stones and Bandhini costumes. In the busy streets on either side, you can find boys with Jaipur stones of different colours. To choose best ones, you need deep knowledge.
Never leave Alberto Museum if you have time. Choki Dhani is a little distant away from the main city. A park with music, guski, palmists, mehndi, safari on camels and sculptures of traditional Rajasthan’s art forms – Choki Dhani has a lot to give you. Food court and shopping pavilion are present nearby. It’s a best place for foreigners to spend an evening.
How can I leave Rajasthan meals? Their meal consists of more than 25 delicious items. Milk, curd, butter milk and sweet are more than what needed. Palak Chola, Aloo Kaaj, Dafi aur daal, Choorma aur baatti, Kichdi – taste them all if you can. When you sit on a mat under a lamp to have a meal your mind will surely be filled with a deep silence and calmness. If it’s just a dream, let me sleep for a while – your mind will surely say so!
Pink city is the capital of Rajasthan. Best season is October to January. You should never leave pink palaces, Hawa Mahal, a shopping in the streets to buy traditional items, City Palace and of course, an elephant ride. If you have time you can enjoy it fully as it’s told ‘most beautiful things are not seen with eyes, but felt with mind’. Feel the beauty of Pink city from inside. It’s sure you will return with many colourful dreams in your hand.
Like it on Facebook, +1 on Google, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.