Jaipur is my favourite city in India so far. It is the capital and also the largest city in Rajashtan. Together with Agra & Delhi, it is known as the Golden Triangle of Indian Tourism. Jaipur is very touristy though, so just being around here has already a different ambiance. It was another long drive from Agra, around five hours and we only reached here around 3 PM. We decided to do some shopping first before any sightseeing.. 🙂 When shopping, beware of buying jewellry though. You may find that they offer you beads or stone jewellry when it’s actually being artificially coloured.
The next day we started at 8.30AM to Amber Fort and to go up there we were to go by elephant! Sounds exciting! But when I saw the elephants, it was really big, much bigger than the elephants in Bali, so it was actually kind of scary to imagine going on the elephant. But since we were in Jaipur, I don’t want miss it. So I got on one and it was even more I scarier than I thought. It stopped in the middle of the pathway and not go up, and sometimes it walked slowly but sometimes faster. I was terrified that he will throw a fit and throw us off, and so I was holding so tight to the handle. Luckily, he behaved and dropped us safely.
Amber Fort is where the palace and city was. As it expands, the city got larger and larger and it was moved to Jaipur in the 1700s. It is the first planed city of medieval India, where the city is divided into nine blocks and the royal palace is situated at the center of the city. In 1876, to welcome Prince of Wales they painted the city of Jaipur terracota and that’s how Jaipur got the name “The Pink City”. Until now, the people of Jaipur still have to paint the outside of their shops and home in pink. There are plenty of beautiful historical buildings in here.
We went pass by Jal Mahal, which means water palace, located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur City. It is a five storey building, but only the top floor stays above water. The lower four floors remain mostly submerged when the lake is full. Not much history is known about the palace except that it was was constructed by Maharaja Madho Singh in the 18th century as a place for his duck hunting parties.
After that we stopped in front of Hawa Mahal to get a picture from across the road. The palace has a beehive like structure and is made of red and pink sand stone lined with white color to make it vibrant. It was built in 1799 for the woman of the royal palace. In medieval India a ‘pardah’ system was applied where the royal woman were socially secluded. The Hawa Mahal was built to connect the royal woman to the outside world, where the queens and princesses could look through the windows of the palace the various processions and events going on outside.
Our final stop before some more shopping was the City Palace. The palace was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. As most structures in Jaipur the architecture of this palace is a blend of Rajput (tradtional Hindu architecture) and Mughal (Islamic & Persian style). The City Palace complex is spread over a large area occupying one seventh of the old city of Jaipur. It is divided into gardens, buildings and courtyards, temple and museum to magnify its historical importance. Its outer boundary was built by Raja Jai Singh and other structures by his successors to add charm to it. It also served as a residence for former Maharaja of Jaipur.
We only caught a glimpse of Jaipur because of the limited time we have there but there are plenty more things to see.