The Jal Mahal, also known as the Water Palace, is in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, along the road somewherebetween Amber Fort and Jaipur. The first four floors of the palace is under water, only the top floor remains above.
A causeway leads to the Palace which was built in 1799 as a pleasure spot for royalty and was used for the royal duck shooting parties. It has also been home to one of the prime ministers of Jaipur estate.
We also visited the Temple of Kali, where no shoes, or anything made of leather, was allowed inside, and no photography inside or outside the temple.
Kali was the wife of Shiva, and the goddess of death and virginity. The temple was small, but very interesting, this was the first time I had been inside a Hindu temple.
There was a priset chanting and preaching, and placing a tika mark on the forehead of worshippers. Some tourists were going up for theri red mark, but I felt we were already trespassing and recieving a tika mark would be blasphemy.
Sukh Niwas - the Hall of Pleasure - has a channle running through it, which once carried cooling water where the ladies of the palace used to cool off their feet. There is also a beautiful door made of sandalwood, inlaid with ivory.
The Diwan-I-Khas, or Hall of Private Audiences, is better known as Sheesh Mahal - The Hall of Mirrors. The Hall was built by Mirza Raja in year 1600.
As soon as Mirza had completed the Diwan-i-Khas the emperor Jahangir got to hear about this magnificent building, which he, in his jealousy, feared was more impressive than the Pink City itself with exquisite detail on the carved pillars. The emperor ordered that the Diwan-I-Khas should be demolished, and sent commissioners to Amber to fulfill his demand. Mirza, in order to save the structure, had the columns plastered over with stucco, so that the messengers from Agra should only find a plain palace and believe that the magnificence, which had been so much talked of, was after all pure invention. By knocking off some of the plaster one can get a glimpse of the sculptures, which are said to be as perfect as on the day they were carved.
Ganesh Pol (Ganesh being the Hindu God with Elephant Head, and Pol meaning gate) this is an imposing gate with the image of Ganesh taking a place of pride on the top. This is the main gate which leads to a courtyard containing the Diwan-i-Am - the Hall of Public Audience.
We travelled up the hill to Amber Palace in style - sitting in a howdah atop an elephant. It was surprisingly comfortable, but the ride was wobbly, and the edge was uncomfortably near - the drop was 50 feet to the ground below!
Amber was the ancient capital of Jaipur state before the move was made to Jaipur. The fortress-palace was contructed from 1592 by Rajah Man Singh, the Rajput commander of Akbar's army. It was later extended and completed by the Jai Singhs, before the shift to Jaipur on the plains below.
The Johri Bazaar has the best sweet shop in Jaipur, looks to be true if you count the number of locals in the shop.
The cool cavernous shop is filled with a huge selection of sweets (and some savoury snack items) displayed behind glass counters.
The paneer ghewar (honeycomb soaked in treacle) is claimed to be the best in India, but I reckon the rasmalai was the best.
There is a restaurant leading off the sweet shop (see my restaurant tip section for the lowdown).
For an opportunity to see the king of the jungle in its own habitat, drive down to Ranthambhore national park. Just a few hours further from Jaipur.
The train station to look out for is `sawai Madhopur'
The semi-desert terrain meas that the big cats are easier to spot than at the other reserves where undergrowth is much thicker.
The Jantar Manter is an observatory built by Jai Singh in 1728. It includes an ENORMOUS sundial - with a 27 metre high gnomon - which is accurate to less than a minute. There are a lot of other odd structures which look like sculptures but which in fact are used to measure the position of the stars, calculate eclipses etc.
Its another good place to get away from it all since the site is far from crowded. Relatively rare in India - the explanations are quite well done and the leaflet given on entry contains lots of interesting information.
Don't forget to pay a visit to the other palaces. The Waterpalace -surrounded by water- is very nice, but also the monkey or sunpalace is very special. In this palace live hundreds of monkeys. You can read and see more about this in my TRAVELLOGUE!
Discover the magic of Barathpur Birdpark. Besides a lot of birds you will also find monkeys and a tiger here. You can cycle through the whole park, it will take you about four hours at least to do a complete cycletour around the park. More about Barathpur Birdpark you can find in my TRAVELLOGUE!
This Temple dedicated to Radha-Krishna was built between A.D. 1599-1608 by rani kankawati, the wife of Raja Man Singh-1 in the memory of her son Jagat Singh.
Nimrana is a nice place in between jaipur/delhi highway........its a nice fort which is privatised and turned into a hotel...however u can just visit or can stay overnight..........
Amber is a small town, 12 km from Jaipur.
And there is a beautiful fort.
This is really a "must go" place