The city palace complex still has some areas reserved as royal residence, but several buildings are opened to public as a museum. Different buildings and yards, arches and rooms, provide a very interesting visit.
Be prepared to pay the same than 5 Indian citizens to enter, doubling the price if carrying a camera, however, for occidental uses, it is not expensive - about 2€ to enter
There are two silver urns placed prominently in the City Palace in jaipur. Visitors often express themselves puzzled by their presence...
Yes, we did to! But let me continue to reproduce what I read in Pinkcity:
... particularly since the attendants are quick to point out that these are the largest silver objects in the world, as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. But more interesting is the reason these urns — there were three altogether, but one has since been lost — came to be made. According to Hindu belief, crossing the seas to journey to distant lands inhabited by heathen races was an act so unholy, it brought upon the perpetrator untold calamities. Not content with that, it was deemed that the contaminated person would also lose his caste in the Indian social context.
Till such time as travel remained in the realm of the impossible, this suited everybody just fine, but with increased interaction with the British in India, and the regular plying of the P&O liners to Mumbai, the temptation to travel to England and other pockets of Europe became too strong to resist. Sometimes, of course, travel was necessitated by the demands of the office: a war had to be fought in distant Haifa, or a treaty signed in Versailles.
When the Maharaja of Jaipur expressed his desire to travel to London, the consternation in his court was managed somewhat with the thought that he would bathe with water carried from the river Ganga, and dine on food cooked by his accompanying chefs who would use the same 'Indian' water for their culinary preparations.
The large silver urns served their maharaja well, but left no one in doubt about the seriousness with which the people of Rajasthan took their rituals. A martial race, they went to the battlefields with their gold amulets and damascened swords to kill and be killed: but equally obligatory was their visit to their temples where they damascened swords to kill and be killed: but equally obligatory was their visit to their temples where they paid obeisance before their gods and goddesses. If they were killed, their wives committed jauhar, the mass leap into funeral pyres which, we are informed by the state's bards who still sing of such trials, was conducted with dignity, and in the nature of a celebration. Difficult to believe? Perhaps, but the voluntary imprints left behind by their tiny hands at the entrance walls of forts before they came to their fiery end, tell a somewhat different tale. The honour of a fort, we are again informed by the same minstrels, lay not in remaining unconquered, but in the number of such handprints collected at its entrance gate.
Northeast of the centre of Jaipur lies the City Palace. The complex includes the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal palaces and other buildings. Construction of the palace took place between 1729 and 1732. Sawai Jai Singh II built the initial palaces and outer walls and the complex was enlarged by later rulers up to the 20th century. The result is an impressive complex of gardens, courtyards anda buildings.
The Chandra Mahal is now an excellent museum but the most part is still a royal residence.
The City Palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. It is surrounded by spacious courtyards, gardens, and temples.
There are several buildings in the complex including a very interesting arms & weapons museum located in the Maharani's Palace (which was once the queen's apartments). The Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II Museum has a fabulous collection of royal costumes, block printed materials, pashminas, embroderies, and fine silks.
The Diwan-i-Khas is the Hall of Private Audience done in marble. In the gallery are two huge silver vessels filled with holy Ganges water. The vessels hold 9000L, stand 160cm tall and are the largest sterling silver objects in the world.
The art gallery is housed in the former Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience). A few highlights there included a beautiful painted ceiling with semi-precious stone colours, a huge crystal chandelier, and a copy of the entire Bhagavad Gita handwritten in tiny script (as well as miniature copies of other holy Hindu scriptures).
With all of the exquisite things to see in the City Palace it is hard to pick a favorite, although I loved the archways and doors, and the Peacock Gate.
The City Palace is another must see in Jaipur. Allow at least a couple of hours depending on how much time you spend in the museums.
Open daily 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission Fee: Rs 300 for foreigners (includes camera fee and entry to Jaigarh Fort). Rs 75 for Indians, plus Rs 75 for a still camera.
Diwan-I-Khas or 'Hall of Private Audience' is an open marble paved pavilion with a double row of columns with scalloped arches. It was originally the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) until the present building of that name was constructed in the late 18th century. It is now often called by its Sanskrit name Sarbato Bhadra
The two giant urns on display here are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest silver objects in the world. These vessels were created from melted silver coins for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, a highly pious Hindu, to carry the water of the Ganges to drink on his trip to England in 1901 (for Edward VII's coronation) as he was concerned about committing religious sin by consuming the English water.
Next to the museum stands the Rajendra Pol, a gateway flanked by two elephants, each of them carved from a single block of white marble. It leads into the inner courtyard the Sarbato Bhadra Chowk and its central building the Diwan-i-Khas.
This small inner courtyard giving access to the Chandra Mahal is famous for four small doorways decorated with motifs depicting the four seasons and Hindu gods, known as Ridhi Sidhi Pol. The gates are the Northeast Peacock Gate (with motifs of peacocks on the doorway) representing autumn and dedicated to Lord Vishnu; the Southwest Lotus Gate (with flower and petal patterns) suggestive of summer and dedicated to Lord Shiva-Parvati (being restored at the time of my visit, hence the scaffolding in the 2nd photo); the Northwest Green Gate, also called the Leheriya (meaning: "waves") gate, suggestive of spring and dedicated to Lord Ganesha, and lastly, the Rose Gate with a repeated flower pattern representing season of winter and dedicated to the Goddess Devi.
The Chandra Mahal, (“Moon Palace”) is a 7 storey building. Unfortunately, this building is closed to the public as it is the home to the present Maharaja of Jaipur, however it is possible to visit the ground floor where some exhibits are on display.
Built in the nineteenth century, Mubarak Mahal (“Auspicious Palace”) was used by Maharaja Madho Singh II as a reception centre for visiting personages. This sandstone building is now part the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and houses an rich collection of costumes and textiles. Included on display here are a wide array of royal formal costumes, some very exquisite and precious Benaras silk sarees, Kashmiri pashminas, embroidered shawls, and Sanganeri block prints. Also on display is the voluminous clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I (ruled 1750-68).
The City Palace of Jaipur, in common with many palaces and forts in Rajasthan and India as a whole, is actually a palace complex, containing an array of many individual buildings, courtyards and gardens. On a vast scale, it occupies about one seventh of the old city area. It was begun between 1729 and 1732, by the ruler of Amber, Sawai Jai Singh II after he moved his capital from there to Jaipur. He planned and built the outer walls, with later additions being made by successive rulers.
The entry fee is 180rupees which also includes entrance to Jaigarh Fort.
Pitam Niwas Chowk is the inner courtyard, accessing the main palace, Chandra Mahal. It has four gates representing the four seasons and Hindu gods.
In the Northeast is Peacock Gate representing autumn and dedicated to Vishnu, in the Southwest is Lotus Gate (summer and Shiva-Parvati), in the Northwest Green Gate, (spring and Ganesha), and the Rose Gate representing winter and dedicated to Devi.
The complex of city palace is composed by a few specific and distinct areas. 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.
This is the main Royal Palace where the Royal family of Jaipur still stays and runs the palace. If you are interested to see inside of this area, they will allow you to see some parts where they stay for an individual fee of Rs.2000/- or US$ 20. you are not allowed to take pictures also.
Chandra Mahal or Chandra Niwas is the most commanding building in the City Palace complex, on its west end. It is a seven-storeyed building and each floor has been given a specific name such as the Sukh-Niwas, Ranga-Mandir, Pitam-Niwas, Chabi-Niwas, Shri-Niwas and Mukut-Mandir or Mukut Mahal. It contains many unique paintings, mirror work on walls and floral decorations. At present, most of this palace is the residence of the descendents of the former rulers of Jaipur. Only the ground floor is allowed for visitors where a museum is located that displays carpets, manuscripts and other items that belonged to the royal family. There is beautiful peacock gate at the entry to the Mahal. It has screened balconies and a pavilion at the roof from where a panoramic view of the city can been seen. It is set amidst well laid out gardens and a decorative lake in the foreground.
Also seen at the top of the Chandra Mahal is the flag of the royal family, which is seen unfurled when the Maharaja is in the palace. It is a one and quarter sized flag. However, when the king is away, the queen's flag is hoisted on the building.
Unfortunately, no photography is allowed here, they are very strict about that. This place is well guarded by the Royal guards,who keep an eye on your camera and your movement. I don't understand the logic behind it but the place is very beautiful , where the King used to meet with other Royalties and British govt officials. The place has 300 years old carpet which is still very beautiful!
The 'Diwan-E-Aam' (Sabha Niwas) or the 'Hall of Public Audience' is an enchanting chamber, with the ceiling painted in rich red and gold colours, which still looks vibrant. It is a major attraction in the Mubarak Mahal courtyard. This chamber, functioning now as an art gallery, has exhibits of exquisite miniature paintings (of Rajastahni, Mughal and Persian art), ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmir shawls and carpets. The ceiling is richly decorated. At present, it is an art gallery showcasing enthralling painted ceilings and rare ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures (the Hindu holy scripture of the Bhagavad Gita handwritten in tiny script). Also seen in the art gallery is the Golden throne (called as Takth-e-Rawal) that was the seat of the Maharaja during public audience. It was mounted on an elephant or carried by palanquin bearers during the Maharajas visit outside the palace. At the entry gateway to the hall, two large elephants, each made out of single marble rock are on display.
Diwan-I-Khas was a private audience hall of the Maharajas, a marble floored chamber. It is located between the armoury and the art gallery. There are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) height and each with capacity of 4000 litres and weighing 340 kilograms (750 lb), on display here. They were made from 14000 melted silver coins without soldering. They are officially recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest sterling silver vessels. These vessels were specially made by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who was a highly pious Hindu, to carry the water of the Ganges to drink on his trip to England in 1901 (for Edward VII's coronation) as he was finicky about committing religious sin by consuming the English water. Hence, the vessels are named as Gangajelies (Ganges-water urns). There are a number of crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling (normally covered with plastic sheets to prevent dust collection), which are uncovered on special occasions