Monday, 16 May 2016

Rajasthan - Royal State of India (Jaipur)

Day 13: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

First day in Jaipur – the Pink City! Took an auto (Rs. 100) to pick up our scooty, filled petrol of Rs. 250 and started our ride towards forts of Jaipur. There are three forts in Jaipur and all three are pretty close to each other. We headed towards smallest of three forts – Nahargarh Fort. The road to Nahargarh fort is uphill with lots of twist and turns. Reached Nahargarh at 12 noon and Entry ticket is Rs. 20 per person and parking for a two-wheeler is Rs. 5. You get a nice view of Jaipur city from here. Madhavendra Bhawan is a must see place inside the fort. We hired a security person as guide for Rs. 100. It was a palace of a king who had 12 queens. This is a two-storey building which has suites for the king and his queens. It is divided into nine similar apartments namely – Suraj Prakash, Chand Prakash, Kushal Prakash, Anand Prakash, Jawahar Prakash, Laxmi Prakash, Ratan Prakash, Lalit Prakash and Basant Prakash. Each of these apartments has a lobby, bedrooms, toilets, kitchen and terrace and are connected to each other via a long corridor. Our guide told us that entire Madhavendra Bhawan was handed painted using natural colours which were made from fruits and vegetables. We visited couple of apartment and went to the terrace. When we were there, we noticed that renovation work was in progress. Another place that need to be checked is step well where part of Rang de Basanti movie was shot.

We decided to visit Jaigarh fort while coming back from Nahargarh to avoid uphill and deserted drive. Jaigarh fort is located at the distance of approximately 5 KM from Nahargarh. We reached Jaigarh at 1.30 pm and entry fees are Rs. 35 per person and Rs. 50 for camera. The other route to Jaigarh fort is 1 km uphill walk from Amber fort. Places that can be seen inside this forts are: Subhat Niwas, Khilbati Niwas, Laxmi Vilas, Lalit mandir, Vilas mandir, Aram Mandir, Armory, two-storied auditorium (now used for puppet show), Royal garden, Cannon foundry and ofcourse Jaiwana Cannon. Many of these sections are connected with narrow and dark corridors which are difficult to keep track of. I will suggest to hire a guide. We started from Jaiwana cannon and ended at Royal garden. Don’t miss Jaiwana - the world's largest cannon, the green and picturesque garden at the other end and the spectacular views over the Amber Fort and the hills around. The fort is big enough and may take more than 2 hours to see all the spots. By the time we completed two forts, we were tired and hungry. So we went to Amer road near Man Sagar Lake and had our lunch.

Note: On Amer road, once you pass Man Sagar Lake you got to take left for Jaigarh and Nahargarh. After few kilometers, a right turn will take you to Jaigarh and left turn towards Nahargarh.

If you are at Man Sagar lake then you cannot miss the Jal Mahal. We decided to spend today’s evening at Jal Mahal. This palace located in the middle of lake with back drop of little mountain is picturesque. As the sun was setting, Lake area was full of people. The beauty of the palace increases as it was lit in the night. Clicked few pictures and then headed towards our hotel. But wait. What’s that? Oh! That’s Hawa Mahal. How can you not stop at Hawal Mahal to see its beauty in night? Few pics and again rode (Please read tried to find a way) towards hotel. Dinner at random restaurant and end of the day.

Day 13: Madhavendra Bhawan inside Nahargarh Fort


Day 13: Madhavendra Bhawan inside Nahargarh Fort


Day 13: Terrace of Madhavendra Bhawan inside Nahargarh Fort


Day 13: Step Well inside Nahargarh Fort


Day 13: Step Well inside Nahargarh Fort


Day 13: Step Well inside Nahargarh Fort


Day 13: Jaiwana cannon inside Jaigarh Fort


Day 13: Royal garden inside Jaigarh Fort


Day 13: Royal garden inside Jaigarh Fort

Day 13: View of Amer fort from Jaigarh Fort


Day 13: View of a lake from Jaigarh Fort


Day 13: Royal garden inside Jaigarh Fort


Day 13: Royal garden inside Jaigarh Fort


Day 13: Jaigarh Fort


Day 13: Jal Mahal


Day 13: Jal Mahal


Day 13: Night view Jal Mahal


Day 13: Night view of Hawa Mahal


Day 14: Thursday, November 27, 2014

We started at 9.00 am and drove towards our first spot for the day – Hawa Mahal. I always wondered how this building looks from inside. I am gone a find the answer today. This monument is situated inside old Jaipur town which encircled by City Wall. A 20-25 minutes’ drive from Jaipur railway station will take you to Hawa Mahal. We have reached the iconic structure of Jaipur at 10.00 am. We bought two composite tickets for Rs. 200. Hawa Mahal from inside is comparatively plain but upper stories gives view of old Jaipur town including Jantar Mantar and City Palace. The five-storied structure with 953 windows got plenty of detailed lattice work. This palace is overlooking the main street of Jaipur and provides an excellent view of the street activities. Then royal ladies observed day to day activities without being seen by common people. After spend an hour we came outside. Clicked few pics of the palace from inside as well from outside.

A 2 minutes’ drive and you reach Jantar Mantar. This is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. The Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is biggest of 5 five Observatories built (in New Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi, Matura and Jaipur) and is in very good Condition. UNESCO has presented status of World Heritage Site to Jantar Mantar. The Observatory has many big astronomical devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars and so on. A guide here is a MUST. Without knowledgeable guide, all these instrument will make no sense at all for general public like us. Light and Sound show available at Jantar Mantar.

Right across the road is Jaipur City palace. Entry ticket to this palace is Rs. 50 per person and Rs. 100 for camera. The palace complex consist - Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Pritam Niwas Chowk, Diwan-E-Khaas, Diwan-E-Aam, Maharani palace, Bhaggi Khana, etc. The four gates of the chowk (or square) must not to be missed. Also you can see two gigantic silver vessels (officially recorded in Guinness Book of World Records). They were used to carry water of the Ganga to drink on his trip to England. The seven-storied building Chandra Mahal is the residence of the descendants of the former rulers of Jaipur and only ground floor is open for general public. Bhaggi Khana is a place where a collection of old carriages, palanquins and baggis are displayed. It can take more than two hours to see entire palace complex.

Another 2 minutes’ drive and get to Isarlat Tower. A 140 feet and 7 storied minaret. You get a 360 degree view of old Jaipur town if you climb to the top of the minaret. Entry ticket Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 for camera. We were hungry so drove to Laxmi Misthan Bhandar for snacks. Our next stop was Albert Hall (Central Museum). This museum is located outside the city wall. We reached here at 2.30 pm. Albert Hall building looks really attractive from outside and pigeons flying all around it added some more beauty to it. The museum has a good collection of artefacts like paintings, carpets, ivory, stone, idols, metal sculptures, royal costumes and jewelry, etc. I was surprised to see Egyptian Collection in the museum. We spent around two hours in the museum.

A quick drive of 2 KMs to get to Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka Birla Temple). The Birla Temple is a recent temple built in pure white marble is unlike the traditional ancient temples of Jaipur. It is said the temple represents all the major religions of India. One can also see stained glass painting usually seen in churches. The temple and the premises is well maintained. Photography is not allowed inside temple. The sun was setting and we have to drive 5 km and again find our way to our hotel. On our way we stopped at a movie hall named Raj Mandir Cinema to click a pic. Today too dinner at random restaurant and went back to the hotel.


Day 14: Inside view of Hawa Mahal

Day 14: View from one of the window Hawa Mahal


Day 14: A girl watching through a window Hawa Mahal


Day 14: Top part of Hawa Mahal


Day 14: Inside view of Hawa Mahal


Day 14: Iconic Hawa Mahal


Day 14: Iconic Hawa Mahal


Day 14: Jantar Mantar


Day 14: Jantar Mantar


Day 14: Jantar Mantar


Day 14: Jantar Mantar


Day 14: Jantar Mantar


Day 14: Jantar Mantar


Day 14: Mubarak Mahal inside Jaipur City palace


Day 14: Jaipur City palace


Day 14: Chandra Mahal inside Jaipur City palace


Day 14: One of the gates of chowk inside Jaipur City palace


Day 14: One of the gates of chowk inside Jaipur City palace


Day 14: Two huge silver vessels inside Jaipur City palace


Day 14: Isarlat Minar


Day 14: Egyptian Collection at Albert Hall (Central Museum)


Day 14: Inside view at Albert Hall (Central Museum)


Day 14: Inside view at Albert Hall (Central Museum)


Day 14: Inside view at Albert Hall (Central Museum)


Day 14: View of Albert Hall (Central Museum)


Day 14: Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka Birla Temple)


Day 14: Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka Birla Temple)


Day 14: Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka Birla Temple)


Day 14: Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka Birla Temple)


Day 14: Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka Birla Temple)


Day 14: Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka Birla Temple)


Day 14: Night view of Raj Mandir Cinema hall


Day 15: Friday, November 28, 2014

As usual started at 9.00 am and drove towards Akshardham Temple. This temple is around 9 km away from Jaipur railway station but opposite side of old Jaipur. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture, magnificent idols, sculptures and carvings. After spending about half an hour in calm, clean and green temple premises, we started our ride towards one of the important attractions of Jaipur – The Amer (or Amber) Fort. Approximately 20 KMs of drive brought us to Amer fort. This beautiful and big fort-Palace is located near Maota lake. Places that must be seen in Amber fort are Jaleb Chowk (a big courtyard), Sila Devi Temple, Diwan-e-Am (Public Audience Hall), Sattais Kacheri (27 offices), Kesar Kyaari ( a garden in Maota lake), Ganesh Pol or the Ganesh Gate (intricate details on this gate are simply amazing), Diwan-E-Khaas (Private Audience Hall), Hammam (Turkish Baths), a garden with fountains, Sheesh Mahal (thousands of mirror tiles on the walls and ceiling), Sukh Niwas (or Sukh Mahal) and Old Palace of Maharaja Man Singh. It may take up to 3 hours to see entire fort and a guide is highly recommended. Light and Sound show available at Amer fort.
It was time for lunch and we opted for Rajasthani thali in a restaurant on Amer road near Man Sagar Lake. After a lunch break of an hour, we moved towards Gaitore. Also known as Gaitore ki Chhatriyan, these are royal cenotaphs built in honour of ruler of Jaipur. Few of these are carved on marble and other on local stones. Entry ticket is Rs. 20 per person. Though these are located at foothills of Nahargarh fort, it can be reached from City Palace.
Our next and last tourist attraction of the day and this trip was Galtaji. But I made a big error when I was planning and looking road map to reach Galtaji. If you start from Hawa Mahal then one road to the temple goes from Sisodia Rani Garden and you can drive till Galtaji Temple. The other route is drive straight (from Hawa Mahal) towards east direction and as you get outside City wall, crossed the road and go inside small gate. You need to park your vehicle here and short hike of 45 minutes will take you to Galtaji temple. The first route is preferred though it is longer in distance. We walked for 30 minutes but the Sun was setting and it was getting darker so we stopped and returned. We don’t wanted to walk back from temple to parking spot in dark on this lonely road amidst of trees and thousands of monkeys. Unfortunately we missed this lovely pilgrimage spot but there is always next time J. We also had to submit our scooty before we get to our hotel. Paid Rs. 1350 scooty rent for three days and got Rs. 5000 back which were kept as deposit.

Day 15: Akshardham Temple


Day 15: Akshardham Temple


Day 15: Akshardham Temple


Day 15: Akshardham Temple


Day 15: Akshardham Temple


Day 15: Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Jaleb Chowk inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Ganesh Pol inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Ganesh Pol inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: View of Maota Lake from Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Sattais Kacheri (27 offices) inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Garden with fountains inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Sheesh Mahal inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Sheesh Mahal inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Garden with fountains inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Old Palace of Maharaja Man Singh inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Old Palace of Maharaja Man Singh inside Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Amer or Amber Fort


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Carving at Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Gaitore Cenotaphs


Day 15: Sun setting over old Jaipur town


Day 16: Saturday, November 29, 2014

It was our last day in Jaipur and in Rajasthan. Packed our bags and went to Jaipur Railway station to board our train to Mumbai. We reached Mumbai as per schedule.

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