City Palace - Jaipur, India

City Palace, Jaipur includes the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal and other buildings. The palace complex, which is located northeast of the center of the grid patterned Jaipur city, incorporates an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. It is the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the head of the Kachawas Rajput clan.

City Palace Complex

 The Kachawas Rajputs claim descent from the Sun through Kush one the sons of Lord Rama, King of Ayodhya and hero of the epic Ramayana. The Kachawas Rajputs originally ruled Gwalior in central India. However, in 986 AD the king of Gwalior Ishwar Das, in search of nirvana, abdicated his throne and set off for the Himalayas. His sons however were forced to flee Gwalior by their uncle, and found solace in Rajputana. Ishwar Das's son Sodh Rai conquered the area of Dausa by attacking and killing the Mina chiefs (tribal chiefs). After this conquest the Kachawas Rajputs were known as the Rajas of Dausa, and when the capital of the Kachawas kingdom was moved to Amber they were known as the Rajas of Amber. Finally in the 18th century the capital of the kingdom was moved to Jaipur and the Rajas of Amber became the Maharajas of Jaipur.

The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls, and successive rulers right up to the 20th century made later additions. The credit for the urban layout of the city and its structures is attributed to two architects, Vidyadar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob. The architecture is a fusion of the Shilpa Shastra (Indian Architecture), Mughal and European styles.

The site for the palace was once a royal hunting lodge on a plain land encircled by a rocky hill range, five miles south of Amber city. The history of the city palace is closely linked with the history of Jaipur city and its rulers, starting with Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled from 1699-1744. He is credited with initiating construction of the city complex by building the outer wall of the complex spreading over many acres. Initially, he ruled from his capital at Amber, which lies at a distance of 11 KM (6.8 mi) from Jaipur. He shifted his capital from Amber to Jaipur in 1727 due to increase in population and increasing water shortage. He planned Jaipur city in six blocks separated by broad avenues, on the classical basis of principals of Vastushastra and other similar classical treatise.

City Palace Complex

The Rajput kings maintained cordial relations the British Raj. Maharaja Ram Singh sided with the British in the Sepoy Mutiny or Uprising of 1857 and established himself with the Imperial rulers. In honor of hospitality extended to the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII) during his visit, the city of Jaipur including the city Palace and all other monuments were stucco painted 'Pink' and since then the city has been called the "Pink City". This color scheme has since then become a trademark of the Jaipur city. Man Singh II, the adopted son of Maharaja Madho Singh II, was the last Maharaja to rule Jaipur until Jaipur kingdom merged with the Indian Union in 1949 (after Indian independence in August 1947) along with other Rajput states of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner. Jaipur became the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan.

The most prominent and most visited structures in the complex are the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani's Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.


Entry Gate

Virendra Pol, Udai Pol near Jaleb chowk and the Tripolia Gate (triple gate) are the entry gates to the City Palace. The royal family reserves the Tripolia gate for entry into the palace. Common people and visitors can enter the place complex only through the Virendra Pol and the Udai Pol or the Atish Pol (Stable Gate). The entry from Virendra Pol leads to the Mubarak Mahal. The gateways are richly decorated.

Mubarak Mahal

Mubarak Mahal

Mubarak Mahal (Palace of Welcome) is part of the City Palace complex and stands in the middle of the courtyard like a beautifully carved ivory box. It was added by Madho Singh II (ruled 1880-1922) in 1900 as a guesthouse, later it served as the Mahakama Khas (Royal Secretariat) and it now houses the Tosha Khana (Royal wardrobe) museum.This two-storied glittering mansion has so many spacious rooms and the most elegant structure inside the palace is its stunning reception hall, which is embellished by lovely frescos and Murals. Ornamental pillars and highly carved furniture attributes its regal outlook. Charmingly pillared verandahs and a pretty backyard in the palace complex provide an aesthetic appeal to its royal ambiance.

Interiors of Mubarak Mahal

The first floor houses fine muslins, Benares silks, local hand printed cottons, the royal formal costumes and embroidered coats from north India. But the star is the atamsukh (long quilted robe) of Madho Singh 1 (ruled 1750-68), a huge man who weighed 225 kilos. Beautiful musical instruments, many inlaid with ivory, are here, as are Jaipur blue pottery, Mughal glass, hookah bases and delightful toys for young royals.



Diwan-I-Khas is gateway to the City Palace and was a private audience hall of the Maharajas. This gateway is made of brass and wooden doors. It is also famous for its marble-paved pavilion that consists of two silver vessels. These silver vessels are around 5 ft high, each with capacity of 9000 liters and weighing 340 kilograms (750 lb) and have been certified by the Guinness World Records as largest silver objects in the world.

Silver Urns at 

The vessels were mainly built for holding water that was brought from the River Ganges for the royal use. The beautiful and big chandeliers of the Diwan-e-Khas are also popular among visitors.


The 'Diwan-E-Aam' (Sabha Niwas) or the 'Hall of Public Audience' is an enchanting chamber, with the ceiling painted in rich red and gold colors. It is a major attraction in the Mubarak Mahal courtyard. This chamber, functioning now as an art gallery, has exhibits of exquisite miniature paintings (of Rajastahni, Mughal and Persian art), ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmir shawls and carpets. The enthralling painted ceilings has rare ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures. Also seen in the art gallery is the Golden throne (called as Takth-e-Rawal) that was the seat of the Maharaja during public audience. It was mounted on an elephant or carried by palanquin bearers during the Maharajas visit outside the palace. At the entry gateway to the hall, two large elephants, each made out of single marble rock are on display.

Chandra Mahal

Chandra Mahal

Built between 1727 and 1734, the Chandra Mahal ('Moon Palace') is one of the oldest structures of the City Palace complex in Jaipur. A major part of the Mahal is currently the official residence of the descendants of the royal family. The ground and first floor called the Sukh Niwas of the Chandra Mahal is the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, which is the only section of this palace open to public. Directly above the Sukh Niwas is the Rang Mandir. Above which is the Shobha Niwas ('House of Beauty').  The section above that is the smallest enclosed area of the Mahal and it houses the Chavi Niwas ('House of Mirrors'). The Mahal is topped off with an open marble pavilion known as the Mukut Niwas ('Place of the Crown'). To the immediate left of the Mahal is the zenana (women's quarters). Interestingly, if the city flag at Chandra Mahal is raised, it indicates that the Maharaja is in town. If in addition to that, the Imperial flag is also raised, then it indicates the Maharaja is in residence at Chandra Mahal.

Chandra Mahal has fantastic inner courtyard with four small gates (known as Ridhi Sidhi Pol) that are adorned with themes representing the four seasons and Hindu gods. 

The gates are the Northeast Peacock Gate (with motifs of peacocks on the doorway) representing autumn and dedicated Lord Vishnu.

The Southwest Lotus Gate (with continual flower and petal pattern) suggestive of summer season and dedicated to Lord Shiva-Parvati.

The Northwest Green Gate, also called the Leheriya (meaning: "waves") gate, in green colour suggestive of spring and dedicated to Lord Ganesha.

The Rose Gate with repeated flower pattern representing winter season and dedicated to Goddess Devi.

Maharani palace

Maharani's Palace was originally the residence of the royal queens. It has been converted into a museum, where weapons used by the royalty during war campaigns are displayed, including those belonging to the 15th century. The ceiling of this chamber has unique frescoes, which are preserved using jewel dust of semiprecious stones. The other artifacts on display include swords with pistols attached to it, the sword presented by Queen Victoria to Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh (1835–80) which is inlaid with rubies and emeralds, guns serving as walking sticks and a small canon which could be mounted on a camel's back and many more.

Sources: Wikipedia




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