When in India: Jaipur

Coming off a 4-hour drive from New Delhi, I was warmly welcomed in Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajhastan in northern India. It’s easy to fall in love with this old city, and in fact, it has to be my favorite among all those I visited in India. It used to be a walled city back then, and yet up to now it's still evident among its well-preserved walls painted in terracotta that truly makes the city very vibrant and rich in history.

Hawa Mahal
At first, I thought this was some entrance wall to a palace, but when I looked for the door, there was none. Instead, it's the back part of Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Breeze) that served as viewing balcony of the women from the royal family. Back in the day, they were not allowed to mingle with the common people, nor be seen in public. This facade served as their peepholes to view the streets especially during festivals and public events.
Looking at Hawa Mahal up close, it resembles to a honeycomb. It’s a 5-storey wall standing 50 feet with several small windows.

Entrance fee: INR 50 to enter the palace, but viewing the back area along Hawal Mahal Road is free
Open hours: 9:00AM to 4:30PM

How to get there: Hawa Mahal is in the city center. Taking an auto rickshaw (tuktuk) is very common. For short distance, it costs INR 20-50 per ride.

Amer Fort (Amber Fort)
Seeing Amer Fort’s yellow walls reminded me so much of Aladdin. Whether true or not that Aladdin was adapted in India, this fort truly gave me the majestic feel. Located on top of a hill, Amer Fort is actually a fort and a palace. It's divided into 4 sections, with each having a courtyard.

Though it may take 10-15-minute walk to ascend to the main entrance of Amer Fort, it promises a breathtaking view and there's a lot of interesting areas to check out. For a more unique experience of going up, an elephant ride is available that costs INR 500 per person.

Entrance fee: INR 500
Open hours: 8:00AM to 5:30PM

How to get there: Getting a taxi is the most convenient way to get to Amer Fort. As mentioned, since it's on top of a hill, it takes around 10 minutes to get there from the city center. Fare is around INR 200. Also, if you don't want to climb from the base nor ride an elephant, the taxi may drop you off at the Amer Fort gate.

City Palace
Located in the heart of Jaipur, the City Palace is a complex of public halls, courtyards, and temples. Museums were also added containing mostly lavishing clothing worn by the royal family and different types of firearms.
This is called the Mubarak Mahal (Welcome Palace or Auspicious Palace), which serves as the first courtyard of the City Palace. It used to be a receiving area for foreign dignitaries. It got converted into a museum with different textiles especially the clothes worn by Sawai Madhosingh II who interestingly was as heavy as 250 kg and 1.2 meters wide. He is the son of the king of Jaipur Jai Singh II.
This is the Diwan-I-Khas, or known as the Hall of Private Audience. Its color is different from other sections of the City Palace with a vivid terracotta shade.
Another notable area is called Pitam Niwas Chowk, an inner courtyard that's painted with detailed patterns and symbols. These four gates, for instance, represent the four seasons: Rose gate for winter, Green gate for spring, Lotus gate for summer, and Peacock gate for fall / autumn.

Entrance fee: INR 500
Open hours: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Closed on Sundays and public holidays

How to get there: The City Palace is in the city center. It's very accessible by either auto rickshaw, bus, or taxi. Some drivers tend to overprice, so make sure you know the acceptable rate from your point of origin to the City Palace.

Tip: Taking photos inside the museums is not allowed.

Jantar Mantar
This observatory is truly one of a kind. Jantar Mantar is a collection of 20 life-size astronomical instruments that only require the naked eye to tell the time, locate the stars, predict solar and lunar eclipse, etc. They're so amazing to think that it was created in early 18th century.
This stone sundial is the largest in the world. It was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
There are descriptions depicted on every instrument, but it's best to get a guide who can demonstrate its usage and explain it further.

Entrance fee: INR 200
Open hours: 9:00AM to 4:30PM

Tip: Jantar Mantar is near City Palace, so it can serve as side trip after going to the palace.


Powered by Blogger.