19 Dec 2018: “Good Morning Sweetheart, it’s 0830h”. My hubby wakes me up and requests to get ready to leave by 0930h. We got a lot to explore in India’s first geometrically planned city, “The Pink City, Jaipur”. Sundar was reaching 1000h, our friend cum local guide. Before you start your day, please park your car aside and board public transport to explore the city. In the age of Ola and Uber, we have stopped using public transport. Maybe it’s crowded, inconvenient, or whatever. But if you want to explore ‘The Pink City, Jaipur’ use public transport only.
We boarded an E-Rickshaw from Army Holiday Home and moved towards “Hawa Mahal”, the “Palace of Winds” as they say. Pink City still carries its traditional old culture and yet has adopted the modern trend. On the way to Hawa Mahal, you will cross the “Raj Mandir Cinema” towards your right. If you want to experience the rich royal experience of watching a movie this is the place for you. Opened in 1976 it still carries the rich heritage of Rajasthan and the best part, at the cost of PVR and INOX. On MI road, you will find branded outlets and handicraft outlets like Rajasthali emporium and Ashoka Arts.
Once you cross MI road. You enter the place which gives the name Pink City to Jaipur via the magnificent gate called ‘Ajmeri Gate’. During olden times the city was surrounded by walls with six gates. The entire old market is inside these gates. It was for the shopping for Queens. In the next article, I will share about various marketplaces you should visit for various kinds of stuff. As you move ahead of ‘Ajmeri Gate’ you will enter the Tripolia Bazar. You can see the iconic ‘Tripolia Gate’ on your left. Why I am mentioning these gates? Because each gate has its beauty and historical importance. Amazingly the entire city has been listed in the UNESCO world heritage list 2019.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
It’s located in “Badi Chaupar”. On reaching ‘Hawa Mahal’ i faced the reality. The image of the Hawa Mahal we see on book covers, magazines, or any form of printed media is the backyard of ‘mahal’. The actual ‘mahal’ is behind those windows or maybe not. Ok FYI Hawa Mahal is not a palace as its name suggests. This 5 story building with almost 953 ‘jharokhas ‘ was to provide a place for royal ladies. To witness the parades and celebrations during festivals yet unseen by the commoners. The jharokhas constructed in honeycomb structure turn the hot air into a cold breeze.
There is an entry fee of Rs 50 per head. We bought the tickets and moved in. Our first expression was ‘it is OK’ but as we moved up. We realized each floor is different from the previous one. At the top, there is a small space near every jharokhas where you can sit and enjoy the view of the market through them. Oh yes! don’t throw your tickets once you enter, as you might have to show them again at the exit gate. You will find a few shops at the entrance of Hawa Mahal. I would not recommend you to buy stuff from there as you can get the same stuff in the main road market at a much cheaper price. After Hawa Mahal, we moved to Jantar Mantar.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
My humble request to you all is to walk. The distance is hardly 1 km from Hawa Mahal. As a beautiful city view, hundreds of birds and small colorful shops await you. May I ask you all, do you know how many Jantar Mantar are there in India and what are they for? One in Delhi, used for various political dramas, and one in Jaipur, but what its exact use we don’t know. There are five Jantar Mantar in India i.e in Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, Mathura, and Delhi. All were built by Maharaja Jai Singh. Please don’t ask me for the year of construction as I am weak in history. We bought three tickets and we entered the Jantar Mantar. I recommend you hire a guide for this place as then only you can understand how amazing this place is. It was designated a monument of national importance in 1968 and on the UNESCO world heritage list in 2010.
Some interesting facts about Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar. This is the last one to build out of five, eradicating the flaws in the previous four. It has the most precise, largest, and most functional sundial with an accuracy of 2 Seconds in time. To date, it can precisely track celestial bodies in the sky with the help of the other 19 instruments present here. It is interesting to note, that it has caught the interest of various astronomers, historians, and architects from all over the world. This place is the home’s largest observatory ever built. As we finished with Jantar Mantar we moved toward City Palace. City Palace is a museum now. We did not visit it. and walked towards the main road market.
After having kulfi at ‘Panditji Kulfi’, we board a low-floor red bus to ‘Amer Fort’. Charged us Rs 12 for males and Rs 8 for females. It’s a 20 minutes ride to the fort. Enjoying the view outside instead of driving on the busy streets of the city. We crossed the ‘Jal Mahal’ built-in ‘Man Sagar Lake’ to our right and moved on. The bus drops us in front of ‘Amer Fort’.
Amer Fort, Jaipur
‘Magnificent’ was the first thought. Amer Fort is a beautiful fort with a lake in front of it. You can either take a jeep or walk up to the “Suraj Pol” (main entrance of the fort). Amer was the main fort of ‘Raja Jai Singh’. The fort had perimeter walls and guard posts that are still intact. You have stairs to go all the way up. If someone has time and desire to be the ‘night watch’. Coming back to the fort, we choose to walk up the stairs passing via ‘Suraj Pol‘ we entered the lower courtyard. There are two gates to enter the courtyard. One for soldiers and commoners i.e ‘Chand Pol‘ and the other for Royals i.e ‘Suraj Pol‘.
We bought the tickets and proceeded toward the main courtyard. It consists of ‘Deewan-e-aam’. This is the place where King used to hold his court of justice. There are 21 pillars in ‘Deewan-e-aam’ which symbolizes the 21 districts of Mewar. There are huge windows from where you can admire the beauty of ‘Kesar Bagh’. (For our generation: It’s the shooting location of “kehne ko jashne bahara hai” from the movie Jodha Akbar and in front exists the garden where queen Ashwariya was trying to catch Rabbits).
From ‘Deewan-e-aam‘ we entered ‘Deewan-e-khaas‘. Through a beautifully hand-painted gate, which still has its original artwork on it. Gold and vegetable colours were used to create the artwork. ‘Deewan-e-khaas’ meant for the living of royals has three parts summer, winter, and monsoon palace. Among the three, the winter palace is the most beautiful, aka the ‘Seesh Mahal”. Built using convex mirrors, which gives a feeling of a starry night even during the day. Behind these three palaces is ‘Rani ki Deodi’. This place was meant for queens and only the king was allowed to enter. From here we enter the backyard of the palace and planned to move to Nahargarh fort and Jaigarh fort. All forts in Jaipur get closed by 1700hr. Since time was already 1630hr. We dropped the plan and decided to explore the market
I will share about the Market in the next post. Till then keep sharing your valuable comments and experiences with us. Lets together enrich the experience of all.