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CITY PALACE

Location : Jaipur, Rajasthan
Architecture : Blend Of Rajasthani And Mughal Architecture.
Built by : Jai Singh.
Timings : Open 9.30am - 4.30pm

As may be expected, the City Palace complex lies at the heart of the Jaipur city. Getting in this palace is simpler noe then it once was. Though the erstwhile Maharaja and his family friends use the the triple-arched Tripola Gate to enter their section of the palace, most visitors are ushered through Atish Pol, which is located close to the royal stables. Cross from here to Chandni Chowk or Moonlit Square, and then on to Gainda Ki Deorhi or Rhinocerous Gate.

Jai Singh built the outer wall but other additions were made much later, some right up to the start of this century. The former Maharaja still lives in part of the palace. The City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area of the walled city. The City Palace is an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal art and architecture. The palace complex houses several palatial structures such as the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. The complex is divided into a series of courtyards, sprawling gardens and buildings.

Attraction Of The City Palace

Chandra Mahal
To the north-west is the stately and graceful seven-storeyed Chandra Mahal, the residence of ex-ruler. The seven-story Chandra Mahal is the centrepiece and commands fine views of the gardens and the Jaipur city. The complex contains an excellent museum, an armoury and several fine halls. The apartments are maintained in luxurious order and the museum of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II has an extensive collection of art, carpets, enamelware and old weapons.
The paintings include miniatures in Rajasthani, Mughal and Persian schools. The armoury dating back to the 15th century and many of the ingenious and tricky weapons, which the warrior Rajputs were famous for. A section of museum also contains dresses and costumes of the former Maharajas and Maharanis of Jaipur. Each storey has a distinctive name and is a place of sheer beauty and luxury. Paintings, floral decorations, mirror walls and ceilings in the traditional style adorn the palace. The uppermost storey is called the Mukut Mahal.


Sukh Nivas & Shobha Nivas
'Sukh Nivas' or "Hall of Rest" holds the drawing and dining room of the Maharaja, furnished with Mughal miniatures, European silver, glass dining tables and peep holes decorated with gold leafs, for ventilation.
On the fourth floor of the Chandra Mahal is the 'Shobha Nivas' or "Hall of Beauty" with mirror encrusted walls having 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. The Shobha Nivas and the Sukh Nivas is still occupied by the present Maharaja.


Mubarak Mahal
In the first courtyard is the 'Mubarak Mahal', built by Maharaja Madho Singh II in the late 19th century. The Mubarak Mahal, or the Auspicious Palace, contains the textile section of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum.


Diwan-I-Khas & 'Diwan-E-Aam
There is a magnificent gateway with a grand door in brass opening to a stately courtyard. There lies the Diwan-I-Khas or 'Hall of Private Audience'- an open hall with a double row of columns with scalloped arches. On display are the two largest silver vessels in the world figured in the Guinness Book of World Records. These were used for carrying water from the holy Ganges for personal use, by Madho Singh II on his journey to England. Across the paved square, with its intricate decorations in deep red and gold, Afghan and Persian carpets, miniature paintings, astronomical manuscripts in Persian and Sanskrit lies the 'Diwan-E-Aam' or the 'Hall of Public Audience'. At the other corner is the gateway Ridhi Sidhi Pol, with four small doorways decorated with motifs depicting the four seasons.


Chhavi Nivas & Mukut Mahal
The fifth floor is the 'Chhavi Nivas' or "Hall of Images", the maharajas retreat in the rainy season, with a polished floor of eggshell stucco and blue and white painted walls. The sixth floor with its mirrored ceiling and stucco floor has rows of double columns through which one can have a magnificent view of the rugged hills. The uppermost storey is called the 'Mukut Mahal' or the Crown Building.


Badal Mahal
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 mountains is placed in the middle of the paved path between the Chandra Mahal and the Badal Mahal. The palace has extensive and sprawling gardens.

Outside the buildings, you may see a large silver vessel which a former Maharaja used to take drinking water with him to England. Being a devout Hindu, he could not drink the English water!

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