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Category Archives: Forts and Palaces

Gagaron Fort of Rajasthan also listed by UNESCO

In India, there are many forts and temples present all over the country. They have many historical roots which connect Indians to their ancestors and with the history of their birth place. In many states there are many large forts which were constructed by the kings earlier to get protected from enemies and fight from them.

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Gagron Fort, Jhalawar in Rajasthan

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Gagron Fort (Image by William Warren on Flickr)

Forts are the specialty of Rajasthan and it is very famous for this worldwide. A majority of forts of India is situated in Rajasthan. Among many forts, the fort of Gagaron is very famous. The beautiful fort of Gagaron is a very good epitome of a fort surrounded by water and thus is popularly known as “Water Fort” and “Jal Durg” in Hindi. This fort is among the famous 9 forts which have been mentioned in the mythological books of India.  This fort was started to build in the 7th century and was completed in the 14th century. A Dargah of sufi saint ‘Mittheshah’ is situated outside the fort where Moharram is celebrated and a fair is organized every year.   Gagaron fort has the name of one another famous saint associated with it. He is Saint Pipa Ji who was “Guru Ramanand’s” follower. He was among the main disciples as well as the contemporary of Kabir Saint too.

Dargah of Sufi Saint Mitteshah, Jhalawar

Dargah of Sufi Saint Mitteshah, Jhalawar in Rajasthan (Image by Pavan Gupta on Flickr)

This fort of Garagon has recently been recognized internationally as the World Heritage Site with other five forts of Rajasthan by UNESCO. These forts are unique in the fact that they are surrounded by defending natural landscapes like forests, water bodies, etc.

Location and surroundings of the fort

Gagaron fort is one of the famous forts of Rajasthan in the city of Jhalawar and is 12 kms away from the Jhalawar. The 2 water bodies namely the river Kali Sindh and the river Ahu surrounds Gagaron from its three sides.  The fourth side of this fort was a deep ditch for protection against the enemies but is not present today.  Apart from its rivers this fort has also a dense forest situated behind it. It has the known hill range of “Mukundarrah” due to which this fort is also known as forest fort or ‘vana durg’.  The presence of forests and water bodies made the fort very protected.

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Bridge of Gagron Fort

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Image by William Warren on Flickr

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Image by William Warren on Flickr

Historical Significance

Gagaron fort was built under the rule of the king “Achaldas Khinchi” who got this fort built to protect its army and citizens from the Malwa ruler “Hoshang Shah”. He was the Mandu ruler and proved to be stronger over Raja Khinchi. The king sensing the defeat, with his army and all other Rajputs rushed to fight against the ruler Hoshang but ultimately faced death fighting and protecting their region. The queens and the ladies opted for Johar which was a historical practice done by ladies to surrender themselves to fire. This fort is known for this story of sacrifice, heroism and bravery of the Khinchi rulers and queens.

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Gagron Fort Entrance

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Ruins of Gagron Fort

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Image by Pavan Gupta on Flickr

In medieval India, before the formation of cities like Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar, Gagaron city was very known and superior in Malwa.

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Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan

Ranthambore fort is a part of world heritage site which is situated near Sawai Madhopur town in Rajasthan. Swai Madhopur is a small town which lies in the north Indian state of rajasthan. Ranthambore fort is surrounded by Vindhays and aravallies hill ranges. The name ‘Ranthambore’ is derived from two hills-rann and thambhore . It lies on Thambhore hill which is 481 metres above the sea level. Rann is the adjoining hill to Thambhore hill. From the top of the hill some breathtaking views around the fort can be captured.

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Ranthambore Fort (Image by TuAnh Nguyen on Flickr)

HISTORY

This fort was built during the 8th century by the Chauhan ruler. This fort gain popularity when the ruler of chauhan dynasty, Raja Hammir Dev was crowned in 1283 A.D. This fort is also the symbol of glory and bravery of Raja Hammir Dev. When rulers attacked this fort at different point of time during 12th to 15th century in 16th century ,the fort was captured by Mughals. In 19th century the fort was possessed by Maharaja of Jaipur.

ARCHITECTURE

The fort has many splended architectural and historical sites. The fort spreads over an area of 7kms. It is surrounded by huge walls made up of stone which are about 7kms in length. These walls are strengthened by towers .Inside the fort, there are many palaces, temples, Step well and houses . Some of them have been destructed like Hammir’s Fort, Badal Mahal and Phansi Ghar . This fort consisted four gateways, out of these four gateways only one gate is still standing named as MISRADHARA.

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Interior of Ranthambore fort (Image by thesetter on Flickr)

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Ranthambore Fort Badal Mahal (Image by J on Flickr)

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Cenotaph of Hammir dev Chauhan (Image by Marissa Bronfman on Flickr)

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Ranthambore Fort Mosque (Image by Jay Seedy on Flickr)

TEMPLES

There are three Hindu temples inside the fort constructed in 12th and 13th century. The three temples are dedicated to Lord Ganesha , Shiva and Ramlalaji . Main attraction of the fort is ‘The Ganesh Temple’ which is near to the main entry gate. In this temple thousands of pilgrims visit throughout the year from variour parts of the country. There is also a Jain Temple dedicated to Lord SumatiNath and Lord Sambhavanath .

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Lord Ganesha Temple(Image by Marissa Bronfman on Flickr)

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Shiva Temple Ranthambore Fort

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Jain Temple of Ranthambore fort

RANTHAMBORE WILD LIFE CENTURY

In the western part of the fort visitors and tourists usually stay. In eastern part a wild life century is situated which is known for its tiger. This park is the main attraction for the tourists. This is one of the largest Wild life centuries in India. This park is situated within an area of 393 sq.kms. and is popular for its Tiger population. The park was established by the Indian government in 1980 as wild life century to protect the tigers from being extinct. Other wild animals are found here are Leopard, Nilgai , Hyena , Langoors , Fishing cat . This park is also rich in flora, As many species of trees and plants are found here. A large number of banyan trees are grown here .

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Tiger In Ranthambore National Park (Image by Modest Janicki on Flickr)

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Leopard in Ranthambore (Image bySaran Vaid on Flickr)

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Deers in Ranthambore National Park (Image by Rebecca Yale on Flickr)

A visit to Ranthambore is extremely interesting as is provides the tourists with a glimpse and blend of nature, history and religion. Rajasthan is very popular for its fort and Ranthanbore is one of them and visit to this place is more interesting.

 

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Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a famous state for its forts and handicrafts. There are many other popular things that make Rajasthan very unique and because of its arts in every city it is famous worldwide. A state known as ‘Kumbhalgarh’ is very popular for its fort and is also the birthplace of the warrior ‘Maharana Pratap’ that lies in the Rajasthan in Rajasmand district.

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Kumbhalgadh fort( Image by Ricardo Fernandez on Flickr)

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Kumbhalgadh fort( Image by Ricardo Fernandez on Flickr)

Kumbhalgarh fort is built in 15th century by ‘Maharana Kumbha’.  It is named after its Maharana named ‘Maharna Kumbha’. It lies in Rajasmand district at 64 kms of distance in north–west region of Udaipur.  The specialty of this fort is that it is the second important fort after the ‘Chittorgarh’ fort and it was declared a World heritage site in India by UNESCO. This fort is much secured as it is surrounded by the Aravali ranges. Its protection is very high that it is unconquerable.

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Aerial view of Kumbhalgarh (Image by Ricardo Fernandaz on Flickr)

How to reach Kumbhalgarh fort?

To reach Kumbhalgarh fort is not very difficult because it is very much easy and comfortable to reach their by taxis or buses directly from the Udaipur city. Before reaching to Kumbhalgarh fort, a zig-zag kind of road is made that passes from the thick forests and ravines. The road is finding before few kilometers to fort. On this way one will find many types of ‘Pol’ that one can enjoy very much. The names of such Pol are ‘Nimboo Pol’, ‘Arait Pol’, ‘Bhairava Pol’, ‘Hanuman Pol’ and many more.

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Entrance gate of Kumbhalgadh Fort

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Ram Pol

About Kumbhalgarh

Kumbhalgarh fort is also termed as ‘Badal Mahal’ or ‘Palace of Cloud’. On the top of the fort there is a palace which is also very famous. This palace is known for the birth of the great warrior ‘Maharana Pratap’. This palace is very beautiful and attractive with bright color combinations of turquoise, white and green in the rooms. The color combinations in the rooms give the effects of the cloud and give panoramic effect which looks very attractive.

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Badal Mahal (Image by Pavan Gupta on Flickr)

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Interior of Badal Mahal (Image by Blake Kirkland on Flickr)

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Image by Vicky on Flickr

There are huge watch towers and the fort is covered with seven ramparts and seven gates. The foundation of the fort is very strong and solid and that is the reason why fort is unbeatable till now. Walls of the fort are too broad and that is sufficient to stand the eight number of horses one side another. There are 360 temples located inside the fort and among all the temples, Shiva temple is very famous. Visitors enjoy a lot while visiting the fort because they are the symbol of ancient times.

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kheda deveri temple in kumbhalgarh fort (Image by Eric Parker on Flickr)

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Vedi Temple in Kumbhalgadh Fort

Fort is surrounded by mountain peaks that are thirteen in number.  Fort is found in the international records due to its number of beautiful palaces, gardens and temples.  The fort is surrounded by a wall that is 15 kms long and the wall is the second longest wall in whole world after Great Wall of China. The width of the wall is 15 to 25 Ft and it is the thick wall after ‘Great Wall of China’. The visit to this fort gives people a special attraction and feeling that they want to visit here again and again.

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Great wall of Kumbhalgadh fort (Image by bookchen on Flickr)

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Great Wall of Kumbhalgadh Fort

 

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Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

Rajasthan is very famous for its beauty, sculpture, arts and crafts. It is most popular state all over the world where every tourist wants to visit once in their lifetime. There is a city known as Jaisalmer which is popular for its fort. Among several largest forts, Jaisalmer Fort is one of them and it is located in the Jaisalmer city that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed in 1156 A.D by the ruler ‘Rao Jaisal’.

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View of Jaisalmer Fort (Image by Koshy Koshy on Flickr )

The fort stands in the mid of the great ‘Thar Desert’ which looks very beautiful. Many battles have been fought at the Jaisalmer fort. Its yellow color walls look as if a lion is standing during the day. When sun sets, it gives the fort golden color in the desert and that is why it is known as ‘Golden fort’. The local people of the city also called the fort ‘Sonar quila’ and it is located as the heart of the city.

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Main Gate of Jaisalmer Fort (Image by Grete Howard on Flickr)

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Canon of jaisalmer fort ( Image by Blake Kirkland on Flickr )

Features of the fort

The fort is very worth visiting and that is why it has many attractive features which are:
•    It is located in the mid of Jaisalmer and because of this reason it is referred as the heart of the city.
•    Its bazaars, architecture and miniatures are very attractive that pulls everyone towards it.
•    It is made up of sand stones that look very beautiful in the day as well as in night.
•    It is the second oldest fort of Rajasthan.
•  There are many numbers of historical monuments present in the fort which are main reason of the attraction of the fort.

Attractions of Jaisalmer fort

There are various types of attractions of the fort which is the cause of many tourists to come there. The names of such attractions are:-

•    Laxmi Nath temple

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Laxmi Nath temple

•    Jain temple

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Sculptures of Jain temple (Image by Biswarup Sarkar on Flickr)

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jain temple

Image by Andrea Longoni

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Image by dhReist on Flickr

•    4 massive gateways

•    Rajmahal

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Rajmahal palace (Image by Steve Browne $ John Verklir on Flickr)

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Rajmahal palace (Image by nationalx6453 on flickr)

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Silver throne (image by Simaon White on Flickr)

The above are some very beautiful places that attract everyone towards it. The person who visits the fort must surely visit these places. The beauty, art and craft of the places are very effective and attractive. The drainage system of fort is known as ‘Ghut Nali’ that allows the drainage of rain water very easily. The drainage system allows rainwater to flow in the four directions of the fort.
One can find many types of eating item over there which includes French, native cuisines and Italian. One great thing about the fort is that a famous film director ‘Satyajit Ray’ wrote the novel ‘Sonar Kella’. This novel is the detective novel which is based on this fort.

Danger to Fort

Where there is a beauty, there is a threat and just like that fort has also many threats. Inadequate civic amenities, water seepage and derelict houses are some major threats that are affecting the fort. Fort has been built over the very weal sedimentary rock which is also the danger to fort.
Forts have always been a good place to visit and enjoy. Plan a visit to Jaisalmer fort and enjoy the various good and artistic things there.

 

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Amber Fort, Jaipur

Amber fort depicts the glorious heritage of Jaipur, Rajasthan which listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of India. It is one of the main tourist attractions of the pink city, Jaipur. It is located in small town, Amer which is 11kms from Jaipur. It was built by Raja Maan Singh I (one of the nine gems of Akbar’s court) in 1592. It is made up of white and red sandstone marble. The fort is located high on Arawali hills range front facing Maota lake. It is renowned for its architecture, intricate carvings, mirror and stone work on the walls and ceilings. It depicts beauty and blend of both Hindu and Mughal elements.

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Amber fort (Image byYoung Shanahan on Flickr)

LAYOUT

The fort is divided into four main sections each with a courtyard:-

I COURTYARD

Main entry is through the Suraj Pole (Sun Gate) which is the first main courtyard. This gate was provided with guards as it was the main entry into the palace. It was named as sun gate as it faced the eastern direction towards the rising Sun. It leads to Jaleb Chowk which means a place for soldiers to assemble.

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Suraj pole, The sun Gate (Image by Penn State University on Flickr)

A stairway from the Jaleb Chowk leads into the main palace. At the entrance of the palace there is sila devi temple situated which is near to the Ganesh Gate.

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Ganesh Gate (image by Paul on Flickr)

II COURTYARD

The second courtyard consists of  Diwan-i-Aam . It is also known as the Public Audience Hall. It is a beautiful hall stands on two rows of ornamented pillars. Here, the king used to hear about the needs, problems, petitions of the audience.

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Diwan-I-Am (Image by Penn State University on Flickr))

III COURTYARD

The third courtyard is where the private quarters of the king and his family were built as Diwaan-e-khaas. This courtyard is entered through the Ganesh Pol or Ganesh Gate.

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Sheesh Mahal ( Image byJosiane Xavier Parreira on Flickr)

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Interior view of Sheesh Mahal (Image by Ziaur Rahman on Flickr)

The courtyard has two buildings opposite to each other. On the left is Sheesh mahal or mirror palace which is a beautiful part of Amber fort .It is famous for its mirror work. The walls and ceilings of this palace is carved with magnificent paintings of glass work.

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Sukh Niwas (Image by Mark-Averitt on Flickr)

The other building opposite to the Sheesh mahal is Sukh Niwas or Sukh Mahal (Hall of Pleasure). In this mahal, an artificial air conditioned environment was created.

The main attractions in this courtyard consist of:

Palace of Man Singh I 

This palace is situated in the south which is the oldest part of the palace and this palace took 25 years to build which was completed in 1599 during the reign of Raja Man Singh I (1589–1614). It is the main palace.

A pavilion called Baradari

A pavilion called Baradari

Tripolia gate

Tripolia gate denotes three gates. The gate opens in three sides, one from Jaleb Chowk, another to the Man Singh Palace and third one to the Zenana Deorhi on the south.

Lion gate

The Lion gate is the way to the private quarters in the palace premises and is named as ‘Lion Gate’ as it denotes strength.

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Singh Pol, the Lion Gate

Fourth courtyard

The fourth courtyard includes the Zenana region of the palace where queens with their mistress lived. This area consists of many living rooms where queen’s mothers and king’s consorts along with their female attendants used to live.

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Fourth Courtyard (Image by danat3709 on Flickr)

Presently, for a tourist to reach the entrance of the fort, he has to cross the hills either by hiring a jeep and taking an elephant rides also. Amber fort is an incredible and magnificent junction for tourists.

 

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View Through the Windows of the Hawa Mahal

View Through the Windows of the Hawa Mahal

The Palace of Winds is a commonly known name of the famous monument “Hawa Mahal” of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh built it in 1798 and the design of it was formed by Lal Chand Ustad. Lal Chand Ustad was the famous architecture of that time, he also designed the Jaipur city. The design of the Hawa Mahal was in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna. The architecture of the palace is really marvelous and reflects the Rajasthani culture.

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Hawa Mahal – Jaipur

This five storey building is very unique in its structure. It looks like a honeycomb of the beehive as it has 953 small windows popularly called as Jharokha. The motive of the number of Jharokas is to allow royal ladies to watch the everyday life in the street as the purdah system was on peak at those times. So, the Mahal was built for the royal ladies so that they can enjoy and interact with the natural surroundings while residing in the palace itself. Besides this the Jharokhas also provide a cool breeze and air conditioned the whole building in peak summers, so, the name is given to it “Hawa Mahal”.

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Rear view of Hawa Mahal

An interesting fact about the Hawa Mahal is that the thickness of the walls of the palace is even lesser than a foot but carved so beautifully. It is made of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main boulevard in the heart of Jaipur’s business center. It forms part of the City Palace and also extends to the Zenana or the women’s chambers. Its view is particularly striking when seen it early morning as it lit with the golden light of sunrise which makes it beautiful.

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Jharoka or Latticed Window

On entering the Palace, there is a door which leads to a spacious courtyard surrounded by two-storey buildings on the three sides. Of the five storeys of the Mahal, the top three storeys have broad enough like a single room while the bottom storeys have courtyards. The interior of the Hawa Mahal is flagrant and plain with passages and pillars that leads to the top storey. The palace does not have stairs to reach the top floors; they are connected just by slopes. From Hawa Mahal, one can have a panoramic view of the pink city. It also has an archaeological museum in which the paintings and sculptures of Maharaja’s and Rani’s are located elegantly.

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Courtyard inside Hawa Mahal

Some nearby tourist attractions while traveling to Hawa Mahal are the Jantar Mantar, Govind Dev Ji temple, Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Ram Niwas Bagh, Birla Planetarium, etc. So, the palace is a tourist site in Rajasthan while one is planning a trip his/her trip. It makes an exemplary portraying dignity in the honor of the city’s royal women, so has a great significance in the history pages of Rajasthan.

 
 

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Explore the Gleaming Beauty of City Palace of Jaipur

Explore the Gleaming Beauty of City Palace of Jaipur

City Palace of Jaipur has a great historical past and is located in the northeastern part in the originally designed city. It is a popular tourist spot as it is visited by a large number of tourists. The gleaming beauty of the palace attracts the travelers towards it. Once it was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur who was head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The palace was built in the 18th century means between 1729 and 1732, by the ruler of Amber – Sawai Jai Singh II. He made it with the help of popular architectures of that time period. Apart from the glorious architecture, the palace also offers a ravishing view of the Pink City.

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City Palace Entrance Gate

The complex of the palace comprises of the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani’s Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. There are many pols (gates) to enter the palace namely Virendra Pol, Udai Pol, Tripoli Gate and Atish Pol. Courtyards are arranged in a linear series in the palace.

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Inside City Palace

On the ground floor, there is a Pritam Niwas with a small audience hall in its center. The next two storeys are occupied by the marvelous Sukh Niwas. Above of this Niwas, there is the Rang Mahal also known as Sabha Niwas and then the Chhavi Niwas with blue painted interiors, Shri Niwas with the Sheesh Mahal and finally the crowning painting of Mukut Mandir. The arches, motifs, opening, balcony, all shows the Rajput tradition architecture. Compacted and Symmetrical masses were the feature of that period which is reflected in the architecture of the City Palace.

The main attractions inside the palace complex are as follows:-

Mubarak Mahal – This Mahal was built with an amalgam of Islamic, Rajput and European architectural styles by Maharaja Madho Singh II as a reception center of the palace. A beautiful display of the voluminous clothes worn by Sawai Madhosingh I with his 108 wives attracts many visitors towards it.

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Mubarak Mahal inside City Palace,Jaipur

Chandra Mahal – Chandra Mahal is the most compelling building in the City Palace complex. It is a seven storeyed building and each floor has been given a specific name like Sukh Niwas, Ranga Mandir, Chabi Niwas, Shri Niwas and Mukut Mandir. This Mahal contains a large number of unique paintings, floral decorations.

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Chandra Mahal

Diwan-I-Khas – Earlier, it was a private audience hall of the Maharajas. On display, there are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 meters height and each with a capacity of 4000 liters and 340 Kilogram weight. These vessels are recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Diwan-I-Khas

Diwan-I-Aam – Diwan-I-Am or the Hall of Public Audience is a chamber rich in red and gold colors and decorated with ceiling paintings. It looks dynamic in nature. Now the chamber is like an art gallery, exhibits many exquisite paintings, ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmiri shawls and carpets. Many handwritten original manuscripts belonging to Hindu scriptures can be seen in this gallery. Scripts related to Bhagvad Gita are placed there. Also, visit the Golden Throne locally called as Takht-e-Rawal in the art gallery. Golden throne was the seat of the Maharaja at the time of public audience.

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Diwan-I-Aam (Sabha Niwas) or the Hall of Public Audience

Maharani Palace – As the name suggests itself, it was the residential place of the royal queens of historic times. Now, it has been converted into a museum where weapons used by the royal kings during war campaigns are displayed.

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Maharani Palace Interior

Govind Dev Ji Temple – This temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Krishna and is part of the city palace complex. It is set in a garden environment outside the walls of the palace. It contains the paintings belonging to Indian art. The main thing that allures people in this temple is the ceiling which is ornamented with gold. This temple is located just before the Chandar Mahal Palace where the Maharaja resides and could able to get the direct view of the temple from his room.

Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jaipur

Govind Dev Ji Temple

So, the palace is worth visiting site and nobody should miss it while making his/her trip of Rajasthan as it is the luminous heritage site of Rajasthan.

 
 

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