Jaipur. The former Maharaja still resides in a part of it, but
the rest of the part serves as a museum.
Architecture of the City Palace
The City Palace complex is divided into a series of
courtyards, sprawling gardens and buildings. The main places
inside the complex are the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Badal
Mahal and Shri Govind Devji Temple.
On entering the palace complex and in the first courtyard lies
the Mubarak Mahal, the palace of welcome or reception. Earlier
it was used as a reception centre where the persons used to
to visit the Maharaja. The Mubarak Mahal was built by Maharaja
Madho Singh II in the late 19th century. The Mubarak Mahal now
contains the textile section of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh
II Museum. This museum has a wide array of royal costumes,
some very exquisite and precious Pashmina Shawls, Banarsi Silk
Saris, Sanganeri prints and folk embroidery. An unusual
display is that of the clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho
Singh I (1750-68).
There is a magnificent gateway with a grand door in brass
opening to a stately courtyard. In this courtyard lies the
Diwan-I-Khas or 'Hall of Private Audience'. It is an open hall
with a double row of columns with scalloped arches. On display
are the two largest silver vessels in the world which are also
placed in the Guiness Book of World Records. These vessels
were used to carry water from the holy Ganges by Madho Singh
II on his journey to England. 242.7 kilograms of silver was
required to cast each vessel, which could contain 8182 gallons
Across the paved square lies the Diwan-E-Aam or the Hall of
Public Audience. This palace has intricate decorations in deep
red and gold, Afghan and Persian carpets, textiles, miniature
paintings, precious manuscripts and palanquins. At the other
corner is the gateway Ridhi Sidhi Pol, with four small
doorways decorated with motifs depicting the four seasons. The
Maharani Palace, the palace of the Queen now has a vast
display of the Rajput weapons. The weapons are as old as 15th
century and are still in a remarkable state of preservation.
One of the main weapon is the scissor-action dagger. Other
weapons are the protective chain armours, pistols, jewelled
and ivory handled swords, a belt sword, small and assorted
cannons, guns, poison tipped blades and gun powder pouches.
To the north west lies the graceful seven storeyed Chandra
Mahal, or the Moon Palace, home of the present Maharaja of
Jaipur, Bhavani Singh. This palace provides a fine view of the
gardens and the city. Paintings, floral decorations, mirror
walls and ceilings in the traditional style adorn the palace.
Each storey has a distinctive name and is a place of sheer
beauty and luxury. Chandra Mahal, the main royal residence, is
topped by Mukut Mahal, an elegant pavilion with a curvilinear
roof. The ground and first floor of the Chandra Mahal form the
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum.
"Sukh Nivas" or the "Hall of Rest" holds the drawing and
dining room of the Maharaja, furnished with Mughal miniatures,
European silver and glass dining tables and peep holes
decorated with gold leafs, for ventilation. Sukh Niwas has
been painted in Wedgewood blue, ornamented with white lining.
On the fourth floor of the Chandra Mahal lies the "Shobha
Nivas" or "Hall of Beauty". This palace has mirror encrusted
walls with exquisite blue tiled dadoes and glittering gold
leaf and mica decoration. When the room was lit after dark the
Maharajas could enjoy a breathtaking spectacle of the room
bursting into a thousand flickering images. Through the glass
panes you may view the Sri Govind Devji Temple, the first
structure built by Sawai Jai Singh in Jaipur. The Shobha Nivas
and the Sukh Nivas are still occupied by the present Maharaja.
On the fifth floor lies the "Chhavi Nivas" or Hall of Images.
This palace was the Maharajas retreat in the rainy season and
still has a polished floor of eggshell stucco and blue and
white painted walls.
Opposite the Chandra Mahal lies the 'Badal Mahal'. The Govind
Devji Temple stands in the middle of the Chandra Mahal and the
Badal Mahal. A delightful system of fountains is placed in the
middle of the paved path between the Chandra Mahal and the
Badal Mahal. Another integral part of the palace complex is
the Hawa Mahal.
The City Palace is open between 0930 to 1630 hrs.