Folklore of heroism and romance resound from the formidable monuments that majestically stand to tell the tale of a bygone era. The magic of vibrant Rajasthan - its rich heritage, colourful culture, exciting desert safaris, shining sand-dunes, amazing variety lush forests and varied wildlife - makes it a destination nonpareil. Rajasthan is often portrayed as one vast open-air museum, with its relics so well preserved that it delights even the most skeptical traveler. It is an incredible destination for the outdoor-tourist – take a safari on horses, camels, elephants or even in jeeps, with the Aravalis - India's oldest mountain range as the backdrop. Feast your eyes on spectacular sand-dunes, take the tiger trail, or just watch the birds in the wetlands. You can also choose to pamper yourself in the lavish heritage properties. Rajasthan has something for everyone – one just has to choose an activity appropriate to one's temperament.
An iconic monument of Jaipur; It was built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh as a continuation of the Royal City Palace. Designed to resemble the the crown of Krishna , its 953 jarokhas (windows) decorated with the latticed balconies allowed the royal ladies to view the festivities and get a view of the street life undetected. The monument made of red and and pink sandstone is at its glamorous best when bathed in the morning golden sunlight.
In a city which mainly offers forts and palaces to the tourist folks , this is a welcome change. Built around 300 years ago , the accuracy of these instruments is a result of the massiveness . It also reminds us how smart our ancestors were. These instruments were designed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh , the founder of “the pink city” and built by experts to observe the movements of sun, moon, planets and the stars. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh was great scholar and an avid astrologer. Jantar Mantar was born out of his keen interest in learning about the outer world. Jantar Mantar is considered to be the largest of the five observatories and also houses the world's largest sundial. This place will leave you fascinated.
City Palace , Jaipur
In 1727, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, shifted the capital from Amber to Jaipur and from 1729-32, the city palace was built. The descendants of the royal family of Jaipur still use a part of this palace as their residence. We can know if the maharaja is at the palace by the flag unfurled above the Chandra Mahal. The palace has 3 magnificent entrances, a rich grand entrance of the Palace is called the Stable Gate , Udai Pol or Atish Pol, another entrance, Virendra Pol, is close to the Mubarak Mahal and the third Tripolia Gate, for the royal family. These gates will give you a sense of the grandeur associated with welcomes. The reception area where the guest were received through the heavily decorated Virendra Pol is the Mubarak Mahal or the Auspicious Palace. The architecture of Mubarak Mahal ,a combination of Islamic , European and Rajput styles is beautiful fusion of styles. It currently houses the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum which has on display the royal costumes,precious Banaras silk sarees, Kashmiri pashminas, embroidered shawls, and Sanganeri block prints. Opposite to the Mubarak Mahal the marble elephant gate ‘Rajendra Pol’ leads you to the next courtyard , the Sarbato Bhadra Chowk and its central building the Diwan-i-Khas which was the private audience hall .A must see here is the famous 900 gallon silver pots or Gangajali, 1.6m tall which are said to be the biggest silver objects in the world. The urns were used by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh who brought holy Ganga water in them on his trip to England. A smaller courtyard , entered through the 4 storey gateway Ridhi Sidhi Pol is, called Pritam Niwas Chowk. It is famous for its four gates representing spring :the green gate , summer: the lotus gate, autumn : peacock gate and winter: rose gate. Each of the one of these gates are spectacular and a must see. The Chandra Mahal, a seven story palace built between 1727 and 1734.Only the lower floor ,which is currently an excellent museum of the royal armory, is open to public. Sabha Niwas or Diwan-i-Am or The Hall of Public Audiences is an art gallery, displaying rare handwritten manuscripts, paintings, Kashmiri shawls and carpets. The beautifully painted ceilings of the building with semi precious stones and massive chandelier made of crystals are master class. The Maharani's palace impresses for its delicacy, with wonderful stone carvings and frescoes painted with dust of precious stones. Today it is a museum of the weapons of the Maharajah's family. Another towering structure is the iconic clock which can be seen from many places in the city. To get an idea of the mode of transportation of the royalties used for various occasions, then a visit to the Bhaggi Khana is a must. It showcases the old carriages, palanquins and European cabs adopted as baggis to Indian situations. Govind Dev Ji temple is a huge attraction in the palace. Govind Dev ji is Lord krishna himself. This is a very sacred temple. The legend has it that the idol is believed to be sculpted by the great grandson of lord krishna himself and is strikingly beautiful for its complete resemblance with Lord Krishna during his incarnation on earth.
The Amber fort built with red sandstone and white marble in 1592 by Raja Man Singh , is a beautiful blend of the hindu muslim (the Rajput Mughal) architecture. The Amber fort looks rugged and defensive on the outside, but the magnificent beauty inside will take you breath away. The amber fort is a combination of fort , palaces , temple , courtyard and gardens. Entering through the Suraj Pole( Sun gate) , the courtyard named as the Jaleb Chowk (Soldiers assemble area), the the Kali temple, Diwan-i-Am , Ganesh Pol (Ganesh Gate), the Sukh Mahal (Hall of pleasure) , the Sheeshmahal ,the beautiful garden between Sukh mahala and sheesh mahal, the Magic flower , the Palace of Man Singh (The main palace, oldest part of the fort), the pillared pavilion for ladies , Suhag Mandir above ganesh pol (latticed windows functions held in the Diwan-i-Am), the private area for the royal ladies and the concubines. A walk through the fort with an audio guide will simply transports you into the royal era.The light and sound show in the evening is beautiful with the lighting effect on the fort and the reflection on the Maota lake. This is made more interesting with the legendary stories dating more than 600 years ago about the Rajput kings and their contributions to us.
The Palace built in Rajput architectural style is about 300 years old. It is 5 storeyed , 4 below water and only the top floor is above water during highest water levels. Initially build for his post pooja bath by Maharaja Jaisingh II , later came to be used a pleasure get and for their duck hunting parties. At night the Palace looks like it is floating in the center of Mansagar lake , like a jewel , beautiful and shining. reflecting off the the Mansagar lake. The romantic atmosphere of the palace lies in spectacular architecture and the beautiful view of the Man Sagar Lake and the Nahargarh hills that surround it. As if that scenic beauty wasn't enough the rooftop garden of the Jal mahal is breathtaking. But unfortunately public access to the Palace isn't allowed.
Want to view Japiur city from up above, visit Nahargarh fort in the evening. This fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills providing a brilliant view of the town below. Naharagarh was built to boost the security of amber in 1734 by Sawai Jai Singh II and later extended in 1868. Later in 1880 ,The Madhavendra Bhawan palace was built for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh with 12 identical 2 storey suites for the queens and the head suite for the king himself. These rooms were linked by a corridor so that the king could visit any of the queens room without the knowledge of the other. The architecture is a unique combination of rajput and mughal styles.The interiors art work is very interesting with stucco patterns , floral patterns , wall painting and colored glass work, frescoes on the walls of the rooms, beautiful wall painting on the ceiling of a room. Being in the rooms , the cool breeze and the views of the city from the wooden louvered windows is simply mesmerising. As this fort is slightly far from the other tourist attractions, it does not get crowded by people. Even though a bit of an effort to reach there , it is a must visit , leaving each one with a sense of having lived the royal life.
Jaigarh Fort also known as the Fort of Victory. It is above the Amber Fort ,and provides a great view of Amber. Both are connected by guarded passages. Jaigarh Fort on the the thorn-scrub hill, give a very stern and fierce look. The fort was built to tighten the security of amber and jaipur and was the center of artillery production for the Rajputs. Hence the fort isn’t as artistic as the other forts. However the fort has many attractions. One is the cannon called the Jaivan, this is believed to be the largest in the world. The furnace used to produce these canon is also very interesting. Another attraction is the the weapon store, it has numerous swords, shields, guns, muskets and even a 50 kg cannon ball. The Rainwater harvesting system comprising of the water channels , underground tanks holding 6,000,000 gallons of water built at those times should really leave us awestruck. The fort mainly used as a military structure also has within it, the Lakshmi Vilas Palace , with the diwan-i-am, diwan-i-khas , the charming mughal gardens for the royal ladies. The has beautiful blue frescoes and wall paintings in blue shades .It also houses a small theatre hall which served as the entertainment centre for dance, music recitals and puppet shows for the royalties. The fort also has 2 temples Kaal Bhairav temple and Ram Harihar which is worth a visit. The Shri Ram Hari Har Temple houses images of three gods – Rama, Vishnu and Shiva.This temple was set-up in about 1225 A.D The Diya Burj is a seven-storeyed tower where a huge oil lamp was lit on the king's birthday. It overlooks the Amber fort and the flag that it flies is the old Jaipur state flag.
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