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The City Palace is one of the most important places of tourist interest in Jaipur. It bears the testimony of the impact the Mughals had on Kachhawah Rajputs. It lies in the heart of Jaipur and covers an area approximately one-seventh of the total area of the walled city. The Raj Mahal and Rajasee (Shahi) Niwas are fine examples of blending of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Architectures.
It was built between 1729 and 1732 by Sawai Jai Singh. The other structures were subsequently added by his successors. Here the fortifications are separate but other buildings Are part of one integrate structure.
The windows and outer walls contain beautiful carvings and the two sculpted elephants are placed at the entrance gate.
The Siredyodhi (Udaipole) is the main entrance gate. It faces the Chandi Ki Taksal and leads towards Jalebi Chowk. Here we have two gates the Ganesh Pole and the Virendra Pole. If you enter Ganesh Pole you reach Diwan-e-Am and Diwan-e-Khas. When you enter the Virendra Pole you face the Mubarak Mahal. The Tripolia Gate which faces Chaura Rasta and Tripolia Bazar is exclusively reserved for the royal family and their guests. The Nakkaar Khana Ka Darwaja. is an exquisite example of local architecture. The kettle drums played here announced the glory of the kings. In the outer courtyard of the Palace stands the Mubarak Mahal which was constructed by Sawai Madho Singh II. It has now been converted into a museum known as The Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and is kept under tight security and maintained with great care. It has a beautiful carved marble gate with heavy brass door on both sides of which there are fine frescoes depicting Hindu deities. This Museum houses idols, carpets, pictures, arms, war weapons, old dresses and many artistic things. The Mughal pictorials, pictures and Arabian Scriptures are also preserved here. The Palace is made of stone and lime mortar but appears as if it were made of wood. The doors of this palace are very artistic. The state of the art architecture of the entrance door, the lanes in the outer and inner area, chowks, windows, doors, balconies, railings and rooms evoke admiration.
This place is a unique reminder of the Royal past that it has seen. The Palace complex has seven gates for entrance.
The high walls of the Diwan-e-Khas and Diwan-e-Aam are highly classical in design. The tourist can see the royal past of the buildings.
Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) - This imposing hall was constructed in 1730 according to the principles laid down in the Vedic texts. This square-shaped building has four rooms in four corners and on the outer terrace there are light houses (pillars) made of red stone. In a corridor in the centre of the terrace there are beautiful coloured paintings.
Outside the hall, there are two huge silver urns of 160 cms. diameter each. Sawai Madho Singh II a devout Hindu carried Ganga water in them during his trip to England in 1902 to attend the Coronation of King Edward VII. These urns have a capacity of around nine thousand litres of water. These are recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records. Each urn is 5 feet 3 inches in height and weighs about 345 kgs. On the day of Sharad Poornima, the King of Jaipur held his court in this corridoor and discussed all matters related with politics and administration. The coronation ceremony of all the kings from Sawai Jai Singh's son to the last king Man Singh was held in this palace. Maharaja Madho Singh held here grand parties in honour of English Viceroys and Maharaja Man Singh held here a banquet to welcome Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of Russian (Soviet) Communist Party and Prime Minister Bulganin.
Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) - It is built in front of Diwan-e-Khas. We can reach Diwan-e-Aam through the open Gates of Udaipole, Vijaypole, Jaipole and Gangapole. This is a large and huge building open on three sides and surrounded by verandahs on one side. The marble arches of the hexagonal pillars situated in the corridors of the Palace are raised on two sides. Behind these small openings, there are two-storied pavilions for spectators. From here the queens and ladies watched the political and administrative proceedings of the Darbar and learnt the a-b-c of politics. The hall is decorated with magnificent chandeliers, ornamental painted ceilings studded with semi-precious stones which still retain their original lusture. It has medieval Afghan carpets, portraits, miniatures and manuscripts. It has a rich library. In the north-west of Diwan-e-Khas stands the magnificent seven-storied Chandra Mahal. It was built by Sawai Jai Singh and is surrounded by Jai Niwas Bagh. The rooms are sumptuously decorated with paintings. The royal family still resides here. The palace houses an exclusive museum of rare manuscripts, royal outfits, miniature paintings depicting the playful activities of Radha and Krishna, battle scenes and marriage processions. The temple of Lord Krishna (Govind Dev Ji) is situated in front of this palace. The upper most storey is called Mukut Mahal which is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. From here we can have an exciting view of the city and the Amer Fort.
Built in 1760 this hall was used for conducting formal functions. The last King of Jaipur held his last court in the palace on 30th March, 1949 and became the head of the state of Rajasthan.
The garden in the court yard of the palace is beautiful, grand and large and very well-maintained. Chandra Mahal is at the southern gate and the Badal Mahal at the northern gate. The road which links them is decorated with painted walls, trees and flowers and fascinating fountains.
Mubarak Mahal or the Hall of Welcome, a double-storied marble building opposite Jantar Mantar was built by Sawai Madho Singh II in 1899 as a guest house. Its Indo-Saracenic architecture reflects Rajput and Persian influences. Now it forms part of the Palace Museum and houses royal costumes and musical instruments.
Sileh Khana or Armoury is located towards the right of the Mubarak Mahal. It has antique weapons used by the Jaipur royal family of the 15th. Century. It has Sawai Man Singh's sword which weighs about 11 kgs and a sword gifted by Queen Victoria to Sawai Ram Singh which is studded with rubies and emeralds. There are daggers and guns in various shapes and sizes as well as bows and arrows and shields.