First on the agenda in Jaipur was City Palace. Jaipur was the first planned city in India. The old city, called the pink city, lays in a grid format with the City Palace right in the center. The palace was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, and a large portion of the palace is still the private residence for the royal family.
|Entering the fort and what feels like another era|
The palace is now mostly a museum, but is beautifully preserved with a collection of beautiful architecture to appreciate and exhibits showing the history and life of the royal family. Of particular interest:
- The Diwan-i-Khas: Also known as the Sarvatobhadra in Sanskrit and the Hall of Public Audience in English, this is where the Majarajas would consult with their ministers. Gorgeous chandeliers and wall paintings continue to exist and are preserved for the public to view. In addition, there are two large silver jars on display, the two largest silver items in the world. Commissioned by one of the Maharajas, the were used to bring the holy Ganges water with him on a trip to England.
|The elaborately preserved Diwan-i-Khas|
- The Armory: The armory contains the most extensive collection of weapons kept in India. You can marvel at the swords, guns and knives. However, note there aren’t any explanatory signs and for younger children, this may not be as interesting since there is nothing to touch.
- Mubarak Mahal: the Mubarak Mahal or Welcome Palace was built in the 19th century to receive visiting dignitaries. It now houses a superb selection of traditional dresses of the royal families that have been preserved for centuries. Again a popular visit, it can get crowded. And this is a strictly look no touch place, so younger children can get bored quickly.
|The majestic Mubarak Mahal|
- Pritam Niwas Chowk: In this inner courtyard, you’ll find four gates. Each gate represents a season so be sure to explore them all. Of particular interest is the peacock gate, which people love to be photographed in. Being outdoors, all children will like running around the courtyard, exploring the gates, and even getting up close to touch and see.
|The peacock gate is the most elaborately decorated and the most popular|
We spent roughly 2.5 hours at the palace exploring before we left to give the kids a break and eat lunch. Families with older children who can appreciate the exhibits more might enjoy spending more time here and perhaps hiring a guide or getting the audio tour. For our younger children, particularly my active son, 2.5 hours was probably too long.
- Timings: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, 7 days a week
- Fees: 300 rs for foreigners gives you a combination ticket which is also good for Jaigarh Fort as long as the to ticket is less than a week old.
Please note that photography is not allowed in many of the indoor exhibits.
|Never without my Lonley Planet, now in Kindle format||My son’s favorite part, the shaky metal ramp|
All photos taken by Atma Photography