City Palace Travel Guide
If you have read our other blogs, you would tell how much we love starting our days early and walking into the streets before the city wakes up. We mostly try to reach the monuments before the gates open and get involved into a little discussion with the guards.
But today in Jaipur, it was different. The Jaipuri dohars kept us warm in the pleasant winters of Jaipur and we snoozed the alarm clock each time it rang. Our Airbnb room was so beyond words. Every corner was thoughtfully decorated using the simplest DIY decors. The room smelt of scented candles and potpourri.
The excitement of the City palace and all the other heritage monuments lined up for the day, pushed us to finally get ready. After our scrumptious home-made breakfast, we made plans of exploring more of the city. Uber rickshaw waited right outside our doorstep and we set off packing all the things we needed for the day. The chilled morning breeze through the moving rickshaw caressed my face. And an incredible blue cloudy sky accompanied us on our wayward journey. It was a beautiful lovely morning to start our day. The town was busy, and we came across several men sitting in their signature Rajasthani turbans all along the way.
The rickshaw stopped right at the entrance gate of The City Palace. We bought our tickets where thankfully there was no queue and headed inside. The place had a touristy vibe around, as City Palace is very close to Jantar Mantar and Hawa-Mahal.
About City Palace
Jaipur is the first planned city of medieval India. It is divided into several blocks and the City Palace resides at the centre of the city. This is where the Maharaja reigned from and administered the city. The palace incorporates an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. The buildings are a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. Originally built by Sawai Jai Singh in the 1720s, the City Palace expanded and has been renovated over the centuries by its many successors. Only few areas of the City Palace are accessible to the tourists. The Royal family still resides here and occupies few floors.
The Entrance Gates
There are three entrance gates for entering the palace complex. All the three gates are magnificently decorated. The names of the gates go by – Virendra Pol, Udai Pol and the Tripolia Pol. The tourists at the City Palace can enter through Virendra Pol and Udai Pol. The Tripolia Pol is reserved for the Royal members of the family and their family visitors.
We made our way through the Virendra Pol which lies right opposite the Jantar Mantar. The grandeur in Jaipur is especially noticed at their entrance gates. Each gate is so richly decorated that it gives you a certain feel of entering a Royal palace from the by-gone era. The Virendra Pol is a pale-yellow coloured gate adorned with beautiful work of blue-green vines and colourful flowers. A stop here to closely look at the design is a must. It is a display of highly skilled craftmanship and truly deserves all the attention.
The Royal Costume Museum at Mubarak Mahal
Mubarak Mahal was built lately in 1900s to house the textile museum. One can see impressive and extravagant costumes that were once worn by the Maharajas or kings of Jaipur and their Maharanis or Queens. The royals had their own distinctive style of dressing and is best seen at this museum. The Kings wore many layers of clothing from long Kurta, pants, coats and shawls. I am not quite sure what they are traditionally called. The clothing had rich embroidered brocades, mostly made of silk. Their turbans had distinctive gemstone or feathers. The women dressed in sarees made out of silk or cotton. They had golden zari borders or silken threads with beautiful traditional motifs. They also had separate clothes on display in the sports section such as their Polo uniforms. Royal women also participated in Polo matches but only during the night.
The armoury museum
Here you can find a vast collection of royal weapons, some even belonged to the Mughal Emperors Shah Jahan and Jahangir. Sadly, most of these museums are not allowed for photography. But they are sure to impress you so much, that it is difficult to forget some of these artefacts.
Diwan-i-Khas or Sarvato Bhadra
Diwan-i-Khas means the Hall of Private Audience, where the King met his ministers and the nobles. This is certainly one of the most stunning and most photographed buildings in the City Palace. What I loved the most about this building is that it is open on all sides, has arches, distinctive wall colours and an antique crystal chandelier you cannot overlook, even if you wish.
Also, at Sarvato bhadra or Diwan-i-Khas, there are two large Gangajalis or Sterling Silver Urns that are encased in a glass frame. These vessels are about 5.2 feet high, 340 kilograms heavy and have a capacity of 4000 litres each. The two silver urns are recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records for being the largest Sterling silver vessels in the world. Wow, isn’t it?
An interesting story goes that these vessels were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II. The Maharaja was invited at the coronation ceremony of Prince Edward VII in 1902.
Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II was a very religious ruler and decided to carry holy water of River Ganga to his visit to England.
Sabha Niwas or Hall of Public Appearance
How I wished photography of this room was allowed. This room defines what Royalty is! Large paintings of all the Kings are on display here. The centre of the hall has a huge durbar setting with velvet cushioned chairs. The room is elegant and ensemble in vintage decor.
Pritam Niwas Chowk and its richly decorated gates
Pritam Niwas Chowk is an open courtyard surrounded by four gates in different directions. These gates represent the four seasons and are collectively called Ridhi Sidhi Pol. The gates have jharokas or balconies on the first floor which were used by the royal ladies to observe the festivals and celebrations taking place in the courtyard. The four gates are famously called as the Peacock gate, Lotus Gate, Leheriya Gate and the Rose Gate.
The Peacock Gate also known as the Autumn season gate has beautiful three-dimensional peacocks peeking out of the gate ceilings.
The lotus gate or the summer gate has beautiful lotus petals in vibrant colours all around the gate.
The Rose gate or the winter gate has equisite rose flower patterns engraved on the wall.
And lastly, the Leheriya gate or the spring gate is a beautifully patterned green coloured gate.
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#citypalacejaipur has four gates that are collectively called the Ridhi Sidhi gates. Each of these gates represents a season. This ones called the Leheriya Gate. 🍀More detailed blog on our experience at City Palace is coming up on our next blog, so stay tuned. And to those of you who are asking me for a Jaipur itinerary, that blog too is in progress.📝 I will add details such as opening timings, time taken at each monument, where to stay, how to travel, few tips and any other information you would like to hear from us…😀😀 Besides the Jaipur itinerary, I have also prepared several other itineraries for our friends to different parts of the country and some foreign places too 🤣🤣🤣 I think I should sometimes quit my job and become a travel agent..but I always love to help and because you ask me about various places that I get to learn more.. 😀😀 . . . . #jaipurdiaries #jaipur #indiantravelblogger
It’s difficult to choose which gate was our favourite. 🙂
The passageway that leads to these four gates have an impressive collection of paintings, that are also not to be missed.
You may also like: Everything you need to know about Amer Fort in Jaipur
Timings and entrance fees
City Palace is open all 7 days in a week and the entry timings are from 9:30 to 17:00 hrs. Audio guides in Hindi, English, French, and German are available. Personal guides are also available inside the premises and the guides speak various foreign languages. I found the tickets at City Palace quite expensive as compared to other monuments I have visited in India, including the Taj Mahal.
Also, to visit additional rooms the entrance fees for Indians is as high as INR 3000 per head. And therefore, we couldn’t make it to all the rooms at the City Palace. This tour comes with an official palace guide, light refreshments and provides glimpses into the private quarters of the royal family.
Best time to visit
November to February is the winter season here which is the best time to visit. From March to July, it is the hot summer season when temperature even crosses 45 degrees Celsius.
What clothes to wear
Summers are hot so carry light breezy clothes for the daytime. However, nights and early mornings are chilly during winters so carry a light jacket.
Things to carry
Water bottle, tickets, sunglasses, hat, camera
Some tips that may help you at the City Palace…
– You can book the tickets for Jaipur City Palace online. If you reach early morning, the queues here are not that long either.
-There are two types of tickets for the Indians – Standard and Royal Gandreur Tour.
-In the Royal Grandeur Tour, a guide is included in the ticket cost. Also, light snacks, a water bottle and a drink is included in the ticket cost. This ticket will allow you to visit few private rooms, that are not included in the Standard tickets.
-You can purchase an audio guide with the standard tickets.
-City Palace can be explored within two hours of time if you purchase the standard tickets. For Royal Grandeur Tour, it may take around 4 hours of time.
-You can then head to Jantar Mantar which is just across the gate. The entrance fee for Jantar Mantar needs to be purchased separately.
-There is a lovely market outside City Palace that sells Rajasthan handicrafts.
-Inside the City Palace, there is a wide collection of paintings, carpets, rugs, handicrafts that are sold by the local artists.
-You can watch some local artists do a LIVE painting from miniature paintings to large ones.
-You can also watch weavers weaving carpets and rugs. We had an amazing time learning to weave ourselves. Please do pay them a tip for this.
-There is a chariot available within the City Palace premises to take a ride. The charges for this needs to be paid separately, but the experience is quite Royal.
-In case you want to dine inside the palace, then there is a fine dine restaurant Baradari inside the City Palace which has been recently renovated by the royal family. Click here to read about its review on Zomato. A small cafe called as the Palace Cafe is available at the Virendra Pol gate of the City Palace.
Lastly, I want to end this blog by saying you will surely have a great time here and if there is anything you want to ask please feel free to write to us or comment below!