Where is Rajasthan?
Rajasthan is a state in the Northern part of India. It is the largest state in India.Prior to the Independence, the area was ruled as separate kingdoms by various rulers from the rajput dynasty. (ref: this link)I have always wanted to visit there as I love seeing historic places and monuments. I got the chance to visit the famous cities Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan this month. I loved my visit though it being only for a few days. In this post Rajasthan – part1, I will tell you about my visit to Jaipur.
Jaipur – the Pink City
Our day 1 started in Jaipur, the pink city. Jaipur is indeed the pink city!. The entire area of Jaipur is adorned by ancient and new buildings which are painted pink! The ‘painting in pink culture’ must have been adorned since many years for I saw even new constructions bearing pink walls and doors! After checking in to the hotel and refreshments, we hopped on to a cab that took us to the City Palace in Jaipur. We had to get down a few meters well before the palace as they don’t allow parkings near by the palace. The City palace has about entrances on all 4 directions. We entered through one of them.
It was a weekday and the crowd was minimal in the palace. The palace has beautiful gates in all the 4 side entrances. I stood in front of the entrance, I couldn’t move past beyond the beautiful entrance without a great staring moment.
The beautiful City Palace:
The City Palace hosts some of the magnificent art and architectural beauty. It has a nice courtyard and a beautiful central hall with artistically designed wall decorations. The doors of the palaces deserve a special mention. If one could admire the doors for hours, then this is where you have to be!
Every pillar and wall speaks volumes about the love for art the Kings of Rajasthan had!
Inside the palace there is the museum with displays of the clothing, jewels and portraits of the Maharajas who ruled Jaipur. We got to see a massive wedding dress designed for a 4 feet wide and 7 feet high king!!
They were made ornated with gold and precious stones and looked very heavy. A part of the palace is still being used by the Royal family descendants and hence public are not allowed to enter those pathways. They were quite a sight even from outside.
Our next stop was Jantar Mantar, which is just outside of City Palace within few minutes walk. This place is dedicated specifically for doing astronomical calculations in ancient times. There are huge building structures constructed to determine the time in a day, the astrological month and star in a day and many more calculations.
One of the impressive constructs was the time calculator. A huge inverted arch with markings for 24 hours in a day , 6o minutes of a hour,6o seconds of a minute are marked in an enormous dial. The time is calculated based on the position where the Sun’s rays falls on the arch. Any minor differences to time need to be accordingly calculated by looking at the adjacent arch which holds the minute level differences for every day of the month.
There were many more instruments in macro size which were used in astrology calculations. As I have no clue about astrology I couldn’t entirely understand of their usefulness. But back in olden days I bet they were of immense help.
Hawa Mahal – a must must see!
Our next stop was the Hawa Mahal. Hawal Mahal means Wind Palace. The front view of the mahal is so a mesmerizing experience. The palace was built for the royal women to rest, view the happenings on the city streets and get fresh cool air without being noticed by outside world.
The Hawal Mahal top offers great views of Jaipur streets and the near by Forts. The way to the top is designed as a ramp instead of steps, a design well thought-of. The kings wanted their queens to move along without much difficulty so they constructed ramp path to move up the palace. The interiors have been fixed with multiple arches and colored glasses, the windows on the top floor emanates colors of light during the daytime.
One must not miss visiting the bazaars of Jaipur that start just outside the Hawa Mahal. Colorful clothes and artistic bags and other items can be purchased at an affordable price. Do a bargain and get the artistic bandhini salwars and sarees 😉
There is more to talk about my trip. I can keep going on and on about Rajasthan. Soon expect an another part for the series :). Have you been to Rajasthan? what were your experiences there?