I have been to Jaipur (more famously known as the Pink City and located in the desert state of Rajasthan) twice. Once with my family and more recently on a office offsite. The first two days of the offsite, were spent in jotting down work-related notes and creativity workshops. On the third and last day, we were allowed to rush and quickly scurry the streets of Jaipur. Along with two other friend-colleagues, I set out to explore the city landscape in whatever two little hours we had, before we took to off for Mumbai.
The two major highlights of Jaipur- Hawa Mahal (Palace of Air) and Jal Mahal (Palace on water), were definitely on our bucket-list and we had to ensure we tick those items off our list. We hired a taxi from the hotel. Since tourism is one of the major money-minting industry in Jaipur, locals insist on taking you off for shopping tours at government recognized shops. If you are short of time, just as we were, then I recommend- just pass the shopping experience for some other time, some other trip, some other city. Jaipur as a city boasts of rich culture and heritage. Therefore, there’s much more to explore on the roads and gullies, rather than shops.
Maharani Gayatri Devi’s personal property, the entire fort atop the hill- now disputed after her death
Though Royalty has been abolished in independent India, the scions of formerly princely states of India, continue to prosper and uphold their royal lineage through political careers. Visiting states like Rajasthan reflect this trend and is home to magnificent luxury and elaborate, well-maintained forts and palaces, which housed royalties for time immemorial. While visiting Jaipur, this is quite evident and makes for some photo-card moments.
One of the significant tourist destinations of Jaipur is Albert Hall. Albert Hall is the oldest museum of Rajasthan and functions as the state museum, One look at it and you are introduced to the Indo- Saracenic architecture. The building was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob and was opened as public museum in 1887. The museum holds a rich collection of artifacts like paintings, carpets, metal statues, colourful crystal works, ivory stone works. Unfortunately, due to paucity of time, we had to satisfy ourselves only with the exteriors of the museum,
Pink- the colour, the vibrance and the soul of the city
Anyone visiting the city, can substantiate that the city is soaked in pink colours. Walls, fences, boundaries, buildings are all bathing in the pink colour. Jaipur owes its pink colour to the significant use of pink colored stone.
Neha- my friend at the Jal Mahal
Our next destination was Jal Mahal- or the Water Palace. Located in the Man Sagar lake, the palace is considered to be an architectural beauty by heritage lovers. Built in the Rajput and Mughal styles of construction, the palace in the middle of blue lake waters, makes for a picturesque view. The palace built in red sandstone is a five storied structure. Out of the 5 floors 4 are submerged in the water. Thanks to its unique topography, the palace has undergone many renovation works, as recent as 2011.
Ashwathi-my other friend feels playful with the kids at Man Sagar lake
Street bazaar (market) opposite Jal Mahal
Hawa Mahal- Palace of Winds
Post Jal Mahal, we left for Hawa Mahal. Hawa Mahal, notoriously, forms a landmark of the city. Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is a five-storey pyramidal shaped monument that rises to a height of 50 feet (15 m) from its high base. The chief architect for the Hawa Mahal was Ustad Lal Chand. The most striking view of the monument is from the market side, at the back of the monument. There are 953 small windows called jharokhas. Hawa Mahal has two courtyards, leading to a rather thin building of five stories.The ground floor is the Sharad Mandir, where the autumn festivities take place. According to popular belief, Hawa Mahal is shaped like the crown of Lord Krishna.
The final destination- Lunch stop @ Venus Cafe
The delicious and traditional Rajasthani thali
All in all, Jaipur is an iconic city of India and is a must visit for people who like to study heritage,culture, people. Truly, Jaipur is a melting pot of all the aforementioned!