A First Timer’s Guide to Jaipur

Jaipur is known for its magnificent forts and palaces. With just three days in hand due to a tight work schedule, it was time for a quick history lesson.

Jaipur is called the Pink city as the buildings in the old part of the town are all painted in pink. The old world charm is still intact as the city looks as it is neatly planned with all the buildings alike.

City Palace
The first destination on our list was City Palace. A huge complex, the City Palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani’s Palace and the City Palace Museum among others. The City Palace museum which displays various artifacts that were used by the royalty is a treat for history buffs.

Entry to City Palace

Entry gate of the City Palace

The courtyards and gardens in the City Palace are well maintained and provide a peek into the glorious lifestyle of the royals.

A lot of locals try to sell themselves as guides but make sure to hire an authentic govt approved guide with an id card to show you around the Palace.

City Palace 1

The vast City Palace courtyard

The entry fee at City Palace is INR 130 for adults, INR 70 for children and INR 110 for senior citizens and defence personnel with a valid id proof.

Half a day is sufficient to explore the Palace at a decent pace.

Jantar Mantar
A collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, Jantar Mantar was built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II, and was completed in 1734. The world’s largest stone sundial is at Jantar Mantar and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Jantar Mantar

The instruments at Jantar Mantar

Spread across an area of 18700 sqmtr, the instruments were also used to observe the orbits around the sun.

Jantar Mantar 2

Few of the many instruments at Jantar Mantar

The entry fee at Jantar Mantar is INR 50 for Indian citizens and INR 200 for foreign nationals.

Hawa Mahal
Also called as the Palace Of Winds. The primary reason this spectacular Mahal to be built was for the women of the royal family to witness the street festivals while remaining unseen from the outside world. The red and pink sandstone structure located on the edge of the City Palace makes for a pretty picture.

IMG_20171011_092751_661

Hawa Mahal and its innumerable Jharokhas

Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 AD by Maharaja Pratap Singh and the chief architect was Lal Chand Ustad.

With two large courts, the Hawa Mahal is five storied. Each floor has a different name and purpose. The first floor, Sharad Mandir is where the autumn celebrations took place. The second floor is called the Ratan Mandir because of its beautiful glass work which can be seen on its walls. The third floor is called Vichitra Mandir where the Maharaja used to worship Lord Krishna. The fourth floor is called Prakash Mandir which has an open terrace on both sides. The fifth floor is called Hawa Mandir after which the structure came to be known as Hawa Mahal.

From Hawa Mahal

A glimpse of Jantar Mantar from Hawa Mahal

This five floor heritage structure showcases a perfect fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture.

The entry fee at Hawa Mahal is INR 50 for Indian citizens and INR 200 for foreign nationals.

Amer Fort
The most beautiful Fort I have visited till date, Amer Fort was the highlight of my trip. Located in Amer, Rajasthan, the Fort consists of Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, the Sheesh Mahal and the Sukh Niwas where a low temperature climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace.

Amer Fort 1

The beautiful Amer Fort

The Amer Fort also called the Amer Palace was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and families.

The Fort offers a spectacular view of the Maota Lake and the Jaigarh Fort. An underground tunnel and a 45 min trek leads to Jaigarh Fort from Amer Fort. The cannon ‘Jaivana’, which was manufactured in the Jaigarh Fort and was the world’s largest cannon on wheels during its time, is on display.

Amer Fort

A photographer’s paradise, Amer Fort can be crowded at times. Early morning is the best time to enjoy the Fort and the surroundings.

Entry fee for Amer Fort is INR 100 for Indians and INR 550 for foreigners

Jal Mahal
Adding to our list was a quick stop at the Jal Mahal. Located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, the Mahal or palace was renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber.

Jal Mahal

The Jal Mahal in the middle of the lake

There are restrictions and entry in the Palace and lake is not allowed. Pictures can be clicked from the main road. In the evenings, the place is beautifully lit up adding to its beauty.

There used to be boating in the lake but it has been stopped as of now.

Food
Rajasthan is known for its delectable cuisine, most popular of them being Dal Bhati Churma, Churma Ladoo, Mawa Kachori, Pyaaz Kachori, Ghevar and Balushahi to name a few.

Rajasthan is pre-dominantly a vegetarian state and there is no dearth of restaurants and road side food joints.

Jaipur being an international tourist destination, global cuisine is easily available for the non-adventure types.

Around Jaipur
Jaipur’s famous e-rickshaws are a good option to travel in the city. Local government buses ply regularly between the tourist destinations.

Taxi services like Uber and Ola are also available if you do not prefer local transport.

*****

Sanjay Jadhav

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