RAJASTHAN TOURISM Tour
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Poet king Sawai Pratap Singh built this palace of winds. This is the most
easily recalled landmarks of Jaipur and is also its icon. Located in the
city Palace it is best viewed from the outside for the palace is really
This five-storey building overlooking the busy bazaar street is a stunning
example of Rajput architecture and artistry with its pink delicately honeycombed
953 sandstone windows known as 'jharokhas'.
It was originally built for the ladies of the royal household to watch
everyday life and processions in the city from their veiled comfort.
Most people come here to get a view of the facade but they can also climb
to the top for a wonderful view from the latticed windows. There is also
a small archaeological museum there. Entry to foreigners/citizen is Rs
The Hawa Mahal, or the "Palace of Wind" built by Maharaja Sawai
Pratap Singh in 1799 A.D. is characterised by elaborate and fanciful architecture.
The broad pyramidical facade comprises five storeys of semi octagonal
overhanging windows with perforated screens, domes and spires.
Across the road from the palaces is the famous JANTAR MANTAR one of the
five observatories in India . Built by Sawai Jai Singh, this is one of
the largest and the best preserved. A passionate hobby of the king in
the field of Astronomy, numerology, insighted him to execute this observatory
and with the help of skilled labourers, they managed to create a collection
of complex astronomical instruments chiselled out of stone and most of
which continues to provide accurate information to this day.
The most striking instrument is the Brihat Samrat yantra Sundial, an imposing
yellow edifice to the far right of the observatory complex which has a
27m high gnomon arm set at an angle of 27degree.
The shadow this casts moves up to 4m in an hour, and aids in the calculation
of local and meridian pass time and various attributes of the heavenly
bodies, including declination the angular distance of a heavenly body
from the celestial equator and altitude. This highlight of the observatory
has made it a centre of attraction for the tourist visiting Jaipur.
Jantar Mantar is the most famous and elaborate observatory of its time.
It was constructed in the year 1724 A.D. by Sawai Jai Singh II, even before
the city of Jaipur was built, and has been described as the most surrealistic
and logical landscape instone.
It was built to measure the local time, the sun's declination, altitude,
the declination of stars, planets and to determine eclipses.
City Palace, Jaipur
Located in the heart of the walled city, The City Palace Complex gives
you an idea about the farsightedness of the founder of Jaipur Sawai Jai
Singh. He left behind a legacy of some of the most imposing and magnificent
architecture, art and craft structure in the city. Sawai Jai Singh built
its many buildings but some of some of the structures were also built
by later rulers and some of them are even dated in the in the twentieth
century too. The palace is a blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture
and the royal family still lives in a part of the palace.
On entering the complex and before the palace proper lies the Mubarak
Mahal, the palace of welcome or reception. Sawai Madho Singh built the
palace in the nineteenth century. It was used as a reception centre for
the visiting personage. The building now forms the Maharaja Sawai Man
Singh II Museum and on display here are a wide array of royal costumes,
some very exquisite and precious Pashmina (Kashmiri) Shawls, Benaras silk
saris, Sanganeri prints and folk embroidery. An unusual display is that
of voluminous clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I (ruled 1750-68).
The Maharani's Palace, the palace of the Queen paradoxically puts a display
of the Rajput weaponry. The inestimable collections of weapons date back
to even 15th century and are in a remarkable state of preservation. Remarkable
amongst them is scissor-action dagger. This deadly weapon when thrust
in bodies the handles were release to spread the blades. The dagger was
then withdrawn tearing limb from limb of the body of the hapless victim
into certain fatality. Other exhibits include protective chain armours,
pistols, jewelled and ivory handled swords, a belt sword, small and assorted
cannons, guns, poison tipped blades and gun powder pouches. The frescos
on the ceiling are amazing and well preserved.
The art gallery is located in the Diwan-I-Aam, which literally mean the
Hall of public audience. The exhibits here included some very precious
and ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures. Particularly
intriguing in miniature copies of Bhagwat Gita made in this manner so
that it can be concealed out of sight of Emperor Aurangzeb's onslaught
on Hindu scriptures. Some very delicate miniature paintings in Rajasthani,
Mughal and Persian schools on various themes including the Ramayana are
very engrossing displays. Visitors must also take a good at preserved
painted ceilings. Also on display are elephant saddles called "haudha".
Between the armoury museum and the
art gallery is the Diwan-I-Khas meaning hall of private or selective audience.
This is a marble paved pavilion and puts on display the world largest
sterling silver object two gigantic silver vessels. These vessels were
made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who took in along with him filled
with water from River Ganga for drinking. As a devout Hindu the Maharaja
did not wish to risk polluted English waters. The ceiling also has large
chandeliers, which are mostly protected by dust covers and opened only
of festive occasions. The Guinness Book of Records accounts it has the
biggest silver objects in the world.
The Chandra Mahal Palace is still occupied by the royal family but visitors
can visit the ground floor where some exhibits are on display. However
the visit here is worthwhile for the exquisite Peacock in the courtyard
outside. The present day royal family that takes charge of the museum
has done exceptionally well in preserving this legacy in fine state maintenance
and presentation. A visits to the palace is enlightening one for its extraordinary
Amber Fort, Jaipur
Amber (pronounced Amer) is situated about 11 kilometres from Jaipur and
was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber, before the
capital was shifted in the plains to present day Jaipur. The Amber Fort
set in picturesque and rugged hills is a fascinating blend of Hindu and
Mughal architecture. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1952 and completed
by Sawai Jai Singh I the fort is made in red sand stone and white marble.
The rugged forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise with a beautiful
fusion of art and architecture. Amber is the classic and romantic fort-
palace with a magnificent aura. The interior wall of the palace depicts
expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings.
In the foreground is the Maota Lake providing a breathtaking look. Built
mainly for the warring enemies as a safe place, the heavily structured
walls could defend the residents within the ramparts of the fort.
All the means of survival & luxuries for the royal families and the
people who were concerned with the functioning of this small kingdom of
the Kachhawas were well provided. The Rajputs who had apparently won a
small structure passed on by Meena tribes, later on renovated it into
the grand Amber Fort. Holding a history so old as 7 centuries, this place
vibrates with its legendry past, in the archaeological history. Although
many of the early structures have been literally ruined but at the same
time, those dating from the 16th century on are remarkably preserved by
The fort has 4 sections; each with the premises and one has to climb up
through the imposing stairway or else the broad aisle, where one can ride
on the elephant back for royal feel. The main gate Surajpol that leads
to the Jaleb chowk, which is the main courtyard from where one can walk
up the stairway, that leads to the palace. Jaleb Chowk was also the area
where returning armies were welcome and they would display their war earnings
to the population at large.
Before you enter the palace just towards the right is a sleep aisle and
a narrow staircase reaching up to Kali Temple also called Shila Devi Temple
famous for its mysterious history and the huge silver lions. It is a gorgeous
temple featuring silver doors with raised relief. According to a legend,
Maharaja Man Singh I had worshiped the Goddess for a victory over the
rulers of Bengal.
The Goddess appeared in the Maharaja's dream and ordered him to recover
her statue lying under sea near Jessore (now in Bangladesh) and install
it in a befitting Temple. True enough, after subjugating the enemies the
Maharaja recovered the statute from the bed of the sea. The temple is
called after Shila Devi, "shila" meaning stone slab. Like all
temples this too has an image of Ganesha on the doorway, but carved from
a single piece of coral.
Getting back from the temple the main stairways lead to the second courtyard
of the fort. Here situated is the imposing Diwan-I-Aam, the hall of public
audiences where the Maharaja received the populace and their petitions.
This is a pavilion of double row of columns each capped by an elephant
shape. There is a lattice gallery also.
Behind the exquisite and fabulous Ganesh Pol, "pol" meaning
gate are located in the residential apartments of the Maharaja. The Jai
Mandir, the Hall of Victory is famous for its inlaid panel and dazzling
mirror ceiling. Much of it had deteriorated with neglect and is under
On the other side is Sukh Niwas, the residence of pleasure or pleasurable
residence. The palace has an ivory inlaid sandalwood door. A channeled
laid for flow of water is an inventive system of cooling. The water flowing
from the channel wasn't wasted as it was allowed to flow in the garden.
From there you can also take pleasure in viewing of the fort rampart and
its reflection in the Moata Lake.
The Zenana or the palace of the women are in the forth courtyard. The
rooms are though connected through a common corridor are cleverly designed
to give each room privacy so that the Maharaja can have nocturnal visits
to his various Maharanis without notice of the other.
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