Rajasthan, a state well-known for its historic prominence of the valiant Rajput warriors and renowned for its rich cultural extravaganza. Its capital city Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink city, is an iconic tourist destination adorned by forts, museums, gardens, lakes and many more captivating locations. In this article, I would like to sway your imaginations into the exotic and best places to visit in Jaipur. You will be mesmerized by the royalty of each of the places, proclaiming the ancient history of Rajasthan and its magnificent grandeur.
The Myth behind the name “Pink City”
The moment you land in the city of Jaipur, you will soon realize the reason behind the name “Pink City”. Majority of the buildings, forts, museums, halls etc. are painted in pink colour with an effect of terracotta. You will be astonished by the uniformity in the colour synchronization across the city.
Well, it is believed that Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II of Jaipur has painted the city as Pink to welcome Prince Albert in the year 1876 to strengthen ties with the British. The pink colour was considered as a symbol of hospitality. The city continued to maintain this colour scheme legally since the rule of the Maharaja.
Let us now proceed towards the most popular and best places to visit in Jaipur.
Created in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, Hawa Mahal is one of the stunning and best places to visit in Jaipur. The exclusive building is an extension of the Royal city palace in Jaipur. It was meant to guard the royal ladies behind the Purdah System, prevalent in ancient India to protect them from being seen by strangers. Being a devotee of Lord Krishna, Sawai Pratap Singh, instructed the palace to be built resembling the crown of the Lord.
Translated into the English language as “The Palace on the Winds”, it’s a five-storey building created with a wonderful rendezvous of Rajput and Mughal architectural combinations. The key attraction of the palace is the 953 windows adorned by exquisite wood carvings. Such was the marvel and the skill of the early artisans constructing the windows in a manner to provide natural air conditioning. The façade of the palace resembles that of a bee honeycomb, decorated with intricate designs. Both the exteriors and interiors of the palace are elaborately curated, demonstrating the royalty and charm of the Rajputs. You can visit the palace between 9 AM and 5:30 PM, paying the entry fees and separate charges for guides.
Jal Mahal or Water Palace is one of the beautiful and best places to visit in Jaipur. It was originally constructed in 1750 by Maharaja Madho Singh to host his duck-hunting parties and also for his residential lodge. But then his son Madho Singh II beautified it further transforming into a magnificent palace, embellished with huge courtyards and exclusive architectural decoration.
With four of its storeys submerged into the pristine Man Sagar lake, the palace is an epitome of beauty. Flaunting in glory at the backdrop of the Nahargarh Hills, the palace enlightens during sunrise and sunset. The sun rays light up the palace with a golden hue, presenting a magical aura around. The entry inside the palace and the boat ride are now restricted by the government. The tourists are allowed to walk around a pathway near the palace from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM to view its enigmatic beauty.
Included in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, Amber Fort or Amer Fort is one of the most popular and best places to visit in Jaipur. The fort was constructed in the year 1592 by the most trusted and faithful generals of the Mughal emperor Akbar, Maharaja Man Singh I.
Built with pink and yellow sandstone, the palace occupies a huge area almost a duration of 2 hours to cover the entire complex. The key attraction of the fort is its main entrance gate called the Sun Gate or Suraj Pol in the colloquial language. The gate has earned its name due to its position directing towards the rising sun in the east. Sheesh Mahal and Sukh Mahal are the two astonishing halls built within the fort, the walls and ceiling embellished with elaborate paintings and sculptures. Another attraction of the fort is the Magic Flower made out of marble and dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Ganesha. You must visit the fort in the evening to watch the astounding Light and Sound show, illustrating the history, rich culture, traditions and heritage of the city of Jaipur. The visit timings are 9:00 AM till 6:00 AM and for the light and show timings – the English one is at 7:30 PM and the Hindi one is at 8:00 PM.
Albert Hall Museum
You will find a resemblance of the Victoria and Albert hall museum of London in this oldest museum of Rajasthan. It was constructed in 1876 mainly to honour the visit of Prince Albert in India. There are 16 art galleries within the museum, hosting collections and artefacts from different regions of the world.
Coins, carpets, pottery, paintings and portraits, sculptures, brass and woodworks, royal ceremonial attires, clay models, jewellery, traditional Indian musical instruments, arms and weapons from different parts of the world are displayed for the visitors. The garden in front of the museum is ornate with beautiful shrubs and flowery plants, perfect to sit and spend a relaxed time. The timings are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week and 7:00 PM till 10:00 PM in the evenings.
The architecturally famed City Palace is one of the most prominent and best places to visit in Jaipur. Present at the centre of the city, the palace is the representative of the old Rajpur glory and royal glamour. The palace was constructed under the instructions of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II between 1729 and 1732, the mastermind being Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, the renowned architect from Bengal (Eastern part of India).
The architectural design follows the unique combination of Mughal and European styles, following the authentic rules of Vaastu Shastra. The four gates of the palace are its trademark – Jaleb Chowk, Tripolia Gate, Udai Pol and Virendra Pol. Curated gardens, impressive halls, elegant balconies, elaborate patios and heavenly temples adorned with intricate ornamentations and carvings are a treasure of the palace. The visiting hours are between 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM with entrance charges and additional charges for guides.
The fort is a massive structure, located at a sprawling height of 500 feet above sea level and spread across an area of 3 km length. The basic purpose of constructing this strong and sturdy fort was to protect the Amber fort from the enemies. It was constructed in the year 1726 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, serving as the storing warehouse for the arms and ammunitions of the Rajput soldiers.
The historic and symbolic attraction of the fort is the Jaivana Cannon, the largest cannon on wheels in the world. Nestled within the Aravalli mountain ranges, the Hill of Eagles, the fort offers breathtaking views of the panoramic landscape encircling it with the lush green environment. You can observe few temples (mandirs) and buildings within the fort – Vilas Mandir, Lalit Mandir, Laxmi Vilas, Aram Mandir. The garden is also big, divided into 4 parts and resembling Persian style of decorations. The windows of the fort are scientifically constructed, offering an outside view to the occupants but invisible to the outside world. You can visit the fort between 10 AM to 5 PM on all days of the week, except on public and government holidays.
Nahargarh Fort along with Amber and Amber and Jaigarh forts form an impenetrable structure, built to protect the city of Jaipur from the enemies. It was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734, historically significant in hosting several treaties between the Rajputs and the Marathas.
The fort essentially served the purpose of retreat for the ladies of the royal family. The key attractions are the Madhavendra Bhavan for the ladies and the Mardana Mahal for the men. The Bhavan was built by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh for his nine queens. You can also visit the Nahargarh Biological Park and the Sculpture park present inside the fort. The fort stays open from 10 AM till 5:30 PM for the visitors.
Hope you have enjoyed the long read. I will try to cover each of the forts and palaces of Jaipur separately in my subsequent articles. Also upcoming are articles on the other prominent cities of Rajasthan along with their key attractions. Till then stay safe and healthy.
Picture Courtesy : My Mother
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.